Pokemon Go has finally arrived on our shores and the streets have been filled with players walking with their eyes on their screens.
The social media too has gone crazy with FB posts and tweets boasting they have caught this and that Pokemon characters.
However, the ones who seemed to jump up highest when Pokemon Go arrived in Malaysia were the muftis, especially Mufti of Federal Territory, who said that Pokemon Go is banned for Muslims.
Did someone mention to them that this is not Pork-emon but Pokemon – as we try to figure out what is it with this game that seems to have caught the fancy of the muftis.
The Malay Mail Online reported last Friday that the Islamic Legal Consultative Committee in the Federal Territories, which is chaired by the Mufti, said the decision was made on August 1 based on scripture and for the benefit of Muslims, besides taking into account the purported ill effects of the phenomenally popular augmented reality smartphone game.
“Therefore, it’s hoped that Muslims, especially those in the Federal Territories, are not involved in the gaming app,” said the Islamic Legal Consultative Committee.
The report further stated that the Federal Territories Mufti Datuk Dr Zulkifli Mohamad al-Bakri said that fatwas, or edicts, issued in other countries, such as the 2001 one by influential Egypt-born cleric Dr Yusuf al-Qaradawi against Pokemon, had basis and that ‘Pokemon Go’ and Pokemon must be avoided if the games were harmful.
“Besides that, it also affirms powers and the powers of certain gods, plus it can lead to gambling. Therefore, we believe that the arguments about how playing Pokemon is ‘haram’ have strong grounds,” Zulkifli said, reported The Malay Mail Online.
Obviously the Pokemon Go have poked this one Mufti of FT hard but other Muftis are refusing to be poked.
The Mufti of Penang said he is not banning Pokemon Go yet, although he does think it has more harm than good, while the Mufti of Perak had asked Putrajaya to ban Pokemon, but he himself has yet to give a fatwa.
Muslims on the other hand, who usually take fatwas seriously in Malaysia, seems to be taking this fatwa lightly, just as those on smoking. (Some Muftis have declared smoking as haram for its harm on health but Muslims worldwide form a big percentage of the multi-billion dollar market of the tobacco industry.)
Many on the social media said that Pokemon is going to be like the smoking ban on cigarettes, and Muslims will continue to play.
One twitter of izz @xzzlzzm lamented that Pokemon Go had asked him to the mosque, but the mufti has banned him from doing so.
“Pokemon pon ajak pergi masjid. Mufti plak nak ban kasi aku x pergi masjid. Apesal!! (Pokemon is inviting me to the mosque, but the mufti does not allow me at the mosque. Why?),” tweeted izz.
One batman @zulfadhliazmi tweeted his own ‘fatwa’ that “Pokemon is only haram if you steal someone else’s handphone and play on it”.