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Ruling of Islam on Lottery and Gambling


Ruling of Islam on Lottery and Gambling


The lottery is a system of gambling which encourages people to spend seemingly small amounts of money either daily or weekly in the hope that they will earn great riches with ease. The logical arguments against this system are obvious. If a person spends $5 each week on the lottery, he will be spending $240.00 each year.

This kind of financial loss puts undue stress on family and may result in familial disputes and discontent. For those who spend more, the losses are even greater.The lottery targets low-income families whose hopes for an easier life are made prey by the glittering jackpots. These families become victims of themselves and the lottery industry as they throw away much needed and hard earned money on vain dreams encouraged by idleness and dependence upon false hopes. When the true face of the lottery is considered, it is easy to understand why Almighty Allaah has forbidden it along with all other forms
of gambling.

Allaah says in the Qu’ran: O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, Al­Ansâb, and Al­Azlâm (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaitân’s (Satan) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful. Shaitân (Satan) wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drinks) and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allâh and from As-Salât (the prayer). So, will you not then abstain? (Qur’an 5:90-91)

For the few who actually “win,” the lottery is a dishonorable way to make money as the bulk of lottery money comes from the hard work of the poor. Since the lottery exploits the vulnerable man, the one who “profits” from the lottery only profits from the loss of his people. The lottery also advocates a philosophy built around chance and “fate.” Yet Muslims know that no man earns a dime without the consent of Almighty Allaah.

Allaah said: They ask you (O Muhammad) concerning alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: “In them is a great sin, and (some) benefit for men, but the sin of them is greater than their benefit.”
(Qur’an 2:219).


- Stop playing lottery.

- Make repentance to Allaah and ask for forgiveness.

- Encourage your fellow Muslims to stop immediately.


Every transaction in which gain and loss is obscure is known as ‘Qimaar’ and ‘Maisar’ in the Shar’iah 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 pounds and if I surpass you then you will have to give me a thousand pounds. Or if someone says, ‘If it rains today you will have to give me a thousand pounds and if it does not rain then I will give you a thousand pounds.’ Likewise if some packed boxes are being sold for a fixed price, for example four pounds per box and some of the boxes have contents with a value of five pounds with others containing a value of two pounds, then the purchase of these boxes will be gambling (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.


This article highlights the growing reliance of people worldwide on practice of gambling in the lottery. “Ever since the establishment of the National Lottery, a minority section of the nation have not been at all at ease with this national trend. Those who hail it as a success may look at the minority view as out of date with the material reality facing them in every aspect of their lives, but the minorities’ view is not about material welfare. It is about moral and religious restrictions imposed on the way people should acquire legally, religiously and morally acceptable wealth which contributes to the welfare of the society. It is not just handing out some charities, but by providing an honorable way in which people can use their God-given mental and physical gifts.”

The reason for prohibiting gambling, lottery and similar methods is that they involve taking away someone else’s money without earning it. In most of these methods, an amount of money is raised by those who participate in a game or a draw, and the prize is thus contributed by them all. Then the winner takes the prize without any particular effort on his part. Millions of pounds or dollars are paid to the one whose card matches the result of a draw done by a machine or a person. All such methods generate ill feelings between the participants, hence, the prohibition.

The speed by which a person gets his income is immaterial, provided that the method followed is legitimate. A businessman may buy a large quantity of a certain commodity today and it is shipped to him from abroad. By the time he receives it, the price of that commodity has risen sharply and there is much demand for it. He sells the entire shipment within a week or a few days, making large profits. This is perfectly legitimate, because there is no cheating, deception or exploitation involved.

When prizes are offered freely, without contributions from the participants or the public, these are normally symbolic. They may be given to promote a certain commodity or to publicize a particular business. Since they are offered by a promoter who asks nothing in return, they are permissible in Islam.

Collected and Revised by

Hamadi Al-Aslani

Manager of Editing and Translation

( With the compliments of )

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