Maysir and Games of Chances
Maysir is an Arabic terminology and it means gambling, and it literally means ‘getting something too easily’, or ‘getting a profit without working for it’. Maysir is a game of chance by which, a person either win or lose. Earnings through maysir and games of chance have been strictly declared as Haraam.
Games of Chances:
Originally, the word maysir stood for a game or play with unfeather or headless arrows. Gambling can briefly be defined as wagering money or other valuable things upon the outcome of an event or making money upon some chance. Thus it is a game of chance by which you either win or lose. The evil of gambling is in vogue since the time immemorial. According to a writer: ‘Games of chance’ are as old and as wide-spread as humanity.
Gambling in Islam:
The extent to which gambling prevails in the modern world is difficult to assess. Most of it is centered in the horse racing. Dice and wagering are rightly included in definition of gambling. Modern form of gambling are lottery, betting, cross-word puzzles, card-playing (with bets), prize schemes, etc.
Prohibition of Maysir and Games of Chances in Quran and Hadith
Gambling and all games of chance have been strictly prohibited by the Qur’an. According to the Qur’an, gambling, as wine-drinking, is devil’s handiwork through which he seeks to cast enmity among the people and turns them away from remembrance of God.
Their Prohibition in Quran
“They question thee about strong drink, and games of chance. Say: In both is 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)
Their 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 told that: “The Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) forbade wine (Khamr), game of chance (Maisir), drum (Kubah) and wine made from millet (Ghubairah) saying: Every intoxicant is forbidden”. (Abu Daud)
Maysir in Islamic Economics
In this economic order all those systems will be impermissible in which there is no mutual cooperation, and the well-being of one depends on the misery of another, as happens in gambling, whether conducted in an uncivil manner, or such civil manner as speculation or lotteries, and such.
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 basic necessities and an economic crisis in the country”.
Maysir and all its forms are discussed in more details in the Islamic finance certification, diploma in Islamic finance, master in Islamic finance and phd in Islamic finance programs, which are offered by AIMS.