Over the next few hours we are going to witness a craze for the latest installment of the “Grand Theft Auto” series. Undoubtedly, there will lines of salivating people making Qiyam al-Layil to get their latest copy. I’m ashamed to admit that my exposure to this game was limited until I began to travel the Muslim world. It is not uncommon, at least in my neighborhood, to see 7 year old boys making ‘Itikaf in front of a computer at one of the local net cafes in my city until late in the night playing this game. It was here, in the Muslim world that I was exposed to this game and all that comes with it.
Instead of giving a sermon, saying that its haram or whatever, I would like to remind my brothers and sisters that the Prophet [may Allah's peace and blessing be upon him] stated that we will all be asked about our lives and how we spent them. Isn’t that enough? You! Young brother as you are about to pop in that game and get the latest codes, think about the statement of Allah, “Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the hearts will be questioned.” Man, imagine that! What are we going to say in front of Allah?
What’s more shocking about this series of games is the overindulgence in misogyny, criminal activity and its robust glorification of prison culture. I came out of that life, and can tell you that it is no video game. And that is the real danger of this game: A stealth approach towards living a lifestyle that goes against being a servant of Allah and, instead, being a servant of Shaytan and one’s desires.
The other danger is: “Oh, man its just a game.” That’s how it starts. So, while involved in this game, one develops a criminal pattern of behavior. As KRS ONE said, “Criminal minded you’ve been blinded.” Exactly, the game is blinding the taqwa from our hearts; causing us to plot, think and live like criminals. I have a lot to say on this, but time and my exams will not allow it. Thus, I leave you with this. Those of you who plan to buy this game and play it, think about the following:
1. What were you created for?
2. Are you aware that Allah sees all that you do?
3. Do you fully understand the reality of this life?
4. Where are you headed?
Instead of buying the game do the following with the money:
1. Donate it to charity
2. Go see a good movie
3. Buy another game
4. Hang out with your friends and do something fun
5. Save it for another day
6. Go to a Muslim event that appeals to you. [Try going to see Outlandish at the Voices for Change Concert]
7. Enroll in an Islamic course
I know it is easier said than done. When I was young I would have blown of this type of message. But I have a lot of hope in our brothers and sisters and know that they are capable of doing great things.
Wake up young brothers and sisters! Communities! Don’t be afraid to have an open discussion about this game with your youngsters. I would advice some to even play the game with them and talk about it afterwards. Parents, with all those warning stickers on the front of that game’s box you have no excuse buying that for you kids. The Prophet [sa] mentioned that Shaytan can steal reward from people’s prayers. I often wonder if he is stealing from the rewards of our youth. [grand theft youth]