Fatwa ID: 05171
Answered by: Mufti Muhammad Afzal Hussain
Is playing chess forbidden in Islam?
In the name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Many popular games involve elements that are forbidden. Allah said: “O you who believe! Khamr, Maysir, Ansab, and Azlam are a Rijs of Shaytan’s handiwork. So avoid that in order that you may be successful.” (al-Maiedah:90)
Ali bin Abi Talib said that; chess is a type of gambling. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ata, Mujahid and Tawus, or, two of them, said that; every type of gambling, including children’s playing with (a certain type of) nuts, is Maysir. [See: Tafseer ibn Kathir, surah al-Maiedah: 90]
It was narrated that Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) passed by some people who were playing chess. He said, “What are these images to which you are devoted!” [See: Sura al-Anbiya: 52]
The opinion of Ahnaaf regarding Chess: Chess (Shatranj) with gambling is forbidden by consensus of the scholars. If chess is played with no gambling involved then there are two opinions, 1. It is strongly disliked (Makruh Tahrimi). 2. It is allowed with three conditions; (a) No gambling should be involved. (b) Compulsory prayers and other compulsory duties should not be delayed because of playing it. (c) It should be free from all types of indecency. However, the first opinion is preferred. [See: Majmuah Fatawa by Abdul Hay Lakhnawi, question: 775, page: 486, publisher: Maktab-e-Thanvi, Deoband (U.P)]
Only Allah Knows Best
Written by Mufti Muhammad Afzal Hussain
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham