Pokemon Go’s omnipresence has alerted even the least interested of the existence of the popular mobile app. The game is so popular, in fact, that the game’s servers have been suffering outages in many territories since its release on July 6. These server issues continue to happen as more and more countries gain access to it, but that hasn’t stopped many people from going outside to find Pokemon. Not everyone is too happy about the game’s popularity, though.
One of these people is an important religious figure in Egypt who has claimed that Pokemon Go is a “harmful mania” that distracts Muslims from their work and prayer. This deputy head of Al-Azhar, the top Islamic institution in Egypt, has reinstated a decade-old Fatwa (
a religious statement ascribed to things that are against the teachings of Islam [See Update For Clarification]) against the popular IP from Japan, saying that the game makes people look like “drunkards in the streets and on the roads while their eyes are glued to the mobile screens leading them to the location of the imaginary Pokemon in the hope of catching it”.
This isn’t the first time a fatwa has been issued against the pocket monsters. A cleric in Qatar issued a fatwa against Pokemon games in 2001, claiming that symbols in the games that are used to identify Pokemon types could be used as anti-Islamic propaganda. They also cited that the concept of evolution, which isn’t an accepted concept in Islam, made the games un-Islamic.
Despite all this, Pokemon Go has become a success in predominantly Islamic territories, with stores in places like Dubai and Cairo also using the popularity of the game to draw players to their establishments.
Editor: We’d like to thank our Islamic readers for reaching out to us and we would like to correct the definition used of Fatwa here. We originally wrote that Fatwa’s are a religious statement ascribed to things that are against the teachings of Islam. While that is what a Fatwa is being used in this article for, a Fatwa is overall a legal or learned interpretation and can also be used to state something is allowed.
Apologies for this error.
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