Is Bingo Forbidden in Islam?

Syed Bukhari

Updated on:

Is Playing Bingo Considered Haram?

Bingo is a popular game played around the world, involving chance, numbers and prizes. But is this harmless looking pastime actually forbidden for Muslims? Let’s take an in-depth look at bingo and gambling in Islam.

Is Playing Bingo Considered Haram?

Bingo is a game of pure chance. Players pay money to buy cards with random numbers, anticipating lines or patterns to emerge first and win prizes.

The element of risking money on unpredictable outcomes classifies bingo as gambling. Hence, it falls under the Quranic prohibition of “maisir” or games of chance played for money.

Most Islamic scholars around the world unanimously agree that playing bingo is haram, even if the stakes are small. The sin lies in competing on chance and luck.

Gambling at Home – Bingo

Some people indulge in gambling within homes, assuming it’s permissible if not done openly.

Hosting bingo games with prizes at home is also considered haram. The location does not change the ruling, since it still involves betting money on random luck.

Is Bingo Forbidden in Islam?

What Does The Quran Say About Gambling?

The Quran clearly prohibits gambling and games of chance. Allah says in the Quran:

“O you who believe! Intoxicants, gambling, alters of stones, and divining arrows are but filth of Satan’s handiwork. So shun it that you may prosper.” (5:90)

This verse makes it very clear that all forms of gambling are considered haram (forbidden) in Islam.

Gambling is seen as a tool used by Shaitan to create enmity, hatred and hostility among people. It also distracts them from remembering Allah and performing prayers.

Hadiths On Gambling

The Hadiths of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) also emphasize avoiding gambling and games of chance:

“Whoever says to his companion while playing with dice ‘if it comes to me then I win and if it goes to you then I will give so much to you’ then, both gambling and the prize involved in it are forbidden.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

This hadith specifies that determining monetary gain or loss based on mere chance is gambling and haram.

In another hadith, the Prophet said:

“Whoever plays backgammon disobeys Allah and His Messenger.” (Muslim)

He also said:

“Do not play with dice as there is great sin in it.” (Al-Tirmidhi)

It is clear from these sayings that Islam prohibits any activity involving betting on unpredictable outcomes for monetary gain.

Why Are Games of Chance Considered Haram?

  • They involve getting money through no honest work, labor or skill. Earnings should be through proper means.
  • Gambling promotes false hope to win easy money, resulting in loss of wealth for most players.
  • It causes enmity, quarrels and disputes between players over stakes.
  • It wastes precious time that should be spent in remembrance of Allah.
  • Gambling venues promote consumption of alcohol and other sins.
  • It can become addictive and ruin families.

Buying Raffle/Bingo Tickets

Some organizations hold raffles, bingo games or prize draws to raise charity funds. People buy tickets hoping to win prizes by sheer luck.

Such activities resemble gambling, hence buying tickets to participate is not allowed in Islam.

However, prize draws where people can participate without payment are permitted. The intention should be donating to charity, not greed for prizes.

Forms of Bingo

  • Online bingo – Bingo games played virtually on internet platforms for real money are haram.
  • Bingo halls – Gambling venues with money bingo games are strictly prohibited.
  • Bingo nights – Social bingo events at hotels or restaurants that involve payment and prizes are not allowed.
  • Free bingo – Bingo games without money at parties or events may seem permissible. But scholars advise avoiding such games too, in order to distance oneself from anything resembling gambling.

Can Muslims Play Bingo for Fun?

Some claim that playing bingo just for enjoyment without the lure of winning money is allowed. But scholars do not approve of this view due to the following reasons:

  • The thrill of anticipation and risk-taking in bingo stimulates the gambling instinct. It could lead one towards actual gambling behavior in the future.
  • Playing bingo may create a liking or addiction for such activities even without money at stake.
  • It normalizes gambling as just harmless entertainment, whereas Islam takes a strict stance against games of chance.
  • Bingo events often include other sinful behavior such as music, mingling of genders and alcohol.

So playing bingo just for fun, while convinced it’s not for money, is still considered questionable and risky.

