Question # 481: Is it permissible to play carrom and ludo?
bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,
Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.
Shorter Answer: Playing Carrom is permissible in general; however, if it involves lying, betting, false oaths, cheating, or wrongdoing, then it is impermissible. Also, it rarely happens that a person involved in such games is not distracted from obligatory duties such as prayer, seeking knowledge, and looking after one’s family. In such circumstances, there is a scholarly consensus on the prohibition of such games. On the other hand, dice comes under the heading of gambling, and therefore, every game which involves rolling dice is haraam and must be avoided. In a sound hadith, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whoever plays with dice has disobeyed Allah and His Messenger.”
Long Answer: As for playing [carrom] in places where no evil things are present, there is nothing wrong with that, but that is subject to conditions, for example:
- There should be no betting.
- There should be no swearing, name-calling, mockery, or hatred.
- It should not lead to missing obligatory duties such as prayer, seeking knowledge, and looking after one’s family, teaching them, and disciplining them.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said concerning chess – and his words may be applied to pool billiards and other games [like carrom board as well] that young people play today:
… What is meant is that when chess distracts people from their duties, whether inwardly or outwardly, then it is haraam according to scholarly consensus. The fact that it distracts people from fulfilling their duties properly is so obvious as to need no explanation. The same applies if it distracts people from duties other than prayer, such as taking care of oneself or one’s family, or enjoining that which is good and forbidding that which is evil, or upholding the ties of kinship, or honoring one’s parents, or fulfilling one’s duties with regard to public office, etc.
It rarely happens that a person involves himself with these games and they do not distract him from some duty. It should be noted that there is a scholarly consensus on the prohibition in such cases. Similarly, if the game involves something that is haraam or leads to something haraam, then it is haraam according to scholarly consensuses, such as if it involves lying, false oaths, cheating, or wrongdoing or helping in wrongdoing. That is haraam according to the consensus of the Muslims, even if it is in a race or contest…
The same applies if it involves some other kind of evil, such as getting involved in something that may lead to immorality, or cooperating in aggression, etc., or if the game attracts too many people which leads to neglecting an obligatory duty or doing something haraam. This kind of game and others like it are things that the Muslims are agreed are haraam. (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa)
[Next,] …every game that involves using dice is haraam because it comes under the heading of dice games, which are haraam. Ludo is not excluded from that, because it is a game that relies on the use of the dice, as is the case with backgammon.
It says in al-Mu‘jam al-Waseet: “Nard (dice) is a game of chance that is played using a box, playing pieces and two dice, in which the pieces are moved according to the numbers shown on the dice. It is known to the common folk as backgammon.”
It was narrated by Muslim, Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah, and Ahmad, from Buraydah (رضي الله عنه), that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whoever plays with dice, it is as if he were dipping his hand in the flesh and blood of a pig.” An-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “The scholars said: This hadith was quoted as evidence by ash-Shafi‘i and others for the prohibition on playing with dice.”
It was narrated by Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah, Ahmad, and al-Bayhaqi from Abu Moosa al-Ash‘ari (رضي الله عنه) that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whoever plays with dice has disobeyed Allah and His Messenger.” (Classed as hasan by al-Albani in Saheeh al-Jaami‘; classed as hasan by al-Arna’oot in Tahqeeq al-Musnad)
Al-Bukhari narrated in al-Adab al-Mufrad that ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ood (رضي الله عنه) said: Beware of these two marked cubes that are thrown, for they come under the heading of gambling. (Classed as sahih by al-Albani in Saheeh al-Adab al-Mufrad) The two cubes in question are dice, which are marked with spots. Because they were described as coming under the heading of gambling, some of the scholars quoted as evidence the verse in which Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, Al-Ansab (stone altars for sacrifices to idols, etc.), and Al-Azlam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaytaan handiwork. So, avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful. Shaytaan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drinks) and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from As-Salat (the prayer). So, will you not then abstain?” (Soorah al-Ma’idah, 5:90-91)
