Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Reminder for Government and People: The Evils of Gambling

oleh HusinLempoyang

Gambling has unfortunately become an acceptable practice in Muslim Society due to its wide scale promotion by the media (especially in our newspaper) with the power given by the Governement. Now the government start to promote football gambling. It has been announced by our Muslim leader in this 'Islamic' country which is a one of the most shameful statements we ever heard. A large number of good Muslims are also caught in that 'ritual', not realizing that they are gambling and that the earnings from the gambling is haraam.

The following is a translation of a scholarly article by the late Mufti Muhammad Shafi which is being published to make Muslims especially in this country aware of the different forms of transactions and other items which are classified in Shariah as gambling.


Every transaction in which gain and loss is obscure is known as Qimaar and Maisar in the Shariah terminology, and as Juwa in the Urdu language. For instance, if two people compete in a race with the following conditions, that 'if you surpass me, then I will give you a thousand ringgit and if I surpass you then you will have to give me a thousand ringgit'. Or if someone says, 'If it rains today you will have to give me a thousand ringgit and if it does not rain then I will give you a thousand ringgit.'

Likewise if some packed boxes are being sold for a fixed price, for example four ringgit per box and some of the boxes have contents with a value of five pounds with others containing a value of two ringgit, then the purchase of these boxes will be Qimaar. Because of the obscurity of the gain and loss. There are numerous methods of gambling and in every age and region, gambling has been played in different forms and methods.

There was a certain procedure amongst the Arabs for gambling. There would be ten arrows, each with a special name, all having different shares allocated to them, for example, one share, two shares, three shares, etc. There would also be some without a share at all. They would then jumble the arrows and ask someone to pick an arrow for each person. Whichever arrow was picked out for a person, that would be his allocated share and thereafter would be considered the owner of it. On the other hand, whosoever happened to acquire a share-less arrow he would receive nothing at all. The custom, which went hand in hand with this, was that a camel would be slaughtered and distributed according to the shares entitled to them by the arrows. A person who was unlucky would not only be deprived of the camel meat but he would also have to pay for that camel. This kind of gambling has been labelled Maisar and Azlaam by the Qur'aan. Maisar is that particular camel which is slaughtered and distributed because of gambling and Azlaam are the arrows that are used to define the amount of the shares in gambling. Apart from this, gambling was prevalent in trade in different forms. They were known as Mulamasa and Munabaza, etc., the prohibition of which is present in the Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.

Before the advent of Islam, gambling was not only customary but also taken to be a cause of pride, nobility and honour. For excessive show of pride, these people would distribute their share of the winnings amongst the poor.


As Islam plays a moderate role in worship, similarly it plays a role in economics and social orders. How can Islam, the moderate way of life, cope with a state where one can take possession of somebody else's property without any valid reason, due to which, the latter gets poorer and his state diminishes and the former, without working, gathers the wealth equivalent to that of Qaroon (Korah, a kaafir whom Allah bestowed with great wealth at the time of Musa a.s)? Alternatively, without any religious excuse, a great amount of wealth is taken from the poor people's pocket and a single person is made to own it. Therefore, it was vital for Islam to prohibit these unfair ways of taking possessions. For this reason the open mindedness of the all-encompassing religion, Islam, took consideration and concern of the human passions. When alcoholic drinks and gambling were intended to be banned, their prohibition was not revealed immediately, but firstly all the disadvantages concerning them were made clear. Once these were totally engraved into their hearts, then the laws of prohibition were revealed.

In the early days of Islam the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w was questioned regarding the permissibility of gambling and alcohol. The first verse that was revealed regarding this, is in Surah Al-Baqarah which is as follows:

"They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say, 'In them is great sin and some benefit for men; but the sin is greater than the benefit."

(Qur'an 2:19)

In the above sign, the permissibility and non-permissibility of wine and gambling is not clarified. Soon after understanding the tone of discountenance in the verse, the highly ranked companions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad s.a.w abstained from them. On the other hand, Muslims in general were still involved in them and the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w had not said anything that indicated their prohibition, until Allah revealed the following verse (Qarinah for the above sign):

"O believers! Intoxicants and gambling, worshiping stones and divination by arrows are impure, of syaitan's handiwork: refrain from such abomination that ye may prosper. "

(Qur'an 5:90)

In this verse, the total prohibition of alcoholic drinks and gambling has been clearly revealed. Its prohibition has been mentioned with such assurance that Imaam Razi states as follows:

"Firstly, the Arabic word innama has been placed in the beginning of the verse. In Arabic, this creates emphasis on what is mentioned afterwards. Secondly, these prohibited things have been classified as being rijs (impure), from which natural disposition abstains. Thirdly, they have been branded as satanic acts. Fourthly, their severity has been categorised in the same level as idol worshipping (shirk) in the sense that they all are links of a single chain."

After mentioning that these all are rijs (impure), Allah S.W.T orders:

"Keep away from them."

Allah S.W.T does not terminate the subject here, but He carries on mentioning their religious and worldly harm in the following sign. Allah, the Almighty states conclusively that syaitan wants to ruin our worldly life and the life of the Hereafter. These forbidden things, (alcohol and gambling), lay the seeds of hatred and hostility between human beings. These evil outcomes are innumerable. Their habit distracts a man from obligatory duties such as prayer (Solat) and the remembrance of Allah.

May Allah protect all the Muslims in this country from their evil. Spread this!