Maisir [gambling] is prohibited by Islamic law (shari'a) on the grounds that "the agreement between participants is based on immoral inducement provided by entirely wishful hopes in the participants' minds that they will gain by mere chance, with no consideration for the possibility of loss".
Maisir, Wikipedia

For example, betting on whether a fair coin will land on its head or tail (assuming the chances of getting either a head or tail are both 50%), there's, theoretically, an equal chance of winning or losing, so you're only wishing that things go your way.

What if one developed a method that could predict how the coin will land with, say, 90% accuracy, a lot of time and effort were put into the development of the method? If you bet based on the predictions of your method, you're no longer "just wishing", one could as well say you've increased your chances to 90% or at least more than 50%. Since effort was put into the method's development, one can't say the reward came with ease.

Is such allowable in Islam?

  • Is poker allowed because the players have to practice a lot to get good?
    – The Z
    Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 22:08
  • I would like to add that the reasons you quoted for the prohibition of gambling are only guesses by people and Allah did not give reasons except that it creates 'animosity and hatred' in 5:91.
    – The Z
    Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 22:45
  • Oh yes, I also thought about that, doesn't online gambling kind of solve the "animosity and hatred" problem, does that mean it's allowable?
    – Yusuf
    Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 23:46
  • Reasons Allah gave are reasons. But the action of gambling is haram regardless of whether you think the reasons are valid in specific situations. For example, the reason alcohol is banned is the same. But alcohol is still banned regardless of whether you think the reasons are met or not. Basically the reasons are just only there for general rationale but Allah banned alcohol and gambling in all situations
    – The Z
    Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 0:27

1 Answer 1


Allah sometimes gives reasons for the prohibition of some things like gambling:

Shaitan (Satan) wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drinks) and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from As-Salat (the prayer). So, will you not then abstain? (5:91)

But it has to be remembered that this is not the only or even the main reason we abstain from these things. The main reason is that Allah decreed them as sins and it is a test of our obedience:

They ask you (O Muhammad SAW) concerning alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: "In them is a great sin, and (some) benefit for men, but the sin of them is greater than their benefit." And they ask you what they ought to spend. Say: "That which is beyond your needs." Thus Allah makes clear to you His Laws in order that you may give thought."

In fact avoiding them is key to our success:

O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, Al-Ansab, and Al-Azlam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaitan's (Satan) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful.

So, in conclusion, we have to understand the main reason we avoid prohibited things and actions are not the rationale that is sometimes given, but rather it is because Allah decreed it to be forbidden. So, we don't do it.

An alternative way of showing you why it is still haram is this:

He who takes an oath in the course of which he says: By Lat (and al-'Uzza), he should say: There is no god but Allah; and that if anyone says to his friend:" Come and I will gamble with you," he should pay sadaqa. (Muslim)

Basically, calling someone to gamble with you is haram. So, even if for a second we accept your argument that since your chances are 90% and you worked for it gambling should be halal, you have to realize the implications of your chances of winning being 90%.

It means your opponents chances are only 10%, meaning he wouldn't have the same excuse you think you have. So what he is doing would definitely be considered gambling. Since you can't call someone to gamble with you and helping someone commit a sin is a sin, you can never play this game of you having 90% chance with anyone else non-sinfully (as you would be helping them commit the sin of gambling).

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