Fatwa: Is the Lottery Haram or Halal?

This is iA the most comprehensive resource for this question on the internet.

We discuss whether one can take money from lottery, whether it is permissible to buy or sell lottery tickets, and related fatawa.

We present views from Islamweb, SeekersGuidance, IslamQA, and IslamQAorg, and then our resident expert Mufti Faraz Adam presents his views, and finally IFG present a commercial perspective on the matter.

View One: Islamweb

Is it Halal for Muslims to benefit from “lottery money” to support their Islamic activities?
In fact, “Lottery grant” offered to Muslims is Haram; its owner is not known and so it might be spent for good or bad goals. Yet in England, where Jews and Anglicans accept to allot “lottery grants” for building temples and churches, it is more proper such grants that be spent for what is good and on behalf of the public interests of Muslims. Furthermore, it is our duty to benefit from such grants for what is good if Jews and Christians will use them to fight Islam and make Muslims disbelieve in their religion.
Also, we should not say that we have to benefit only from Halal wealth and the lottery grant is not so. Know that the attribute of legality and illegality is related to one who earns the money, and not the money itself.
In Sahih al-Bukhari from Anas that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) when he was given meat that which was already given to Barira as Sadaqa, he said: “It is a Sadaqa to Barira and a gift to us” . This indicates that illegality is not proved by the money itself.
Another evidence is that the narration of Ahmad concerning the roasted sheep that was offered to Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam). When it told to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) that it was Haram, he said: “Give it to the captives as food” . al-Iraqi said: ‘This Hadith has a good chain of narrators’ .
A third evidence is Abu Bakr 's bet with non-Muslims of Quraish, with a previous permission of Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) concerning the coming victory of Romans over Persians, and when - by Allah’s Favor - the Romans defeated the Persians and Abu Bakr received an amount of money because of the bet the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said: “This money is Haram, give it as a charity” . al-Tirmizi who said, ‘it is good’ .
Thus, according to the above-stated sound evidence, we say that we can get rid of Haram money in spending it in the public good interests.From a rational point of view, we state that such Haram wealth might be spent (1) in bad interests, (2) good interests, or (3) we spoil it. Since we believe that the first and third choices are Haram, so we have no recourse but the second choice, i.e. to spend it in the public good interests.

Sheikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah while commenting on money whose ownership is not known, such money should be spent on behalf of the commons, because people may get money that they know is illegal due to its being taken unjustly, or through theft, or treachery, or usury, or gambling, and its specific owner is not known exactly.And according to Ahmad, Abu Hanifa, Malik and the predecessors in general, such money should be given to people who are most eligible for it.

But al-Shafi’e believes such money should be kept, not spent at all.However, a situation concerning “lottery grants or money”, we have two choices, either: (1) Muslim take that money or (2) Jews and Hindu take it. Thus, we believe it is better for Muslims to receive such money and spend it on behalf of the most deserving of people and the public interests and in good activities, and this is the opinion of al-Salaf (predecessors) in general.

Imam al-Nawawi while commenting on dealing with Haram money received from a ruler, in his book al-Majmu’ recorded the following from al-Gazzali : ‘Some scholars believe that such money should be returned to the ruler since he knows its proprietor, and not be given as Sadaqa. Other scholars say it is better to give such money as a Sadaqa if one knows that the ruler will not return the money to its owner, but this will increase the ruler’s injustice’ .
Here, we state that returning “lottery grants” to the British government will support disbelief.
al-Nawawi added: ‘If one thinks than the ruler will spend such money on wrong actions or if he believs that strongly he has to spend it himself on the commons, i.e. public interests of Muslims, such as in building, archways and so on, otherwise, he can spend it little by little according to those who are in need’ .
As a result, we state that Muslims in England have to take such grants, and to spend them on behalf of the public interests of Muslims. Such a position is required by Sharia evidence, rational deduction and making a balance between “Interests and causes of corruption”.

Source: here

View Two: SeekersGuidance

Question: Assalam alaikum,

My husband is selfemployed, and I work with him as well. He’s selling lotto and lottery. I told him many time not to do it. But he doesn’t listen to me. Do I get the same amount of sin for this?

