Maysir (Gambling) in Islam:
The prohibition of maysir or gambling in Islam is rooted in a broader Islamic law promoting socio-economic justice. As a faith that encourages effort and mutually beneficial transactions, Islam views gambling as a detrimental activity that can lead to financial ruin and social disharmony. Gambling fosters a reliance on luck rather than productive effort and can breed greed, desperation, and a disregard for one’s responsibilities. It can lead to addiction, negatively affecting both personal relationships and societal dynamics.
Prohibition of Maisir and Games of Chances in Quran and Hadith:
Gambling and all games of chance have been strictly prohibited by the Quran. According to the Quran, gambling, as wine-drinking, is the devil’s handiwork through which he seeks to cast enmity among the people and turn them away from the remembrance of God.
PROHIBITION IN THE QURAN:
“They question thee about the strong drink and games of chance. Say: In both is a great sin, and (some) utility for men; but the sin of them is greater than their usefulness.” (Al-Quran 2:219)
“O ye who believe! Strong drink and games of chance and idols and divining arrows are only an infamy of Satan’s handiwork. Leave it aside in order that ye may succeed. Satan seeketh only to cast among you enmity and hatred by means of strong drink and games of chance, and to turn you from remembrance of Allah and from (His) worship. Will ye then have done?” (Al-Qur’an 5:90-91)
PROHIBITION IN HADITH:
Abdullah-bin-Amr reported that: “The Messenger of Allah prohibited intoxicants, games of chance, card playing and Gobairah.” (Abu Daud)
Abdullah-bin-Amr said that: “The Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) forbade wine (Khamr), the game of chance (Maisir), drum (Kubah) and wine made from millet (Ghubairah) saying: Every intoxicant is forbidden”. (Abu Daud)
Maysir in Islamic Banking and Finance:
In the realm of Islamic banking and finance, maysir (gambling) is strictly prohibited due to its speculative nature and the inherent uncertainty and risk involved. The principle of gharar, which refers to the uncertainty or ambiguity in a contract, is closely related to maysir and forms the basis of prohibition in financial transactions. Islamic finance and banking aim to promote risk-sharing, fairness, and ethical investment, which is achieved by avoiding activities related to maisir.
Examples of Maysir in Islamic Finance
EXAMPLE 1: CONVENTIONAL INSURANCE
One example of maysir in Islamic finance is the conventional insurance model. These insurance contracts typically involve a high degree of uncertainty, as they’re based on potential future events that may or may not occur. This speculative nature, where the policyholder pays a premium without knowing if they’ll receive a return, constitutes maisir, hence it is not permissible in Islamic finance. Instead, Islamic insurance models, also known as Takaful, are promoted, where risk is shared among the participants.
EXAMPLE 2: OPTIONS AND FUTURES UNDER ISLAMIC FINANCE
Another example can be found in conventional derivatives transactions, such as futures and options. These instruments are highly speculative, as their value depends on the future price of an underlying asset, bringing about a significant element of guesswork and luck. This is viewed as maysir and therefore prohibited. Instead, Islamic finance promotes contracts that involve the exchange of real goods and services, ensuring that transactions are linked to the real & Islamic economy and productive activities.
The Harmful Effects of Maysir
Maysir, or gambling, has several harmful effects that justify its prohibition in Islam:
- Economic Instability: Maysir can lead to significant financial losses, resulting in economic instability for individuals and society as a whole.
- Deterioration of Personal Character: The practice of gambling can lead to the development of negative personality traits such as greed, selfishness, and an inclination towards reckless risk-taking.
- Destruction of Family Relationships: Maisir can cause severe damage to family relationships, especially when a member’s gambling addiction leads to financial distress.
- Neglect of Responsibilities: The addictive nature of maysir often results in individuals neglecting their personal, professional, and social responsibilities.
- Social Inequality: Maysir can contribute to widening the gap between the rich and the poor, leading to increased social inequality and potential conflict.
- Mental Health Issues: The stress and anxiety associated with maisir can lead to mental health problems, including depression and anxiety disorders.
These harmful effects reinforce the wisdom behind the Islamic prohibition of maisir and emphasize the need for economic practices based on fairness, equity, and productivity.
ACCORDING TO SHAH WALI ULLAH:
“It is the duty of the King (that is, the government) to take various steps for the welfare and economic prosperity of the people, ban unlawful means of income, and undertake planning to eliminate gambling, interest, bribery, hoarding, and profiteering and work for the prosperity of the people. For example, a situation should not be allowed to develop where most people change their occupation from agriculture to industry and apiculture is neglected or where the industry starts producing unnecessary goods leading to a shortage of necessities and an economic crisis in the country”.
Maysir is a widespread and harmful practice that goes against the principles of Islam. It has detrimental effects on individuals, families, and society as a whole. Therefore, it is essential to stay away from any form of gambling and instead seek lawful means of earning a livelihood. As Muslims, we should always strive to uphold the teachings of our religion and avoid anything that may lead us away from it. So, let us stay away from maisir and strive towards a more just and fair society. Be mindful of our actions and always seek ways to benefit ourselves and others in lawful and ethical means.