Is gambling or betting allowed in Islam? Can Muslims indulge in the activity for entertainment purposes? Why do some Muslims call gambling money haram? Is there any possible way a Muslim can cleanse this haram money by converting it to halal? What about online casinos? Can Muslims patronize them? What does the Quran say about betting? As a Muslim, you may want to know if your religion allows you to gamble or not. In this article, all these questions and more will receive their appropriate answers.
Is Gambling or Betting Allowed In Islam? What Is Gambling In Islam?
In Islam, gambling is called Maisir or Qimar, which means a game of chance or luck. Different Islamic scholars have given more detailed explanations about Maisir (betting). Faleel Jamaldeen, a well-known scholar, simply explains betting as a means of getting riches by luck and not by hard work. Muhammad Ayub further explains that Maisir involves a person who wants something of high worth but can only give something less worthy in return. The person who does this wants to get something valuable quickly without following the due process in getting what they want. Furthermore, he defines Qimar as a way of receiving money that comes from betting.
In Islam, the question of whether gambling or betting is allowed draws only one response: No. This is because Muslims generally operate under common law, which they refer to as the Shari’a. Under this law, any gambling or betting activity that players engage in is immoral. Furthermore, it says that the players only think about winning through luck and hardly ever consider losing. As a result of this, what they have is nothing but misplaced hope. Thus, Muslims who engage in it are going against Sharia law and may receive punishment.
What Does The Quran Say About Gambling?
To back the Islamic scholars and the Sharia law is the Quran and its hadiths. For example, Qur’an 2 verse 219 states that when someone asks the Muslim about betting, they should say it is a sin. Furthermore, Qur’an 5 verse 90 and 91 states warn Muslims to keep away from betting as it will hinder them from prayer. Finally, in Hadith 645, The Prophet (PBUH) states that Muslims should indulge in charity rather than gamble.
Can Muslims Play The Games On Internet Casinos?
People usually jump to conclusions that online casinos are betting sites even though the casinos boldly write it on their websites that they are not. To understand if a Muslim can or cannot play at Internet casinos, you must first understand what an Internet casino is. As its name implies, an Internet casino is an online site where people can play different types of casino games virtually. These casinos allow you to make a specified deposit using your credit/debit card to play the games. Also, you can win more money than your initial deposit, depending on how well you play. Many Internet casinos usually put up a disclaimer on their website stating that they’re not a betting site. However, if you have to pay to play a game hoping that you will win more money, that means you’re betting, right?
Interestingly, there are some games that you can play on Internet casinos without placing money on them. So, how does this concern the Muslims? Can Muslims play these types of games? Will it be haram as well?
Some Islamic scholars say that as long as a Muslim gives out the money from online casinos to the poor, it is not haram. Giving out money to the poor is a way of cleansing it from its perceived sin. Apart from giving the money to the poor, a Muslim can give the money to other causes. This includes also giving it to the needy to solve their problems. Where it becomes sin is when the Muslims keep all the reward money to themselves.
Still, some scholars opine that playing at an Internet casino is a sin whether it involves money or not.
Islamic Countries That Ban Gambling
You can already deduce that countries where the majority or the total population count are Muslims, will not allow gambling houses to operate. Here are some of these countries:
Somalia is strictly a Muslim country as almost 100% of its population practice Sunni Islam. Thus, the country’s laws do not allow its people to bet. Of course, this does not mean that people do not bet in secret. Also, there are Internet casinos people can play at which the government does not have the power to stop. These casinos do not stop Somalians from gambling; thus, they can bet all they want without fear. However, if a law enforcement agent catches them, there will be consequences. The punishment for going against the law includes being flogged in public. The law enforcement agents do this in the hopes that they will discourage other people from betting.
Although a small country, Qatar is one of the richest countries in the world has. Rich people love to place bets, and it is not surprising for one to assume that Qatar citizens do. However, the government did ban gambling activities. Almost 70% of Qatar’s population is Muslim, so it is not surprising that the government would make such a law. Still, people find a way to enjoy a betting session. They indulge in camel racing and, of course, place huge amounts on their favorites. Also, there are online casinos that accept players from Qatar. Thus, despite the strict law, people engage in betting. The government does not enforce its law either, so there are no consequences for gambling as a citizen.
Libya is an African country where the Muslim population is about 100%. Thus, the people follow the Shari’a law. As earlier mentioned in this article, the Shari’a law strictly prohibits betting of any form. Therefore, Libyan citizens can not engage in any form of betting. Yet, citizens find a way to engage in betting secretly. Also, some of them play at Internet casinos as these casinos allow players from the country. However, there are strict consequences for disobeying the law. If any citizen is caught betting, they are to pay heavy fines. In worst cases, the law agents lock them up in prisons.
The United Arab Emirates is a country whose population is close to 90%. The UAE is the wealthiest country in the Middle East, so it won’t be surprising if some of its citizens engage in betting. There is also the option of online casinos for players to indulge in freely. However, the government does not allow gambling in the country. Furthermore, they are strict about enforcing this law. Anyone caught gambling in this country can get up to two years jail charge. In addition to this, the government regulates the internet through the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority. Thus, citizens cannot get access to Internet casinos.
Islamic Countries That Do Not Ban Gambling
When people talk about gambling history, Egypt comes up because it is one of the countries where gambling originated. Egypt’s population comprises mainly Muslims; however, it allows for betting. The country boasts of many physical casinos, but there is a drawback. In order not to offend the Muslims, the government placed a ban on betting for Egyptian citizens. This extends to anyone who holds an Egyptian passport. Thus, only people visiting Egypt have the freedom to use the physical casinos.
Concerning the Internet casinos, there are no rules. Egyptian citizens are free to indulge in them as often as possible. Even despite the law, Egyptians still patronize land-based casinos without fear of any consequences.
- Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is another predominantly Muslim country. Although its government placed a law against betting and heavily regulates the internet, citizens still indulge in betting. Additionally, some people operate gambling houses in the country.
You may be surprised to see UAE make a list despite being part of the countries that prohibit betting. Indeed, some betting houses offer games to people to bet, albeit secretly. However, in Dubai, you will find people engaging in sports betting. In addition, the natives love to indulge in horse racing and camel racing. This makes the country one of the most entertaining for both natives and visitors.
Is gambling or betting allowed in Islam? The answer remains no. Indeed, there are Muslims who bet. However, the Quran does not support them.