Grand Theft Auto GTA V has made a revolution in the gaming industry. With its mature themes, third-person open world perspective and huge map size (bigger than any map The gaming company RockStar has ever made), GTA V has gained millions of followers all around the world. Even with the controversy it stirs and the debates which psychologists go through to prove its danger or its non-significance, GTA V is still idolized by its teen players and cashing $1 billion sales in the first three days of its release. Not only does it relieve stress and allow young people to become the carefree, criminal that has no conscience and gets to do whatever the hell he wants.
With its three protagonists Franklin, Michael and Trevor, GTA V players get to pick their favorite character to start on a thrill ride of murder, mayhem and outlawing. The game allows its players to vent out their stress and liberate themselves from all social and ethical restrictions. Players get to rob banks, kill prostitutes, kill policemen, go through interesting car chases and assaulting gang members. It’s not surprising that GTA V is rated M (Mature) because it contains intense violence, blood and gore, nudity, strong sexual content, mature humor, strong language, use of drugs and alcohol.
Meet Mohamed Eldib, an 18-year-old, American Muslim. Like any other American Muslim, Eldib has a few priorities in his life: his family, his bed, his body, his family, his Koran and his GTA V time. On the outside, Mohamed Eldib is your average 18-year-old American. He loves rapping, Selena Gomez, looking his best at school to impress the gals and biking around his city.Deep inside, however Eldib struggles everyday to find his place in the world.
Eldib owns a YouTube channel where he posts his musicvideos, mostly his rap music where he gets to express his feelings as a young man caught between two polar worlds: the American dream and the Muslim community. Like most rappers, Eldib has an alter ego called “MoFlo” by which he titles many of his hip hop tracks. Like any boy his age, Eldib is allowed to have some fun and GTA is his outlet. But Eldib struggles with tons of issues, among them is sense of belonging, identity crisis and religious duties. Being a part of the conservative American Muslim community, Eldib faces a lot of criticism for playing GTA V.
“There are many reasons why I love playing GTA V. First of all it is an open world game which means I can do what ever the hell I want,” Eldib said as he worked his way through GTA V’s updated, realistic looking graphics. He mentioned that one of the main reasons why he loved GTA V was the freedom that it gave him to do whatever he wanted
When he plays GTA V, he is liberated from all religious and social restrictions. “I feel like a total G,” he confesses. He gets an adrenaline rush while playing it and it usually uplifts his mood whenever he is having a bad day. School stress and daily struggles as a teen usually gets to a person and Eldib tries to let go of all his complex and confused emotions as he roams the city of Los Santos and Blain County, shooting random people, killing hookers, hearing the sounds of gunfire and sirens, and also voice acting.Eldib is a huge fan of the voice acting aspect of GTA V because he is a rapper at heart and he loves just spilling his heart out in whatever he does.
Eldib also says that GTA V has many activities other than its violent themes such as playing tennis, enrolling in triathlons, going to strip clubs, hunting, playing darts, racing, and much more. He also enjoys how they made it like modern day Los Angeles with the updated smart phones, lap tops, and “definitely the radio stations in the game have pretty cool music to listen to when you’re driving, flying, or riding a motor boat. Switching between the 3 main characters is also a cool feature, too.”
Putting that aside, Eldib doesn’t believe that playing GTA V is a sin. He admits that he was a little concerned when he saw videos that some sheikhs posted on YouTube describing the game as forbidden.
“Now it doesn’t really matter to me, video games are not haram -forbidden in Arabic- because it is not stated in the Koran. However, you as a person could make video games haram if all you do is just play them 24/7 a day. If video games are taking you away from your religion, then it is a serious problem. I play video games in moderation and I still have time for my prayers, reading the Koran, and focusing on my school education and college future.”
However, Eldib has a concern when it comes to age-restriction on games like GTA V. He recounts an experience from when he was in the third grade and his parents bought him GTA San Andreas for the original Xbox. They didn’t pay attention to the MPAA rating on the game and Eldib played it all day long. It affected him negatively, and took a toll on his life back then. Eldib says you have to be old enough to play games with R-rated themes and violence. He advises all young teens -not just Americans or Muslims but also GTA fans all over the world- to use their free time wisely and enjoy it in the way they deem right with no regard to anything but their own judgement.
Eldib hasn’t finished the game main story line yet. He is now working on a new rap to add to his YouTube channel.
Written by: Jaylan Salah