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Muslim narrates:

مَنْ لَعِبَ بِالنَّرْدَشِيرِ فَكَأَنَّمَا صَبَغَ يَدَهُ فِي لَحْمِ خِنْزِيرٍ وَدَمِهِ

He who plays backgammon is like one who dyed his hand with the flesh and blood of swine.

Nardasheer is commonly translated as chess, but this is a mistranslation/incorrect translation. So any way, backgammon was a cultural game in the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon Him) and was widely played for money, in other words it was used as a gambling game. And without any doubt this is totally haram, but what if it was played not for money? The Hadith would seem to point that playing backgammon is Makrooh since sticking ones hand in the flesh and blood of a pig is very makrooh/disliked, in other words it is a disliked thing. What have scholars said in regards to this?

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As Yusuf Al Qardawi describes it there is a difference of opinion regarding backgammon... relevant aspects:

  • playing for money which is clearly haram
  • playing with dice in general which seems to hint that using dice resembles somewhat gambling

Whatever game one plays there is always the aspect of "wasting time" with even an effect on duties like Salat (being delayed because of a game) etc.

My personal opinion: choose a game without dice (like GO or some physical sports), don't play for money and be very careful/alert regarding fullfilling your religious duties on time.

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