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Difference between revisions of "Gambling"

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[[ru:Азартные игры]]
[[Category:Fiqh terminology]]
[[Category:Fiqh terminology]]
[[Category:Forbidden acts]]
[[Category:Forbidden acts]]

Latest revision as of 05:20, 11 August 2019

Gambling (Arabic: القمار) is a game in which the parties bet on some money or property to be paid to the winner. In Islamic jurisprudence, gambling is forbidden. Jurists have, among other things, appealed to verse 90 of Quran 5 to show the forbiddance of gambling. According to this verse, gambling is characterized as a defilement from the work of Satan.

Jurists do not forbid all kinds of betting. They appeal to certain hadiths to show that betting for riding races, archery, and fencing does not count as gambling. According to their fatwas, it is forbidden to play with instruments of gambling, regardless of whether it involves betting.

Jurisprudential Definition

In books of jurisprudence, different definitions of gambling are offered. According to al-Shaykh al-Ansari, gambling consists in playing with certain instruments in which something is bet on (to be paid to the winner).

Other jurists believe that gambling consists in playing with gambling instruments, whether or not it involves betting. In his Mustalahat al-fiqh, 'Ali Mishkini defines gambling as a game in which the loser is required to pay something to the winner.

However, not all cases of betting are considered by jurists as forbidden. According to their fatwas, betting for riding, archery, and fencing is not forbidden. These games are referred to in jurisprudence as "sabq" (riding race) and "rimaya" (archery).

Jurisprudential Ruling

According to al-Shaykh Murtada al-Ansari and Muhammad Hasan Najafi, jurists have consensus over the forbiddance of gambling, and it is evidenced by the Qur'an and mutawatir hadiths.

The verse cited for the forbiddance of gambling is verse 90 of Quran 5 in which gambling ("maysir") is regarded as a defilement from work of Satan: "indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allah], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan."

According to hadiths, the word, "maysir" in this verse refers to gambling. For instance, according to a hadith cited in al-Kafi, Imam al-Baqir (a) said: "when this verse was revealed, the Prophet (s) was asked what 'maysir' was, and he replied: everything with which one gambles." Moreover, in this book, al-Kulayni quoted Imam al-Rida (a) as saying that "maysir" is gambling.


Gambling instruments are instruments usually used for purposes of gambling. In jurisprudential books, things such as chess, backgammon, cards, and billiards are discussed as gambling instruments.

According to the fatwas of the majority of jurists, it is forbidden to play with gambling instruments, whether or not it involves betting. Moreover, jurists forbid the construction, sale, purchase, and renting of gambling instruments.

Difference between Gambling and Betting

Jurists do not generalize the jurisprudential ruling of gambling to betting in riding races such as horse-riding and camel-riding, as well as archery and fencing. They appeal to certain hadiths to show that these cases do not count as gambling, although they involve betting.


Below are some rulings of gambling according to jurisprudential books:

  • It is forbidden to eat a food that is acquired through gambling.
  • A gambler's testimony is rejected as unreliable.
  • It is forbidden to learn gambling.
  • Money obtained via gambling is illegitimate and should be returned to its owner.


  • The material for this article is mainly taken from قمار in Farsi WikiShia.