Ruling on New Forms of Lottery

Question and Answer Details

Name of Questioner

Muhammad   - Bangladesh


Ruling on New Forms of Lottery


Dear Sir! As-salamu `alaykum. My question is about the view of Islam about Lottery. It is stated in the Qur’an that lottery is haram. But there are different types of lottery. In today’s business, lotteries are included to attract customers: for example, in computer fair, trade fair even in drinking cokes; but we the customers don't pay for that. Are these haram?

On the internet there are also free lotteries offered in different sites where we need to submit only the mail address not any money. There is another kind of lottery found today in which direct money is collected for lottery but the cause is shown "collecting money for charitable purpose". Is it haram? Please let me know about these sorts of lotteries. Thanks.



Name of Counsellor

Monzer Kahf


Gambling, New transactions


Wa`alykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear brother in Islam, we would like to thank you for showing keenness on knowing the teachings of Islam, and we appreciate the great confidence you repose in us.

Generally speaking, we should stress that gambling is totally forbidden in Islam. Referring to this, Allah Almighty says: “O you who believe, truly intoxicants and gambling and divination by arrows are an abomination of Satan's doing; avoid them in order that you may be successful. Assuredly Satan desires to sow enmity and hatred among you by means of intoxicants and gambling, and to hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. Will you not then desist?” (Al-Ma'idah: 93-94)

Responding to the question, Dr. Monzer Kahf, a prominent Muslim economist and counselor, answers:

Let us make this matter of gambling clear. Gambling is prohibited in the text of the Qur'an; there is no question about that. Gambling is described as taking money from person(s) to give it to others by virtue of a vain chance based on a strike of luck. The Shari`ah does not approve of such gains and losses, or such redistribution of income or money between people because there is no valid basis for it. Valid bases for acquiring a property are sale of goods and services (including labor) and growth of one' own property, such as reproduction of livestock.

Giving prizes on the basis of chance, lottery or random selection is permissible because there is no exchange in it. It is one party giving a prize to the lucky person. Also permissible is merchants giving prizes to customers without a condition to buy any thing and/or with a condition to buy at normal price with no increment for the contribution in the chance to win.

Psychologists usually argue that gambling is addictive, that may put free gambling, on the internet and other facilities, in the prohibited category. I tend to consider it very much detested unless one is 100% sure that he/she is not going to be addicted and drawn unconsciously into the ‘forbidden area’ through the hooking of free gambling.

Finally, the example of the prohibited gambling at the time of revelation was the one practiced by the Arabs in Makkah and its surroundings. It took a philanthropic form: they would slaughter a camel for eating and distribute it to the poor, and they would run the gambling wheel to determine who would pay for it. This was prohibited. Therefore, the education of charity as an objective of gambling does not justify it nor makes it permissible. It is haram because ends do not justify means, and means must always be as good on their own as ends.

You can also read:

Islamic Ruling on Lottery

Islam Prohibits Gambling

If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to write back!

May Allah guide you to the straight path, and guide you to that which pleases Him, Amen.


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