Knowledge

Can I play board games and video games?

Answered by Shaykh Mazhar Mahmood

Question:

I was wondering if Solitaire, and such games that are found on the computer or in life [such as board games] are permitted if they are not played excessively or distractingly.

Answer:

Computer games and board games are manufactured by companies for presenting a sense of entertainment for their consumers. Some games are also meant to enhance a person’s skills in various avenues of life and are highly beneficial.

In principle, there is no harm in entertaining oneself with such games, so long as one is mindful in executing the Islamic and ethical obligations upon oneself.

Hence, playing games is permissible so long as a few important points are kept in mind:

  1. The games should not consist of impermissible elements; such as gambling which is forbidden in the Qur’ān, and is also a prime cause of moral deterioration.
  2. The games should not distract one from their obligations. This encompasses one’s observance of ṣalāh (prayers), obedience to the parents, respect to society, attendance to one’s responsibilities.
  3. The games should not cause a person to act inconsiderate towards others. Therefore, the gamer should abstain from adapting negative behavior which may be detrimental to another party.

However, it is much preferred to engage in activities which benifit a person physically, such as jogging, playing various sports, or actively participating in community events.

These were the sentiments of Allāh’s Messenger (peace and blessings upon him) in relation to entertainment.

The Messenger Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him) said, “A strong believer is better and more beloved to Allāh than a weak believer; although every individual possesses some sort of virtue. Endeavor to participate [or facilitate] activities which will be of benefit to you.” (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim)

‘Āishah (may Allāh be pleased with her) reported, “It was the day of ‘Eīd and people were playing with shields and spears. I stood behind Allāh’s Messenger (peace and blessings upon him) with his face parallel to my face [watching the people play], and he said, “O Banū Arfada, be well engaged in playing [your sports]”. (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim)

And Allāh Knows Best.

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