what is the ruling on watching cartoons and animated movies and playing games ?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
The permissibility of digital photography and videos is a highly contested issue amongst contemporary ‘Ulamā. Whilst many ‘Ulamā permit this, many others consider it to be the same as typical photography, hence deeming it impermissible.
However, there are many other aspects to be considered in cartoons and games that are often overlooked. Cartoons have proved to be extremely detrimental to a child’s health by many researchers and psychologists. Some of the points deduced from these researches are as follows:
- Children may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others.
- Children who watch violence neither fear violence nor are they bothered by violence in general.
- Children are more likely to become aggressive or resort to harmful actions towards others.
- High levels of violence in cartoons can make children more aggressive.
- Animated shows aimed at youngsters often have more brutality than programmes broadcast for general audiences.
- Children have grown much more interested in cartoons in recent years and it has become the main pastime for them; whereas previously children spent their time in outdoor activities playing with their peers and enjoying different games.
- Children who consistently spend more than 4 hours a day watching TV are more likely to be overweight and are prone to violence.
- Kids who see violent acts are more likely to show aggressive behavior and also may fear that the world is scary and that something bad will happen to them.
- These children are impatient and disobedient.
- Increases their appetite for more violence in entertainment and in real life. Cartoon violence is damaging to the children because they cannot tell the difference between real life and fiction.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) both believe that TV does influence the behavior of children as young as one year old.
“Children who view shows in which violence is very realistic, frequently repeated or unpunished are more likely to imitate what they see,” AACAP says.
This speaks to the impressionable minds of children, who are still learning control of their minds and bodies, and are likely to mimic what they see. AACAP also stresses the need for parents to keep a close eye on what their children watch. “Parents must be there,” AACAP said.
- Children who watch too much cartoons on television are more likely to have mental and emotional problems, along with brain and eye injuries and unexpectedly the risk of a physical problem increases.
- From the time children start school to the time that they graduate they are averaged to spend around 18,000 hours watching television.
- · A tremendous amount of childhood involvement with electronic media can limit social interaction and may obstruct the development of a brain’s social systems.
- In December 1997, an episode of the Japanese cartoon “Pocket Monster” (later renamed “Pokémon” for international distribution) drew worldwide attention after multiple cases of children suffering seizures after watching the episode were reported (Warner, 2004).
- “Either high-speed flashes of light or rapid color changes are thought able to induce seizures in vulnerable individuals.” They found this to be the reason for so many seizures in Japan. “Rapid changing stimuli can play havoc with the special cells in the retina called rods and cones that help the eye transmit visual information to the brain.”
- Cartoons are displaying false sense of reality upon children. At a young age, this false sense of reality can really affect them. The risk of injury rose by about 34% in the children studied.
- Cartoon makers are intentionally brainwashing their children by secretly placing messages never to be deciphered by the conscious mind, but instead propagating the subconscious, into behaving a certain way. This practice is known as subliminal messaging.
It is clear and evident from the points mentioned above that the dilemma does not lie simply in the content of the cartoon but in the harms concomitant to it as well. It is a basic principle in Islam to keep our distance from anything that may reciprocate harm. Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam mentioned:
لَا ضَرَرَ وَلَا ضِرَارَ
“There should be neither harming nor reciprocating harm.”
These were only the harms confirmed and verified by the scientists. There are many other factors that cartoons contain which Shari’ah deems to by impermissible. Consider the following:
- Subliminal messages making the intermingling with the opposite gender seem normal
- Justification to the exposure of the satr
- Instilling immorality within one’s self
- Inculcating the traits and qualities of the Kuffār
- Wasting time. Time is very precious according to Islam.
- Promotion of the many evils viewed in the cartoon
- Offensive language
- alcohol and drugs
- Disrespect to the parents, teachers and elders.
It is clear from the above; the harms of watching cartoons are too obvious.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Student Darul Iftaa
Chicago, IL, USA
Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.
 حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ يَحْيَى قَالَ: حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الرَّزَّاقِ قَالَ: أَنْبَأَنَا مَعْمَرٌ، عَنْ جَابِرٍ الْجُعْفِيِّ، عَنْ عِكْرِمَةَ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «لَا ضَرَرَ وَلَا ضِرَارَ»
[سنن ابن ماجه، ج٢، ص٧٨٤، دار احياء الكتب العربية]
 فى المعراج: الملاهي نوعان: محرم وهو الآلات المطربة من غير غناء كالمزمار سواء كان من عود أو قصب كالشبابة أو غيره كالعود والطنبور…والنوع الثاني مباح وهو الدف فى النكاح وفي معناه ما كان من حادث وسرور ويكره في غيره…وهو مكروه للرجال على كل حال…ونقل البزازي فى المناقب الإجماع على حرمة الغناء إذا كان على آلة كالعود وأما إذا كان بغيرها فقد علمت الاختلاف
[البحر الرائق، ج٧ ،ص٨٨، سعيد]
فَاللَّعِبُ وَهُوَ اللَّهْوُ حَرَامٌ بِالنَّصِّ قَالَ – عَلَيْهِ الصَّلَاةُ وَالسَّلَامُ – «لَهْوُ الْمُؤْمِنِ بَاطِلٌ إلَّا فِي ثَلَاثٍ: تَأْدِيبُهُ فَرَسَهُ» وَفِي رِوَايَةٍ «مُلَاعَبَتُهُ بِفَرَسِهِ وَرَمْيُهُ عَنْ قَوْسِهِ وَمُلَاعَبَتُهُ مَعَ أَهْلِهِ» كِفَايَةٌ وَكَذَا قَوْلُ الْإِمَامِ اُبْتُلِيت دَلِيلٌ عَلَى أَنَّهُ حَرَامٌ
[رد المحتار، ج٦، ص٣٤٨، سعيد]
إن اللهو علي أنواع: لهو مجرد، ولهو فيه نفع وفائدة ولكن ورد الشرع بالنهي عنه ، ولهو فيه فائدة ولم يرد في الشرع نهي صريح عنه ، ولكنه ثبت بالتجربة أنه يكون ضرره أعظم من نفعه ملتحق بالمنهي عنه ، ولهو فيه فائدة ولم يرد الشرع بتحريمه ولم يغلب علي نفعه ضرره ولكن يشتغل فيه بقصد التلهي ، ولهو فيه فائدة مقصودة ولم يرد الشرع بتحريمه وليس فيه مفسدة دينية واشتغل به علي غرض صحيح لتحصيل الفائدة المطلوبة لا بقصد التلهي . فهذه خمسة أنواع لا جائز فيها إلا الأخير الخامس
[احكام القرآن، ج٣، ص٢٠١، ادارة القرآن]