Is Chess Haram or Halal?

Is Chess Haram or Halal?

Islam strictly prohibits anything related to gambling, cheating, and false oath; therefore, most people are confused about whether chess is halal or haram. As some people associate chess with gambling, they consider it haram. But is it so? Is chess haram? 


There is a difference of opinion among Islamic scholars as to whether chess is halal or haram. According to some, chess is haram because it is similar to gambling and wasting time and money. But others say that it’s not haram as long as playing chess does not involve any gambling and other haram practices. 


Let’s go ahead and learn in detail what Islamic scholars have to say about playing chess. 

Is Chess Haram, Or Is It Not? 

There isn’t a unanimous opinion on whether chess is haram or not. Saudi Arabia has banned chess, considering it a haram practice that encourages gambling and wasting time. 

Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh issued a fatwa where he said that chess is haram because it is similar to gambling. It’s not only a waste of time and money but also induces hatred or enmity among the players. 

He referred to the Quranic verse, which bans any kind of intoxicants, gambling, idolatry, and divination. The motive was to make people understand that chess is similar to gambling, which may deviate people from their other necessary duties. Therefore, chess is haram. 


Here is what the Quran mentions about gambling- 

“O believers! Intoxicants, gambling, idols, and drawing lots for decisions are all evil of Satan’s handiwork. So shun them so you may be successful.”

‏يَٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ إِنَّمَا ٱلْخَمْرُ وَٱلْمَيْسِرُ وَٱلْأَنصَابُ وَٱلْأَزْلَمُ رِجْسٌۭ مِّنْ عَمَلِ ٱلشَّيْطَنِ فَٱجْتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ


Some scholars say that if playing chess distracts us from the responsibilities or duties we are obliged to carry in our day-to-day life, chess is haram. For example, if you get so immersed in chess that you ignore offering Namaz or your duties towards your families, it is haram. 

Additionally, while playing chess, if you are involved in haram practices like- false swearing, lying, cheating, directly or indirectly involved in wrongdoing, and other similar practices, chess is haram. 

But if it does not distract you from your everyday duties, and you don’t involve yourself in anything that is impermissible, chess is not haram. 

Most people in current times do not consider chess haram. Some Muslims are of the opinion that they consider the Quran as their guiding book, and they don’t find any verse that talks about chess as haram. 

Some people are also of the opinion that chess is particularly haram in Saudi Arabia because the game of chess goes against the rule of their royal families. 

But irrespective of different opinions, most Islamic scholars like Abu Haneefah, Maalik, Ahmed, Al-Qurtubi, and others believe that playing chess is forbidden. It is going against the permission of Allah and hence, must not at all be practiced. 

According to most of these scholars, playing chess is similar to dice; in the Quran, playing dice was strictly prohibited. In fact, playing dice was compared to dipping one’s finger in the flesh and blood of a pig. 


Final Thoughts 

After going through the opinions of different Islamic scholars, it’s safe to say that there isn’t a single thought on whether chess is haram or halal. Even though there is no specific mention in the Quran about chess, religious preachers relate it to dice and gambling and hence consider it impermissible. 

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