Islam prohibits any kind of entertainment that includes fornication, adultery, or any other form of sexual promiscuity or anything that leads to it. It also prohibits entertainment that involves gambling and any form of Intoxicant.
Adultery, fornication and whatever leads to it
Perhaps the most natural and common means of enjoyment for humans is that of sexual intercourse. Islam caters to this need but has set logical limits of modesty and chastity, and limited it to being between spouses. Islam condemns zina in the strongest terms. Zina is the act of sexual intercourse outside marriage and involves varying levels of sin. It includes fornication, adultery and homosexuality. Islam has forbidden it in all its forms, as well as anything that leads to it. Allah has warned us in the Qur’an:
“And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way.” (Qur ‘an 17: 32)
This verse prohibits entering all those doors that lead to zina. This includes lustful gazing at the opposite sex, unnecessary intermingling and being alone with a member of the opposite sex with whom zina is possible.
However, we find that the Western world has flung open its doors to sexual promiscuity. As a result, sexual entertainment has become the most famous form of entertainment, with the catch phrase: “Sex sells!’ Yet not too long ago, even in the West, modesty was upheld, and things that are regarded as entertainment today would have been frowned upon.
Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips has explained this drastic change in the following passage:
During the fifties and sixties, a sexual revolution began in the West culminating in the removal of fornication and adultery from the law books as punishable crimes. When modern Western legislators analyzed fornication and marriage, they concluded that the only difference between the two was a piece of paper; the marriage certificate, 1t was only religious influence (The Ten Commandments) that had made fornication illegal. During that period lawmakers deduced a new principle to determine the legality of sexual relations between people.
Since rape was unanimously considered unacceptable, they concluded that the principle of “consent” must be present for such relations to be legally acceptable. They also all agreed that sexual relations between adults and children were wrong (pedophilia) since children could easily be taken advantage of by adults due to their immaturity.
Consequently, they added the second principle of “adulthood” for legal sexual relations. The phrase “consenting adults” became the battle cry of the sexual revolution resulting in an upsurge or wife swapping parties, group sex, sadomasochism, topless bars, etc., among many elements of the society.”
All of the aforementioned forms of entertainment are strictly prohibited in Islam and should be regarded as filth. There are many reasons why Islam has prohibited these sins; they lead to loose morals which threaten the very fabric of family life.
Disloyalty between spouses, incest, shame, confusion in lineage and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are only some of the many reasons such acts are evil and prohibited. Sexual promiscuity also goes against the goal of the Sharia to protect the progeny of humanity. This is because it leads to abortions and illegitimate children, among other evils.
Anyone who wishes to enjoy a sexual experience is most welcome to do so with a spouse, behind closed doors; nobody else needs to know what they do together. Islam has recommended the most balanced, modest and natural allowance.
This category also includes watching fashion shows or ogling at models on the catwalk. Any form of entertainment that involves looking lustfully at the opposite sex is strictly prohibited. May Allah save us from this test of our times and that which leads to it.
Gambling and all its forms have been prohibited in the Qur’an and declared as filth from the devil. Allah has said:
“0 you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone altars [to other than Allah], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful. (Qur ‘an 5: 90)
Gambling is the wagering of money, or something else of material value, on an event with an uncertain outcome. The intent is to win more than you have put in. Gambling is prohibited because it involves taking a risk in which, most of the time, you lose your money; you seldom win.
It is an oppressive method of taking other people’s money; it is strictly prohibited just as Islam prohibits all forms of oppression. Gambling also goes against the principle of preserving the economy.
Modem forms of gambling that are common include insurance, playing the lottery and competitions in which the participants pay a fee, such as SMS competitions where people pay more than the general SMS rate. Apart from insurance, other forms of gambling are generally done for fun, and lots of people waste their time and money in casinos.
It should be noted that, as with other major sins, anything that leads to gambling is also forbidden. Thus, one is not allowed to visit a casino even if one is not going to gamble. This is because it is a place of vice, and the environment will influence a person to commit sins.
Similarly, all games that lead to gambling are makrooh according to some scholars, and haram according to others. However, all scholars agree that if played for money, the game becomes Haram. This includes backgammon and card games. Games played with dice also fall into this category, since they are based on chance and not on skill.
The Prophet (pbuh) said: “He who plays with dice (backgammon 1 has disobeyed Allah and His Apostle.” (Abu Dawood, Bayhaqi, Hakim, Ibn Majah and Malik)
Ibn Qudamah said in the chapter on games in Al-Mughni:
Every game which involves gambling is haram, no matter what game it is. It is the gambling which Allah has commanded us to avoid, and the one who does that on a regular basis, his testimony is to be rejected. That which is free of gambling is the game in which there is no payment by both sides or either side. Some of these games are haram, and some are permissible. That which is hararn is games with dice. This is the view’ of Imam Abu Haneefah and most of the companions of Imam Shafi.”
Abu Is-haq has said: “Some of our scholars maintain that it’s just detested and not unlawful.”
Also, in the book At-Targheeb Wal- Tarheeb.” al-Mundhiri has quoted the majority of scholars as ruling that this game is unlawful.
Anything which intoxicates a person and alters the senses is prohibited. It is not permitted to take even a single sip, drop or puffs of such a substance, for the narrations prohibiting it are clear. The Qur’anic verse 5: 90, which was quoted above, puts taking intoxicants in the same league as idol worship and fortune telling.
The Prophet (pbuh) has defined intoxicants as follows: “Anything that clouds the senses is an intoxicant, and anything that intoxicates is prohibited.” (Sahih Muslim)
He also said: “Whatever intoxicates in large quantities is prohibited in small quantities.” (A reliable hadith recorded by Abu Dawood and at- Tirmidhi)
This category includes drinking any alcoholic beverage, smoking any intoxicating drug, and anything else that intoxicates a person. Similarly, anything that leads to consuming intoxicants is prohibited. Thus, gatherings where alcohol is served are prohibited, as are restaurants where alcohol is served, even if the meat there is halal.
Regarding the reason for the prohibition of such substances, it is common knowledge that throughout history, intoxication has been a major cause of chaos, violence and even death. When intoxicated, people forget Allah, and there is no limit to the type of sin they can commit in such a state.
Dr. Bilal Philips has explained this reasoning in the following passage:
God, through Divine Law, has prohibited intoxicants and gambling primarily because they cause human beings to forget God. The human mind and body easily become addicted to drugs and games of chance. Once addicted, humankind’s desire to continually be stimulated by them, leads them into all forms of corruption and violence among themselves.
[Article Source: Extracted from “Having fun the Halal way” by Abu Muawiyah Ismail Kamdar. Click here to buy the book]
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