6. Lottery

Q183: [Lottery] is a well-known game in America and is the closest thing to [yanasib], if it is not exactly the same. Is it permissible for a Muslim to engage in the sale of lotteries with special machines with the justification that it is rescuing (istinqadh) wealth from the hands of the unbelievers?

A: If he is authorized by an established company to offer and distribute them (lottery tickets) among non-Muslims, then it is permitted and he should seize the wealth with the justification of rescuing (istinqadh) it and not with the intent of selling (the lottery tickets). Alternatively, the Muslim seller takes it (money) in return for his relinquishment of his right (over the lottery tickets), if he had any special right over them. (MMS, p. 12, Q7)

Chess, Backgammon, Wrestling and Boxing

Q184: What is the general rule for an instrument to be prohibited and to be considered an instrument of gambling. Is it making and adopting it (the instrument) for gambling or is it its conventional usage? Is there a difference between its being a convention for a particular society or its being so universally?

A: The general rule is that it is made for gambling and used for it, such that the term "gambling instrument" can be applied to it. It is enough if it is regarded as an instrument (for gambling) in one particular society. (MMS, pp. 27-28, Q52)

Q185: (Is it permissible) to play chess and backgammon without placing a bet?

A: It is not permissible to play them. (FM, p. 436)

Q186: What is the ruling on playing chess by using the customary pieces? Is the ruling any different in the case where the game is played by computer which employs symbols and shapes instead of the customary pieces?

A: Playing it (chess) is absolutely forbidden even without placing a bet. And there is no difference in this, whether it is (played) with customary pieces or by computer. (MMS, p. 27, Q51)

Q187: Some people play with gambling instruments other than chess and backgammon for enjoyment and without placing a bet.

A: [It is prohibited to play with all that is considered a gambling instrument even without placing a bet]. (FM, p. 436)

Q188: Some electronic games that appear on TV with an apparatus called "Atari" and are played with buttons for enjoyment, without placing a bet.

A: If the pictures that appear on the screen are pictures of the instruments of gambling, then it is not permissible to play with them using the "Atari" apparatus, otherwise, it is permissible. (FM, p. 436)

Q189: Wrestling and boxing matches without placing a bet?

A: They are permissible if they do not lead to substantial bodily harm. (FM, p. 434)