ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – An Islamic religious authority in the Kurdistan Region on Wednesday ruled it ‘Haram’ (forbidden) to play the online multiplayer game PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds (PUBG) for more than ‘a few minutes’ a day, or if playing it impedes daily responsibilities.
The decision came during a meeting between the members of the Fatwa Committee of Sulaimani, a city in the Kurdistan Region, after they had received complaints from family members or relatives of people reportedly ‘addicted’ to playing the game and causing familial disputes.
“We agreed that playing the game should not affect the duties and daily lives of the players,” Irfan Rashid, a religious scholar and head of the Fatwa Committee in Sulaimani, told Kurdistan 24.
PUBG is an online multiplayer game, where dozens of players compete for the top spot, with sessions lasting up to an hour at times.
“We cannot outright say that playing the game is Haram as there is nothing in it that goes against Shari’a [Islamic] Law,” said Rashid.
“If users only play the game for a few minutes every day without affecting their daily lives, then it is allowed,” said Rashid of PUBG, with games that can last anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes not accounting for loading times.
Along with its worldwide renown, the game continues its rise in popularity in the Kurdistan Region, with boys and young men the dominant players.
However, “playing the game is Haram for students who miss their classes, employee that fail to fulfill their duties or other workers who show shortcomings in performing their jobs,” the religious authorities had ruled.
The more accessible version is on mobile phones, which contains multiple game modes including ones that last a shorter amount of time per session.
“We have been contacted by many people complaining about their family and relatives who have become addicted to the game,” Rashid lamented.
Editing by Nadia Riva