Addiction to video games

These games have gone past the level of mere leisure to many of those who use them, including the old and young, and has reached the level of addiction. This is a phenomenon that has many dangerous effects, as shown by scientific studies across the world. This has led doctors, educators, guardians, and even politicians to raise their voices in warning and raising awareness.

In China, the authorities stated their increasing worries regarding the high number of teenagers who spend many hours, maybe even complete days, playing in internet cafes. Eight government agencies created new rules that force online gaming companies to provide a service and program that fights
against addiction to these games. (Bawwaabah AI-'Arabiyyah Technology News (4/10/2007))

The mother of a child addicted to video games said: “When my child wakes up at 10 in the morning, and even before he completely opens his eyes, he goes to the television to turn the game on. He refuses to have breakfast before his game, and this continues until he is forced to leave it for lunch. He eats lunch very quickly, and it does not exceed ten minutes, in order to go back to his game again, and he stays there until evening! When we try to stop him, we find that the outcome is that he creates problems for his siblings, he would get into things that did not concern him, and would act aggressively against and hit his siblings for no reason. We found that this game is a solution to keeping problems away that he creates when we take him away from the PlayStation.”

A counselor in one of the universities said:

“I have dealt with a student who would sometimes spend more than 12 hours daily playing video games. He would usually play alone, until he was an expert in it. As I tried to fix the issue for more than three months, I noticed the following:

1) He spends his life alone. He does not participate in his family’s outings at all, not even spending time with them inside the home. He eats alone by his console, and does not go out with them for anything, except rarely.

2) He cannot do things correctly, because he is used to imagination in a big way. He is even unable to look naturally and normally at things, even in his own specific and special situations and issues.

3) He cannot overcome his desire to play, even after he realized that it has begun destroying his future in his studies, since he failed in university due to his inability to free himself, although he tried to do so in despair.

4) He lacks social skills. He cannot converse with anyone or discuss anything. He thinks that he does not need to have logical dealings with people.

5) He is attracted by all imaginative and mythical matters.

6) He bases many of his dealings on competition and challenges, because he is attracted by that. He even would task me with making my way in curing his disorder by challenging me in a spirit of competition.

7) He does not see the value of having a realistic
outlook on people’s lives, and criticizes those who

8) He was unable to continue counseling sessions with
the psychiatrist when he began to convince him of
the necessity of judging by knowledge, reason, and
prevalent values.

9) He spends all of his wealth on games. His father was
very affluent and would spend generously on him. He
would spend all he had on buying new and interesting

10) He tried adamantly to rid himself of the habit of
playing for long hours through behavioral therapy
that the psychiatrist set up for him, but he was
unable and removed himself from the program.

11) He likes going to the beach, and stays there long
hours, alone, or driving in the car all over the streets
without any reason and in a very reckless way. Maybe
that is a way of venting his feelings of failure in
normal life.”

One of them mentioned that he sat with his friend playing a
soccer game from 10 P.M. until 8 A.M. the next day. Had that
consisted of anything besides wasting the last third part of the
night [which is the best time for supplication and getting
closer to Allaah] it would be enough of a loss and waste!

The negative effects of addiction to these games can reach
new and more dangerous levels. In China, the family of a 13-
year-old boy filed a lawsuit against the Chinese producer of a
game company after their child committed suicide after
playing 36 straight hours on the console. They asked for a
compensation of 12,500.( Majallat AI-'Aalam (164). )

Beneficial cures of addiction:

Addiction to video games is one of the most extreme ways a
person wastes their life, which they will be questioned about on
the Day of Resurrection. If the Muslim truly understands the
importance and value of time, and that it is their field where
they can plant seeds for the Hereafter, which can result in
eternal bliss or eternal severe punishment, then they would not
allow these games to ruin their life in this life or the next.

One of the verses that shows the importance of time and that
this life is not for spending time in non-beneficial things is
when Allaah the Exalted Said (what means): {Then did you
think that We created you uselessly and that to Us you
would not he returned?"} [Qur'aan 23:115]

From the Sunnah, we have the Hadeeth of Ibn 'Abbaas, may
Allaah be pleased with him, who reported that Allaah’s
Messenger, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said: There are two
blessings that many people sguander, and they are, good
health and tree time .' (Reported by Al-Bukhaari (6049)) Also, Ibn 'Abbaas, may Allaah be
pleased with him, reported that Allaah’s Messenger, sallallaahu
'alayhi wa sallam, said: "Utilize tive things betore five: utilize
your life before your death, your health before your lack
thereof, your free time before your lack thereof, your youth
before your old age, and your richness before your poverty .'(Reported by Al-Haakim (7846) and he and Ath-Thahabi, may Allaah have mercy on
him, both ruled it as authentic. )

Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “Wasting
time is worse than death, because wasting time cuts a person off
from Allaah the Exalted and the Hereafter, while death only cuts
you off from this life and those in it . '(Fawaa’id (pg. 31).)

