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Written by: Hamzah Moin
What was once a popular video game in the Muslim community is shockingly now collecting dust. Iman Games, a new video game developer founded by Muslims, developed a simulation game for all platforms a few months ago about the Muslim Salaat (prayer). The game entitled Prayer Rules was released to surprisingly good reviews.
“This is probably the greatest game I ever played” said non-Islam video game reviewer Thomas Aquinas. “The graphics are spectacular and the game really gives a deep insight on how to pray the Muslim way. I’m going to convert to Islam now.”
The premise for the game is simple: pray. One has to play the game five different times throughout the course of the day (sunrise, noon, late afternoon, sunset and night). If one misses prayers in the game he or she will lose points. One also loses points if he/she prays the WRONG way. “We wanted fiqh (rules) to be an important aspect of the gameplay. If one doesn’t know their fiqh, they will essentially lose this game.” said developer Tarek Fatiha.
Prayer Rules also boasts some of the hottest graphics on the market and has additional fun-filled features:
Rigorous congregational action.
Things aren’t all rosy. Many Muslims who once played the game enthusiastically are beginning to disregard the game altogether.
“I keep saying to myself, ‘I’ll play later’, ‘I’ll play later’ then I just miss out and lose even more points” said Riad Foojie. “This game is the hardest thing in the world.”
One can also lose points if he/she prays too fast. Foojie comments, “One time I was in a hurry and prayed Isha in 15 seconds. The next thing I know is the game is making fun of me by showing a picture of a race car with a picture of my prayer simulation and the words ‘VROOOOOM!’ beneath it”
There are other complaints in the Muslim community as well. “I tried praying based on my own logical reasoning for fiqh and the game STILL says I’m praying wrong. Why can’t I just pray and pick and choose Hadith based on the ‘strongest’ ruling?” said a disgruntled Salah Fideen.
The game is under scrutiny from the other end of the spectrum as well. Liberal Muslim leader Assef Nahmed is insulted that female gamers are unable to lead mixed prayers in the game. Iman Games responds that they polled all 650,000,000 Muslim women on the planet and saw that there were only 4 Muslim women complaining about this feature… all 4 were writers for a popular Liberal website called MuslimSnooze.
“We felt that we didn’t want to add a feature just for the 4 people who have little to no knowledge about Islamic history or fiqh” said developer Tarek Fatiha.
Despite the scrutiny and seemingly sexist perception of the game, the game continues to fly off of the shelves appealing to both males and females and many non-Muslims convert to Islam as a result.