Date : 07-11-2018

Question :

What is the ruling on playing with dice for amusement (e.g. snakes and ladders) without gambling or getting distracted from prayers and other acts of worship?

The Answer :

All perfect praise be to Allah The Lord of the Worlds and may His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

There is consensus amongst scholars that it is prohibited to play games that are based on luck and guessing for money since that is gambling, and Allah, The Almighty, said, "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."{Al-Mai`dah, 90}.

Also, "It was related from Nafie` that Ibn Omar said, "Games of chance is gambling"{Tafseer At-Tabari}. Moreover, the Messenger of Allah said, "Whoever plays with dice, it is as if he was dipping his hand in the flesh and blood of a pig."{Related by Muslim}. Scholars have disagreed about the ruling on such games when not played for money. Some considered them prohibited while others didn`t: Imam An-Nawawi said, "According to the majority of the scholars, playing with dice is prohibited. Our fellow scholar, Is-haak Al-Marwazi, said, "it is reprehensible, but not prohibited.'{Shareh An-Nawawi Ala Muslim, V.15/ P.15}.

A similar opinion was stated in {Moghni Al-Mohtajj, V.6/P.346}: "According to our {Shafie} correct opinion, it is prohibited to play with dice as indicated by the following: "Whoever plays with dice has disobeyed Allah and his Messenger" {Related by Abi Dawoud & Hakim}. According to the correct opinion of the Shafies, playing with dice is a minor sin, but according to the other opinion, it is reprehensible." Ibn Abdel Barr {May Allah have mercy on him} said, "Scholars haven`t disagreed that gambling is from the games of chance, and the majority are of the view that it is prohibited to play with dice, whether that involved gambling or not, based on the narration related in this regard. I haven`t heard that any of the scholars has permitted playing with dice, except the narration in which Yazid Ibn Abi Khalid said, "I entered the house of Abdullah Bin Moghfil while he and his wife were playing with dice." It was also narrated that Ikrimah and Al-Shu`abi used to play with dice…when Sa`eid Bin Al-Mosaiaab was asked about playing with dice, he said, "Is it doesn`t involve gambling, then it is permissible." Is-haak said, " If it is played for teaching players the tricks of war, then it is reprehensible, but the players` testimony isn`t rejected on these grounds….It is probable that this prohibition pertains to playing dice that involves gambling."{Al-Tamheed, V.13/P.180}.

In conclusion, scholars have agreed that it is prohibited to play the games which are based on luck and guessing for money, but if money wasn`t involved, there is enough room to say that this is a matter of disagreement amongst the scholars, as shown above. And Allah knows best.