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Islam and Gambling: Ghulamhusein and the Game of chance (Gambling Story, Evils of Gambling)

Islam and GamblingGhulamhusein was a popular social figure and a keen host of guests coming to him from distant lands. He lived in Moshi, a beautiful small town at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Ghulamhusein was generous and hospitable to one and all. One of his hobbies during leisure hours particularly on Saturdays and Sundays was to play the game of cards or the game of chance with his friends. For hours they used to get together where they enjoyed the game of chance. It was not with the aim of gambling but rather just for pleasure and pass time.

Once in the midst of a lively game of cards, his servant came to inform him that a guest of his was seriously ill at the guest house and needed his immediate attention. Ghulamhusein sent the servant back saying he would come soon. But he was so much engrossed to withdraw from it. So he continued to play the game of chance with keen interest.

After a while, his servant came again to report that the condition of the guest was deteriorating and needed his urgent attention as there was no one else to attend. But Ghulamhusein was so deeply engrossed in the game of chance that he did not want to be disturbed. As such, again he sent the servant back promising to come soon.

By the time he could be free from the very mind captivating game of cards or the game of chance, the servant came for the third time. But this time he reported that the guest of his a poor traveler from distant lands had already died. This news gave a shock of his life to Ghulamhusein. It convinced him of the evil and harmful effect of such an indoor game. There and there he vowed never to indulge himself in such a game.

Is this not an eye-opening example of an intoxicating and mentally distracting game of cards or the game of chance, commonly played today either as a pass-time or for gambling purposes? Perhaps it also explains the philosophy behind absolute Islamic forbiddance to play or watch such a game, even without the chance of gaining or losing money. It is meant to be prevention than a cure, lest man is one day tempted to use the game for gambling purpose.


Islam and Gambling: Gambling is a problem, Gambling is a sin (Gambling Addiction Symptoms)

With regard to the wisdom behind this prohibition in Islam, any wise person will see that there are many reasons for it, including the following:

1. Gambling makes a person rely on accidents, luck and wishful thinking for his earnings, instead of hard work, the sweat of his brow and paying respect to the ways prescribed by Allah.

2. Gambling destroys families and causes the loss of wealth through unlawful (Haraam) means. It makes rich families poor and humiliates proud souls.

3. Gambling results in enmity and hatred among the players, because they are consuming one another's wealth unlawfully and getting wealth unlawfully.

Evils of Gambling4. Gambling turns people away from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer, and pushes the players to have the worst of attitudes and habits.

5. Gambling is a sinful hobby that wastes time and effort, and makes people get used to laziness and idleness. It stops the ummah from working and producing.

6. Gambling pushes people to commit crimes because the one who is penniless wants to get hold of money in any way he can, even if he has to steal it or take it by force, or through accepting bribes and cheating.

7. Gambling causes stress, illness and nervous breakdowns. It breeds hatred and in most cases leads to crime, suicide, insanity and chronic illness.

8. Gambling pushes the gambler to bad behavior such as drinking alcohol and taking drugs. The atmosphere in which gambling takes place is dimly lit and filled with cigarette smoke; people talk in hushed voices and whispers, and sneak in and out as if they are up to no good. They come in hesitantly, filled with suspicion, and gather around the green table, breathing uneasily and with their hearts pounding. They are supposed to be friends playing a game, but in reality they are enemies, each of them lying in wait for the other and trying to make gains at the expense of the other and his children. The owner of the place tries to numb the feelings of all participants by offering dreamy music, fallen women, all kinds of drinks and cigarettes. The green table is surrounded with cheating and deception. The waiters and girls may tell one player about another player's cards, helping one player to beat another by means of nods and whispers. Sometimes they achieve a kind of balance to make sure the game carries on and people stay for longer. No doubt everyone loses in the end; they lose the money they spend on drinks and cigarettes, the money they give to the waiters, the money they spend on drinks for the girls, and all kinds of other losses. Even the one who wins all or most of the games loses all or most of his winnings, and the loser loses everything. And at the end of the night, they all sneak away; showing the signs of depression and humiliation, and the loser warns the winner to look out the next day.

Islam and Gambling: Gambling is a problem, Gambling is a sin (Gambling Addiction Symptoms)

While permitting a variety of games and sports, Islam prohibits any game which involves betting, that is, which has an element of gambling in it. But why do people become interested (Gambling Addiction) in such game of chance, be it cards, billiard ball or chess at casinos and gambling dens? A number of reasons could be put forward for this.

A mentally active young man happens to look for a time-pass, away from his usual home or office environment, and, he is misled to believe that a casino or a billiard club is the best place for this. Or it is possible that he is tempted by a friend for his company to play a game. But more than that, it is the greed and temptation of an easy and quick chance of making money by gambling. Again he is misled to believe that he is lagging behind whilst his friend and relatives mint millions of easy money in the gambling dens.

A gambler often spends hours at the gambling dens at the expense of his valuable time for his other moral and religious duties towards his Allah and family. Should he lose in one game of chance, he is tempted to play again and again till he recovers his loss. Should he win and make some money, he is again tempted to play in order to double and treble his day's easy earning from the game of chance.

Thus, the mind of a gambler becomes corrupt and his aim of life revolves round money. His goal of life ultimately is to mint money, more and more. His mind is so much distracted that he is no more able to concentrate in his normal job or studies. In the temptation of making more or easy money, his heart is all the time drawn and attached to the gambling table. And when the tide turns against him and he incurs losses after losses in the gambling business, the time comes when he is obliged to dispose off his personal belongings to pay off the debts. The family life at home becomes disrupted as a result and he is then detested and looked down upon by the society and his own family members.

Islam which has come as a total code of life for man has condemned and forbidden every game of chance. The following verses of the Noble Qur'an are a good guidance.

Gambling Addiction Symptoms"They ask you about intoxicants and games of chance. Say: In both of them there is a great sin and means of profit for men, and their sin is greater than their profit. And they ask you as to what they should spend. Say: What you can spare. Thus does Allah make clear to you the communications that you may ponder" Noble Qur'an (2:219)

Ithm as used in the Noble Qur'an is interpreted as that sinful condition in the human intellect and soul whereby he is distracted and kept away from reaching acts of goodness and perfection. Therefore, what it means is that drinks and gambling - two of the major sins in Islam - as the source of great harm to human body and soul.

"The Shaitan only desires to cause enmity and hatred to spring in your midst by means of intoxicants and games of chance, and to keep you off from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. Will you then desist?" Noble Qur'an (5:91)

It is quite evident from the above verses of Noble Qur'an that the enmity and hatred in addition to distraction from the remembrance of Allah and prayers results from gambling and drinking.

The Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) and his progeny have strongly condemned the game of chance. Imam Radha (as) has said: "Allah has described gambling as a filthy and impure act of Satan and has warned people to keep away from it." Can a wise man and a true Muslim ever think of going near to satanic games of chance and take the risk of ruining his life? Certainly not!

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Islamic Moral Stories is designed by Akramulla Syed Last Updated: Friday, February 12, 2010