Question # 274: I would like to ask question about raffle ticket, shopping vouchers, gold coins, duty free million $ tickets and duty free tickets. If we luckily get this money then this money is halal or haram. Jazak Allah.

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).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: Lotteries and Raffles, in any kind or form, are regarded as gambling. This kind of transaction in which a person may win or lose, is considered one of the major sins, and its abhorrent nature is revealed when one realizes that Allah mentions it in conjunction with idol-worship and consuming alcohol.

However, contemporary scholars differ with regard to free shopping vouchers, which are given away by stores to customers as a marketing strategy to promote their products. There are two views in this regard, one of which is that it is not allowed at all, and the other is that it may be permissible, so long as the following two conditions are met:

  1. The price of the goods sold by the stores should be their true price, i.e., the price should not have been increased because of the prize, else it will be gambling and not permissible.
  2. The customer should not have bought the product (which he/she has no need of) just to participate and win the prize.

Long Answer: Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked:  “Are the lotteries or raffles which some charities organize to raise funds for their activities in the educational, medical or social work fields, permissible according to shari’ah?”

He answered: “Lotteries and raffles are other names for gambling, which is haraam according to the Qur’an and Sunnah, and the consensus of the scholars. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “90. O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), and gambling, and Al-Ansaab (stone altars for sacrifices to idols, etc.), and Al-Azlaam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaytaan’s handiwork. So, avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful. 91. 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 AsSalah (the prayer). So, will you not then abstain? 92. And obey Allah and the Messenger (Muhammad), and beware (of even coming near to drinking or gambling or Al-Ansaab, or Al-Azlaam) and fear Allah. Then if you turn away, you should know that it is Our Messenger’s duty to convey (the Message) in the clearest way” (Soorah al-Maa’idah 5:90-92)

It is not permissible for the Muslims to engage in any kind of gambling at all, whether the money collected from gambling is to spent on charitable projects or otherwise, because it is evil and forbidden, as indicated by the general meaning of the evidence (daleel), and because the earnings derived from gambling are among the kinds of earnings which we must avoid and beware of.”   (Fataawa Islamiyyah)

[We should remember that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Allah is Tayyib (which implies purity) and does not accept anything other than what is pure.” (Saheeh Muslim)]

[To a similar question,] Shaykh Muhammad al-Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen… answered:  “…This gambling – which is any transaction in which a person may win or lose, and he does not know whether he will be a winner or a loser – is all haraam. Indeed, it is one of the major sins, and its abhorrent nature is no secret when one realizes that Allah mentions it in conjunction with idol-worship, alcohol and azlaam (arrows for seeking luck or decision). Whatever benefits may be hoped for from gambling pale into insignificance beside the harm that it causes. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “They ask you (O Muhammad) concerning alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: ‘In them is a great sin, and (some) benefits for men, but the sin of them is greater than their benefit.’” (Soorah al-Baqarah, 2:219)

Think about this aayah, where benefits (manaafi’) are mentioned in the plural, and sin (ithm) is mentioned in the singular. Allah did not say, “In it are many sins and (some) benefits for men”, rather He said: “a great sin”. This is an indication that the benefits, no matter how numerous they may be, are insignificant when compared with this great sin; the great sin far outweighs them. So, it’s sin is greater than its benefits, no matter what they are.”  (Fataawa Islamiyyah)

Al-Maawirdi from the Shafi’i School said: “Gambling is when a person who participates with money [in a game] either wins or loses.” Therefore, if [one does] not contribute with any money to participate in the prize, and [wins] without paying anything, it is permissible for [him/her] to accept it provided that this money is not a result of lottery. Lottery is gambling which is forbidden and so it is not permissible to accept it even if it was given to the person without him participating in it.

[Very often, stores run competitions offering prizes in order to attract a greater number of customers as a marketing strategy] … to promote their products. Contemporary scholars differ with regard to this issue and there are two views, one of which is that it is not allowed at all, and the other is that it may be permissible, so long as certain conditions are met. Among those who are of the view that it is not allowed and is haraam are the scholars of the Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas and Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him). There follow some of their fatwas:

The Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas was asked: There are some food stores in America which, when you buy from them, give you some numbers. When you have collected a certain amount of numbers as stipulated by the store, you get a prize, namely a sum of money. Is it permissible for a Muslim to take this prize, knowing that he has not paid anything for it, and it is simply because he has bought from the store or has visited the store that he has been given these numbers through which he won that prize.

They replied: “If the matter is as described, it is not permissible for you to take this prize which is given by the store because of your buying from them or because you visited them. Your choosing these numbers which were unknown to you at the time when you chose them and became known only after you chose them is a kind of gambling, and it is known that gambling is haraam according to the Qur’an and Sunnah and the consensus of the scholars.” (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah)

The Standing Committee was also asked: There are some merchants who sell a certain item for one hundred riyals, which is sold by other for approximately twenty riyals, with a chance to win a prize of a car or some other prize, and the people rush to buy from them because they want to win that prize. Is this permissible?

They replied: “What you have asked about is not permissible, rather is it an evil action and a kind of gambling which Allah has forbidden because it involves risks and deceit, and consuming people’s wealth unlawfully…  And it was narrated in a sahih hadith that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) forbade deceitful and ambiguous sales…” (Fataawa al-Lajnah)

Shaykh Ibn Baaz was asked the following question: In our city there is a co-operative association which displays cars in front of their entrance; whoever buys something from them for one hundred dirhams or more is given a free ticket on which is printed “worth ten dirhams.” After that a draw is made in which the lucky person – as they say – is given the car that was on display. My question is:

  1. What is the ruling on taking part in this draw with this ticket that is given for free, and the participant does not lose anything if he does not win?
  2. What is the ruling on buying from that co-op with the intention of getting the ticket mentioned so that one can take part in the competition? The people here, even the educated people, are confused about this matter. I hope that you can answer these two questions with whatever evidence is available so that the Muslims may understand this matter better on the basis of religious teaching.

He replied as follows: “This competition is regarded as a form of gambling; which Allah has forbidden… The authorities and scholars… should denounce these competitions and warn against them, because that goes against the Book of Allah and is also consuming the people’s wealth unlawfully.” (Majallat al-Da’wah)

[On the other hand,] Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) discussed in detail the ruling on taking part in these competitions. He said that it is permissible so long as two conditions are met. He said: “Companies nowadays offer prizes to those who buy from them. We say that there is nothing wrong with these so long as two conditions are met:

  1. The price – of the goods purchased – should be their true price, i.e., the price should not be raised because of the prize. If the price is raised because of the prize, then this is gambling and is not permissible.
  2. The second condition is that the customer should not buy the product in order to win the prize. If he buys it only because he wants to win the prize, and he has no need of the product, then this is a waste of money. We have heard that some people buy a carton of milk or yoghurt which they do not need, but they hope that they will win a prize, so you see them buying it then throwing it away in the market or outside the house. This is not permissible, because it is a waste of money, and the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) forbade wasting money.” (As’ilat al-Baab il-Maftooh)

This view is more correct – in sha Allah – so long as a person is certain that he is fulfilling the second condition, because he is the only one who knows what he feels in his heart; no other human being can know that.

(The above reply is based on various answers by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid on the topic)

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.