Shaykh Jamir Meah is asked is a Muslim is allowed to take part in the viral internet phenomenon, the Charlie Charlie challenge.
Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.
I have a question regarding a challenge. A few years ago the Charlie-Charlie challenge went viral. What is the ruling on doing this challenge? Does someone that does this challenge become a disbeliever?
Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.
I pray you’re well insha Allah.
Participating in games such as the Charlie Charlie challenge are prohibited due to them coming under the general rubric of games of divination and luck, which are forbidden. Allah Most High tells us, “O you who believe! Wine, gambling, altars, and divining arrows are all evil of Satan’s handiwork. Therefore, refrain from it, so that you may be successful.” (Sura al Mai’da 5:90)
Despite being strictly prohibited, participating in such games would not normally entail disbelief.
The Charlie Charlie Challenge
The Charlie-Charlie Challenge is generally seen as a rudimentary version of the Ouija board. Its origin is a Spanish game called Juego de la Lapicera. It came to attention to the English speaking world online in 2008 and went viral in 2015.
The game involves placing two pencils on a piece of blank paper in the shape of a cross with the words “yes” and “no” written on either side of the pencils. Players say the phrase “Charlie, Charlie can we play?” in order to connect with the “demon.” Players then ask questions of the “demon” and the pencils move to indicate his answer. Other versions have it that the two players each hold two pencils in the shape of a square, pressing the ends of their pencils against the other player’s.
Supernatural or Rational?
Groups have differed as to the explanation of how such games work. Are they really delving into the supernatural and dabbling with the paranormal, or is there a rational explanation for the movement of the pencils?
Those who argue that it is interacting with the paranormal, state that it is opening the players (mainly vulnerable teenage or younger players) to an unseen world of evil spirits, so strongly argue against such games. Those who explain the games rationally, state that the movement of the pencils occur through psychological suggestion or through concepts such as the ideomotor phenomenon, wherein a subject makes motions unconsciously. Due to a supposed inherent ability to find meaning in anything, the person perceives significance in otherwise ambiguous or vague “answers.”
Ruling and Wisdom
We have already mentioned that such games are impermissible in Islam, and parents should closely monitor what games, videos, websites, and discussions their children play or enter into, especially online.
Whether or not the games really do dabble with the unseen or not is irrelevant to the ruling. However, even if they do not, and it is a purely rational phenomenon, the potential psychological detriment and negative imprint such games may have on vulnerable and sensitive minds should not be ignored.
Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.