Gaming Winnings: Halal Income or Islamic Gambling Trap

Syed Bukhari

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Is It Haram To Win Money From Games?

Ah, the age-old question that’s been pondered by gamers worldwide – is it really haram (forbidden) to win money from games? Well, let’s dive into this intriguing topic and explore the nuances surrounding this matter in the light of Islamic teachings.

The Short Answer -Earn Money From Games

The short answer is that if the money you win comes from gambling, then it’s considered haram. However, if you’re playing a halal (permissible) game on platforms like YouTube and earning from ads or sponsorships, then it’s perfectly fine. The reasoning behind this is that gambling fosters greed and obsession, which are unhealthy habits, while playing a halal game without gambling is considered a form of entertainment and doesn’t carry the same negative connotations.

Gaming Winnings-Let’s Understand Both Cases in Detail:

This question has two parts to it, and we must address both:

1. Winning money by gambling in games with other people.

2. Winning or earning money by playing a game that doesn’t involve gambling, like making YouTube videos and earning from AdSense.

Winning Money From Gambling in Games

Gambling is undoubtedly haram in Islam, and there’s no ambiguity about that. The Quran and Hadith (prophetic sayings) are both crystal clear on this matter. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever plays gambling has disobeyed Allah, His Messenger, and has transgressed His limits. Whoever does that seeks the perishables of this world. Allah will destroy him and curse him, and prepare for him a painful chastisement on the Day of Resurrection.” (Abu Dawood)

So, it’s evident that gambling is haram. But what if you’re just making a bet with friends while playing any game, including video games? Well, this is also considered gambling, and it’s still haram. Anything that involves betting or gambling is forbidden in Islam.

Winning Or Earning Money By Playing Games On YouTube

Now, let’s move on to the second scenario where you’re earning money from YouTube by playing or streaming games. This is perfectly fine, and there’s nothing wrong with it. You’re not gambling or betting; you’re just playing games and getting paid for it.

Of course, you need to ensure that the games you’re playing are halal and don’t contain haram content such as violence, nudity, etc. Other than that, there’s nothing wrong with this, and you can go ahead and do it.

Gaming Winnings

Ruling on Earning Money by Playing Games on One’s Mobile Phone

According to Islamic teachings, it is not permissible to offer prizes for any kind of games or contests except in archery, camel-racing, horse-racing, and anything that would come under the same heading as things that help in jihad (struggle) and supporting it.

The basis for this ruling is the words of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him):

“There should be no (money) prizes for competitions except in archery, camel-racing and horse-racing.”

Narrated by at-Tirmidhi, 1700; Abu Dawood, 2574. Classed as saheeh (authentic) by al-Albaani.

Some scholars have added to that anything that helps in jihad and supports it, such as competitions in memorizing the Holy Quran and the Prophetic Sunnah (teachings), and contests involving airplanes, ships, boats, and the like.

Al-Khattaabi (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

Giving prizes is not appropriate except in horse and camel races, and similar contests, and in archery contests. That is because these matters are preparation for fighting the enemy, and offering prizes for them encourages people to prepare for jihad.

As for contests in matters that do not come under the heading of preparing for war or strengthening oneself for jihad, accepting prize money for them is haraam and is not permissible.”

If the prize money comes from both competitors, then it is considered gambling, which is haraam.

If the prize money is given by a third person or by one of the competitors and not the other, then it is still haraam, even if it is not called gambling.

An-Nawawi said:

“Rather, it is gambling if it is stipulated that money be paid by one of the two parties. But if one of them is offering to give money (to his opponent) if he is defeated, and will keep it if he defeats him, then it is not gambling, but it is an agreement to a contest that does not involve fighting skills, so it is not valid.”

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said:

“If one of the two players, or an outsider, gives the prize, it is forbidden nevertheless, except in the case of something that is beneficial such as races or archery, as it says in the hadeeth: ‘There should be no (money) prizes for competitions except in archery, camel-racing and horse-racing’, because spending money on things that are of no benefit in either religious or worldly terms is not allowed, even if it is not gambling.”

Thus, it is clear that it is not permissible to offer money or to acquire it through playing games on a cell phone, whether all the players or only the loser pays that money, or it comes from a third party.

Ruling on Playing Some Electronic Games with the Intention of Winning a Prize Without Spending Any Money

The basic principle concerning games is that they are permissible, so long as they do not involve anything haram, such as causing one to fail to perform an obligatory act or to engage in something forbidden, like uncovering the ‘awrah (parts of the body that must be covered), engaging in foul speech, causing harm to others, and so on.

However, if playing these games and contests is done on the basis of paying money that is taken by the winner, that is not permissible except in archery contests, horse or camel races, and similar games.

This ruling is based on the Prophet’s (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) statement:

“There should be no (money) prizes for competitions except in archery, camel-racing and horse-racing.”

In this hadith, the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) clearly stated that giving money is not permissible for any kinds of competition or games except in these three cases, because perfecting these skills is something that helps in jihad for the sake of Allah.

Hence, some scholars have added to them everything that helps in jihad in material terms and otherwise, such as competitions for memorizing the Holy Quran and the Prophet’s Sunnah, and competitions in airplanes, ships, and boats, and so on.

Al-Khattaabi said:

“Giving prizes is not appropriate except in horse and camel races, and similar contests, and in archery contests. That is because these matters are preparation for fighting the enemy, and offering prizes for them encourages people to prepare for jihad.

As for contests in matters that do not come under the heading of preparing for war or strengthening oneself for jihad, accepting prize money for them is haram and is not permissible.”

If the prize money comes from both competitors, then it is considered gambling, which is haram.

If the prize money is given by a third person or by one of the competitors and not the other, then it is still haram, even if it is not called gambling.

