Is gambling OK after all in Islam?
This is the question which silently forms in some minds now and then: what is the big deal, maybe gambling is OK after all? This is the answer which is flat and simple: No. And this is the reason why.
Many people underestimate the dangers of gambling. One of the worst of them is that it blurs the vision. A friend of mine spends his days at the casino with his prayer rug and observes the namaz hours at a secluded room away from the gambling floor. My most arduous desire is to break through his mental firewall and deliver the message to him but his heart has been rendered deaf, blind. And dumb.
Do not be misled by whatever reasoning you may concoct for yourself to justify gambling. It simply cannot be justified. It is not a way of providing for the family. It is not an innocent pastime. It is not an outlet for stressful emotions ‘at the end of the working day’.
From the Muslim perspective gambling is one of the major sins. “O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, sacrificing on stone alters to other than Allah, and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful.” (5:90) This is a clear statement placing gambling on par with the gravest of sins, that of serving any other gods but Allah. It is the work of Satan. It defiles one of the major principles for a Muslim – any wealth must be earned, a Muslim cannot claim wealth from anything but hard work, since the wealth that comes from chance is sent by the devil. Gambling destroys the soul and leads to spiritual ailment.
When you feel unwell, you go to a doctor. You sometimes hope the illness will pass away on its own, you start taking aspirin and plenty of liquid when you catch a cold and stay in bed for a few days. But in tougher cases you can’t handle it on your own. Gambling is the toughest of ailments, the most severe. You continue gambling even when you know that it will take you straight to Hellfire.
Therefore you need the Doctor, Who alone can help in this case. Allah the Almighty, the only Doctor able to cure any disease in man if pleaded with properly. There’s guidance to Allah for those who are already addicted to gambling in Millati Islami. It proved to be the salvation and it needs to be sought for those who are badly bogged down in the disease.
For those, who are not addicted to it, gambling may come as casual pastime. Why not drop by a gambling place and make a bet? Just once. Just for fun. Here is its trickiest form, for this single instance suffices to displease the Lord and the catch is you won’t even know it thinking it to be alright and thus will not even repent. This sin will remain with you till Judgement Day even if you never set foot in a casino ever again.
Therefore, the answer to any inkling of thought about gambling is flat and simple. No. Never. Under no circumstances.