Al Muntazar - Online Islamic Course, Imam Husain (a.s.) and Imam Mahdi (a.s.)

Gambling and Chess

In today’s so-called advanced age, gambling and playing cards are common. People are very comfortable with these two pastimes, especially while travelling in trains and buses. Some play, while others watch intently. The Holy Quran declares:

"They ask you about intoxicants and games of chance. Say: In both of them there is a great sin and means of profit for men, and their sin is greater than their profit."

(Surah Baqarah: 219)

Moreover, it was revealed:

"The Shaitan only desires to cause enmity and hatred to spring in your midst by means of intoxicants and games of chance, and to keep you off from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. Will you then desist?"

(Surah Maidah: 91)

The verse that follows deals a great psychological blow,

"And obey Allah and His Apostle and be cautious; but if you turn back, then know that only a clear deliverance of the message is (incumbent) on Our apostle."

(Surah Maidah: 92)

It is prohibited to use those things which are used as a mode for gambling and which in normal circumstances are considered as a means of gambling, regardless of whether there is any bet on the game. Not only playing them is forbidden but even looking at such things is not permissible.

Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) warns:

"Playing chess is polytheism, holding a chess pawn is like touching pork … looking at it is as hateful and forbidden as looking at the private parts of one’s mother!!!’

(Wasaael-us-Shiah, ‘The Book on Trading’)

Besides inviting punishment in the hereafter, gambling results in some of the following losses in the world:
1. Time spent indulging in sins.
2. Causes enmity.
3. Leads to hatred and malice.
4. Keeps one away from Allah’s remembrance.
5. Distances from Namaz.
6. Disobedience of Allah and obedience to Shaitan
7. Wealth is squandered.
8. Children are spoilt.
9. Homes are ruined.
10. Results in nervous disorders.
11. Continuous tension.
12. Spoils temperament and behaviour.
13. Causes frustration, sometimes resulting in suicide.

Fazl Ibne Shazaan narrates from Imam Reza (a.s.):

"When the holy head of Imam Husain (a,s,) was being taken from Syria, the accursed Yazid ordered to prepare the table for food. He was engrossed in eating and drinking wine with his cronies and ordered that Imam’s (a.s.) head should be placed on the floor. Then he got engrossed in playing chess. He used to remember the ancestors of Imam Husain (a.s.) and mocked at them. Whenever he would win the game he would drink three glasses of wine, and spill the leftovers near the tray. Therefore, one who is our Shia, it is compulsory for him to keep away from drinking wine and playing chess. And whenever he sees any of these two things, he should remember Imam Husain (a.s.) and curse Yazid and his progeny. If he dies, Allah will forgive his sins."

(Oyoono Akbaar al-Reza, p. 93)


Jealousy is a very dangerous and destructive disease, which afflicts most people. Very few people are protected from its destruction. Jealousy is dangerous both on the individual as well as the social level. Like termites, it causes gradual destruction of the individual on a personal level, and the society at large.

And for ‘Imaan’, it is as dangerous as fire is, for dry wood.

Jealousy means to be disgusted and upset about a bounty conferred on another person, and to hope that the person is deprived of the bounty. For instance, to be jealous of a brilliant student who has passed his exam, and wish that he had failed. Or to be jealous of a profit earned by a businessman and wish that he had suffered a loss instead.

It is this jealousy which prevented Shaitan from prostrating in front of Hazrat Adam (a.s.), and as a result, he became the subject of Allah’s anger. In reality, Shaitan could not stand the honour and esteem that Hazrat Adam (a.s.) enjoyed near Allah. Similarly in his jealousy, Qaabeel killed Haabeel, and the brothers of Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) threw him in to the well. It was nothing but envy, which compelled Bani Ummayyah to oppose Islam, and prevented them from accepting the prophethood of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) and Imamate of Ameerul Mo’mineen (a.s.). Thus, the greatest affliction of jealousy is that it prevents a person from accepting the truth.

No wonder Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) warns,

"Jealousy destroys the faith as fire destroys wood".

(Usul-e-Kafi, vol. 2)

In another tradition he (a.s.) declares,

"Foundation of disbelief (kufr) is based on three things; (i) greed (ii) pride (iii) jealousy."

If one is jealous of Allah’s bounties like health, intelligence, wealth and stature, bestowed on others, then that person is in fact disputing with Allah’s Judgement and this takes a person closer to infidelity and polytheism. Instead of being jealous one should pray to Allah to bestow on him those bounties, as Allah’s treasures are limitless and Allah is not troubled in granting bounties to His creatures.

Jealousy is not the means for acquiring success. Instead, one should strive for success, by struggling for it in a legitimate manner, constantly seeking Allah’s help and Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) guidance. One who is jealous should realise that his jealousy will not affect the other person in the least, but he will only harm himself.

Therefore, one must refrain from jealousy, and should seek Allah’s protection from this spiritual disease. By pondering over the verses of Surah Falaq we become aware of the destructive effects of jealousy.


Among the most destructive of spiritual diseases is ostentation or showing off. This sickness is very harmful for one’s sincerity. It destroys the biggest and the best of deeds. It makes worship futile. It destroys all acts of worship, since sincerity is the most basic condition of worship. The foundation of every deed is intention (neeyat) and intention is based on sincerity. If someone takes a partner with Allah in the intention of any deed then that act becomes futile, whether it is obligatory (wajib) or recommended (mustahab). Whether ostentation affects one’s intention from the beginning, or it becomes a part of one’s intention during the performance of the act, the end-result is the same i.e. the action is futile. For example, a person prays namaz with congregation for show-off or he enters the mosque to show-off.
(Minhaajus Saleheen , The Book of Ibaadaat, p. 154, article no. 569)

There are many people who perform good actions, but the reason for performing the actions varies from person to person. Some people perform good actions for satisfaction of the heart, while others do it out of fear, while some others do it to earn respect and honour in society. Very few people actually perform good deeds to earn Allah’s satisfaction.

Allah says in Holy Quran:

"Say: I am only a mortal like you. It has been revealed to me that your Lord is one Lord. Then whosoever desires the meeting of his Lord, then he should do good and not associate anyone in the worship of his Lord."

(Surah Kahf: 110)

Explaining the above verse, Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) says:

‘A person performs a good deed, but does not desire Allah’s satisfaction. Instead, he performs the deed so that the people may consider him to be pure, and he desires that people should talk about his worship. He is that person who has taken a partner with Allah in his worship’. After this Imam (a.s.) said, ‘A person who performs a good action secretly, and the day passes by, then Allah will manifest his good deed. And one who performs evil deeds secretly, then Allah will manifest it after some days"

(Al Wafi, vol 5, p. 853-854)

Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) has narrated from Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s):

"A time will come when the intention of the people will be insincere. For the greed of this world, their apparent will be adorned. Allah will afflict all of them with His punishment. Then they will plead (to Allah) like a person who is drowning but their supplications will not be accepted".

(Ibid. p. 856)

May Allah protect us from the evil and destructive disease of ostentation.