Following our recent article on whether video games are haram, I’ve seen that many people have asked the question, is game development haram? It’s been quite the source of debate, so I decided to look into the arguments for both sides to gain a better understanding.
Note: we are only presenting information in this article, if you are unsure if you should be making a video game, consult a trusted scholar.
Is Video Game Development Haram?
Creating video games, also known as game development, isn’t automatically haram (forbidden) in Islam. It is the content of the game, its objectives, and its impact on players that determine its permissibility in Islam. Game development can be a wonderful way to tell stories, build skills, and connect people.
Interested? Keep reading as we explore when game development is considered haram or halal.
When Is Game Development Haram?
Generally, game development can be considered haram when the game’s content break the Sharia (the laws of Islam). The most explicit examples of content that breaks sharia are unprovoked violence or murder and gambling. Games that feature indecent representations, involve partnerships with Allah (Shirk), or lead to addiction also cross the line. Also, if a game involves music, or vulgar language in a way that contradicts Islamic guidelines, that’s a no-go zone too.
When Is Game Development Halal?
On the flip side, game development is halal (permissible) when it adheres to Islamic moral and ethical standards. If the game provides a form of entertainment or education without promoting harmful behavior or violating Islamic principles, it’s totally okay.
The images and animations used in the game should also be modest and respectful, and not objectify or idolize their subjects. So game developers, worry not! You’re doing great work, just remember to align your content with these principles.
What About Drawing & Art for Video Games?
One aspect of game development that often comes under scrutiny is the creation of artwork, particularly of living beings. As stated in this Fatwa (Islamic ruling) on drawing: “There is nothing wrong with drawing as long as the images do not depict nudity or other indecent representations. Also, the picture or image should not be revered or glorified. The detested pictures and images are only those, which are worshiped and revered.”
However, the ruling goes on to say, “Within these restrictions drawing humans, animals, natural scenes, etc. is permitted. What is prohibited is making a statue or a sculpture of a living being that has shade (depth or three dimensional).” This raises concerns for game developers and artists who want to make 3D games or digital art.
According to a Fatwa by Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid with regard to pictures “made in the modern fashion”, he states:
The first category is those which have no tangible substance (and can only be seen by running them through a machine), as I was told is the case with pictures on video tapes. There is no ruling at all concerning these, and they do not come under the prohibition at all.Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
Since video games have no tangible substance and can only be seen by running them through a machine (e.g. computers, game consoles, smartphones… ) some Muslims believe that creating 3D artwork is permissible.
While game development can be a gray area in some cases, it’s clear that Islam doesn’t broadly label it as haram. The key is ensuring the games respect Islamic values. As with all matters, when in doubt, seek knowledge and ask for advice. Always strive for the balance that ensures your actions contribute positively to society and align with your faith.
Haram is an Arabic word that means “forbidden.” So when something is Haram, it means that it is strictly forbidden by Islamic law. It can also mean that something is forbidden unless one has achieved a certain level of purity or spiritual knowledge.
Hala is an Arabic word that means “permissible” or “lawful” in Islam. So when something is Halal, it means that it is allowed by Islamic law.
Sharia is an Arabic that can be translated as “the pathway to be followed”. In Islam, Sharia is the set of laws based on the teachings of the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet.
A fatwa is a formal legal opinion or ruling given by a qualified Islamic scholar on a specific issue in accordance with Islamic law (Sharia).