Gambling gets gamblers caught in the grip of addiction.
What is Gambling?
Gambling is the act of risking money upon the outcome of a contest of chance. In this way, a person risks money upon an agreement that he or someone else will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome. Put simply, gambling involves betting that must result either in a gain or a loss, and the gambler profits solely at another person’s loss.
The Islamic Ruling on Gambling
Gambling is strictly forbidden, as supported by textual evidence from the Qur’an and the Prophet’s traditions, including the following:
- Allah ﷻ considers the sin of engaging in gambling to be far greater than the profit gained from it, as the Qur’an states, “They will ask you about alcoholic drinks and gambling. Say, ‘There is great wrong in both of them and also certain benefits for mankind. But the wrong in them is greater than the benefit.’”(Soorat Al-Baqarah, 2: 219)
- Allah ﷻ considers it to be a type of filth and abomination due to its detrimental effects on the individual and society and commands the faithful to avoid it as it sows enmity and hatred amongst them and turns them away from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer, as the Qur’an states, “O you who believe, intoxicants, gambling, stone altars and divining arrows are abominations devised by Satan. Avoid them so that you may be successful. Satan only seeks to sow enmity and hatred among you by means of wine and gambling, and to keep you from the remembrance of God and from your prayers. Will you not then abstain?” (Soorat Al-Maa’idah,5:90-1)
Detrimental Effects of Gambling on the Individual and Society
Gambling has numerous adverse effects on the individual and society including the following:
- It precipitates enmity and hatred among gamblers, for when friends gamble and one of them wins and takes their money they will undoubtedly feel hatred towards him and hold grudges against him and even plot against him and harm him. This is a known fact that is based upon observation. The Qur’an states in this context, “Satan only seeks to sow enmity and hatred among you by means of wine and gambling.” Besides, it distracts from the obligatory prayers and the remembrance of Allah, as the Qur’an states in the context of mentioning Satan’s tireless effort to make gambling look good to man, “and to keep you from the remembrance of Allah and from your prayers. Will you not then abstain?” (Soorat Al-Maa’idah,5:90-1)
- It destroys wealth and causes gamblers to suffer heavy financial losses and personal or legal problems.
- The thrill of gambling and the possibility of winning becomes addictive. If the gambler wins, he becomes greedier and gets carried away, hopeful to acquire more ill-gotten gains. If he loses, he does not give up easily and carries on gambling in the hope of getting back what he has lost. Both gain and loss stand in the way of productive work and constitute a creeping evil that destroys society.
Islam forbids all types of gambling without exception and considers gambling a major sin. .
Types of Gambling
Types of gambling, past and present, are many, and modern forms of gambling include the following:
- Playing a game in which players stipulate that the winner will take some money. For instance, a group of people have a game of cards, each one of them setting aside a certain amount of money, and the winner takes all of it.
- Betting, which is the act of risking money on the unknown result of an event. For instance, each gambler places a bet on a certain team in, say, a football match, and one can only win the bet if the team on which the bet is placed wins, otherwise the bet is lost, which meansloss of money.
- Lottery, which is a type of gambling that has the element of chance. In a lottery, lots, usually in the form of tickets, are purchased and a lot is randomly selected to win a prize, usually a large sum of money. For instance, one purchases a ticket for £1 in the hope of winning £1000.
- All types of gambling without exception, casino or non-casino gambling games, such as electronic and online gambling, involve money that gamblers can either win or lose.