After an exhausting day of unending work, you decide to have a night out with your friends. And you end up in a nightclub or casino where you can enjoy your time by playing a fun and simple-looking game. In no time you find yourself engaged in a gamble which seems to be going on forever. And you end up either losing the money – no matter how much - you have gained through too much effort, or achieve some money without doing any profitable action in return. That is only one instance of this kind of so-called fun called gambling. Though, it sometimes turns out to be much more than simple entertainment and results in losing one’s whole living in a matter of a few seconds. But does Islam allow its followers to go through such an experience? The answer is a definite No [i] & [ii], for this is a lose-lose situation for both parties, financially and psychologically, even though it may not look so. In this matter, Islam, as always plans what is best for the lives of human beings. Let’s regard this issue in depth. Is Gambling in Islam Allowed?
According to all Islamic jurists, games that include the special means of gambling such as cards, backgammon, etc. are forbidden if they are accompanied with betting. Moreover, every kind of game that is played through betting is forbidden. Nevertheless, some scholars believe that playing with the special means of gambling, even without betting, is not allowed [iii]&. This is because the one who plays with particular means of gambling will automatically be accused of betting or may seem like doing it.
The adverse effects of gambling on one’s life as well as the society he/she lives in are many and have been mentioned by many Islamic and/or non-Islamic scholars.
According to a study done in the United States, “more than $5 billion has been lost each year to gambling addictions. In addition, $40 billion has been spent on social services and creditor losses. These studies go on to state that two out of three gambling addicts will engage in illegal acts to pay for their gambling debts. The effect is that the addiction places a severe hardship on prison systems, public assistance programs and legal systems” .
Lose of credit and job is only one among many financial losses that are caused by gambling on an individual but it will not be limited to him/her and requires the society to take care of him/her. Moreover, when a game turns to a real-life lose or win, the one who engages in it sees his/her opponent as a real-life enemy whom he/she needs to defeat. This, as a result, spreads the feeling of enmity, avarice, and vengeance within the society . Quran also emphasizes the evilness of this action: “Indeed Satan seeks to cast enmity and hatred among you through wine and gambling, and to hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and prayer. Will you, then, relinquish?” (5:91).
No matter you lose or win in this game, the effect would be detrimental for you. Let’s say you are a very lucky person and win every time you gamble, what would you do with the growing sense of greed for money? Or with this incessant desire to gamble more and more to the point that you cannot think about anything except gambling? Losing also brings its own destructive results; aside from losing the money that you could spend in a much useful way for yourself or your family, you lose your own self-confidence and feel undermined.
The pressure that is inflicted upon the gambler will inevitably lead to physical problems. According to a study, “the stress of gambling problems sometimes causes health problems, for both the person who gambles and the family. This can include anxiety, depression and stress-related problems such as poor sleep, ulcers, bowel problems, headaches, and muscle pains”. Also, in some cases this mental pressure caused the individual to feel suicidal and want to end his/her life .
When your mind is occupied with gaining more money, how to beat your opponent on the next gamble or how to pay your debts, no place will remain for you to turn and remind yourself of your duty toward Allah and His mercy upon you. And when Allah is absent from your heart and mind, the result is the constant feeling of insecurity and stress, for: “…The hearts find rest in Allah’s remembrance!”(13:28).
Finally, gambling is the cause of many harms to the individual as well as the society. Based on a general rule in Islam, no one is allowed to either “cause harm or return harm”  to him/herself or others. As it was mentioned above, gambling brings many financial as well as psychological complexities for the people involved in it and the society they live in. Therefore Islam does not allow its followers to bear such disadvantages.
[i] (2:219), (5:90).
[ii] Imam Reza (AS) Said: “Allah forbids His followers from any kind of gambling and ordered them to refuse doing them and called them impure and evil…” .
[iii] It is important to note that for the participants in horse racing and archery the action of betting is allowed . The reason for that was Islam’s attention to the importance of learning the martial arts for Muslims.
The one who converts to Islam or someone who has just decided to know more about Islam, you may have come across this dilemma as to which books are better to study and which would give you a fuller and more comprehensive view of Islamic matters.
In what follows we have suggested some of the most significant Islamic books which are essential for anyone who is interested in Islam or is looking for answers to his/her questions. The books in this list include basic pillars of Islam, the most important obligatory practices, as well as ethical, historical and philosophical matters related to the religion of Islam.
The intellectual miracle of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the Quran is the holy book of Muslims which includes many historical, ethical, spiritual and social matters brought through a unique, cohesive and capturing language. This book offers anyone who is in search of the truth with revealing and thought-provoking information and is a must-read book for converts to Islam.
Nahjul Balagha includes a series of sermons, letters, and sayings by Imam Ali (AS) and compiled by Allamah Sharif Razi which deal with many a wide variety of topics including our existence, our relationship with God, Islamic codes of ethics in all aspects of life whether personal or social. Reading this book helps you realize the deep moral concerns of Islam and the wisdom that lies behind this religion.
Written by an influential German scholar, Annemarie Schimmel provides us with unbiased, simple and introductory information about the religion of Islam. This book approaches Islam with a more historical attitude through which the pre-Islamic time, the emergence of Islam, the figure of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUHHP) as the messenger of this religion and the process of Islam’s expansion are explained. It also includes some information about the Quran, the Islamic law, and tradition, the philosophy of Islam, different Islamic sects, mysticism, etc. It can be a very helpful guide for converts to Islam.
This brief e-book provided by Salam Islam explains the three significant steps before the action of converting to Islam. These include the belief in one God (Monotheism), belief in the prophets (Prophethood) send by God and the belief in the afterlife (Ma’ad).
This book, written in a relatively simple language, presents a summary of the teachings of Islam to provide some information for those who are not able to examine Islamic matters deeply and in a specialized manner. The book starts with a general reflection on the concept of religion and belief, explains the pillars of Islam and finally gives an insight into the practical principles of Islam.
This book is an attempt to bring a clearer understanding of the concepts that are mentioned in the Quran which is very helpful for converts to Islam. It starts with the ways the Quran can be understood, and it comprises of two main parts: Understanding the Quran analytically and Reason in the view of the Quran. Very thorough and interesting work.
Have you ever wondered about your existence? Why have you been created? What is the purpose of your life? This book discusses the goal of life from the viewpoints of the Quran and various schools of thought. The topics discussed throughout this book include the goal of creation, the basis of individual and social ethics, faith, schools of thought and world vision, Islamic faith, and human perfection, and the summary of Islamic monotheism.
This book offers a timely presentation of the core spiritual and social values of Islam: peace, compassion, social justice, and respect for the other. Seizing this unique moment in history to reflect on the essence of his tradition, Seyyed Hossein Nasr seeks to "open a spiritual and intellectual space for mutual understanding." Exploring Islamic values in scripture, traditional sources, and history, he also shows their clear counterparts in the Jewish and Christian traditions, revealing the common ground of the Abrahamic faiths.
Why do we need religion? What is the benefit of believing in a particular religion? This book written by one of the most significant Muslim scholars offers an in-depth discussion on the philosophy behind the concept of religion and how it shapes our lives toward perfection and happiness.
10. What is Hajj (the holy pilgrimage) and Why Do We Perform It? By Salam Islam
The ritual of Hajj or the Islamic holy pilgrimage is one of the most important occasions in the Islamic calendar. During this period Muslims from all around the world gather in the holy city of Mecca to perform certain rituals. In this e-book, you will get familiar with the basic rituals that must be performed during Hajj and know more about the philosophy behind these rituals.
Hijab in Islam is a common term that represents a range of personal and social codes of behavior and addresses women specifically while requiring specific actions on the part of men as well. In this e-book Hijab and modesty in Islam will be explained through six facts that reveal different aspects and reasons regarding this concept.
What are the rules and regulations that Muslims should observe in their eating habits? This e-book provides the converts to Islam with a brief and straightforward guide to the kinds of foods and drinks Muslims are allowed to use and those that are forbidden to them.
Why do Muslims perform the prayer (Salat)? What are the spiritual and mental benefits of this action? What are the secrets that lie behind the disciplines of Salat? This book offers a great insight into one of the most important obligatory practices of Muslims, prayer (Salat), and help new Muslims and converts to Islam to have a better understanding of this action.
Written by one of the converts to Islam, this book illustrates common challenges and issues faced by converts, the reasoning behind the conversion, analysis from a Western view of many controversial or misunderstood topics in Islam, and basic information needed by new converts.
Please note that here we have attempted to name a few most significant books that can give you a better insight into the religion of Islam and help you in your path toward converting to Islam. However, there are many other helpful and great books that approach Islamic matters sophisticatedly many of which you can find in Salam Islam’ s library and other online Islamic libraries.
In the previous part of this topic, we emphasized that advertising peace and educating peaceful followers are of the main purposes of Islam. Here we review some more Islamic pieces of advice and lessons on having a balanced life and being in peace with other people of either the same religion or other.
Being equable and good-tempered, and avoiding irascibility and harsh words are continuously advised to in the Islamic teachings such that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is invited in the Quran to “argue with them (unbelievers) in a way that is best” (16:125). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Imams (AS), as role models for Muslims, have demonstrated these acts in a way that the Quran says about the Prophet (PBUH): “And indeed, you are of a great moral character” (68:4). That is why the Quran says about Prophet Muhammad (PBUH): “So by mercy from Allah, you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you” (3:159).
Imam Sadiq (AS) has described being good-tempered as: “using friendly words, nice behavior and receiving your brother happily” . Imam Ali (AS) said that the best and most important deed of a “believer” is behaving nicely with people . Even in the case of facing ignorant people, it is encouraged to treat kindly: “And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] peace” (25:63).
These examples and many other Islamic pieces of advice demonstrate how much Islam cares about one’s behavior towards others.
This is true that moderation can develop peace. Islam recognizes moderation as the most efficient and pleasant approach in life and interaction with others. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that: “the best of every affair is the middle of it” . The Quran describes Muslims as a moderate community and says that: “we have made you a just community that you will be witnesses over the people and the Messenger will be a witness over you” (2:143). This means that the nation and people who are educated based on the Islamic teachings and the Quranic guidelines will avoid extremes; neither they are radical, nor conservative .
However, whenever the truth (Haq) and falsehood (Batil) are clear and apparent, there is no place for moderation. An example is the holy struggle (Jihad); i.e., when land is attacked by others, there should be no moderation and defense becomes obligatory.
Islam has considered the rights for every being, from parts of the body to neighbors, parents, etc. Then, it is not surprising if Islam also considers some rights for non-Muslims over Muslims. Of the rights of non-Muslims are to believe in the promises they have given the Islamic state; not to bother them about what they want or on what they are obliged to; to judge among them just as God has ordered; not to oppress them since Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said that he would be against anyone who oppresses a non-Muslim1 . Imam Ali (AS) was sensitive to any harm or injustice to whether Muslims or non-Muslims. He (AS) said that: “if someone is not of your religion, he is still a human being like you.”, he (AS) was therefore against any harm or damage to non-Muslims .
After the rise of Islam, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) adopted the approach of moderation and fairness with the followers of the previous Abrahamic religions.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) defended boldly Muslims and himself whenever needed. He (PBUH&HP) opposed any violence to Muslims, but he (PBUH&HP) still cared about the prisoners of the wars. He (PBUH&HP) had ordered to treat them with moderation, mercy, and humanity, to do good to them and to forgive them. Prisoners were usually kept in the mosques or proper and clean homes. The troops of Islam, following the manner of Prophet (PBUH&HP), preferred prisoners to themselves such that they provided prisoners with better foods and clothes. If a prisoner did not want to reveal the secrets of the enemies, he would not be beaten but whoever did so would be released .
Considering the points mentioned above about how Islam educates peaceful followers and how it considers rights for non-Muslims, the role of Islam in promoting peace can be fully grasped. However, this should not be confused that a Muslim must endure every situation or the violation of his\her rights or the rights of the Muslims in general. The key point is that a Muslim chooses the moderation and peace as the first solution to his social affairs as long as it does not require the violation of the rights of one or several people.
1 Here, the term “non-Muslim” refers only to a non-Muslim who is the citizen of an Islamic state or a non-Muslim who lives in a non-Muslim country which is in agreement with Muslims.
- Ibn Babawayh, "Man la yahduruhu al-Faqih," vol. 4, p. 412.
- Ibn Shu'ba al-Harrani, "Tuhaf al-'uqul," p. 200.
- Allama Majlisi, “Bihar al-Anwar,” vol. 74, p. 383.
- Reference to: “How and why did Islam spread very quickly throughout the world? – Part 4: Islam and its moderate views.”
- Imam Zayn al-'Abidin (AS), “Treatise On Rights (Risalat al-Huquq).”
- M. al-Kulayni, "Kitab al-Kafi."
- peace in islam