On Board Games

Details of the Question
As Salamu Alaykum wa Rahmatu Allah. What does Islam say about board games like Dominoes, Cards, Chess, Checkers, etc. when they are NOT played for money but just for fun? Jazakum Allahu Khayran.
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Is playing games of chance licit?
Playing games of chance is haram (forbidden) but not a rightful share. Playing such games is haram even the game is lost.
It is an accepted reality that together with the moment passing aimlessly many opportunities passes up, too. Because, the lifetime of the human being is very short in proportion to the lifetime of the world. So the time, even the moment of which is valuable as gold, should be spent for an activity that will enlighten the eternal life. Therefore, as the prayers and works of a believing man are on the purpose of beneficence, his remained times should not be meaningless and should be spent within the sphere of the licit as well, so that he will not fall into a situation that on one hand he wins but on the other hand he loses.
Today, there are too many unnecessary activities which kill our times that many of these activities don’t have any peculiarity that helps material and spiritual developments; it is a reality that such activities swerve human being from the aim of creation as well. Thus, the more a human protects himself from such aimless and purposeless things the more he makes profits.
It is a nomic right of a person, who works for a length of time, to have rest, on the condition not to exceed the prohibited limits of Islam, so too, a person can play some games and enjoy some entertainments as well. But if such games and entertainments exceed the limits of Islam, they lose their legitimateness.  
The judgment should be same for cultural and sport activities. If such activities are within the sphere of legitimate and lawful trade, they cannot be considered as haram (forbidden). And it is clear that it will bring some religiously objections if males and females play such activities together.
Because, according to our religion, a man can be alone, be together, speak with and hold the hands of his only close relatives who are not permitted to marry him, like his mother, sister, maternal or paternal aunts. Apart from that, unless there is a vitally important situation, it is not licit for the opposite genders whether man or woman, who are foreign to each other, to be alone with, to shake and hold their hands.
The same situation can be said for the sport activities too. If the game is not a game of chance, does not cause to miss the ritual prayers and if the body parts of the players is covered, which are not permissible to be shown to other people, then it is not possible to make mention of religiously prohibitions for such a situation.
Our religion gives permission to play some games like shooting arrows, jousting, wrestling, swimming, running and horse racing which are good for health or at least have no harm to human’s health. As a matter of fact to play some of such games are sunnah.
Hadrath Rukane wrestled three times with Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and all the time he lost and that is why he became a Muslim. 1
And it is narrated that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) competed with Hadrath Aisha and many times he won. 2
Also, He (PBUH) watched togetherwith Hadrath Aisha the game of joust of Ethiopians and showed to us that such entertainments are permissible with his own practice.
He (PBUH) praised the horses that help the mujahids (combatants) on battle field and he encouraged people and gave rewards to those who won the races held before the wars. Here, the main essence was to instruct and prepare people to the battle and encourage them to practice.
But today, in some sports and entertainments, even they are regarded as permissible; the bounds of Islam are exceeded. For example; showing the body parts which are not permitted to be shown to other people while wrestling, racing or swimming.
Also, some games are made an instrument of gambling. Horse racings, lottery, football pools and betting are some of these kinds of games.
Lottery and football pools are seen as gambling in any case, since they contain all characteristics of gambling. It is known that the game like lottery was being played during the era of ignorance before the Islam. They put signs on the arrows and took money in accordance with the appeared sign. Islam forbids all kinds of gambling and so lottery is included in such games, too.
Thus, in a verse it is said:
“O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,- of Satan's handwork: Eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper.” 3
İslam Religion in this way did not allow any game which is played for possession and money. There is no need for this type assosiations if any help will be held for the poors, weaks and eddicteds. Islam does not need for the gamble institutions for arrangement of law, social and conduct and in order to save deserteds and to keep alive charaty assosiations.
