Answered by: Maulana Syed Johir Miah
An organisation has organised a Quran competition. There are different categories and different rounds, those people who reach the final and achieve 1st, 2nd or 3rd position will be awarded a prize.
However, all entrants are required to pay an admin fee of 15 pounds, my question is would an “admin” fee be allowed for the above competition where there are prizes?
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Sayyiduna Abdullah Ibn Abbas ( رضى الله عنهما )defined gambling in the following words:
إنّ المُخاطَرَةَ قِمارٌ وإنَّ أهْلَ الجاهِلِيَّةِ كانُوا يُخاطِرُونَ عَلى المالِ، والزَّوْجَةِ، وقَدْ كانَ ذَلِكَ مُباحًا إلى أنْ ورَدَ تَحْرِيمُهُ
Risk-taking is gambling, and the people of the days of ignorance (Jahiliyyah) used to risk their money and their wife, and that was permissible until it was forbidden.
If after paying for something a person is uncertain of whether or not they will receive the item, then this is deemed to be gambling.
In Islam, all forms of gambling are forbidden.
In the scenario provided, all the entrants will be paying an admin fee and may or may not win the prize at the end of the competition.
This will be considered gambling and will not be permissible.
Whether it is called; admin fee or handling fee or any other name similar to it, it will be considered a gamble and therefore impermissible.
However, should there be a prize offered by one side only then this will be permissible. Such as, if the entry was free and the top three people are given gifts, then that would be permissible.
In the aforementioned case, it will not be permissible to have an “admin” fee for the above competition where there are prizes are only given to the first three people, as it is going to be gambling.
However, if there is no entry fee, then the competition will not be regarded as gambling and therefore it will be permissible.
Only Allah knows best.
Written by Maulana Syed Johir Miah
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham
 Ahkamul Quran, Jassas, 398/1, Darul Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, 1415 H.