Answer: Wa alaikum as-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

Lottery is a clear type of gambling, about which the Qur’an and Sunnah have the following to say:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّمَا الْخَمْرُ وَالْمَيْسِرُ وَالْأَنْصَابُ وَالْأَزْلَامُ رِجْسٌ مِنْ عَمَلِ الشَّيْطَانِ فَاجْتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَنْ يُوقِعَ بَيْنَكُمُ الْعَدَاوَةَ وَالْبَغْضَاءَ فِي الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ وَيَصُدَّكُمْ عَنْ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَعَنِ الصَّلَاةِ فَهَلْ أَنْتُمْ مُنْتَهُونَ

O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,- of Satan’s handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper.
Satan’s plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah, and from prayer: will ye not then abstain? (Qur’an 5:90-91)

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَنْ قَالَ لِصَاحِبِهِ تَعَالَ أُقَامِرْكَ فَلْيَتَصَدَّقْ
(رواه البخاري)
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be well pleased with him): The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever says to his friend: ‘Let’s go gamble’ should give charity.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

Look at how even speaking about gambling has been deemed enough of a sin to warrant giving charity as an expiation. So what about the one who actually gambles (or assists in it)!

عَنْ ابْنِ عُمَرَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ السَّمْعُ وَالطَّاعَةُ حَقٌّ مَا لَمْ يُؤْمَرْ بِالْمَعْصِيَةِ فَإِذَا أُمِرَ بِمَعْصِيَةٍ فَلَا سَمْعَ وَلَا طَاعَةَ
(متفق عليه)
On the authority of Ibn Umar (may Allah be well pleased with them both): The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Obedience [i.e. to lawful authority] is an obligation, as long as what’s being ordered is not a sin. If it is a sin, then there is no obedience in it” (Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim).

عَنْ عَلِيٍّ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ لَا طَاعَةَ لِمَخْلُوقٍ فِي مَعْصِيَةِ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ
(رواه أحمد)
On the authority of Ali (may Allah be well pleased with him): The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “There is no obedience to a created being if it involves disobedience of Allah Most Exalted” (Musnad Ahmad).

Therefore, you have no obligation to obey your husband in assisting in this sinful practice. The advice of the scholars in these situations is that the wife avail herself of this income for the time being, because not doing so could lead to even greater sin and harm. However, the husband must be encouraged to find lawful work. The wife should take every worldly and other-worldly means to achieve this. For example, she can arrange for pious, knowledgeable Muslims to speak to the husband and explain the greatness of the sin he’s engaged in. In terms of other-worldly means, she could perform salat al-haajah (in addition to being steadfast upon all other types of righteousness, worship, and supplication), as follows:

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ أَبِي أَوْفَى قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَنْ كَانَتْ لَهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ حَاجَةٌ أَوْ إِلَى أَحَدٍ مِنْ بَنِي آدَمَ فَلْيَتَوَضَّأْ فَلْيُحْسِنْ الْوُضُوءَ ثُمَّ لِيُصَلِّ رَكْعَتَيْنِ ثُمَّ لِيُثْنِ عَلَى اللَّهِ وَلْيُصَلِّ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ثُمَّ لِيَقُلْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ الْحَلِيمُ الْكَرِيمُ سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ أَسْأَلُكَ مُوجِبَاتِ رَحْمَتِكَ وَعَزَائِمَ مَغْفِرَتِكَ وَالْغَنِيمَةَ مِنْ كُلِّ بِرٍّ وَالسَّلَامَةَ مِنْ كُلِّ إِثْمٍ لَا تَدَعْ لِي ذَنْبًا إِلَّا غَفَرْتَهُ وَلَا هَمًّا إِلَّا فَرَّجْتَهُ وَلَا حَاجَةً هِيَ لَكَ رِضًا إِلَّا قَضَيْتَهَا يَا أَرْحَمَ الرَّاحِمِينَ
قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ غَرِيبٌ وَفِي إِسْنَادِهِ مَقَالٌ فَائِدُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ يُضَعَّفُ فِي الْحَدِيثِ وَفَائِدٌ هُوَ أَبُو الْوَرْقَاءِ

(ورواه الترمذي وابن ماجه)

