Enrolment fee for mathematics competition
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
The definition of gambling is stated in the famous book of jurisprudence as follows:
‘Gambling is a dealing in which the chance of gain and loss are indefinite’ (Raddul Muhtar p.577 v.9)
All the companions and scholars hold the unanimous view that gambling is haraam and unlawful. Saaiduna Ibn Abbas Radiallahu Anhu has said “Mukhatarah (something on stake) falls under Qimar.”
Mukhatarah is a deal which revolves between profit and loss that is there may be a chance that one gains something and also a chance that one gets nothing.
Prize awarding crossword puzzles and commercial lotteries will also fall under this category. However, should there be a prize offered by one side only then this will be permissible. The reason being is that the deal does not hang between benefit and harm, but between benefit and non-benefit. (Maariful Quran p.548 – p.552 v.1)
In the Hoy Quran Allah (SWA) has said:
‘O believers! Wine and gambling and idols and arrows are all works of Shaitan, so avoid them so that you may get salvation. Shaitan only wants hostility and hatred to come between you through wine and gambling, and to prevent you from remembering Allah (SWA) and Salah.’ (Surah Al Maaidha v.90 –v.91)
With regards to the first scenario where no sponsors are found and the students have to pay 50 cent to enter as enrolment fee and then receive a prize at the end, this will constitute gambling because there is a chance of gaining profit and the chance of losing. However, if the enrolment fee is being paid to organise the event to pay for the tools and equipment etc and from it a small amount is given as a prize, then this will be permissible. (Jawahirul Fiqh p.342 v.2)
Scenarios two to five it will be permissible as the sponsors are either fully or partially paying for the enrolment fee or the prizes does not fall under the definition of gambling because there are no conditions from either side and the chance of profit and loss are not on both sides. (Raddul Muhtar p.578 v.9)
Finally, regarding the second question you sent, as the safety matches are being brought for useful and beneficial purposes it will be permissible to include those who purchase them in the prize draw.
Only Allah Knows Best
Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham