Q335 :Is it permissible for a Muslim to take part in
the big lotteries which offer very high prizes, amounting to millions
A335 : When you look at Islamic legislation, you
realize that the ways in which one person can take the money of another
are very limited indeed. They include trade, employment, gifts and
inheritance. Beyond this there is not any ground for a person to take
someone else's money. When you consider how lotteries are operated,
you find that a company or a government offers tickets and numbers for
sale. What is sold in this way is neither tangible nor of any value.
Because it comes with a chance to be included in the draw, people are
willing to exchange these valueless tickets for a considerable amount
of money. A ticket in the Canadian or West German lotteries costs
hundreds of dollars. This amount of money is exchanged for an entry in
the draw, which again remains of no value, unless a prize is won.
There is an important principle in Islam which states that it is not
permissible to sell something which has no benefit to man. This rule
applies to lottery tickets, hence it is not permissible to sell them.
What is unlawful to sell is unlawful to buy. Furthermore, a lottery is
a method of gambling. All gambling is forbidden in Islam. The
prohibition is clearly stated in the Qur'an in the same verse which
prohibits all intoxicants. The Qur'anic verse describes intoxicants and
gambling as "an impurity of Satan's work." It commands all believers
not to come near them and explains that through them Satan tries to
create enmity and hatred among the believers. In lotteries, this is
clearly apparent. When it is announced that someone has won the
jackpot, all those who have spent some of their money to buy tickets to
enter the lottery are full of envy. They declare that the winner has
taken their money. When you ask them how they tell you that if it was
not for the money of those who have participated in the lottery, no
prize would have been offered. In addition, the company or the
government which runs the lottery does not engage in it for fun, it
stands to win large sums of money. What it offers in return is nothing.
It is all a gimmick which takes money from a very large number of
people and put it in the hands of a few. As such, lotteries are
forbidden to run and forbidden to enter.
Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )