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22 I SPECIAL FEATURE Passion Islam I October 2008
It’s not worth
the gamble
Gambling has unfortunately become an share and thereafter would be considered religion, Islam, took consideration and
acceptable practise in Muslim Society due the owner of it. On the other hand, concern of the human passions. When
to its wide scale promotion by the media. whosoever happened to acquire a share- alcoholic drinks and gambling were
A large number of good Muslims are also less arrow he would receive nothing at intended to be banned, their prohibition
caught in the web, not realising that they all. The custom, which went hand in hand was not revealed immediately, but firstly
are gambling and that the earnings from with this, was that a camel would be all the disadvantages concerning them
the gambling are haraam. slaughtered and distributed according to were made clear. Once these were totally
The following is a translation of the shares entitled to them by the arrows. engraved into their hearts, then the laws
a scholarly article by the late Mufti A person who was unlucky would not only of prohibition were revealed.
Muhammad Shafi rahmatullahi alaihe be deprived of the camel meat but he In the early days of Islam the
which is being published to make Muslims would also have to pay for that camel. This Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam was
aware of the different forms of transactions kind of gambling has been labelled Maisar questioned regarding the permissibility of
and other items which are classified in and Azlaam by the Qur’aan. Maisar is gambling and alcohol. The first verse that
Shar’iah as gambling. that particular camel which is slaughtered was revealed regarding this, is in Surah
and distributed because of gambling and Baqarah which is as follows:
THE DEFINITION OF GAMBLING Azlaam are the arrows that are used “They ask thee concerning wine and
Every transaction in which gain and loss is to define the amount of the shares in gambling. Say, ‘In them is great sin and
obscure is known as Qimaar’ and ‘Maisar’ gambling. Apart from this, gambling was some benefit for men; but the sin is greater
in the Shar’iah terminology, and as ‘Juwa’ prevalent in trade in different forms. They than the benefit.” (Qur’aan 2:19)
in the Urdu language. For instance, if two were known as Mulamasa and Munabaza, In the above aayah, the permissibility
people compete in a race with the following etc., the prohibition of which is present and non-permissibility of wine and
conditions, that if you surpass me, then I in the Ahaadith of the Prophet sallallahu gambling is not clarified. Soon after
will give you a thousand pounds and if I alaihe wasallam. understanding the tone of discountenance
surpass you then you will have to give me Before the advent of Islam, gambling in the verse, the highly ranked companions
a thousand pounds. Or if someone says, was not only customary but also taken to of the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe
‘If it rains today you will have to give me be a cause of pride, nobility and honour. wasallam abstained from them. On the
a thousand pounds and if it does not rain For excessive show of pride, these other hand, Muslims in general were
then I will give you a thousand pounds.’ people would distribute their share of the still involved in them and the Prophet
Likewise if some packed boxes are winnings amongst the poor. sallallahu alaihe wasallam had not said
being sold for a fixed price, for example anything that indicated their prohibition,
four pounds per box and some of the THE PROHIBITION OF GAMBLING until Allah revealed the following verse:
boxes have contents with a value of five As Islam plays a moderate role in worship, “O believers! Intoxicants and gambling,
pounds with others containing a value of similarly it plays a role in economics and worshipping stones and divination
two pounds, then the purchase of these social orders. How can Islam, the moderate by arrows are impure, of shaytan’s
boxes will be Qimaar. Because of the way of life, cope with a state where one handiwork: refrain from such abomination
obscurity of the gain and loss. There are can take possession of somebody else’s that ye may prosper. “ (Qur’aan 5:90)
numerous methods of gambling and in property without any valid reason, due In this verse, the total prohibition of
every age and region, gambling has been to which, the latter gets poorer and his alcoholic drinks and gambling has been
played in different forms and methods. state diminishes and the former, without clearly revealed. Its prohibition has been
There was a certain procedure working, gathers the wealth equivalent to mentioned with such assurance that
amongst the Arabs for gambling. There that of Qaroon (Korah, a kaafir whom Allah Imaam Razi rahmatullahi alaihe states as
would be ten arrows, each with a special bestowed with great wealth at the time follows:
name, all having different shares allocated of Musa alaihis salaam)? Alternatively, “Firstly, the Arabic word ‘innama’ has
to them, for example, one share, two without any religious excuse, a great been placed in the beginning of the verse.
shares, three shares, etc. There would amount of wealth is taken from the poor In Arabic, this creates emphasis on what
also be some without a share at all. people’s pocket and a single person is is mentioned afterwards. Secondly, these
They would then jumble the arrows and made to own it. Therefore, it was vital prohibited things have been classified as
ask someone to pick an arrow for each for Islam to prohibit these unfair ways of being ‘rijs’ (impure), from which natural
person. Whichever arrow was picked out taking possessions. For this reason the disposition abstains. Thirdly, they have
for a person, that would be his allocated open mindedness of the all-encompassing been branded as satanic acts. Fourthly,
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