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Back You are here: Home Library Ethics Greater Sins Chapter 16 Fourteenth Greater Sin: Gambling Objects of Gambling and Laying of Bets

Objects of Gambling and Laying of Bets

Objects of Gambling and Laying of Bets


There is a universal agreement among the Mujtahids that articles normally used in gambling should not be played with, even if one is not gambling. The tradition mentioned previously which states that one who touches chess is like one who smears his hand in pork; continues,

“The prayers of chess-players are not valid till they wash their hands after the game. And to watch a game of chess is like looking at the genitals of ones own mother.”

(Wasa’il ul-Shia. Chapter of Business Transactions)
Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) on being inquired concerning chess replied:

“Leave the preoccupations of the fire-worshippers to them.”

That is, Muslims should not even go near chess.

In another tradition, Imam (a.s.) says:

“Do not even approach chess.”

The tradition from the book, Tohafful Uqūl distinctly states that the articles employed in gambling cannot be used for any purpose whatsoever and it is Harām to do so.

“All the tools and actions of gambling are Harām.”

Hazrat Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) has said:

“All kinds of games of betting are gambling and the sale, the purchase and the use of all the tools of gambling are Harām. It is only an act that Shaitan instigates you to do.”

(Tafsir al-Qummi)

Chess and cards should not be indulged in even when played only for intellectual stimulation games with no intent to gamble. These games have an inherent power to obsess the player till he becomes oblivious of his responsibilities towards his family and even his livelihood. Such all-consuming activities lead to the disruption of an otherwise happy family life. Shaitan also will not lose the opportunity to incite the players to play for stakes. Very soon, the game started as an intellectual exercise will slip into a game for making money.

The only effective way to eradicate gambling from society is to stay clear of such games as commanded by our Imam (a.s.). Hence, Islam has declared that to manufacture the tools of gambling is Harām; to buy or sell them is Harām and to spend from the profits of these transactions is Harām. It is Harām even to have the tools of gambling in ones possession. It is obligatory to destroy them.

Ishaq Ibn Ammar asked Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) that children play with eggs and cashew nuts in the same way as gambling? Imam (a.s.) told him:

“Do not even eat these things!”

The following verse of the Divine Book ordains the income of gambling to be Harām and makes it obligatory upon the person who wins to restore the amount back to the person who lost it.

“O you who believe! Do not devour your property among yourselves falsely...?”

(Surah an-Nisā’ 4:29)

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