PUBG Indian boy
A boy plays an online game on his mobile phone. The latest version of the PUBG video game has sparked fury in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia over ‘idol worship’. Image Credit: AP

Abu Dhabi: The latest version of the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) video game has sparked widespread fury in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia over ‘idol worshipping’, Kuwait media reported.

A number of Kuwaiti preachers warned of the recently released PUBG update, in which players appear worshipping idols, and have demanded authorities to act swiftly to save children from these concepts.

PUBG, made by South Korean firm Bluehole Inc, is a survival-themed battle game that drops dozens of online players on an island where they try and eliminate each other.

PUBG Mobile has just released the latest ‘Mysterious Jungle‘ mode while defining paths for the upcoming 0.19.0 Update and it is in this mode where the controversy has started.

Dr Bassam Al Shatti, Professor of faith at the College of Sharia, Kuwait University, says video games feature many pros and cons, but PUBG has violated Islamic beliefs regarding prostration and bowing to idols, and this is the greatest sin in Islam, because prostrating and bowing is worship and glorification solely and exclusively to Almighty Allah.

Dr Rashid Al Alimi, Professor at the College of Basic Education, said these games are dangerous for Muslims, since they could create generations who do not know Tawhid or the defining doctrine of Islam, which declares absolute monotheism—the unity and uniqueness of Almighty Allah as the creator and sustainer of the universe.

“The special draw of gaming that makes it the preferred pastime of so many millions of kids and adults is not just entertainment, it is dangerous because it teaches them polytheism, so they prefer it and become addicted to it,” said Al Shatti.

In Saudi Arabia, Dr Aref Bin Mazyad Al Suhaimi, Professor of Faith in the College of Da`wah and Fundamentals of Religion at the Islamic University said: “Islam promotes tolerance, balance, equality, consensus, reformism, and all things that take the middle path to materialise the best interest of people. So Sharia permits games that have a preponderant interest, such as shooting, racing, swimming, horse riding, etc.,” he said.

Al Suhaimi added there are prohibited games such as gambling and those which includes a legal or religious prohibition.

He stressed the latest version of PUBG includes idol worshipping , which is banned in Islam.

The Mysterious Jungle Mode is exclusive to the Sanhok map that introduced a lot of new features, like jungle food, hot air balloons, and more. However, there’s one thing about this game mode that has angered Muslim players, totems.

In the game, totems are powerful idols and by praying to them, players can restore their health, and get consumables like energy drinks, health kit, etc. However, the fact that you have to worship these idols in the game has offended Muslim players all over the world.

As a result, many PUBG Mobile players who follow Islam are ditching the Mysterious Jungle mode. Some are even showing their discontent by burning the totems in the game.

Statement from Tencent

Gulf news was reached out by game developer Tencent after publishing story, expressed their apologies and the removal of that feature from the game

The statment said "We are deeply sorry that some features in the game have offended some of our players. We respect the values, traditions and practices of our players and regret the hurt and anguish that we’ve caused. We have removed the distressing gesture and are removing the relevant visuals."