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Youth Program In A Masjid

Question:

Recently a masjid has organised a youth program with the aim of bringing back the youth to the Masjid. They set up T.V screens on which fifa was being played. Other games such as UNO cards and table tennis was being played. Some are bringing the hadith where Hazrat Aaishah رضي الله عنها was looking at men playing الدرق and الحراب in the masjid as proof to justify this. 

I’ve learnt that Masaajid are the شعائر of Islaam and they deserve utmost respect. They are designed for the remembrance of Allah. As for as I know games such as fifa and Uno are considered as لهو and a waste of time. Moreover there are animated beings in such video games thereby preventing the visit of angels of Rahmah. Youth should be brought back to Masaajid in order to connect to the Deen. What is the Shar’ī ruling in allowing such games to be played in Masaajid and make such programs? 

Answer:

The focus and desire of working with the youth is indeed commendable. It is a given fact that if you want to see a brighter future, then the youth will have to be won over and they will have to be correctly nurtured as they will be the leaders of tomorrow. This is an extremely important task, yet a very daunting and challenging task especially in today’s time considering all the different types of temptations by which the youth are surrounded. Different people tried to win the youth over by implementing different strategies. With great sadness and remorse it has to be said that most of the strategies were failures and fell short from achieving the anticipated outcome.The Question then arises; where are we going wrong?If the aim was to take the recalcitrant youth who have an insubordinate attitude out of the toxic, dark, sinful and poisonous environment that they find themselves drowning in, and bring them into a pure Deeni environment, then one should know, that by calling them towards a program in which the laws of Deen are blatantly violated, hoping in this way for a change to come about in them (i.e. that they will leave as youth who will uphold the laws of Deen), this will be like adding fuel to a fire hoping to extinguish the fire.  Fire cannot be extinguished with fire and darkness cannot be dispersed with darkness, rather, fire is extinguished with water and darkness is dismissed by light. In a similar manner by taking out the youth from the polluted and toxic environment that they find themselves chocking in and pulling them towards a clean area in which similar toxics will be served to them, is like serving drunk people liquor in a Zam-Zam bottle hoping that they will regain their senses and become sober. Not only will this system be a failure but together with that a person will be disrespecting the salient symbols of Islaam.The Masaajid are the places in which the Remembrance of Allah takes place; in the form of Salaah, Dhikr, Quraan etc. The way of expressing gratitude to Allah for this Bounty of His upon us is by respecting and upholding the sanctity of the Masjid. This could be achieved by utilizing every minute and moment while one is in the Masjid in the Obedience and in the Remembrance of Allah . Doing contrary to this would result in one not expressing gratitude to Allah for this Favour of His upon us. It is the System of Allah that when He bestows any Bounty upon His servants and they express gratitude to Him, then He will increase them in that Bounty. By the servants utilizing their time correctly while they are in the Masjid, they will receive an increment in this Bounty of Allah upon them. The result of which is that they will find themselves spending more time in the Masjid. On the contrary, when people do not express gratitude to Allah for His Bounties upon them, then Allah takes away that Bounty from them. It is then that a person will find many hindrances in his life which will prevent him from being a frequent occupant of the Masjid.In Islaam, to such an extent emphasis is placed on respecting and upholding the sanctity of the Masjid, that we find certain things which are permissible to do or say under general circumstances, yet they are disliked and strongly discouraged when done in the Masjid e.g. making an announcement of a lost item in the Masjid, talking of worldly affairs, eating for the one who is not in Itikaaf etc. In fact, we find the Messenger saying that, ‘ whoever hears a man making an announcement of his lost item in the Masjid, then he should say, ‘May Allah not return it to you’ because the Masjid was not built for this’.When Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) advised a Bedouin who urinated in the Masjid, he said the following:“These Masjids are not meant for urine and filth, rather they are for remembering Allah, performing Salah and reciting Quran. (Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 285)Sayyiduna Saib ibn Yazid (Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu) says, “I was standing in the Masjid when a man threw some pebbles at me. I looked and it was Sayyiduna ‘Umar ibn Khattab (Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu). He said to me, ‘Go and bring those two men to me.’ I brought them and he said, ‘Who are you two?’ or ‘Where are you from?’ They said, ‘From Taif.’ He said, ‘If you were from the people of this city, I would have punished you; as you were raising your voices in the Masjid of Rasulullah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam)?”(Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 470)In a lengthy narration recorded by Imam Tirmidhi (albeit with a weak chain), Rasulullah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam) mentioned fifteen transgressions that will cause Allah’s punishment to befall this Ummah, the seventh one being ‘When voices are raised in the Masjid.’(Sunan Tirmidhi, Hadith: 2210 and 2211)By playing games in the Masjid what kind of commotion would it not cause?If commotion/noise caused under general circumstances in the Masjid is condemned, then one can only imagine what the severe ruling will be regarding causing commotion and noise while playing video games etc. which are in themselves impermissible as they contain the following harms.

