Why backgammon is prohibited
Fatwa No: 91109

Question

I want to know why Muslims are not allowed to play backgammon.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. We ask Allaah to exalt his mention as well as that of his family and all his companions.

 

First of all, a Muslim should know that he is ordered to obey Allaah and obey His Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) at all times and in all circumstances whether or not he knows the wisdom of the commandment or prohibition. Allaah Says (what means): {And obey Allaah and the Messenger that you may obtain mercy.}[Quran 3:132]. Allaah further Says (what means): {And Allaah knows, while you know not.}[Quran 2:216]. In another verse Allaah Says (what means): {It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allaah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allaah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error.}[Quran 33:36].

Playing backgammon is forbidden as the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "Whoever plays backgammon it is as if he puts his hand in the pork and pigs blood." [Muslim and Abu Daawood] Another narration reads: "Whoever plays backgammon, he has indeed disobeyed Allaah and His Messenger." [Abu Daawood] Moreover, many scholars may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them reported that there is a consensus among the scholars may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them that it is forbidden to play backgammon. For instance, Az-Zayla'i may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: 'It is forbidden to play backgammon according to the consensus of the scholars may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them.' So, it is forbidden for a Muslim to play backgammon whether or not he knows the wisdom of its prohibition. Some scholars may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them mentioned some wisdoms about the prohibition of playing backgammon. First it prevents a person from the mention of Allaah, and from establishing the prayer at its prescribed fixed time, and causes enmity and hatred. Also, it is a waste of time without any benefit. Any kind of play in which there is backgammon is forbidden, and the ruling that applies to backgammon applies to it as well, like table dice.

Allaah Knows best.

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