Fatwa: # 12329
Category: Character & Morals
Country: United Kingdom
Date: 22nd August 2004

Title

Chess is not a waste of time

Question

I don't agree with you on Question 96. You state "chess and games of its like are generally addictive and in addition to it are a complete waste of valuable time". I am living proof that chess is not a waste of time. When I was a child, at about 5 years old, my dad taught me chess. I played it several hours a day, and went to many competitions. I gave it up at the age of 16. Chess really set the foundations in my mind. It is a game of logic, tactics, and problem solving. All these things have been forged into my mind, and is part of my everday behavior. I study at one of the UK's top universities now. All of it was down to chess (and Allah of course).

Answer

The actual reason for the prohibition of chess is not because it has no benefit. The prohibition, in fact, stems from the Ahaadith. Nabi [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] said, ?Whoever plays blackgammon or chess is as though has immersed his hands into the blood of pig.? (Nasbur raayah vol.4)%0D%0A%0D%0AThere are many actions, which, in spite of having benefit are prohibited because the harms outweigh its benefits. Allah mentions about wine, ?the wrong in them is greater than the benefit.? (Baqarah217). Similar is the case of chess, even it has certain benefits, but the harm is greater than the benefit which causes a person to spend hours and even days at a time on it, thus, distracting a person from his purpose of creation which is to worship his creator.%0D%0A%0D%0AAccording to the Shaafi?ee Madhab, it is permissible on condition that it does not prevent from performing your Fardh (compulsory) duties because it sharpens the mind. However, if you are a Hanafi, you are bound to follow the Hanafi ruling.%0D%0A%0D%0Aand Allah Ta'ala Knows Best%0D%0A%0D%0AMufti Ebrahim Desai

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