Any arrangements or games like mutual betting are similirly accounted as gamble. For axample, two people before going computition, one of them saying “ If you are better than me, I will give you this; but if I am better, you will give me this.”... such a betting shall enter into gamble. However if it is one-sided is permissible. That is to say, if one of the sides says “If you are better than me, I will give you this; but if I am better, you do not give me anything.” And if they come to an agreement, such a betting is permissible. It is lawful to use this thing for the one who takes.
In the ball-games, unless the ritual worship is delayed or quıtted, let private parts which is not permissible to unfold be showen, wounds the body and cause to become disabled, there is no drawback. If one of these cases occurs, it becomes out of acceptance.
1. Tirmizi, Libas: 42
2. İbni Mace, Nikah: 50
3. The Chapter of Table Spread (Al-Maide), 90
Mehmet Paksu,  Ibadet Hayatımız (Our Life of Worship) -1
Is it permissible to play chess and backgammon?
Chess is a kind of game which is common even at the schools in our country. Courses, computations are being arranged and  private parts are written in the magazines, even private programs are being broadcasted on televisions. As a result, in the community especially among youngs is played on different time and places.
At this conjuction, like as every game, our religion has a limit on chess. Some views are present in the matter of permissible or forbidden. So, whatever it becomes much common and adopted by anyone, cannot be  proof to be permissible.
As known, chess is originally from Persia and spreaded to other countries from there.Before, it was not much known among Araps.But After Persia had conquered, Persian traditions  gradually supervised among Muslims as well.Islam Religion welcomed customs and habitudes of every nation tolerantly and didn’t interfered them. But prohibited harmful behaviours, actvities and customs; decreed to give up them. 
Even if it isn’t taken part in the authentic hadis books, in same narrations chess is known as ‘owner of shah’ and  didn’t allowed to play. While Hz. Ali ( may Allah be pleased with him) didn’t welcome chess saying “ It is the gamble of Persans.”, from the companions of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) Ebu Musa el-Eşari had said “ Only those who don’t avoid from sins play chess.” and when asked to the great İslamic law scholar İbrahim en- Neha-i , answered by saying “it is cursed”. Similary while Abdullah ibni Ömer considered it as: “Chess is worse than other gambles.”, İmam-ı Malik commented chess like backgommon and regards as forbidden. 1
According to İslam lawyers who adopts these narrotions and views, to play chess is not permissible and is accepted forbidden. The Hanefi Creed’s view is similarly.
However, some scholars don’t regard chess in the same category and think that it may be permissable within several conditions.Among the sound scholar of the Şafii Creed İmam Nevevi concerning this matter says like this:
“Chess is forbidden according to many scholars. If one misses the ritual worship due to the chess and plays for benefit is forbidden according to us.”
Among the Hanefi scholars İbn-i Abidin says this about chess: “It is forbidden, in our creed is a very big sin.” And says that İmam Şafii and according to one narration İmam Ebu Yusuf regards it as permissible. As for the statement of Vehbaniyye, Şarih which is “There is no harm in the chess.” says that it is a narrtion. 2
As İmam Nevevi expresses, in order to be permissible, there have to be four conditions present:
1. Those who play chess shouldn’t let the ritual worship delay threby plunging into game.
2. Chess musn’t be played in the matter that causing gamble for money or similar benefit, that is to say, the winner or loser musn’t lay down conditions for something.
3. Those who play, during the game must abstain their tongue from bad words, lie, gossip and swear.
4. Those who get used to chess, musn’t be addicted with it as unable to give up as.
In that case, according this view, chess is regarded as permissible on the condition of not overdoing, not preventing prayers and not causing sins .
Among the Şafii scholars İbni Hacer el- Mekki who dealt with chess being permissible in respect of itself nature explains the difference between backgommon and chess like this:
In the backgommon the play bases on dices. But the chess bases on improving the opinion and intellect. From this point of view, about battle tactics this can be advantageous.” In his treatise called Ez-Zevacir giving place to this matter longly İbni Hacer finally comes to this conclusion:
“ There is no point in mentioning longly about different views on this matter. Once understanding the basis, it is possible to construct arbitrament on. The basis is this: If this kind of games are basing on thought and calculation, thre is no way save that saying permissible. So is backgommon.” 3
With the result that complying with İmam Şafii and Ebû Yusuf’s conditions and considering İbni Hacer’s comment, preferring the side of permissible is possible to be saved from responsibility for those who play chess.

1.    ez-Zevacir, 2: 200
2.    Reddü’l Muhtar, 5: 523

3.    ez- Zevacir, 2:201-202
Mehmet Paksu, Ibadet Hayatımız (Our life of Worship)- 1

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