Lottery in Islam can be confusing – some Muslims believe it’s a way of contributing to charities which could make the game halal. However, Islamic religious leaders and scholars view lotteries entirely differently and will tell you that these games are a form of gambling which is haram.
So, why is lottery haram according to Islamic and Arabic scholars? Can Muslims play any type of lottery or are all games prohibited? What about a free lottery – would this be an option for Muslim players who want to try their luck with numbers?
Let’s take a look at the lottery in Islam so you’re left with no doubt as to whether the game is haram or halal. We cover all information relevant to Muslims who want to make a quick million!
- Haram and Halal – A Quick Definition
- What Does Haram and Halal Apply to?
- Is Lottery Haram or Halal?
- Does the Qur’an Mention Lotteries?
- Are Free Lottery Tickets Halal?
- When Can Playing the Lottery Be Halal?
- Is Selling Lottery Tickets Halal or Haram?
- Is It Halal or Haram to Accept Money That Was Won in the Lottery?
- Alternatives to Playing Lottery: Halal Ways of Making Money Quickly
- What Do Other Religions Say About Playing the Lottery?
- Final Thoughts
Haram and Halal – A Quick Definition
If you’re a lottery player of any belief system, you may be wondering what haram and halal mean. Similar to any other religion, Islam has its own set of rules to guide their worshippers. Known as Islamic law, these rules are based on the holy Qur’an (sometimes referred to as the Koran by Westerners.)
Included in Islamic law are things that are considered either permissible or forbidden for Muslims. Halal, which can also be spelled as “halaal” is the Arabic word for what’s “permissible or lawful” in Islam while haram refers to that which is considered “unlawful or forbidden.”
What Does Haram and Halal Apply to?
Halal applies to life practices followed by Muslims who worship Islamic law. It’s most often used in relation to food and drinks but the term goes beyond dietary requirements. Halal is everything that man can use and benefit from if it’s not prohibited by the Qur’an or an authentic Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad.
Haram applies to practices or things that are prohibited. Anything that leads to what is prohibited in the Qur’an is considered a haram act. Examples of haram acts include:
- Food: Drinking alcohol, taking illegal substances or drugs, eating meat not slaughtered according to Islamic rites, or consuming swine and its byproducts.
- Money: Wealth gained through cheating, corruption, stealing, policies, interest, or murder. Gambling is a haram act that rules out playing lotteries and raffles for Muslims practicing Islam.
- Actions: Cursing, disrespecting one’s parents, adultery, theft, and murder are forbidden for Islamic worshippers.
Is Lottery Haram or Halal?
The Qur’an, Sunnah, and Islamic scholars say that the lottery is the same as gambling which is strictly forbidden according to verses in the Koran. Gambling is often associated with alcohol, another haram act that can become an addiction which, according to Prophet Muhammad, leads to many societal problems.
The Qur’an tells its worshippers that Satan uses gambling to cause “enmity and hatred” in society, turning Muslims’ focus away from Allah. Instead of playing the lottery, Muslims should be spending time in prayer.
Does the Qur’an Mention Lotteries?
While the Qur’an doesn’t specifically mention the words “lotteries” or “lottery” in its verses, it does quote gambling as a forbidden or haram act. In the eyes of Islamic law, lotteries fall into the same category as gambling.
Are Free Lottery Tickets Halal?
Sometimes, you’re given a free lottery ticket – even a ticket you may not even ask for. Would that type of lottery game be halal?
Participating in the lottery, free or not, is considered a haram act. It must be remembered that other lottery players paid to play the game and the money accumulated from ticket sales is pooled for the prizes. So, even if you played a free ticket, you’re participating in a gambling enterprise and if you win, you’re benefitting from a haram act.
Some online lottery sites such as LottoAgent offer their customers promotions such as “buy 1, get 1 free” tickets. However, even if a Muslim was gifted the free ticket it wouldn’t be recognized as halal by the Qur’an.
However, some players argue that using a free ticket meant NOT using their own money or wealth to gamble. It could be argued that one’s own money was not put at stake and therefore, it shouldn’t be considered a sin. But, the Qur’an does say that benefitting from the winnings, even from a free ticket, is greater than sin.
Islamic law doesn’t distinguish between free and paid lottery tickets – they all fall under the word “gambling” and instead the money should be given to the poor and charities. A lottery reward (also known as winnings, jackpot, or prize) shouldn’t be part of the deal when contributing to a charity. This is unlawful in the eyes of Islamic scholars and worshippers.
When Can Playing the Lottery Be Halal?
