Saudi Arabia believes that the Pokemon game is un-Islamic in nature and should be banned, and consequently, they have renewed its fifteen-year-old fatwa against Pokemon .The General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Religious Scholars has revived the fatwa which bans Pokemon Card game. However, the fatwa did not mention the new, successful Pokemon Go game.
Pokemon Go is one of the most successful games, today. It has become very popular amongst the older as well as younger generations. In this game, the player walks around in his neighbourhood looking for virtual Pokemon characters that he has to catch on his smartphone screen. It’s based on the principles of augmented reality and it has now become widely popular. Pokemon Go is quite literally becoming the reason why most people these days are paying visitations to temples and masjids. This is why even the most anti-social and introverted people are stepping out of their homes.
However, Saudi Arabia is a very conservative country as it is the home to Islam's two holiest sites. Here, cinemas are banned and women's sports are discouraged, as they are considered equivalent to promoting sin. The Middle Eastern states have often been wary of social media use by their growing youth populations. The authorities in Kuwait and Egypt have already warned that players might be tempted to point their smartphones at restricted locations such as royal palaces, mosques, oil facilities or military bases and this could prove blasphemous and would be culturally wrong.
The General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Religious Scholars has put forward the point that the mutations of the creatures in the game, who are given specific powers, amounted to blasphemy by promoting the theory of natural evolution. The fatwa read "It is shocking that the word 'evolution' has been much on the tongues of children." It also said the game contained other elements prohibited by Islamic law, including "polytheism against God by multiplying the number of deities, and gambling, which God has forbidden in the Quran and likened to wine and idols". The fatwa added that symbols used in the game promoted Japan's Shinto religion, Christianity, Freemasonry and "global Zionism".
However, I suggest that, before warranting such a fatwa, shouldn’t we all ask ourselves if we really need a government to dictate the games we can play or to censor the movies we can watch or to choose the clothes we can wear. The idea of something as profound as religion interfering in a child’s game is proof of the fact that, the idea of religion which the state wants us to believe in, is no stronger than what it poses itself against A child’s game. If the state can justify Pokemon as an act of God, then our God most certainly isn’t real, because I surely can’t find him in this virtual world, much less, a spiritual one. There’s a saying that, you could judge the strength of a vessel based on its enemies. Is Pikachu the new enemy? Or will it be Barbie, soon?