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Is the Lottery Haram or Halal? [Fatwa]

Did you have the chance to buy a lottery ticket and wondered if that’s haram or halal? Perhaps someone offers you a free chance to participate in a lotto game, and you had the same dilemma.

If you’d like to learn more on the issue, you can continue reading below. I consulted various issues to prepare the most accurate and detailed article on buying and selling lottery tickets and related fatwa. I consulted various resources, and here is what I discovered.

Lottery Haram or Halal? In short:

It all depends on whether you consider the lottery to be gambling. If you do, you should know that Allah doesn’t allow it because it can lead to addiction. However, many Muslims believe that lotto games aren’t gambling because of minimal addiction risk. Additionally, they indicate that the lottery can be observed as a charity because a portion of the profit goes to education and other good causes.

Is Buying Lottery Tickets Haram or Halal?

Members of this religion interpret this issue differently. Those that believe the lottery is haram say that Allah doesn’t allow any form of addiction to Muslims. Others, however, indicate that lotto games don’t fall into that category. They believe the lottery is halal because part of the profit goes to good causes. That means you are also donating to charity when playing this game.

Why the Lottery Might Be Haram

What would be your association if I mention gambling? You might think about casinos where people play roulette or card games like blackjack. Craps and other dice variations might come to mind, too. But what about the lottery?

The definition of gambling is that you stake something to pursue a reward. The games of chance fall into gambling, and the lottery is based on random odds. Some Muslims indicate that’s why the lottery is haram.

Fatwa
Source: Pixabay

Why the Lottery Can Be Halal

Many Muslims see lotto games as halal because they aren’t the same form of gambling as when you play in casinos. Also, the chance of developing an addiction to the lottery is extremely low. That’s why some members of this religion don’t believe that lotto games fall into the category of things that Allah warns them about.

They also indicate that a huge majority of lotteries donate to good causes. Whether those are public interest projects or charity, you are helping the community by playing the lottery. That’s another reason why it should be considered halal.

Are Free Lottery Tickets Halal?

What happens if you receive the tickets for free? If you ask me, there are two different cases to discuss here.

The first option is that you received a ticket for a lotto draw after buying something. The most obvious example is purchasing gas at petrol stations. They might organize lotteries with special prizes issued to the customers.

Some consider this halal because you didn’t purchase the ticket. You received it free of charge, which means you didn’t risk your money. That means you are allowed to participate in the draw. But the problem with these lottery tickets is that they are only technically “free.” The odds are the gas station already calculated the price of tickets in their budget. You often have to accumulate points to qualify for a lotto slip. That means you need to spend a certain amount of money before receiving your “free” ticket. It implies you are risking your money, which is haram.

That’s the harsher point of view of this situation. I think you can also assess it from a different perspective. You’ll be spending money on fuel either way. That means you planned the expense before you received the lottery ticket. You didn’t spend more money than you wanted, which implies that the ticket is halal.

Are Raffle Tickets Permissible?

While we are discussing lotto tickets, let’s mention another example. What if you can participate in a raffle that’s 100% free? These might be organized at social, business, or even charity events. The idea is that anyone who walks in and is an event participant can receive a free raffle ticket. If you don’t have to risk anything to acquire the ticket, can you participate?

I’d say the answer is yes. As long as there are no restrictions and anyone can get a ticket without paying anything, you can take part in the raffle. These are usually games with small prizes. More often than not, they are promotional gifts or symbolic rewards. However, this form of a free raffle ticket is halal.

Is Selling Lottery Tickets Permissible?

You might be a Muslim who owns a store in the United States or another country. You might be wondering if you could sell Powerball or other tickets in your store. That means you won’t be playing or purchasing lottery tickets. You might see it as just another product to sell.

However, the SeekersGuidance explains that it’s not permissible to sell lotto tickets. According to 4:90, you can only prosper if you abstain from this abomination. It doesn’t matter if you sell it in a store or in another place. You are an assistant in sin and promote sinful behavior. Despite these assessments, you’ll find many that sell lottery tickets because they see things differently and don’t think the lottery is gambling.

Can Muslim Communities Take Advantage of Lottery Grants?

The UK National Lottery has a rule that 25% of its revenue goes back to the community. That includes education, sports, and other “good causes.” This isn’t a rule only in Great Britain but also in many other countries and lottery companies.

What if you are a Muslim activist with a registered organization that falls into this category? You might wonder if you can apply for a lottery grant. And if the authorities want to release the funds to you, should you accept them?

This is a difficult issue because it’s obvious the money comes from gambling, which is not an acceptable source. However, I believe there are multiple reasons why Muslim communities should take advantage of lottery grants. These include the following:

  1. Some assessments indicate that you can spend Haram money in the interest of the public. Suppose a Muslim community uses it to build schools or for other purposes, that can be acceptable. It’s important you don’t spend it on bad interests or on yourself.
  2. If Muslim communities don’t take those grants, the odds are the organizations of other religions will. Therefore, it’s better for the interests of Muslims to accept the grant.

It could turn out that these funds are an important component of the community’s revenue. That’s why you can take advantage of lottery grants, but make sure to spend them for the public’s good.

Can You Take Scholarships Funded by a Lottery?

The lottery organizations often return a portion of their profit to the community. A portion of that money might end up in scholarships. Muslim students could apply and win those scholarships. But since lottery money comes from gambling and is haram, are those scholarships acceptable?

You didn’t play the lotto to win this money, which means you didn’t participate in gambling. You can’t be to blame because someone else acquired it the way they did. The only part you played is to apply for a scholarship and win it. That means it’s okay to accept those funds, but there is an important condition.

It’s vital that the lottery doesn’t expect anything from you. If you have to take photos with the lotto guys and promote their company, that would be haram. You would participate in gambling promotion, which is encouraging sinful behavior. But if there are no requirements involved, you can take the funds and use them for your scholarship.

FAQs

What If You Donate Your Winnings?

You might give up on your winnings by donating them to a charity. After all, most major lottery games give a portion of their profit to charities and good causes. That means you are indirectly donating even if you only buy a lotto ticket without winning anything. Many believe that makes the lottery halal. 

On the other hand, some think it’s better to donate directly to the desired organization. They also think that the donation won’t justify your actions of playing the lotto. Ultimately, it again comes to your point of view.

Can You Work in a Store That Sells Lottery Tickets?

This is a complicated question. Some think it’s haram to sell lotto tickets because you promote sinful actions. But what if you only work in a store that sells slips? You might work in another department and have nothing to do with the lottery. If that’s your situation, it’s fine to continue working. The odds are you can’t affect the company to stop selling the tickets. That’s why most you can do is to steer clear of it. If your job doesn’t have anything to do with the lotto, you don’t have to worry.

What If Your Husband or Someone Else from Your Family Sells Lottery Tickets?

Can you do something to encourage your husband or family member to change their jobs? Is it possible to convince them not to sell lottery tickets? That is your task as a wife and someone who belongs to the same household.

It’s vital to note you don’t have to obey your husband if he wants you to sell lotto tickets. It’s a sinful action, which means there’s no obligation for you to participate.

Final Thoughts

There are different assessments to this issue. You’ll find the Quran indicating that gambling is haram. The question is whether you believe lotto games are gambling or just a way to have fun. If you are in the latter group, you’ll find that the lottery is halal.

The situation is a bit different if the lotto tickets are free. Most agree that it’s halal to participate in the draw. If you didn’t play the lottery but received the money as a part of their “return to good causes,” you can consider accepting the funds. I believe students can take the funds for scholarships if there are no conditions that involve gambling promotion. The same applies to Muslim communities receiving lottery grants.

References:
https://forum.islamicfinanceguru.com/t/fatwa-is-the-lottery-haram-or-halal/214
https://islamqa.org/hanafi/daruliftaa/7862/are-free-lottery-tickets-halal/
https://www.islamweb.net/en/fatwa/85043/using-lottery-funds
https://daruliftaa.com/business-trade/are-free-lottery-tickets-halal/

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