In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate; peace and blessing be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
Al-Fatihah (The Opening)
Praise be to God, the Sustainer of all the Worlds.
The Merciful, the Compassionate.
Lord of the Day of Judgement
Thee alone do we worship and Thee
Do we ask for help.
Guide us on the Straight Path.
The path of those on whom Thou has bestowed Thy Grace
Not of those whom is Thy Wrath,
Nor those who have gone astray.
Ameen. (O God! do grant us our request)
“O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, Al Ansab, and Al Azlam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Satan's handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful. Satan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drinks) and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from the prayer. So, will you not then abstain?” (Al-Ma'idah 5:90-91).
A preacher, Dr Azhar Yaakob during his fortnightly religious classes in my office recently, asked journalist to keep on highlighting gambling issues, particularly after the government’s decision to allow Berjaya Group operating gambling activities during FIFA World Cup in June.
Based on Allah’s in Surah Al-Maidah 5:90 (the meaning as above), Dr Azhar discussed the four dirty acts and great sins mentioned, namely; taking alcoholic drinks, gambling, seeking ones luck and believing and praying to deity.
He said, all were the acts of Satan, and it is responsibility of all Muslims to stay away from them. If other Muslims were involved, they had to be advised and action taken against them in line with the laws mentioned in the Qur’an and the hadiths (saying and action of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, pbuh).
Dr Azhar said based on social analysis carried out, ‘kaki judi’ (people who are addicted to gambling) had never becoming rich; only those who organise them (towkays) seemed to have the world at their feet.
These ‘towkays’ may have vast assets and billions of ringgits and listed among the richest men in the world, but spiritually their lives were empty.
The preacher said alcoholic drinks and gambling prevented believers from remembering Allah the Almighty, thus 100 percent of those involve in these activities, do not ‘solat’ (say their prayers). It was because gambling and wine are roots of all evils.
“It’s different from other ‘haram’ (forbidden) acts such as stealing and involving in illicit sex as some among those involved still say their prayers. Remember a story about a man who had killed 100 persons, but his repentance was accepted by Allah SWT,” said Dr Azhar.
Regarding this story, Abu Sa’eed ibn Maalik ibn Sineen al-Kudri (r.a.) reported that the Prophet of Allah (pbuh) said: “There was among the people who came before you a man who killed ninety-nine people. Then he asked about the most knowledgeable person on earth, and was directed to a hermit, so he went to him, told him that he had killed ninety-nine people, and asked if he could be forgiven.
“The hermit says, ‘No,’ so he killed him, thus completing one hundred. Then he asked about the most knowledgeable person on the earth and was directed to a scholar. He told him that he had killed one hundred people, and asked whether he could be forgiven. The scholar said, ‘Yes, what could be possibly come between you and repentance? Go to such-and-such a town, for in it there are people who worship Allah.
“Go and worship with them, and do not go back to your own town, for it is a bad place’. So the man set off, but when he was halfway there, the angel of death came to him, and the angels of mercy and angels of wrath began to argue over him. The angels of mercy said: ‘He had repented and was seeking Allah.’ The angels of wrath said: ‘He never did any good thing.’ An angel in human form came to them, and they asked him to decide the matter.
“He said: ‘Measure the distance between the two lands (his home town and the town he has heading for), and whichever of the two is closest to is the one to which he belongs.’ So they measured the distance, and found he is closer to the town for which he had been headed, so the angels of mercy took him.”
According to a report in As-Saheeh; “The righteous town was a hand-span closer, so he was counted as one of its people.” According to another report in As-Saheeh: “Allah commanded (the evil town) to move away, and (the righteous town) to move closer, and said: ‘Measure the distance between them,’ and they found him to be a hand-span closer to the righteous town, so he was forgiven.”
Dr Azhar stressed that those involved in gambling and drinking were actually doing the works of Satan. “They would never succeed in life, what’s more in the Hereafter as mentioned in Ayah 90 of Surah Al-Maidah (So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful).
Regarding the Umno-BN government decision in approving gambling license to Berjaya Group for the coming FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Dr Azhar said even the money gained would be huge, amounted to hundreds of millions ringgit, the country had to pay a high price for it.
“Imagine we are inviting the wrath from Allah SWT, if He punishes us, then we would be finished. Remember how Aceh was totally wiped out by tsunami in 2004, and now we are challenging Him by doing the things He had forbidden us.”
Dr Azhar pleaded to all quarters of society, Muslims and non-Muslims to intensify efforts to oppose the government decision in awarding the gambling licence. He said nowadays society was on the cliffs of collapsing, heavy crimes such as looting and killing were rampant and if gambling was allowed, things would be getting worse.
Meanwhile, Batu member of Parliament, Tian Chua said not only Muslims oppose the government decision on gambling but believers of other faith. He said almost every school had a football club and he’s afraid pupils would be involved in small scale gambling at a very early age, copying events from the World Cup. He too said efforts should be intensified to ward off gambling activities.
Gambling is ‘haram’ (forbidden) in Islam but there must be alternatives such as healthy participation in sports.
Regarding to alternatives to gambling, Islamonline quoted Sheikh Faysal Mawlawi, deputy chairman of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, saying that Islam encourages Muslims to participate in permissible competitions and prohibits them from betting, which is the same as gambling.
A fatwa issued by Al-Azhar's House of Fatwa states that gambling is prohibited according to Qur'anic verses, Al-Ma'idah 5:90-91 as mentioned at the beginning of this article.
Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah, Mu`awiyah, Ibn Salih, `Ata', Tawus, and Mujahid said that the Arabic word ‘maysir’ in the verse refers to gambling. Accordingly, anything that involves gambling is regarded as ‘maysir’, which is prohibited by this verse, except for the kind that involves competition, which is permissible according to a legal Islamic proof as will be shown later.
Gambling is also prohibited according to the following verses: [O you who believe! Eat not up your property among yourselves unjustly except it bea trade amongst you, by mutual consent. And do not kill yourselves (nor kill one another). Surely, Allah is Most Merciful to you. And whoever commits that through aggression and injustice, We shall cast him into the Fire, and that is easy for Allah] (An-Nisaa' 4:29-30), and [And eat up not one another's property unjustly, nor give bribery to the rulers (judges before presenting your cases) that you may knowingly eat up a part of the property of others sinfully] (Al-Baqarah 2:188).
Eating up other people's property unjustly has two forms. The first is taking the money of someone against their will, through oppression, theft, treachery, usurpation, etc. The other form is taking someone's money with their consent but through a prohibited way, such as gambling and riba (interest). In this regard, Muslim scholars unanimously agree upon the prohibition of gambling.
The Lawgiver of Shari`ah prohibits gambling, including today's various kinds of bets, because of the resultant evils that we witness every day. Gambling has caused the bankruptcy of many bettors and ruined their homes and families. It has also led many of them to commit all kinds of crimes, such as theft, embezzlement, and even suicide.
Whoever reflects on these and other disastrous consequences of gambling has increasing faith that it is out of Allah's mercy that He has prohibited gambling as well as many other things that have disastrous consequences.