Alternative Halal Games

There are plenty of entertaining halal games Muslims can enjoy instead, such as:

  • Puzzles, word games, scrabble
  • Sports and physical games like football, badminton, archery
  • Strategy games like chess, checkers
  • Quizzes, debates, public speaking
  • Video games without sinful elements

Can Muslims Go To Bingo Events Just To Socialize?

Some bingo events advertise themselves as just for fun and socializing. But scholars advise against attending such events too.

Even if one personally avoids gambling, such places have an overall sinful environment involving music, free mixing of genders and alcohol consumption by others.

Good Muslims should avoid places where sinful activities are happening around them. As the Quran says:

“And it has already come down to you in the Book that when you hear the verses of Allah being rejected and ridiculed, then do not sit with them until they engage in some other conversation…” (4:140)

How To Avoid Bingo and Gambling Habits

Here are some tips to help Muslims stay away from bingo and gambling:

  • Seek Forgiveness – Make sincere Taubah (repentance) for past gambling behavior and resolve firmly to abstain from it.
  • Avoid Temptations – Stay away from gambling venues, websites or bingo-playing friends that may entice you.
  • Find Halal Alternatives – Fill your time with positive activities like sports, charity work or Islamic education.
  • Strengthen Iman – Attend Islamic events, read Quran, listen to lectures to purify your soul from harmful desires.
  • Recite Adhkar – Remember Allah frequently with supplications like ‘La hawla wala quwwata illa billah’ to seek His protection.
  • Get Support – Talk to family, an Imam or Muslim counsellor if struggling with gambling addiction. They can guide you towards reform.

Bingo in Light of Quran and Sunnah

When analyzing any activity according to Islamic principles, we must check if it contradicts the Quran or Sunnah in any aspect.

Bingo involves:

  • Gambling and games of chance (prohibited in Quran verse 5:90)
  • Competing for monetary gain based on luck (forbidden in Hadiths)
  • Wasting time on leisure instead of remembrance of Allah
  • Risk of negative social and personal consequences

Considering these Islamic injunctions, playing bingo – whether for money or just for fun – goes against the spirit of Quran and Sunnah. It is best for Muslims to avoid it entirely.

You should read, IS LUDO/LUDO STAR HARAM IN ISLAM?

FAQs

Let’s look at some frequently asked questions to gain a clearer understanding of bingo’s status in Islam:

Q. Is blackout bingo haram?

Yes, blackout bingo is haram as it contains gambling elements like other forms of bingo. The purpose is winning prizes by completing patterns randomly. This risk-taking for monetary gain makes it forbidden in Islam.

Q. Is bingo without money haram?

Yes, even bingo played without money for fun is considered haram. Since it mimics gambling and involves chance, scholars advise avoiding it. It can lead to developing an inclination for such risky games.

Q. Is Bingo with money haram?

Undoubtedly, playing bingo for money is haram as it clearly falls under gambling, which is strictly prohibited in the Quran and Hadiths. The money element makes it worse, but even without it, bingo remains impermissible.

Q. Is Bingo like gambling?

Yes, bingo is a form of gambling as it entirely depends on randomly matching numbers to win prizes. Gambling involves wagering money on games of chance to earn more in return, which bingo incorporates even if not in a typical casino style.

Q. Is fun haram in Islam?

Having fun is not haram in Islam. However, the type of entertainment must be free from sinful elements prohibited in the Quran and Sunnah. Gambling, even if considered as just entertainment, falls in this category of haram amusement.

Q. Can we play bingo in Islam?

No, playing bingo is not allowed in Islam irrespective of whether it is played for money or just for fun without monetary benefit. This is because it involves a prohibited act – gambling. So Muslims should avoid bingo completely and opt for purely halal games and leisure activities.

Q. Can we play cards in Islam?

Playing cards or card games is discouraged in Islam, whether for money or just for fun. This is because cards can lead to obsessive gambling behavior which causes loss of wealth and precious time. However, if played with family without money as very occasional entertainment, it may be permitted, although abstention is better.

Bingo is clearly considered haram in light of the Quran and Sunnah’s clear stance against all forms of gambling and games of chance. Muslims should thus avoid playing bingo, whether for money or for fun, in order to save themselves from its harms and avoid disobedience to Allah. There are plenty of alternative halal forms of recreation to choose from.