Fact Check: Photo of ‘Pakistani’ Cleric Declaring PUBG Haram is Fake

It doesn’t hurt to double check.

pubg-is-haram-says-islamic-scholar

Most of us have recently come across this viral news on social media that an Islamic scholar Dr. Ahmed Karimah gave a fatwa that playing the viral mobile video game, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) is ‘haram.’

Here is the viral photo in question:

The photo was endlessly shared over social media in no time, with some news outlets also picking it up as a recent development.

Its an Old News

What many media outlets didn’t do was to take out time to confirm that this was old news, from last year in fact. The news was first reported by British media outlet The Daily Mail back in October, 2018.

Besides The Daily Mail, some other media outlets carried the news too.

Another thing that some Pakistani outlets did was to mention that this fatwa was passed by a Islamic scholar in Pakistan. As it turns out, this part of the news was blatantly false.

Fact Check

The fatwa was passed last year by Dr. Ahmed Karimah, an Islamic Sharia professor in Al-Azhar University, Iraq.

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Back in 2018, the scholar deemed the game sinful because it’s popular.

“As long as something leads to something haram, then it’s haram.”

He said that because the game is addictive, it is haram. Following his statement, Irfan Rasheed, a Head of the Fatwa Committee in Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah, banned the game. The game was also accused of being a recruitment tool for the terrorist organization Islamic State (Daesh).

About PUBG

PUBG is a competitive online multiplayer game. It popularized the Battle Royale gameplay genre, leading to hit games like Fortnite and Apex Legends. Millions of players log on to these games every day.

The players are parachuted onto an island where they must fight for survival. Players scavenge weapons and then fight till death. Weapons range from makeshift items like frying pans to assault weapons like AK-47s.

Banned in Iraq and Syria

Following the popularity of the game in the Kurdistan region, particularly the city of Sulaymaniyah in northern Iraq, Irfan Rasheed banned the game.

It is believed that Dr. Karimah’s statement influenced the decision.

Back in 2017, there was an incident that involved a 16-year-old who murdered his teacher over PUBG. This too also contributed to its ban.

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Besides that, there were conspiracies that PUBG was organized by Daesh (ISIS) to poison the minds of young people. Violent tendencies would make it easier to recruit these youngsters.

Competitive Games is a Competitive Sport

While Battlegrounds may have been big back in 2018, this new year is all about Fortnite.

Besides that, another game Last Day on Earth follows a similar theme to PUBG. It is still in the beta testing phase.

Currently, Respawn’s free-to-play game Apex Legends is the new kid on the Battle Royale block. The game has proven to be a massive success, with over 25 million players in 3 days and counting.


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Written by Ummara Sheraz

Entertainment & culture writer at ProPakistani/Lens. Occasionally dabbles in other news.

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