May 22, 2004

Halal Games

 With the summer approaching, many of us will be rewarded with a
much-needed break from school to finally relax In-sha-Allah. Around this time,
gaming companies launch new games that razzle and dazzle us. I would like to
take a few moments to discuss an important but often unnoticed matter.
 

Many of us do not think much about a game. It’s just a game anyways,
right? We play, we win, and we get to the next level (or the next game). If we
don’t win, we thank Allah for GameCheats.com for those cheat codes and unlimited
lives, and then we win!!!

 

While it may not mean much at first, but a game or any software is worth
a lot more than we think. A great deal of effort, time, and money has been put
into designing these games. And more than often, the efforts of these game
designers are not appreciated, as we continue to “copy” games from our friends,
buy them at an “unbelievable deals” from shady stores, or just download it from
the Internet or many of the many popular file sharing programs.

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size=2>What we are really doing is theft, not physical stealing in this
case, but software theft (Microsoft likes to call it piracy). And software
piracy may be considered equally displeasing to Allah as physical theft. Now
there is a lot of controversy and confusion on using illegal software/games. I
will use the word H style=”mso-bidi-font-style: italic”>alal
software for games we buy
legally and Haram software for games we get without paying anything or
not paying the full price, just so we can all understand better In-sha-Allah.

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size=2>Let us look at the most common misunderstandings that purport and justify
Haram software:

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face=Arial size=2>The manufacturer is already making
billions of dollars selling this game/software. They wouldn?t get hurt if I just
download it.

size=2>Think about it. If every one of us has the same idea, then I is no longer
an I. I actually becomes we. And we multiplied by the number of dollars
the manufacturer is losing becomes an exponential amount! This was a
mathematical answer. For a more Islamic answer, a theft is a theft, what is
wrong will always be wrong. Do not think how small you are sinning, but think
how BIG Allah is and how we are disobeying Allah! The manufacturer
may not know, our family and friends may not know, but Allah will always know
what we are downloading. So let’s not download anymore Haram games In-sha-Allah.

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face=Arial color=#000080 size=2>The manufacturer is ripping us off by setting
prices too high!!! They’re being greedy so we should get back at them!

size=2>If you know economics and marketing, every company has a marketing
strategy that maximizes revenue upon launch of a new product. They want to make
as much as money as possible when the product is new, because there is a lot of
hype, a lot of advertising and great excitement created among the customers.
This is why a brand new car now that is costing $30,000 will be way cheaper a
few years down the road. A Pentium I 75 Mhz computer (yes I am that old),
back in 1995 cost me $1500. For that kind of money, I can buy two computers
today!!!

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size=2>If you notice as the product becomes old in the market, the manufacturer
will reduce prices to boost sales. Eventually the price will hit an all time low
and then you can buy it if within your means. Allah rewards those who are
patient, and of course when you buy something Halal there are always blessings
from Allah.

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size=2>I cant afford it, but I love playing games.

size=2>It’s a hard fact to accept. We all have wants and desires but not always
do we have means of achieving them the Halal way. There is always a Halal way,
which is usually difficult, and a Haram way, which is often easy. The best thing
to do would be to wait for the price to drop to a level within your means. I
have waited patiently for many games to come down to my affordability level. The
satisfaction of holding a new game after such a long wait, and not to mention
acquiring it in a manner pleasing to Allah is well…indescribable!

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color=#000080>How can I buy cheap games?

size=2>A new trend I’ve seen in game stores is reselling old/used games for half
price or less. It is a bargain! Sometimes the games can be hot off the shelves,
but with a manual missing (you can always download one for free from the
Internet), or with minor cosmetic blemishes etc., or that one particular game
you’ve been wanting for so long but couldn’t find it anywhere else. You can buy
used games at EBgames stores in most malls.

face=Arial size=2>?

color=#000080>I want a new game but I just don’t have the money.

size=2>This is probably the toughest nut to crack! One suggestion is to save up
for it. If we don’t spend our money on junk food or other things we can live
without, we can then save enough to buy something we really like, not limited to
a game but virtually anything else!

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size=2>Or we could split the cost with our friends. If everybody pitches in $10
we can have enough to buy a multiplayer game everyone can play. Of course things
like mutual ownership and respect also come into play when engaging in such type
of agreements.

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face=Arial> style=”mso-spacerun: yes”>?Alternatively, a third option is to
simply have someone buy the game, and then resell it at a lower price to you.
For example, I buy the game at full price of $50. I play for it for a while
until I’ve used all the cheat codes and won every level. I can then sell the
game to my friend for $25. That way, the game costs me $25 and costs my friend
$25!!! We both saved and its 100% Halal! That is what EBgames does.

