Is watching movies considered haram in Islam? If not, why is chess haram and not movies or watching TV?
Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh
Thank you for your question.
Generally speaking, wasting time is frowned upon. That doesn’t mean that we don’t enjoy leisure as that is part of the Sunnah and the way of our righteous predecessors.
Abu Darda (RA) says: “I do things which are neither prescribed nor forbidden, and that strengthens me in my worship.”
What he means by that is that leisure is healthy so long as it is for a short while and doesn’t include that which is prohibited.
So when it comes to watching movies, it is usually a waste of time and one should not indulge in them. However, it is fine to watch every once in a while provided it is wholesome and without anything objectionable from an Islamic standpoint. For example, one should read online before watching a movie whether or not it has scenes of a sexual nature. This is very easy to find nowadays and there are even programs to block lewdness from movies. But again, even watching clean material should be limited as much as possible.
As for chess, if accompanied by gambling than its prohibition is unanimous. If it is played without gambling then there is a difference of opinion in regards to its prohibition. I would recommend one to avoid it even without gambling as that is safer for one’s faith.
And Allah knows best.
Answered by Shaykh Omar Suleiman
Hadith of the Day Imam
Director – Islamic Learning Foundation