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A ruling regarding plays

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    A ruling regarding plays

    Question: Islaamic centres in the West contain mosques and also have in them places for other activities, such as festivals and wedding parties, general talks and even sports competitions, These centres are a source of light and inspiration in these regions. Sometimes we invite people to talks in which there might be plays for a specific purpose, Islaamic songs that do not contain music and so forth. Is it permitted for us to do this in the mosque because sometimes there is no hall or room available where it can be held and there is nowhere else where we can gather and mutually advise each other? What is your esteemed opinion concerning this matter?

    Response: Scholars in our time have differed concerning the acting out of plays. Some of them say that it is not permitted under any circumstances. They justify their position by arguing that plays are a form of lying because a man who takes the part of someone else is not really that person. Therefore, he is lying, as lying is what is contrary to the truth.

    Other scholars, however, say that there is no harm in plays and that they are not a form of lying. They argue that lying is the making of a statement which one knows to be false. The actor though, does not claim to be the character that he is acting but rather that he is only acting his part, that is, he is doing things which are similar to what that character does. This is in fact what actually happens and those present all know that this is what a play is in reality. It is quite a different situation from when someone arrives at your door and claims to be so and so, and he is lying.

    This is real lying, whereas a man who is playing the part of someone else has not lied and does not claim to be the person himself. Lying, therefore, does not come into the issue. However, if the play includes something forbidden, such as eminent and distinguished people inevitably being diminished and reduced in stature and nobility, then it is not permitted. Therefore, I believe that the Companions, especially the righteous Khulafaa., should not be used as characters in a play. It is also not permitted if the play includes other forbidden things, such as men acting as women or vice versa. The Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) cursed men who imitated women and women who imitated men. It is also not permitted if the play includes the imitating of animals because this is not found in the Qur.aan and Sunnah except as criticism and rebuke.

    Allaah, the Exalted, says, {And recite to them the story of him to whom We gave Our signs but he cast them aside, so Satan followed him and he became of those who were led astray. Had We willed We would have exalted him therewith but he dung to this earthly life and followed his vain desires. His likeness is that of a dog}, [Soorah al-A'raaf, Aayah 175]. The simile of a dog is used here to express criticism and rebuke.

    Allaah, the Most High, also says, {Those who were entrusted with the Torah but did not act according to it are like the donkey burdened with books}, [Soorah al-Jumu'ah, Aayah 5].

    Again, the likening of man to an animal is used critically here. The Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) said, ((Whoever takes back a gift he has given, is like the dog who vomits and then eats his own vomit)). If, therefore, a play includes something forbidden, it is not permitted due to this and not because it is considered a form of lying.

    If a play is lawful with respect to its content, there remains the question of whether it is permitted to act it out in a place of prayer. If it is beneficial and it is really being used to invite to Islaam, there is no harm in it because the Messenger of Allaah (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) allowed the Abissynians to play with their spears in his mosque, in order to soften their hearts towards Islaam. Therefore, if the benefit is greater than the harm, the benefit should be sought. However, if it is possible to designate for them another room or hall, this would be better.


    Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaymeen


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    "I put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord! There is not a moving creature, but He has a grasp of its forelock. Verily, my Lord is on the straight path. (The truth)"
    (11:55-56)

    "...Indeed my prayer, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allaah, the Lord of the worlds" (6:162)

    #2
    Jazak'Allahu Khaiy'run Sadiaa

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