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Is Playing Backgammon Allowed in Islam?

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Publication : 27-01-2007

Views : 79478

Question

What is the ruling on playing backgammon in Islam?

Summary of answer

In Islam, it is not permissible to play backgammon because it involves the use of dice which are haram and emphatically forbidden. For more, see the detailed answer.

Praise be to Allah.

Is playing backgammon halal?

It is not permissible to play backgammon because it involves the use of dice which are haram and emphatically forbidden. Muslim (2260) narrated from Buraydah (may Allah be pleased with him), that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever plays with dice, it is as if he dipped his hand in the flesh and blood of a pig.” 

Prohibition of playing with dice

Dice are the small cubes on which numbers are written and they are played with. 

Al-Nawawi said in his commentary on Muslim: 

“… This hadith is quoted as evidence by al-Shafi'i and the majority of scholars for the prohibition on playing with dice. What is meant by “dipping his hand in the flesh and blood of a pig” is if he were to eat them, so this prohibition (on dice) is likened to the prohibition on eating (the flesh and blood of a pig).” 

Abu Dawud (4938) and Ibn Majah (3762) narrated from Abu Musa al-Ash’ari that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever plays with dice has disobeyed Allah and His Messenger.” (Classed as hasan by al-Albani in Sahih Abi Dawud)

It was also narrated by Ahmad (19519) in the words: “Whoever plays with cubes (dice) has disobeyed Allah and His Messenger.” (Classed as hasan by al-Arnaut in Tahqiq al-Musnad)

These ahadith indicate that it is haram to play with dice, so every game which involves playing with dice is also haram, and that does not apply only to backgammon. 

Ibn Qudamah (may Allah be pleased with him) said in al-Mughni (10/171): Chapter on games: 

“Every game which involves gambling is haram, no matter what game it is. It is the gambling which Allah has commanded us to avoid, and the one who does that on a regular basis, his testimony is to be rejected. That which is free of gambling is the game in which there is no payment by both sides or either side. Some of these games are haram and some are permissible. That which is haram is games with dice. This is the view of Abu Hanifah and most of the companions of al-Shafi'i.”

Al-Zayla’i narrated that there was consensus that it is haram to play with dice. (Tabyin al-Haqaiq, 6/32) 

It says in Fatawa al-Lajnah al-Daimah (15/210): 

“It is not permissible to play with dice even if that does not involve prizes, especially if it distracts one from praying on time. So it is essential to refrain from doing that, because it is the kind of entertainment that is haram.”

This is the ruling on playing backgammon in general. If in addition it involves betting, false oaths or distracting people from prayer, then it is even more haram. 

For more on the ruling of some games, please see these answers: 145226 , 14095 , 22069 , 321 , and 12567 .          

And Allah knows best.

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Source: Islam Q&A