1.     Animate objects.

2.     Musical accompaniment in the background.

3.     Looking at pictures of the opposite gender.

4.     People’s Satr being exposed.

5.     Waste of time.

It should not be that a person due to the manner in which he attempts to draw the youth towards the Masjid ends up depriving himself from this Bounty of being one of the inhabitants of the Masjid; that instead of respecting and teaching others how to respect the sanctity of the Masjid, he attempts to draw the youth to the Masjid by turning the Masjid into an entertainment center which facilitates not only for unbeneficial activities but also impermissible activities such as video games etc. Such a person is inevitably destroying the sanctity of the Masjid, chasing the Angels away from the Masjid and is drawing the Wrath of Allah . It can never be possible for such a person to find a truly positive and beneficial outcome by initiating these practices which totally contravene the teachings of Islaam.The truth of the matter is that, we do not realize how far off we are drifting. Originally the same excuse was presented that by conducting Islamic youth programs under cover of permissible outdoor activities (such as archery, horseriding, etc.), the youth will be drawn towards the Masjid. Initially these youth programs would comprise of mainly Deeni programs and secondary would be some outside activities and this would be used as a drawcard to pull the youth towards the Masjid. When these people were warned against this method, they retorted by saying, ‘We know our limits; we will keep it regulated and in check’. Today we see where it has led to: The strategy of attracting the youth towards the Masjid by giving them Deeni advices whilst they are engaged in permissible outdoor activities no longer remained appealing to the youth, so now they had to resort to new drawing cards, such as attracting them to the Masjid with Fifa and other video games! Deen can never be propagated by utilizing impermissible means! The important question which we should be asking ourselves is, who is fooling who? Up to what extent do we compromise? Are we influencing others or are we being influenced? Are we not being pulled into their territory whilst we were the ones who were supposed to call them towards the Deen of Allah ?Unfortunately, it seems like the aim and focus has drifted away from the ideal of focusing the youth’s concentration towards the Aakhirah and building their relationship with Allah towards appeasing their sentiments. The attitude is, we will accommodate your entertainment. You name it and we will accommodate it! The rate at which we are degenerating ought to raise concerning alarms ‘that it is time to wake up! The youth seem to be getting the better of us by making us make more and more unacceptable compromises in Deen’.One other harm and disadvantage of hosting such a program apart from it being impermissible is that, for some of the youth who were innocent, obedient and stayed away from such futile activities; for them, it will be an exposure and an introduction towards a new type of entertainment. The seriousness of the prohibition of these activities will disappear form their eyes. Entertainment from which some Deeni-conscious parents endeavored to keep their children away, will now become acceptable to them. Little did the thought ever cross the minds of these parents that they will lose their children in what was supposed to be called an “Islamic” youth program.If these programs were effective, then why do we find the Muslim youth (after attending these types of programs) becoming more modernized and having a more rebellious type of attitude than ever before?What is the way forward?Firstly, the youth could be won over by, giving them time, by way of hosting Deeni programs wherein incidents of the pious predecessors are presented in an appealing and inspiring way (that how those people fervently spent their valuable youth in Jihad, promulgating the laws of Shari’ah and being concerned about their Deeni progress). And also showing our sympathy to them by being there for them at their times of need and difficulties.We find that during the time of the Messenger , people were far away from Deen. They were immersed in different forms of entertainment, such as being addicted to wine, gambling etc. Despite all that, the Messenger did not host nor conduct in the Masjid or out of the Masjid such programs which comprised of entertainment e.g. gambling etc. Rather, the Messenger gave them time. He made them feel special. He spoke to them collectively and individually. He explained to them the reality of this world and how our focus should be on the Akhirah.

Using the Hadeeth of Hadhrat Aishah Radhiyallahu Anha to justify this modern and innovative practice is totally incorrect.

