Wednesday, 29 January 2020
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Pokemon Go - an Islamic opinion

Sheikh Gaakim Gasant    Article by Sheikh Gaakiem Gasant

In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

All praise rightfully goes to Allah and may prayers and peace be showered on the messenger of Allah, his companions and those who follow him.
The ever changing and advancement in the world of technology and gaming has brought much convenience and enjoyment to humanity. Whether it be getting in touch with loved ones across the world or simply teaching toddlers how to count and read with images and symbols on flash cards and computer games. Technology always had a huge impact on man through its effortless benefits but with it also came its own evils. Like gossip through social media, theft and the common and unmindful free mixing of the sexes which has resulted marriages ending.
Games like ‘Grand Theft Auto’ influence and exacerbate socio economic conditions in our community which make activities such as stealing, using foul language and zina (illicit relationships) more acceptable. Gaming desensitises players to violence which influences violent and antisocial behaviour. Satanic games like “God of War” under the banner of entertainment have a negative influence on people’s imaan (faith).

The latest frenzy around the world which the Saudi ulema (Islamic scholars) ruled as having no place in Islam, viz. “Pokemon Go”, because of the many ills it promotes such as gambling, Zionism using the star of David, using the cross of Christianity, Japanese mythological symbols, and the pyramid of the Freemasons. Other reasons the ulama (Islamic scholars) deem it un-Islamic is because it has become a lifestyle. People spend their days walking and driving around catching Pokemon creatures and training them. There have been reports of people walking off bridges. In one case two students leaped off a balcony in Turkey believing they had supernatural powers. A friend of mine is on a neighbourhood watch. He reports that one night they spotted an unknown man in his car cruising the area. They cornered him because he looked suspicious and questioned him. Embarrassed, he admitted he was chasing a Pokemon.
As Muslims we don’t follow our interests blindly. We learn and take advice from those who are learned and of authority in Islamic Jurisprudence to give fatwa (Islamic scholarly ruling) so we may be guided to live a holistically fruitful and joyful life that will lead to the pleasure of Allah Taálah (God most high). To avoid the whispers of Shaytaan (devil) that poisons our intellect and encourage our ever hungry selfish desires that leads us astray.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: ”The intelligent person is he whom curbs his desires and does actions that benefit him in the afterlife”, Allah Taálah (God most high) says in The Holy Quran: “As for him who feared/weary of standing before his Lord (on Judgment Day), and he restrains himself from his self (desires), verily Paradise will be his abode ”(surah An Naziaat V40,V41).

When we’ve reached the ecstasy of pleasing our Creator, that should be the only thing we desire. But we don’t believe Islam is the key to absolute joy and contentment. Even if we put aside fatwa (Islamic scholarly ruling) and think of our Taqwa (fearing Allah’s displeasure and hoping for His mercy), the lifestyle of Muslims today is such that we are more familiar with the lives and scandals of actors and sportsman than we are with the basics of our Deen. We spend hours on leisure and playing games yet we have forgotten the dua (supplication) before you enter the toilet let alone how to use it is Ibaadah (worship).
What will our response be when we face our Creator who has given us our senses such as our eyesight to learn verses of The Holy Quran or even just to read it, strength to go to the Masjid, strong arms and hands to help someone in need or to raise in dua (supplication).

We say there is never time because we are too busy. But we have time for a game that encourages the greatest crime of all, shirk (ascribing partners to Allah)!
Allah Taálah (God most high) says: “But when there comes the greatest catastrophe (The Day of Resurrection). The day when man shall remember what he strove for. And Hell-fire shall be made apparent for everyone to see. Then for him who transgressed all bounds. And preferred the life of this world (by following his desires and lusts). Verily, his abode will be Hell-fire.” Sura An Naziat V34 > V39.
So the question we must ask ourselves, considering the lifestyle and preferences we have, is this: What do we really prefer?
This will determine our future.
And Allah Taálah (God most high) knows best. I leave you with peace and best wishes.