On the authority of ‘Abdullah ibn Abi ‘Awfa (may Allah be well pleased with him): The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
Whoever has a need that can be fulfilled by Allah or by a human being should make a good ablution, then pray two rak’as. After finishing, he should glorify Allah, send blessings on the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and then say:
There is no deity save God, the Clement, the Bountiful. Glory be to God, Lord of the Magnificent Throne! Praise be to God, Lord of the worlds! I beg of Thee the causes of (obtaining) Thy mercy, and the purposes of (securing) Thy pardon; spoils from every righteousness, and safety from every sin. Leave no sin of mine unforgiven; no anxiety unrelieved; and no need of mine, wherewith Thou art pleased, unfulfilled. O Thou the Most Merciful of those who show mercy!”
(Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah).

Source: here

View Three: SeekersGuidance (different fatwa)

Yes, it is permissible to use raffle tickets to identify the winner of a gift. This is on condition that anybody who walks through the door can receive a ticket without having to pay for it.

Please also see: Is It Lawful to Enter Into a Draw Which a Supermarket Offers?

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam
Source: here

View Four: Seekers Guidance (different fatwa)

It would not be permissible for an individual to sell lottery tickets in his or her store. This would be considered directly assisting in sin, which is prohibited.

Gambling is decisively prohibited in the Qur’an when it states, “O you who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, dedication of stones, and divination by arrows, are an abomination of Satan’s handwork: Abstain from such (abomination), that you may prosper.” (4: 90)

Thus, it is impermissible to partake in the practice and assist others in partaking in it.
Source: here

View Five: IslamQA

Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked:

“Are the lotteries or raffles which some charities organize to raise funds for their activities in the educational, medical or social work fields, permissible according to sharee’ah?”

He answered:

Lotteries and raffles are other names for gambling, which is haraam according to the Qur’aan and Sunnah, and the consensus of the scholars. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), and gambling, and Al Ansaab (stone altars for sacrifices to idols, etc.), and Al Azlaam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaytaan’s (Satan’s) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful.

Shaytaan (Satan) wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drinks) and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allaah and from As Salaah (the prayer). So, will you not then abstain?” [al-Maa’idah 5:90-91]

It is not permissible for the Muslims to engage in any kind of gambling at all, whether the money collected from gambling is to spent on charitable projects or otherwise, because it is evil and forbidden, as indicated by the general meaning of the evidence (daleel), and because the earnings derived from gambling are among the kinds of earnings which we must avoid and beware of. And Allaah is the Source of strength. (Fataawa Islamiyyah, 4/442)

Shaykh Muhammad al-Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen was asked:

What is the ruling on taking part in lotteries, which means that a person buys a ticket and if he is lucky he gets a lot of money, knowing that this person intends to use that money for Islamic projects and to help the mujaahideen so that they will benefit from that?

He answered:

What the questioner describes, where a person buys a ticket then if he is lucky – as he says – he gets a lot of money, comes under the heading of gambling, of which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), and gambling, and Al Ansaab (stone altars for sacrifices to idols, etc.), and Al Azlaam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaytaan’s (Satan’s) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful.

Shaytaan (Satan) wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drinks) and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allaah and from As-Salaah (the prayer). So, will you not then abstain?

And obey Allaah and the Messenger (Muhammad), and beware (of even coming near to drinking or gambling or Al Ansaab, or Al Azlaam) and fear Allaah. Then if you turn away, you should know that it is Our Messenger’s duty to convey (the Message) in the clearest way” [al-Maa’idah 5:90-91]

This gambling – which is any transaction in which a person may win or lose, and he does not know whether he will be a winner or a loser – is all haraam. Indeed, it is one of the major sins, and its abhorrent nature is no secret when one realizes that Allaah mentions it in conjunction with idol-worship, alcohol and azlaam (arrows for seeking luck or decision). Whatever benefits may be hoped for from gambling pale into insignificance beside the harm that it causes. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“They ask you (O Muhammad) concerning alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: ‘In them is a great sin, and (some) benefits for men, but the sin of them is greater than their benefit.’”