Al-Qurtubi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “This verse indicates that it is prohibited to play with dice and to play chess, whether that involves gambling or not.” (al-Jaami‘ li Ahkaam al-Qur’an)
Al-Bukhari also narrated in al-Adab al-Mufrad from ‘Aa’ishah (رضي الله عنها) that she heard that the people of a household who were living in a property that she owned had some dice, so she sent word to them saying: If you do not throw them out, I will throw you out of my property. And she denounced them for that. (Classed as hasan by al-Albani in Saheeh al-Adab al-Mufrad)
He also narrated that Kulthoom ibn Jabr said: Ibn az-Zubayr addressed us and said: O people of Makkah, I have heard of some men of Quraysh playing a game called dice. I swear by Allah, if anyone is brought to me who has played with them, I will punish him in his hair and his skin, and I will give his goods to the one who brings him to me. (Classed as hasan by al-Albani in Saheeh al-Adab al-Mufrad)
And he narrated that ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas said: “The one who plays with dice for the purpose of gambling is like the one who eats the flesh of a pig, and the one who plays with them without gambling is like the one who dips his hand in the blood of a pig.” (Classed as sahih by al-Albani in Saheeh al-Adab al-Mufrad)
Ibn Qudamah (may Allah be pleased with him) said in al-Mughni in Chapter on games: “Every game which involves gambling is haraam, no matter what game it is. It is the gambling that Allah has commanded us to avoid, and the one who does that on a regular basis, his testimony is to be rejected. That which is free of gambling is the game in which there is no payment by both sides or either side. Some of these games are haraam and some are permissible. That which is haraam is games with dice. This is the view of Abu Hanifah and most of the companions of al-Shafi’i.”
Al-Zayla’i narrated that there was consensus that it is haraam to play with dice. (Tabyeen al-Haqaa’iq)
It says in Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah: “It is not permissible to play with dice even if that does not involve prizes, especially if it distracts one from praying on time. So, it is essential to refrain from doing that, because it is the kind of entertainment that is haraam.”
Shams ad-Deen ar-Ramli ash-Shaafa‘i (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “The game of dice is based on guessing and this is the utmost foolishness. Ar-Raafa‘i said: Everything that is based on guessing is prohibited. (Nihaayat al-Muhtaaj)
[It] …was stated by al-Maawardi, who clearly mentioned it in his book al-Haawiy where he said: “The correct view, which is that of the majority of scholars, is that it is prohibited to play with dice and that the one who does that is an evildoer and his testimony is not to be accepted.”
He was followed in that by ar-Rooyaani in al-Bahr. After quoting the view of ash-Shafi‘i in al-Mukhtasar, he said: “I also disapprove of playing with dice, because of the report. Most of our companions said: It is disapproved to play with dice, and because of it a person’s testimony may be rejected, and it is disapproved in the sense of being haraam.”
Imam al-Haramayn said: “The correct view is that it is a major sin. That was the view of al-Adhra‘i, who said: Whoever plays with dice, knowing what was said about that, and fully aware of it, is to be regarded as an evildoer and his testimony is to be rejected, no matter what land he is in, not because he has done something contrary to dignity, but because he has committed that which is emphatically prohibited.” (az-Zawaajir)
Abu Al-Waleed Al-Baaji when explaining the rationale behind the prohibition, wrote: “Because this belongs to things that mostly distract from the remembrance of Allah. Also, it is a form of gambling and indulgence in an activity of no real benefit as far as worldly and religious affairs are concerned. Allah, the Exalted, made the prohibition of alcohol contingent on this meaning, as He says (what means): “Satan only wants to cause between you, animosity and hatred through intoxicants and gambling and to avert you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. So, will you not desist?” (Soorah al-Ma’idah, 5:91)” (Al-Muntaqa Sharh Al-Muwatta’)
Al-Baaji also said, “This is because playing with dice leads to gambling or swearing to a lie by the name of Allah and neglecting the obligation of prayer. The argument that only excessively playing with the dice leads to committing such prohibitions is refutable, because playing with it a little often leads to playing it a lot; therefore, this door must be blocked.”
ʻAwn Al-Maʻbood reads about the rationale behind the prohibition in this regard, “… because it relies on the results of throwing the dice, pebbles, and the like. This makes it similar to Azlaam (divination arrows).”
From the shar‘i texts quoted above it is clear that dice are haraam. There are many scholarly texts to this effect. The dice games that are known nowadays, such as backgammon, and all similar games in which dice are used, are similarly prohibited and must all be avoided. That includes the game of Ludo.
(The above reply is based on various answers on similar topics provided by:
- Islamqa.info; and
- Islamweb.net, a web site belonging to the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the State of Qatar.)
Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.