Hadith, as a source of guidance and wisdom, states any act that imitates gambling is sinful. However, not all Muslims consider Hadith holy and will participate in lotteries that don’t require an exchange of money to play the game. In this instance, free lotteries could be viewed as halal as there’s no cost or money involved when playing these games.
Lottery players can find free lotteries on some of the best online lottery sites if they don’t want to use free tickets issued at retailers or gas stations.
Is Selling Lottery Tickets Halal or Haram?
No Muslim may sell lottery tickets from their store or elsewhere as it would be a haram act. If they do, they would be going against the words quoted in the Qur’an which states that gambling is “…an abomination of Satan’s handiwork.” (4:90)
Not only is it prohibited for Islamic followers to sell lottery tickets but it’s forbidden to aid others in participating in lotteries. Both are sinful acts and should be avoided if you’re a devout Muslim.
Is It Halal or Haram to Accept Money That Was Won in the Lottery?
While playing some of the biggest lottery jackpots could give you millions, it’s haram to accept any winnings although some members of the Muslim community may not realize this. However, all Islamic scholars agree that accepting lottery winnings falls under the category of gambling which is clearly stated as forbidden in the Qur’an.
Accepting money from the lottery system is regarded as unlawful as you would be seen to be supporting lotteries. Furthermore, Islamic scholars consider lottery money to be filthy and impure. In the eyes of Islamic law, lottery money is seen as a way to create a monopoly and economic imbalance – all acts considered haram in the Qur’an.
Muslims are advised to avoid accepting any gifts paid with lottery money as these are haram as well. Any monies gained unlawfully should be donated in full to poor people or charities.
Alternatives to Playing Lottery: Halal Ways of Making Money Quickly
If you’re looking for ways to make money quickly without playing the lottery, there are halal alternatives accepted within Islamic law. These include any of the following:
- A halal business: Opening your own business is a good way to make money without breaking the laws of the Qur’an. If you abide by halal business practices and start a venture that’s in demand, you can grow revenue without turning to gambling.
- Halal shares and stocks investments: Investing in halal shares and stocks is another way of growing your money without it being risky. Halal shares and stocks abide by Allah’s rules.
- Work online: Writing a blog, starting a podcast or Youtube channel, or working as a freelancer offering halal services are permissible ways for earning an income.
Financial savvy and saving your money are halal practices that ensure you have money for the things you want without trying to win millions through the lottery.
What Do Other Religions Say About Playing the Lottery?
Many people from different religions ask if playing the lottery is a sin. Religions such as Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism don’t explicitly use the word “gambling” (or lotteries) in their scriptures. However, the religious leaders share similar views to the Islamic scholars in that their worshippers should avoid gambling.
Christians in the southern states of the United States were the last to accept the lottery with many claiming that gambling is an unholy act. A well-quoted verse in the Bible states, “…the love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10.) However, nowhere in the Bible does it specifically mention that gambling or playing the lottery is sinful or forbidden.
In Judaism, the Talbut doesn’t forbid gambling but it does quote that a gambler can’t give testimony at a trial. So, while playing the lottery isn’t viewed as unlawful or unholy, Jewish leaders do advise their worshippers to abstain from gambling.
Buddhism scriptures also don’t mention gambling as an act of sin but winning money is discouraged. Getting money that you haven’t earned can cause negative karma for you!
Playing the lottery in Islam is forbidden as the game is viewed by Islamic scholars as a form of gambling. Gambling is quoted in the Qur’an as a haram act that should be avoided by Muslims following the Islamic religion. Selling lottery tickets, participating in free lotteries, and accepting winnings from this game is equally haram.
Most religions discourage any form of gambling including lotteries but the Qur’an specifically mentions these acts are sinful and forbidden even if proceeds are going to charities. So if you want to know how to play MegaMillions lottery as a beginner, but you worship Islam, it’s best to find halal practices to make money.
I already won the lottery - can I keep the money?
If a Muslim has already won the lottery, through whatever means, Islamic law states that the winnings should be paid directly to a charity or poor people. The winner may not retain any of the funds for themselves.
Is it Halal to play the lottery occasionally?
No, it’s not halal to play the lottery occasionally even if you opt for free tickets. While some players may consider the lottery isn’t gambling, Islamic scholars have a different view of the game. Gaining money through hitting the jackpot is considered sinful and is therefore a haram act.
Can I play the lottery if I give the winnings to charity?
No, you can’t play the lottery if your intention is to give the winnings to charity. You’re performing a haram act that involves gambling in a way that can’t be justified according to Islamic law. While most lotteries donate a portion of ticket sales to a charity, a large percentage goes toward winners. If you want to be halal, rather donate directly to a charity.