In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
The negligence and carelessness regarding the Aqaa’id (beliefs), Ibaadaat (acts of worship) and Mu’aamalaat (business transactions) of Muslims has reached its peak. If Muslims were recopised strictly according to the proper Islaamic definition of a Muslim, then only a small number from among the 1.2 billion Muslims of the world would be regarded as true Muslims. This will be even more evident when it concerns business deals and financial transactions they would not be regarded as true Muslims since most of their dealings and transactions are, today, very far from the noble standards of Islaam.
Generally, people are regarded as pious and God fearing Muslims due to their appearance and frequent attendance at the masaajid. Yet sadly in their shops, factories and offices, they are far away from Islaam and its pure teachings. In their business transactions, they too are involved in all those activities that the non-Muslims and rejectors of Islaam are involved in.
Furthermore, there are many people who engage themselves in devotions, lead lives of abstinence and piety and may be regarded as leaders, yet they fail to conduct their dealings and transactions in the correct manner, though the earning of Halaal (lawful) sustenance is the soul of every action.
Some people enquired from Imam Muhammad Ibne Hasan Shaybaani, the most renowned student of Imaam-e-Aazam, Imaam Aboo Haneefah rahmattlllahi alayh, that despite having written many books, “You have not written even one book on Tasawwuf (Mysticism).” He replied, “I have already written it – The Book of Business and the Book of Transactions.
The entire field of Tasawwuf is dependant on one’s sustenance being lawful and Halaal, and this knowledge can only be gained through these books.” Every transaction that is based on one party’s gain and another’s loss, or if the transaction is obscure, is called ‘gambling’ in the terminology of the Sharee’ah.
In Arabic, it is referred to as Qimaar and Maysir. Take the case of two persons competing in a race on the condition that the loser pays the winner 100; or that a person says, “If it rains today, I will give you $100, and if it does not rain, you will have to give me $100.”
Since one party gains and the other loses, it falls under the definition of gambling. Another example is that of sealed boxes that are sold for a specific price while the contents are unknown – i.e. the sealed boxes are sold for $5 each, while the value of the contents of each box may vary from $1 to $10. As a result, the purchase of these boxes revolves around one’s gain or loss being obscure (hidden) is also considered as gambling.
Gambling, therefore, can take countless different forms. In every era and every different land gambling is practiced in a variety of different ways.
A special way of gambling existed among the Arabs. There would be ten (10) people who would each have an arrow. Some arrows had a sum specified for it while others had no sum specified. The arrows were put together and one person picked up the arrows one at a time while calling out one of the names of the ten (10) people for each arrow. The person whose arrow had no amount specified was completely deprived. It was also a custom to slaughter one camel and distribute it according to the specified amounts of the arrow.
The person who was allocated an arrow without a sum specified, was deprived of the meat of the camel, and was made to pay for the camel. This particular method of gambling has been referred to in the Holy Qur’aan as Maysir and Azlaam. Maysir meant that camel that was slaughtered and Azlaam meant those arrows which were used for gambling. Besides this, other forms of gambling in business were also present such as BayCul Mulaamasah, and Bay6ul Munaabazah, etc. Bay’ul Mulaamasah meant that whatever the buyer touched was his for a particular sum paid before ‘ touching. Bay’ul Munaabazah meant that the buyer throws a pebble and on whatever the pebble falls, he t becomes its owner, provided a specified amount was paid before throwing the pebble. All these forms of gambling were expressedly forbidden in the Ahaadeeth.
Before the advent of Islaam, gambling was regarded as great honour and means of gaining respect. To increase their honour and respect the money earned through gambling would be donated to charity.