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I have heard that chess is haram, I would like to know if it is? if its, than why is it haram? I have thought about it's possibilities of why it might be haram, and I came up with that you are wasting your time playing, but than I realized that you are not really wasting time because in learning chess you are learning strategy and that is good to learn. So my questions are, is chess haram? if so than why is it haram?

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A friend of mine mentioned this. I was amazed that they could even consider that it could possibly be Haram. I'd guessed the association was, as it is in bangladesh, where card-playing is frowned on; even when no gambling is not involved: that is no risk to property or money. The association between the two had caused social disapproval. –  Mozibur Ullah Dec 7 '12 at 14:52

3 Answers 3

In short, it seems not:

Imam al-Shafi'i - Allah be well-pleased with him - who said: "It is disliked and not forbidden, for a number of the Companions played it and countless of the Tabi'in and those after them" - such as Sa'id ibn al-Musayyib, Sa'id ibn Jubayr, Muhammad ibn Sirin, Muhammad ibn al-Munkadir, 'Urwa ibn al-Zubayr and his son Hisham, Sulayman ibn Yasar, Abu Wa'il, al-Sha`bi, al-Hasan al-Basri, 'Ali ibn al-Hasan ibn 'Ali, Ja'far ibn Muhammad, Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri, Rabi'a, 'Ata'... [Ibn 'Abd al-Barr, al-Tamhid (13:181)]

Full text below:

Q: Why was chess forbidden? (Muslim vol. IV,no. 5612)

'Ali and Ibn 'Umar - Allah be well-pleased with them - detested it because of those who neglected worship due to it and because of the gambling and betting involved. The Faqih of Madina, al-Qasim ibn Muhammad - Allah be well-pleased with him - said: "All that distracts from remembrance of Allah and Salat is dice (maysar)."

Otherwise, al-Nawawi said "In our school it is makruh, not haram, and this is the position reported from a number of the Tabi'in" while al-Qurtubi said in his Tafsir, it is permitted once in a while without being disliked according to the vast majority of the Fuqaha' and despite the misleading words of Ibn Kathir in his Tafsir, "Malik, Abu Hanifa, and Ahmad stipulated that chess is haram while al-Shafi`i disliked it" and the even more misleading prohibition in the unverified editions of al-Dhahabi's al-Kaba'ir presently in circulation.

It is established that Abu Hurayra (who entered Islam in the year 7 after the Hijra) and others of the pious Salaf played chess - but not as an all-consuming activity. In the final analysis the correct position in the matter seems that of Imam al-Shafi'i - Allah be well-pleased with him - who said: "It is disliked and not forbidden, for a number of the Companions played it and countless of the Tabi'in and those after them" - such as Sa'id ibn al-Musayyib, Sa'id ibn Jubayr, Muhammad ibn Sirin, Muhammad ibn al-Munkadir, 'Urwa ibn al-Zubayr and his son Hisham, Sulayman ibn Yasar, Abu Wa'il, al-Sha`bi, al-Hasan al-Basri, 'Ali ibn al-Hasan ibn 'Ali, Ja'far ibn Muhammad, Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri, Rabi'a, 'Ata'... [Ibn 'Abd al-Barr, al-Tamhid (13:181)] - while the Hafiz Ibn Hajar said: "There is not one firmly-established narration to prohibit chess, neither sahih nor hasan." [Fayd al-Qadir.]

Note: The hadith "Whoever plays chess and dice is as one who dipped his hand in swine's blood" is inauthentic. The correct wording does not mention chess but only dice, narrated from Burayda by Imam Muslim in his Sahih.

Source

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gambling and betting in chess!!! i never knew of that... –  Ashu Jul 30 '12 at 19:44
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related information: some precursors of modern chess used dice to decide which pieces could be moved each turn; i don't know if the "chess" played during the time of the prophet was the same as the chess played nowadays, or if it was one of these dicey (and thus more gambley) variants. –  goldPseudo Jul 31 '12 at 16:53
    
@goldPseudo - Chess as we know it today (the variant played by most people) only appeared about 600 years or so ago. –  System Down Aug 28 '13 at 18:58
    
Kindly check this reference islamqa.info/en/14095 –  dotNetSoldier Dec 23 '13 at 15:01
    
@dotNetSoldier JazakAllah alkahiren for sending me that link. I believe I may have read it when I first wrote my answer. If I can I will try I don't feel quoting entire articles is useful for the format of stackexchange. –  Pureferret Dec 23 '13 at 21:56

Islamqa quotes and cites that Most of the scholars consider it to be haram irrespective of it involving components of gambling, The hadith and sayings of Sahaba did make a distinction between gambling and Chess, yet ruled it haram

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don't go with person did, go to what prophet said and did. he say playing chess is haram which is hadith in sahih muslim which it is accepted book. their is also a hadith from bukhari that our prophet saw some of his fallow who were going to hell so prophet asked that they are my fallow .prophet was told that after you. so mimes (of even sahaba is not permissible in islam only to doing is what Allah and his prophet Muhammad said.

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Please note that the hadith in Saheeh muslim does not refer to chess (that is a mistranslation) it refers to backgammon which was popular in the time of the Prophet and was play for gambling. –  Mujahid مجاهد Dec 23 '13 at 12:48
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Welcome to Islam. Your answer, in it's current state, is quite difficult to understand. Please improve it. –  Bleeding Fingers Dec 23 '13 at 16:35

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