Is it permissible to play a card game that involves winning/loosing money; but the player is guaranteed to make money in the long run by using proven lawful strategies (in respect to the rules of the game) and techniques? In the short term the player may win or lose but over time the winnings will outnumber any losses by a known factor.
The game involves the player placing a amount of money against the dealer. The dealer then deals the cards and if the outcome is greater than the dealer the dealer must pay the player equal amount of the player’s initial wager, if the dealer has higher cards the player looses their initial wager. In the long run there are proven lawful strategies and techniques that will ensure the player wins.
Is the above considered gambling even though the player is guaranteed to win in the long run? Is this not like any other business where you buy a product for a certain amount of money and try to sell it for more. Usually you will sell for more but there are times where you may have to sell for less or break even. In the case of card game the player is not buying or selling a product but is trading on their intellect and skill? Is it the same as working in a office where you do not necessarily trade in a product; or the company you work for does not trade in a product but you still get paid for doing a set of activities based on skill and capabilities? In a job if you fail to perform your duties there is always the possibility that you will get fired or if the business is doing particularly badly you will lose your job?
Jazakallah for your time
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
The game in question, by its definition, is gambling.[i] Gambling is strictly forbidden in the Holy Quran. Gambling can never make one prosper. Infact, prosperity, success and happiness lie in shunning gambling and other evil acts. False hope, such as to believe that gambling will bring success and prosperity in the long term (or the short term), is one of the tricks Satan uses to destroy the life of the people in this world and that of the hereafter by luring them into gambling, and, ultimately, away from the remembrance of Allah, His commands and His mercy. Allah, the Almighty, says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا إِنَّمَا الْخَمْرُ وَالْمَيْسِرُ وَالْأَنْصَابُ وَالْأَزْلَامُ رِجْسٌ مِنْ عَمَلِ الشَّيْطَانِ فَاجْتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُون(90) إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَنْ يُوقِعَ بَيْنَكُمُ الْعَدَاوَةَ وَالْبَغْضَاءَ فِي الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ وَيَصُدَّكُمْ عَنْ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَعَنِ الصَّلَاةِ فَهَلْ أَنْتُمْ مُنْتَهُونَ (91)
‘O those who believe, verily wine, gambling, altar-stones and divining arrows are filth, a work of Satan. Therefore, refrain from it, so that you may be successful. The Satan wants nothing but to plant enmity and malice between you through wine and gambling, and to prevent you from the remembrance of Allah and from the Salat. Would you, then, abstain?’ (Quran 5:90-91)
Gambling never has and never will bring success and happiness – the verse above makes this abundantly clear. Gambling has always brought with it miseries such as dissension, break up of families, violence and destruction of ones life as the life of others, just to name a few. If gambling did, in the long run, guarantee success then governments around the world would not be spending large sums of money on rehabilitating gambling addicts and would, instead, be encouraging the addicts to continue gambling. They would be holding classes to teach gambling strategies that guarantee success. How many people have destroyed their lives through alcohol, gambling and other evils! One only needs to look at the statistics to find out. Only if they took heed of the message of the Holy Quran!
Even if it is assumed that there are strategies that guarantee that the gambler will always win, it will still not be permissible to engage in such an activity. The reason is that such an act, then, will be tantamount to exchanging fewer amount of money for more, which, by its definition, is usury or interest and is strictly forbidden by the Holy Quran.[ii]
Comparing the risk of loss associated with the game in question with the risk of loss associated with business is not valid as the game in question is gambling which is haram, and engaging in business is halal. Moreover, engaging in the game in question is not like engaging in a business transaction in the sense that a transaction is the buying or selling of a commodity with mutual agreement; whereas, in the game no commodity is bought or sold.[iii]
Gambling is also not comparable to working in an office, where you are paid for devoting your time and effort for the benefit of the company. Also, the income earned from such a job is not based upon chance as is the case in gambling.
May Allah give us the understanding of His deen and the tawfeeq to act upon it. Ameen.
والله الموفق للصواب ويهدي إليه من أناب
And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
Ml. Faizal Riza
Correspondence Iftaa Student, Australia
Checked and Approved by:
Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa, Madrassah In’aamiyyah
[i] لأن القمار من القمر الذي يزداد تارة وينقص أخرى ، وسمي القمار قمارا لأن كل واحد من المقامرين ممن يجوز أن يذهب ماله إلى صاحبه ، ويجوز أن يستفيد مال صاحبه وهو حرام بالنص ( رد المحتار: ج 9 ص 665 دار المعرفة )
[ii] ( الفصل السادس في تفسير الربا وأحكامه ) وهو في الشرع عبارة عن فضل مال لا يقابله عوض في معاوضة مال بمال وهو محرم في كل مكيل وموزون بيع مع جنسه ( الفتاوى الهندية: ج 3 ص 125 دار الكتب العلمية )
[iii] ( الباب الأول في تعريف البيع وركنه وشرطه وحكمه وأنواعه ) أما تعريفه فمبادلة المال بالمال بالتراضي ( الفتاوى الهندية: ج 3 ص 3 دار الكتب العلمية )