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I'm doing computer science and I've contemplated taking modules in game development and computer graphics.

Initially, I was worried about its permissibility since it is apparently related to the picture-making(tasweer) issue. However, the issue is nicely clarified here in another question.
Is game development/programming prohibited in Islam?

But I'm still having second thoughts regarding the fatwa cited. It seems really weird that all forms of drawing of creatures are not allowed on paper. But whip out an wacom tablet or ipad, and suddenly everything becomes permissible on the "temporary" digital screen.

As far as I know, there are 2 main reasons for the prohibition against drawing creatures,
1) Danger of taking such drawings as objects of worship.
2) Competing against Allah with regards to the act of creation,

Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Allah says: ‘Who does a greater wrong than one who aspires to creates as I create – a grain of corn, a seed, or a barleycorn?” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (7559)]

With regards to the first point, the argument for the permissibility of digital images goes as follows. Since the digital images are "temporary", the danger in taking such images for worship is negligible. This seems reasonable.

With regards to the second point, this danger still stands even in the digital age right? It's worse with hyper-realistic computer graphics that can create totally new worlds altogether. eg. Avatar movie. The creatures within these worlds are heavily modified, blue skinned people, extremely perfect complexion, strange creatures etc. This brings to mind the prohibitions regarding changing Allah's creations,

Additionally, there are also other harmful effects of games and computer graphics animation; namely, addiction and escaping from reality(akin to drugs).

I understand that this is a new issue. And hence, the ruling for it is derived from existing rulings, as in the fatwa in the previous question. But, shouldn't the ruling be a bit stricter based on qiyas/analogy? Considering that its bad effects are similar to,
1) Drugs/alcohol (escaping from reality)
2) Changing creation of Allah in the material world (bigger issue)

  • FYI, a lesson from Surah Baqarah -- "what colour cow?" is to not ask too many questions. It really does make things harder. Detailed fatawa are usually as far as it needs to go. – ashes999 Nov 12 '12 at 2:20
  • Excellent question, 3D printing even made such models more REAL. – Tarek Eldeeb Mar 21 '13 at 11:59
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An excellent question, as it hasn't been addressed that well.

I'd agree partially with the given fatwa. A game or graphic is not an object. It shouldn't be considered creation because it cannot affect the real world physically. It's not even possible to compete against Allah in the act of creation!

O people, an example is presented, so listen to it. Indeed, those you invoke besides Allah will never create [as much as] a fly, even if they gathered together for that purpose. And if the fly should steal away from them a [tiny] thing, they could not recover it from him. Weak are the pursuer and pursued. (Quran 22:73)

I'd also agree on the point that an animation does not stay in that form forever. A picture/painting can be framed on a wall. An animation can not. It is thus much more difficult to idolize an animation.

Hyper realistic graphics are simply not good enough. At a certain point, it will reach an uncanny valley, where people find it unrealistic and creepy because things like physics and lighting aren't perfect.

A bigger issue might be simulations rather than games. As it is, games are only an abstraction of reality. You'll never find someone who confuses games with reality, even something as grand as Avatar!

Anything can lead to idol worship and addiction, even children and inanimate objects. It is not the fault of the person who creates it, unless they purposely develop addiction into it. For example, someone who creates a gun is not held accountable to what people do with the gun, unless they created it with the purpose of unlawfully harming someone.

  • Very helpful. But I think there is difference in animation creation with filming and such. It is essentially drawing, but in digital form. – user2350 Jun 5 '13 at 15:12
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For this question you might first want to ask yourself, when you call 911. What are you calling at that time? You see in the Chakra system the 9th are the pillars under God, 10th is God and 11th is to Skip the God and ask for some other help. You call 911 and feel happy that someone came to help in. But you never realise that what the New World Order is giving you is something that's; something that's stupid.

So if you are a game developer you might on the first hand try to get rid of all these things that look like you're worshiping, Islam does not allow any thing that's god-ish.
Secondly, if your boss forces to create such objects, you can create them in a ways that they are less likely to look like a worshipable object.

Third, you cannot stop others from thinking or believing that its worshiping.
If you create a game which holds some events where someone is worshiping kings or idols, then its wrong.

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