Question: Are claw games, and other such funfair games, like coconut shy permissible?
Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
Thank you for your important question.
Such games are permissible. They are not what the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) meant by prohibiting sales concluded by throwing an item of sale at the buyer and concluding the sale without knowing what is bought. (Bukhari)
In claw games, coconut shy, and the like, one is paying for a known service (the game itself), and the price is secondary. For example, when playing coconut shy, one is clearly not trying to buy coconuts: one is just having a bit of fun and does not really care how many coconuts he will get to take home. Because of this, there is no real ambiguity (gharar).
If however, the prize is large and clearly becomes the whole point of buying the ticket, it would become sinful and invalid because it would be gambling.
Please also see:
I pray this helps.
[Ustadh] Farid Dingle
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.