 In the Hadeeth of Hadhrat Aishah Radhiyallahu Anha, the actions of the Habshi/Abbysinians in the Courtyard of the Masjid were actions that were not totally Lahw (futile). Rather it contained an element of benefit in it. It was enhancing in a strategy which would later on be of benefit to them in Jihaad etc. Therefore it will fall under the same category of archery, horseriding etc. that were meant to prepare the youth for Jihaad. This was not what could be termed as mere entertainment! The Hadeeth commentators mention that it was considered as one of the strategies which would be a means of aid to them against the enemies of Allah , and it falls under the following Qur’anic verse (8/60).

واعدوا لهم ما استطعتم من قوة

Translation; Muster against them all the military strength and cavalry that you can afford.

 In conclusion, it is incorrect to compare the two i.e. the playing of totally futile games such as video games etc. to the practising of what is actually termed as a strategy for Jihaad and hence, beneficial.

Checked and Approved By:

Mufti Muhammed Saeed Motara Saheb D.B.

وَيُكْرَهُ النَّوْمُ وَالْأَكْلُ فِيهِ لِغَيْرِ الْمُعْتَكِفِ، وَإِذَا أَرَادَ أَنْ يَفْعَلَ ذَلِكَ يَنْبَغِي أَنْ يَنْوِيَ الِاعْتِكَافَ فَيَدْخُلَ فِيهِ وَيَذْكُرَ اللَّهَ تَعَالَى بِقَدْرِ مَا نَوَى أَوْ يُصَلِّيَ ثُمَّ يَفْعَلَ مَا شَاءَ، كَذَا فِي السِّرَاجِيَّةِ.وَلَا بَأْسَ لِلْغَرِيبِ وَلِصَاحِبِ الدَّارِ أَنْ يَنَامَ فِي الْمَسْجِدِ فِي الصَّحِيحِ مِنْ الْمَذْهَبِ، وَالْأَحْسَنُ أَنْ يَتَوَرَّعَ فَلَا يَنَامُ، كَذَا فِي خِزَانَةِ الْفَتَاوَى…… وَيُكْرَهُ كُلُّ عَمَلٍ مِنْ عَمَلِ الدُّنْيَا فِي الْمَسْجِدِ ……. وَالثَّالِثُ أَنْ لَا يَشْتَرِيَ وَلَا يَبِيعَ. وَالرَّابِعُ أَنْ لَا يَسُلَّ السَّيْفَ. وَالْخَامِسُ أَنْ لَا يَطْلُبَ الضَّالَّةَ فِيهِ. وَالسَّادِسُ أَنْ لَا يَرْفَعَ فِيهِ الصَّوْتَ مِنْ غَيْرِ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى. وَالسَّابِعُ أَنْ لَا يَتَكَلَّمَ فِيهِ مِنْ أَحَادِيثِ الدُّنْيَا ……. الْجُلُوسُ فِي الْمَسْجِدِ لِلْحَدِيثِ لَا يُبَاحُ بِالِاتِّفَاقِ؛ لِأَنَّ الْمَسْجِدَ مَا بُنِيَ لِأُمُورِ الدُّنْيَا، وَفِي خِزَانَةِ الْفِقْهِ مَا يَدُلُّ عَلَى أَنَّ الْكَلَامَ الْمُبَاحَ مِنْ حَدِيثِ الدُّنْيَا فِي الْمَسْجِدِ حَرَامٌ. قَالَ: وَلَا يَتَكَلَّمُ بِكَلَامِ الدُّنْيَ
)الفتاوى الهندية 5/ 321)

  قوله: ” يلعبون بحرابهم في مسجد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم” الخ : فيه جواز ذلك في المسجد، ومن ادعى نسخه فليس معه دليل، وحكى عن مالك أن لعبهم كان خارج المسجد. قال القاري : (( في المسجد : أي في رحبة المسجد المتصلة به، وكانت تنظر إليهم من باب الحجرة، وذلك من داخل المسجد. فقالت : ((في المسجد)) لاتصال الرحبة به، أو دخلوا المسجد لتضايق الموضع بهم، وإنما سومحوا فيه لأن لعبهم بالحراب كان يعد من عدة الحرب مع أعداء الله تعالى، فصار عبادة بالقصد، كالرمى. قال تعالى جل جلاله : ((واعدوا لهم ما استطعتم من قوة))

)فتح الملهم 5(559/

This answer was collected from the official Ifta website of Darul Uloom Azaadville, South Africa. Most of the answers are checked and approved by Mufti Muhammed Saeed Motara Saheb D.B.

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