An-Nawawi said:

“Rather, it is gambling if it is stipulated that money be paid by one of the two parties. But if one of them is offering to give money (to his opponent) if he is defeated, and will keep it if he defeats him, then it is not gambling, but it is an agreement to a contest that does not involve fighting skills, so it is not valid.”

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said:

“If one of the two players, or an outsider, gives the prize, it is forbidden nevertheless, except in the case of something that is beneficial such as races or archery, as it says in the hadeeth: ‘There should be no (money) prizes for competitions except in archery, camel-racing and horse-racing’, because spending money on things that are of no benefit in either religious or worldly terms is not allowed, even if it is not gambling.”

Is it haram to play a game with free entry but with the possibility to win money?

The prohibition on gambling applies when there is a person that is uncertain whether he will win something or lose something based on the outcome of one uncertain event. The following scenarios would be considered halal (permissible) for that reason:

– You promise your friend a million dollars if it rains tomorrow (only the possibility of losing for him, only the possibility of winning for you).

– You promise your brother two thousand dollars if it rains tomorrow, and he promises you a thousand dollars if the item he bought on Amazon recently arrives tomorrow (both could lose or win, but based on independent events).

Now, here is a matter that would be slightly related and is the issue of some controversy: a supermarket holds a raffle that everyone who buys a bottle of Coca-Cola enters into. You might get different rulings from more traditional scholars. There seem to be two opinions:

1. This is always considered gambling, and thus if you win in such a raffle, you have to reject the prize.

2. The question of whether this is halal or not depends on two things:

   – Was the price of the Coca-Cola increased for the purposes of the raffle?

   – Is your intention to enter the raffle, or solely to get a Coca-Cola?

The second opinion would allow you to enter the raffle by buying a Coca-Cola if the price was not increased, and if you would have bought the Coca-Cola anyway, regardless of the raffle.

Is playing online games and earning money halal or haram?

There are different opinions among Islamic scholars on the issue of playing online games and earning money from them. Some scholars believe that playing online games is generally permissible, as long as it does not distract a person from their religious duties and responsibilities or involve any activities that are prohibited in Islam. Other scholars consider it to be generally haram (forbidden), due to the potential for addiction and the potential to distract a person from more productive and beneficial activities.

Ultimately, the permissibility of playing online games and earning money from them depends on the specific circumstances and the individual’s intentions and actions. It is essential for Muslims to seek guidance from Islamic scholars and carefully consider the potential consequences of their actions to determine whether a particular activity is halal or haram.

FAQs

Q. Is playing games for money haram?

A. Yes, playing games for money is haram if the game involves gambling or betting. If you’re playing games and earning money from it without gambling, like from YouTube, then it’s perfectly fine.

Q. Is it halal to earn money by playing games?

A. Yes, it’s halal to earn money by playing games as long as they are halal and don’t involve gambling or betting.

Q. Is it haram to be a gaming YouTuber?

A. No, it’s not haram to be a gaming YouTuber. You can earn money by playing games and streaming it on YouTube as long as the games you’re playing are halal.

Q. Is gaming haram or halal in Islam?

A. Gaming that involves gambling or betting is haram in Islam. However, if you’re playing games for entertainment without gambling, then it’s halal. Also, the type of games you’re playing must be halal as well.

Q. Is Playing Video Games Haram In Islam?

A. No, playing video games is not haram in Islam as long as the games are halal and don’t involve gambling or betting.

Q. Which video games are haram in Islam?

A. Any video game that involves gambling or betting is haram in Islam. The games must also be halal in terms of their content, such as violence, nudity, etc. Even the animated characters should not be naked.

Q. Is earning money from a gaming YouTube channel haram?

A. No, earning money from a gaming YouTube channel is not haram. You can play games and stream them on YouTube as long as the games you’re playing are halal. The games must not involve gambling or betting, and the content must also be halal.

Q. Is gambling in video games haram?

A. Yes, gambling in video games is haram. Not only video games but any gambling, including betting on sports, card games, casino games, etc., is haram in Islam.

Q. Is playing video games haram in Ramadan?

A. If the video games you play are halal and don’t involve gambling or betting, then you can play them even during Ramadan. However, if the games keep you from performing your obligatory prayers or doing other important Islamic duties, then it’s better to avoid them during Ramadan. Also, Islamic scholars don’t recommend playing video games during the blessed month of Ramadan.

Q. Is spending money on games haram?

A. If you’re talking about spending money to bet or gamble on games, then yes, it’s haram. However, if you’re buying a halal video game or spending money on in-game purchases, then it’s perfectly fine.

Q. Is earning money from games halal?

A. If you earn money from games by betting or gambling, then it is haram in Islam. However, if you stream and upload halal games on platforms like YouTube to earn from AdSense, then it is halal.

Q. Is the Aviator game halal?

A. Aviator is a game that involves gambling and betting, which makes it haram in Islam.

Q. What is a haram way to earn money?

A. A haram way to earn money refers to any income earned through means that are not approved by Allah and His Prophet (peace be upon him). For example, adultery, murder, cheating, stealing, or dealing with prohibited items like pork or alcohol are all considered haram ways of earning money (Neal, 2016). Haram earning refers to the income earned not according to the instructions and the ways approved by Allah and His Prophet (PBUH).

Q. Is competing for money haram?

A. There is no difference between competitions that involve betting, whether for a large or small amount of money or other items. In all situations where both criteria of uncertainty and risk of loss/gain are met, these situations are considered “gambling,” which is prohibited under Islamic law.

I hope this comprehensive guide has provided you with a thorough understanding of the Islamic perspective on winning money from games, the distinction between halal and haram forms of earning, and the various scenarios and rulings surrounding this topic. Remember, seeking knowledge and guidance from qualified Islamic scholars is always recommended when dealing with matters of religious significance.