Posted February 27, 2014 by John Baintree in News

Why is Gambling Prohibited in Islam?


Ask an Islamic cleric about why gambling is prohibited in Islam is an invitation to a response that is not likely to be fully understood by western lay persons. Perhaps though, the best place is to start with a simple question about the nature of Islam as a faith.

Islam is a faith that consists of a number of directives that are supposed to determine how the faithful live their lives, rather like the ten commandments of Christian faith but far more central to Islam. The objective of all of these directives is to ensure the human spirit is cleansed of the effect of excess and remains as pure as possible. So, any activity that produces behaviour traits considered wrong is banned by Islam sine the corrupt the soul.

A man should always base his economic activity on his own abilities rather than rely on chance because reliance on chance can, according to Islam, lead to cowardice and superstition. The motivation to make effort and work hard can also suffer if a man gambles and he runs the risk of creating severe financial difficulty or his family meaning there is common ground with the thoughts of many western people.

Islam also prohibits activity that directly causes problems; rather it prohibits activities that can become the source of problems, in western parlance, those that may become habit forming.

It is also prohibited because it involves taking money from someone without actually earning it. A gambler makes no effort when they win, rather they are using chance to secure themselves earnings. Under fundamental Islamic interpretation the benefits of gambling are equivalent to the benefit resulting from theft. This interpretation is enshrined in Sharia law which even states that it is un-Islamic for a bank to pay interest on deposits as the interest is not earned and arises as a result of gambling.

Allah also prohibits gambling because it is addictive and it can drive a man towards more and more gambling, placing his family at risk. Families can break up and this is just the beginning of social the social ills that arise from the habit. It also prohibited because the gambler becomes so focused on their gambling they forget their responsibilities to Allah and is likely to resort to crimes to fund the their habit.