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There is a game show called Deal or No Deal, where people are presented with a number of boxes containing unknown amounts of token money, and the contestant has to try and eliminate boxes which have the lowest amounts possible. Ideally, at the end they're left with a box with the most token money, which they would then redeem for real money. Alternatively, the banker may make a deal offering a known amount of money, which the participant can choose to accept, rather than continue with the competition.

Now although they're not gambling with their own money, they are effectively trying to get the most prize money.

Is participating in such a game show haram?

I would say yes, but according to the above link this show is also broadcast in a number of Islamic countries, such as Afghanistan, UAE and Iran.

  • can you mention the reference for its broadcast in Iran? please note there are many satellite Persian channels but made out of Iran by enemies of Islam to change mind of Muslims. rules of Iran are based on Islam and if it is legal inside Iran most probably it is Islamic. unless it is illegal or by abusing law. but Fatwa is always needed to ensure something is Islamic. – Battle of Karbala Nov 8 '12 at 10:11
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    What do you mean by "is this game show haram?" Do you mean "is it haram to watch it" or "is it haram for contestants to participate in it from an Islamic finance perspective" or something else? – ashes999 Nov 8 '12 at 18:16
  • @Ahmadi the countries where it's shown are given in the link in the question. – Larry Harson Nov 8 '12 at 22:19
  • @ashes999 I mean should Muslims participate in it? – Larry Harson Nov 8 '12 at 22:22
  • Though asking if it's haram to watch it is a good question too. If participation is haram, then by logical extension, encouraging participation by watching is haram too? – Muz Nov 9 '12 at 3:54
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A game is considered gambling in Islam (as defined by most Sunni scholars) if the participant(s) have contributed to the winning pot. According to some scholars, something as small as an entry fee is enough to make a game into a gambling game. In other words, if the participant(s) risk losing money (however small the amount) when they play the game then it is considered gambling.

While I am aware of the game show in question, I am not aware of its underlying logistics. Specifically, if there is any money involved in being picked to appear in the show. So I can't comment further.

Another concern is that some scholars specify only certain types of games that Muslims are allowed to participate in, and these vary from scholar to scholar and from school of thought to another.

Note that I'm addressing the mechanics of the game itself, and choosing to gloss over other things characteristic of the game show (such as the scantily clad models holding the cases), as they are a different topic.

Detailed fatwa (Arabic)

  • To clarify: no the contestants don't contribute to the pot. – Marc Gravell Nov 9 '12 at 9:48
  • Even with no entry fee directly contributing to the pot, could not (say) travel expenses and lost income count towards the "risk losing money," thus still making it gambling? – goldPseudo Nov 9 '12 at 16:24

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