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size=2>Another example; in 2000 I saw an awesome looking flight joystick based
on the actual F-15 at Radioshack retailing for about $100. It was beyond my
reach! So I waited, and waited, and waited, and waited some more till one summer
day of 2002 (yes after 2 years!) I was strolling across a Radioshack and saw the
same flight stick for just $50!?
Alhamdulillah I had my wallet with me at the time… :)

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face=Arial color=#000080 size=2>I bought a Halal game and it sucks; I?m not
going to waste my money anymore buying Halal games!

size=2>Unfortunately not all games are stellar and that?s the sad part for just
about anything you buy. I?ve got a long list of games sitting on my shelves I
wished I had never bought (In-sha-Allah I won?t complain if one day my wife
decided to throw them out!). In order to ensure that you are not buying a dud
game, first be patient and then check out the reviews of the game. One good
source is
size=2>www.gamespot.com (formerly
www.gamecenter.com: can you tell I?m so ancient?). There are many game
sites and online forums where you can read what other buyers and players thought
of the game and then decide for yourself.

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size=2>Warning: You may read raving reviews of a game but still
find it to be a dud. I got SOCOM: US Navy SEALS II after everybody was
praising it and I think it sucked so bad! I guess I?m a PC guy when it comes to
those kinds of 3D action games. At least I got style=”mso-bidi-font-style: normal”>Ajr (reward) for acquiring it in a
manner pleasing to Allah. So don?t feel bad, feel happy!
style=”FONT-FAMILY: Wingdings; mso-ascii-font-family: ‘Times New Roman’; mso-hansi-font-family: ‘Times New Roman’; mso-char-type: symbol; mso-symbol-font-family: Wingdings”> style=”mso-char-type: symbol; mso-symbol-font-family: Wingdings”>J

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color=#000080>What about using fake/stolen serials and game cracks?

size=2>If you purchase Halal games, they come with a serial number or code
included in the packaging. So there is no need to use illegal/fake/stolen
serials off the Internet.

size=2>A crack is special software designed to defeat certain protections
included in the game by the manufacturer. The idea behind the protections is to
prevent software piracy. In general, a crack will enable you to play a
game without the original game CD or without entering a special serial number or
code. By default, using cracks is straight out unethical. However, there
are exceptions that allow us to use cracks.

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size=2>The only exception in using a crack could be if you already
possess a game by Halal means and in the following situations:

size=2>1) You have lost/damaged the original game CD without which the game will
not run.

size=2>2) You have lost the original serial key/code without which the game will
not run. In such a case, contact the seller/manufacturer first. For older games,
if the company does not exist anymore, then use your judgment.

size=2>3) You do not want to damage the original game CD so you can run the game
without it.

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size=2>Contrary to popular belief that CDs are invincible, a CD can
easily get scratches on the surface due to excessive or inappropriate use, that
may render it unreadable and then eventually useless. By law, you are allowed to
make copies of your original software for back up purposes only. But if you
cannot make back up copies, you can then simply crack the game and make it run
without the original CD.

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size=2>I spent my Halal money in
Asia
lang=EN-US> and purchased these games, and you’re telling me
it?s HARAM?

size=2>Yes. Sadly, there is a massive…and I take a deep,
deep, deep breath and say again…massive pirate market in
Pakistan, India and most countries where there is little to no piracy control.
Think about it. You know those poor quality CDs you’re buying for just Rs.100
(approximately $2 Canadian dollars) off a small shop are fake and you’re
thinking to yourself ?Wow Im so smart! I saved tons of money by buying it here
when in
lang=EN-US>Canada the
original would cost me dollars!? You’re not smart. And you didn?t fool anyone
except your own self. You have just burned your Halal money on a Haram item, and
Allah will hold both you and the shopkeeper accountable unless you repent and
destroy those fake CD?s.

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size=2>Back in the 90s when I was in Karachi, those illegal game CDs were
manufactured in China, Taiwan and other South Asian countries and brought in to
our local markets. At that time a CD cost Rs.25, but now they’re up to Rs.100.
And now the Muslim countries are competing with the Chinese on how well they can
equally disobey Allah by manufacturing illegal copies! People say Muslims are
becoming technologically advanced, but it is a real shame how rapidly we may be
advancing towards the Hellfire.

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size=2>Let us make Du?a for those Muslims trying to compete with the other
global black markets in their Ghaflat
(unheeded state). May Allah forgive them both and guide them and may Allah
forgive us and make our Rizq (sustenance) style=”mso-bidi-font-style: normal”>Halal so we may benefit from it. Let us
ask Allah to shield us from what is style=”mso-bidi-font-style: normal”>Haram and guide us to what is style=”mso-bidi-font-style: normal”>Halal so that we may be successful in
this life and in the Hereafter, style=”mso-bidi-font-style: normal”>Ameen.

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size=2>Happy & Halal Gaming!

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