There are two instances where the importance of the time of a
person become clear, and that they regret wasting time, at a
time when regret does not avail anyone, and they are:

First: When dying:

When a person passes away from this life, and faces the
Hereafter, they wish they could be given respite for just a short
time so that they could correct their wrongs and set right what
they missed, as Allaah the Exalted Said (what means): {0 you

who have believed, let not your wealth and your children
divert you from remembrance of Allaah. And whoever does
that - then those are the losers. And spend [in the way of
Allaah] from what We have provided you before death
approaches one of you and he says, "fAy Lord, if only You
would delay me for a brief term so I would give charity and
be among the righteous.”} [Qur’aan 63:9-10] But, the answer
to this wish will be: {But never will Allaah delay a soul when
its time has come. And Allaah is Acguainted with what you
do.} [Qur’aan 63:11]

Second: In the Hereafter:

Meaning, the Day of Resurrection, when standing before Allaah
the Exalted, as Abu Barzah Al-Aslami, may Allaah be pleased
with him, reported, that Allaah’s Messenger, sallallaahu alayhi
wa sallam, said: The -feet of a slave will not move until they

are asked about their life and how they spent it, their
knowledge and how they used it, their wealth, how they
earned and spent it, and their body and how they used it." (Reported by At-Tirmithi (2417) and he said: “It is of an acceptably authentic grade.”)

Likewise, when every soul is given the recompense for what it
has done, when the people of Hellfire enter into Hellfire, and
those of Paradise into Paradise, the people of Hellfire would
wish to go back to the worldly life all over again, in order to do
righteous actions, as Allaah the Exalted Said (what means):
{And they will cry out therein, " Our Lord, remove us; we will
do righteousness - other than what we were doing!" Hut did
We not grant you life enough for whoever would remember
therein to remember, and the Warner had come to you ? So
taste [the punishment], for there is not for the wrongdoers
any helper.} [Qur’aan 35:37]

The concept of importance of time has been applied since the
dawn of Islaam:

Al-Hasan Al-Basri, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: ‘‘I met
people who were keener on [saving] their time than you are on
your wealth.” 'Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood, may Allaah be pleased
with him, said: “I never regretted anything as much as I did
over a day wherein the sun sets, my time in the world is closer
to ending, while my actions did not increase.”

Abd Ar-Rahmaan, the son of Imaam Abu Haatim Ar-
Raazi, may Alla ah have mercy on him, said about his
father: “He would eat while I would read to him, he
would walk while I would read to him, he would go
for a bath while I read to him, and would go inside
the house to procure something, all while I was
reading to him. ’(Tahtheeb Al-Kamaal (24/388).)

The fruit of this effort and keenness on saving time was the
book known as Al-Jarhwa At-Ta'deel in nine volumes, as well as
his book of exegesis in ten volumes, as well as other books.
Reflect, 0 Muslim, on what this wise person said: “Whoever
spends a day of their life in something other than a right that
they fulfil, an obligation that they perform, honor that they
earn, praise that they incur, goodness that they set, or
knowledge that they learn, then they have been undutiful to
their day and unjust to their own souls.” (Adab Ad-Dunyawa Ad-Deen (1/57))

Abu Al-Wafa’ ibn Aqeel Al-Hanbali, may Allaah have mercy on
him, said: “It is impermissible for me to waste an hour from
my life. If my tongue is resting from revising or debating, and
my eyes are from reading, my mind is working while I relax and
am lying down. When I awaken, whatever I want to write
comes to my mind. I find that my keenness on knowledge at
the age of eighty more intense than when I was twenty. I cut
down, as much as possible, my eating times, until I choose to
swallow bread with water over eating bread alone, because
there is time difference in how much I need to chew.”

He wrote a book of 600 volumes called Kitaab Al-Funoon,
apart from his other books. However, he would still say: “It is
impermissible for me to waste an hour from my life.” (Lisaan Al-Meezaan (4/243).)
Jamaal Ad-Deen Al-Qaasimi, may Allaah have mercy on him,
used to pass by people sitting in cafes and would say: “I wish
that time could be sold, so that I can purchase it.” He is
someone who wrote more than 50 books. His life was full of
knowledge, calling to Allaah, and struggle. Despite that, he
wished that he could buy more time to use.

This does not mean that one should not relax and enjoy leisure
with some lawful means of recreation that help make a person
energetic, because being serious all the time is something hard
for the soul, and it results in weariness and distress. The soul
is innately disposed on varying between things, moving from
one action to another, and from one statement to another.
This movement and transferring is, perhaps, what the
Messenger, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, meant when he said to
Hanthalah, may Allaah be pleased with him, when he said:
"Spend an hour in one thing, and another hour in another."

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