[al-Baqarah 2:219]

Think about this aayah, where benefits (manaafi’) are mentioned in the plural, and sin (ithm) is mentioned in the singular. Allaah did not say, “In it are many sins and (some) benefits for men”, rather He said (interpretation of the meaning): “a great sin”. This is an indication that the benefits, no matter how numerous they may be, are insignificant when compared with this great sin; the great sin far outweighs them. So its sin is greater than its benefits, no matter what they are. (Fataawa Islamiyyah, 4/441)

With regard to a person’s saying that he only gambles occasionally, this is like one who says that he only commits adultery occasionally, or he only steals occasionally, or he only lies occasionally. Does the fact that he commits that haraam action only rarely means that it is not a sin and that he is not exposed to the wrath of Allaah? How does he know that this rare action will not develop into something that is done more frequently, until it becomes a habit? In fact this is what usually happens, especially in the case of those who are afflicted by gambling. He should fear Allaah and abstain from that which Allaah has forbidden to him.

Source: here

View Six: IslamQAorg

No, it would not be permitted to avail of the free lottery tickets. The reason being is that the money given to the lottery-winner is accumulated from the money of all those who took part in purchasing the many lottery tickets, hence all this money is pooled together and then given to the winner.

This money, gained from such lotteries, is unlawful and filthy and must be given to the poor people in charity without making an intention of reward, as is the case generally with all unlawful (haram) money.

However, one will not be receiving the sin of gambling, for gambling involves placing one’s own wealth or money at stake, in that one will loose the money completely or receive more in return. By getting a free ticket, one is not putting any money at stake, thus it cannot be considered gambling, but it will still not be permitted to take the ticket and benefit from the reward. If has taken such money, it should be given to the poor without the intention of reward.

Looking at the issue from another perspective, it could well fall into the category of gambling. The reason being is that normally when a free ticket and the like are given, their cost is included in the price of what is being sold. So when one purchases gas, one will be paying somewhat extra in order to accumulate points and then receive a (free) ticket. The price of this ticket will be included in the gas or petrol, even though it may not be perceptible because of the difference being very minimal. Hence, if this is taken into account, one will be involved in the sin of gambling by receiving a free ticket.

And Allah knows best

Source: here

View Seven: IslamQA (different Fatwa)

Praise be to Allaah.

If this money is only a scholarship and is not subject to any condition requiring you to work with them – for example – or to advertise for them and commend their work, then there is nothing to prevent you accepting it. Money that is haraam because of its source may be made use of and taken possession of if it is transferred in a manner that is Islamically acceptable.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said:

… Others said with regard to that which is haraam because of its source, the sin is one on the one who acquired it, not on the one who takes it in a permissible manner from the one who acquired it. This is unlike things that are haraam in and of themselves, such as alcohol, goods seized by force, etc. This is a strong opinion, based on the fact that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) bought food for his family from a Jew – narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1954; Muslim, 3007. And he ate from the roast sheep that was given to him by the Jewish woman at al-Khaybar, and he accepted the invitation of a Jew. Narrated by Ahmad, 3/210.

It is well known that most of the Jews deal in riba (usury) and consume haraam wealth. This view may be supported by the fact that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, concerning the meat that was given in charity to Bareerah, “It is charity for her and for us it is a gift.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1398; Muslim, 2764.

Al-Qawl al-Mufeed Sharh Kitaab al-Tawheed, 3/138, 139.

For more information, please see the answers to questions no. 4820.

We should point out that it is not permissible for a Muslim to remain in the land of kufr or to study in a mixed environment, because that involves doing several things that are forbidden in sharee’ah.

For more information please see the answers to questions no. 2956 and 10338.

And Allaah knows best.

Source: here

Mufti Faraz Adam View

To follow.

IFG View

Lottery and gambling is clearly impermissible for all the reasons given in the above fatawa.

There are potentially halal ways to create a lottery - but these require careful thought and structuring. We are not aware of any instances that have received widespread approval by scholars.

With regards to selling lottery tickets, this is also impermissible in our view.

With regards to taking lottery money, our view is the view of IslamQAinfo, that technically one is allowed to take lottery money and avail of it. However, given that the money is from an institution built on haram, we would strongly advise against taking such money unless absolutely necessary. Certainly, we would avoid it for Islamic institutions themselves.

Where there are conditions attached to receiving the lottery funding that one needs to promote the lottery - that would then be impermissible as one would be encouraging others to play the lottery.