Free Lottery Tickets Halal?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by

Answered by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari

Is it halal to take part in a lottery if the tickets are free? They come from a gas station chain, as you buy gas you accumulate points and after a certain number of points the person gets a free ticket. If the number happened to come out, would the money be halal?

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

No, it would not be permitted to avail of the free lottery ticket. The reason being is that the money given to the lottery-winner is accumulated from the money of all those who took part in purchasing the many lottery tickets, hence all this money is pooled together and then given to the winner.

This money, gained from such lotteries, is unlawful and filthy and must be given to the poor people in charity without making an intention of reward, as is the case with all unlawful (haram) money.

However, one will not be receiving the sin of gambling, for gambling involves placing one’s own wealth or money at stake, in that one will loose the money completely or receive more in return. By getting a free ticket, one is not putting any money at stake, thus it cannot be considered gambling, but it will still not be permitted to take the ticket and benefit from the money. If one has taken such money, it should be given to the poor without the intention of reward.

Looking at the issue from another perspective, it could well fall into the category of gambling. The reason being is that normally when a free ticket and the like are given, their cost is included in the price of what is being sold. So when one purchases gas, one will be paying somewhat extra in order to accumulate points and then receive a (free) ticket. The price of this ticket will be included in the gas or petrol, even though it may not be perceptible because of the difference being very minimal. Hence, if this is taken into account, one will be involved in the sin of gambling by receiving a free ticket.

And Allah knows best

Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari
Darul Iftaa, Leicester, UK

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