Is Playing the Lottery Permissible in Islam?

15 August, 2020
Q As-salamu `alaykum. I want to ask if the lottery is permissible according to Islam, and can we get money in this way?

Answer

Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.


In this fatwa:

Lottery is a form of the prohibited games of chance, which are strictly condemned in the Quran.


In responding to your question, Dr. Salah Sultan, President of Islamic American University and professor of Islamic Jurisprudence, Cairo University, states:

How to earn money in Islam

The best way to earn money in Islam is to work hard and employ thought. The religion of Islam prohibits a Muslim from earning vast amounts of money without making any effort.

 Islam wants people to give their money for good and charitable causes out of the goodness of their hearts, love of God and humanity. Islam prohibits earning money through devious and dubious ways and means. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) says; “Allah does not accept except that which is good and pure.” (Al-Bukhari)

In Islam, money is not an aim in itself. Money is a means of earning one’s livelihood.

Islamic ruling on lottery

Lottery is a form of the prohibited games of chance, which are strictly condemned in the following Quranic verse: 

{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. Satan only wants to cause between you animosity and hatred through intoxicants and gambling and to avert you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. So will you not desist?} (Al-Maidah 5:90-91)

In lottery, the moment the prize winners’ names are being announced, the limelight floods the winner; while leaving hundreds of thousands of losers in hospitals suffering various psychological disturbances.

Another question imposes itself; to what extent can lottery and gambling benefit production and the world economy in general?

Almighty Allah knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.