Games that entertain and educate people about religion

Games that entertain and educate people about religion

‘‘Who were the honoured guests of Prophet Ibrahim?’’ ‘‘What does fasting teach us?’’ ‘‘How near is Allah to us?" Answer these and many other questions culled from the Quran correctly, and you can emerge a winner in a unique board game.  While it looks like any other popular board game in a nattily designed box its name - Quran Challenge Game — sets it apart instantaneously. Yes, from the Quran to the Hadith and from Hajj to issues about Madinah and the greatest mosques, knowledge about Islam now comes in a new format, thanks to an Indian publishing house that specialises in Islamic literature.
The idea is to not only provide an interesting manner to connect with young, children educated  in English medium schools about the religion, but also project peaceful facets of Islam — lately maligned, owing to the misdeeds of a few individuals that has made it synonymous with terrorism.

Apart from the Quran Challenge Game, which also has a version for kids in the 5-10 years age group, there are games like the Hadith Challenge Game based on the sayings of Prophet Muhammad, Madinah Salat Fun Game based on the meaning and message of the five daily prayers, the Hajj Fun Game on the meaning of Hajj, and the Great Mosque Game that provides information on the world’s most famous mosques. The games consist of 100 cards containing 300 questions, replies to which take the player ahead. As two to four players play the games, they impart knowledge on various aspects of Islam without making it pedantic.

All the games have been developed by Islamic scholar Saniyasnain Khan, who has also written a number of books on Islamic themes for children and adults alike. Khan, the son of noted scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, has also developed Danish, Dutch Malay and Arabic versions of some of these games.

It’s definitely quite a unique effort to take Islam's message to people, especially the younger generation, but the games are not all that Goodword Books, the Delhi-based publishing house helmed by Khan, is focused on. Soon coming out is a children’s encyclopaedia on Quran, apart from, of course, one more game based on Islamic history.
 ‘‘The game on Islamic history should be out in the market by the middle or end of this year. We are also about to publish a children's encyclopaedia on Quran. I am writing the entries which have been approved by religious scholars," says Khan.
What is rather surprising is that these games are selling more abroad than in India, though Khan says people in southern India have opened up to the idea of the games. Perhaps this has to do with the fact that the games are not available in any regional language as yet.  

Agrees Khan, ‘‘Our main focus is exports, and we hardly sell these products in India. We are open to the idea of bringing the games out in regional languages also, but we don’t have distributors in these regions.

‘‘The games are a new concept for people, especially for those whose children go to English-medium schools. But while people from other religions too buy these games abroad, in India it is not so,’’ says  Shah Imran Hasan of Goodword Books.
Maybe we will do it sometime in the future,’’ says Khan. Also Goodword is considering the potential to develop Internet versions of these games which can be downloaded or played online.

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