Zero sum game is a situation in which a participant's gain or loss is exactly balanced by the losses or gains of the other participants. Thus cutting a cake, where taking a larger piece reduces the amount of cake available for others, is a zero-sum game if all participants value each unit of cake equally.

Is such a deal halal? Or is it considered as harming other(s)? What if all participants agree and satisfy with the deal, would that make any change?

More details about the term "Zero sum" can be learned from Wiki here and here


4 Answers 4


The question is too broad. As you said, cutting a cake is a zero-sum game. But, many types of gambling are also zero-sum games where each person's gain is another person's loss. Cutting a cake is definitely not haram, but gambling is.

It is kind of like asking whether eating is halal. It depends on what you are planning to eat.


Let me clarify what a zero-sum game is. It's a scenario where a gain for one person would result in a loss for another person. The outcome of the situation is irrelevant to whether the situation itself is zero-sum. Cutting a cake is a zero-sum game even if everybody takes a piece exactly the same size.

A zero-sum game is a kind of scenario that most people experience every single day. Unless you are going to say that cutting a cake is forbidden in Islam, it must be the case that zero-sum games are permitted.


In my opinion, a zero-sum transaction is an idle activity and Islam shuns such idle activity such as gambling, a good example, and idle talk.

I remember from a Juma khutba that 3 conditions are required for a Halal transaction. The imam derived these from authentic hadiths and Quran and tafsir.

  1. The transaction cannot involve anything Haram.

  2. Both parties are pleased and have gained from the transaction, blessed and thanked each other, with the mutual wishes of "may it be halal".

  3. The transaction also brings each party closer to Allah, ie increases them in piety.

Also, it is recommended that all transactions be recorded with witnesses.


Islamic view is that you should work and produce goods or services or be a part of such organisation,and increase the GDP of country and betterment of society. By zero sum game you mean 10 people's are gambling, at the end of the day no goods or services produced,just wealth changed hands,human resources wasted... How can it be halal? Common sense

  • raj the reason you were voted down is due to the lack of proofs for your answer. This site is no the place for opinions with out evidences ie hadith , Quraan . please take the tour to understand more : islam.stackexchange.com/tour
    – Reign
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 7:24

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