What do the scholars of the Din and muftis of the Sacred Law state regarding the following issue: is it permissible to play card games?
Questioner: Abbas from UK
بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
الجواب بعون الملک الوھاب اللھم ھدایۃ الحق والصواب
It is impermissible and sinful to play card games because usually in this game, it’s a condition that whoever loses will give money and this is known as gambling and with regards to gambling, Allāh Almighty states in the Holy Qurān,
یٰۤاَیُّهَا الَّذِیْنَ اٰمَنُوْۤا إنَّمَا الْخَمْرُ وَ الْمَیْسِرُ وَ الْأنْصَابُ وَ الْأزْلَامُ رِجْسٌ مِّنْ عَمَلِ الشَّیْطٰنِ فَاجْتَنِبُوْهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُوْنَ
O believers! Wine, and gambling, and idols, and fortune-telling arrows (to ascertain luck or predict future events) are but impure; the works of Shaitaan, therefore keep avoiding them in order that you may attain success. [Surāh al-Māidah, 90]
Likewise, Allāh Almighty states in another place,
یٰۤاَیُّهَا الَّذِیْنَ اٰمَنُوْا لَا تَاْكُلُوْۤا أمْوَالَكُمْ بَیْنَكُمْ بِالْبَاطِلِ
O believers! Do not unfairly consume the wealth of each other. [Sūrah al-Nisā, 29]
And explaining the tafsīr of ‘unfairly’, the commentators of the Qurān have wrote,
يَعْنِيْ: بِالْحَرَامِ بِالرِّبَا وَالْقِمَارِ وَالْغَصْبِ وَالسَّرِقَةِ وَالْخِيَانَةِ وَنَحْوِهَا
In other words, the meaning of the verse is that, ‘O believers! Do not consume the wealth which is unlawful, from interest, from gambling, seized by force, stolen, deception, etc.’
[Tafsīr al-Baghawī, Vol. 2, Pg. 199]
And it’s in a blessed Hadīth that the Holy Prophet ﷺ stated that,
إنَّ اللهَ حَرَّمَ عَلَى أُمَّتِي الْخَمْرَ وَالْمَيْسِرَ
Indeed Allāh Almighty has made wine and gambling unlawful for my ummah. [Musnad Imām Ahmad, Hadīth no. 6564]
And if one does not gamble, meaning someone is playing but with no money, it is still impermissible and sinful because there are pictures on some of the cards which are known as king, queen, joker, etc, and these cards are regarded to be more valuable. Therefore due to these pictures being included and respecting such pictures, it is impermissible and sinful.
And usually the people who are habitual of playing this have no concern at all over Jamā’ah [congregational prayer], fard and wājib actions and remain playing for a great deal of time.
It is stated in al-Durr al-Mukhtār,
كُلُّ مَا أدّٰى إلَى مَا لَا يَجُوزُ لَا يَجُوزُ
Any action which leads to an impermissible action is itself impermissible. [Radd al-Mukhtār ‘alā al-Durr al-Mukhtār, Vol. 6, Pg. 360]
And even then, there is no actual worldly benefit to playing cards nor is there any benefit in the Hereafter, and any action which has no worldly benefit nor any in the Hereafter is regarded as useless. And from the attributes of successful people which Allāh Almighty has mentioned in the Qurān, one of them is,
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنِ اللَّغْوِ مُعْرِضُونَ
And [those] who do not incline towards vain talk. [Sūrah al-Muminūn, 3]
And it’s also in Hadīth that the Holy Prophet stated that,
مِنْ حُسْنِ إسْلَامِ المَرْءِ تَرْكُهُ مَا لَا يَعْنِيهِ
Meaning, it’s from the beauty of Islām that a person leaves useless matters. [Sunan al-Tirmizhī, Hadīth no. 2317]
And if someone does not physically play cards, meaning with the hands, but rather plays the same game on the phone, tablet, computer, etc, this is still regarded as useless play and amusement of which one is not permitted in Islām to partake in.
واللہ تعالی اعلم ورسولہ اعلم صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم
کتبہ ابو الحسن محمد قاسم ضیاء قادری
Answered by Abu Hanzalah Khalid Tasneem Al-Madani
Translated by Haider Ali
Verified by: Mufti Abu Athar Muhammad Azhar al-Madani (Head of Dar ul Faizan e Shariat)
Read the original Urdu answer here: [Q-ID0505] What is the Islamic ruling on playing card games?