After the latest version of the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) video game sparked a huge controversy among Muslim players the developers have now rolled back the update. The Muslim players had accused the game developers of promoting ‘idol worshipping’.
Reportedly, the controversy erupted after PUBG released a new feature titled ‘Mysterious Jungle’, which triggered a backlash in Islamic societies for allegedly pushing forms ‘idol worshipping’.
The online game PUBG Mobile had released a latest ‘Mysterious Jungle’ mode and it is reported to be exclusive to the ‘Sanhok’ map. The reason for the outrage was due to a feature present in the new update where players can pray in front of a totem in order to restore their health.
It is pertinent to note that any form of ‘idol worshipping’ is prohibited in Islam. The idolatry has been considered as the “worship of false gods” and is forbidden in Islam.
Following this update, many Muslim players took it as an insult to their religion as idol worship is prohibited in Islam. The took to Twitter to slam the creators of PUBG for promoting idol worshipping and asked fellow Muslims to uninstall PUBG.
Even if it’s in the game that’s shirk. RasoolAllah(Saw) came to shun idol worshipping and guiding humans towards one true god☝️.
— Syeda Raffath ❤️ (@Smiling__Girlll) June 4, 2020
— Shaan Tweet (@Shaantweet_) June 5, 2020
Another user asked Muslims to uninstall PUBG, if he was a true Muslim.
— Karzan Kurdistani (@KarzanKurdista2) June 6, 2020
Outrage in Muslim-majority nations
A number of preachers from the Middle East had also warned against the recently released PUBG update, in which players appear worshipping idols. The preachers had demanded authorities to act swiftly to save children from these concepts.
According to Gulf News, Dr Bassam Al Shatti, Professor of faith at the College of Sharia, Kuwait University, said video games feature many pros and cons, but PUBG has violated Islamic beliefs regarding prostration and bowing to idols, and this is the greatest sin in Islam because prostrating and bowing is worship and glorification solely and exclusively to Almighty Allah.
Another Islamic preacher, Dr Rashid Al Alimi, Professor at the College of Basic Education, added that these games are dangerous for Muslims since they can create generations who do not know Tawhid or the defining doctrine of Islam, which declares absolute monotheism – the unity and uniqueness of Almighty Allah as the creator and sustainer of the universe.
“The special draw of gaming that makes it the preferred pastime of so many millions of kids and adults is not just entertainment, it is dangerous because it teaches them polytheism, so they prefer it and become addicted to it,” said Al Shatti.
Similarly, in Saudi Arabia, Dr Aref Bin Mazyad Al Suhaimi, Professor of Faith in the College of Da’wah and Fundamentals of Religion at the Islamic University said, “Islam promotes tolerance, balance, equality, consensus, reformism, and all things that take the middle path to materialise the best interest of people. So Sharia permits games that have a preponderant interest, such as shooting, racing, swimming, horse riding, etc.,” he said.
PUBG removes the new mode after backlash from Muslims
Following the outrage by Muslims, South Korean firm Bluehole Inc, which developed the PUBG, has removed the ‘Mysterious Jungle’ mode from the game.
PUBG Mobile has released a statement regarding the controversy, stating that, “This new Jungle Adventure Mode was causing dissatisfaction among various players due to some of the dynamics of the mode. PUBG Mobile also said that they respect the traditions, cultures, and practices of their players and continue to value them. They are trying their best to provide a safe and better playing environment and experience to all players across the globe.”
The insistence of Muslims bullying and threatening creative developers to follow the principles of Islam to develop products that are in line with Islam is a disturbing trend. The attempt to ‘Halal-ise’ every product may now pressurise creative technicians such as game developers, movie makers to seek Halal certification for every product they develop.