What is Islam’s view on Chess game, or any other board game? I’ve read that it is forbidden due to:
- there are clear hadiths stating that it is haraam.
- its special significance to kufaar1 and therefore identified as a “game” with either cultural or religious connotations
My curiosity, is the chess stated in the hadith refers to the chess game we play nowadays. And why is this games considered as one exclusively belonging to the kufaar. Or is it a general prohibition in Islam to all board games.
Hope some clear answers form you.
It should be quite interesting to note that the game that is generally mentioned as prohibited in sayings ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh) is “Nard” or “Nardsheer“. Mention of “Shitranj” – the game that we know as “Chess” – can be found in some sayings, but these sayings do not come up to the level of authenticity required to safely ascribe the matter reported in these narratives to the Prophet (pbuh). It is because of this reason that there even exists a difference of opinion among Muslim Jurists regarding the prohibition or allowance of the game of Chess. Imam Malik and Imam Shafie` and their followers do not hold the game of Chess to be prohibited. On the other hand, the Jurists who do hold the game to be prohibited, base their opinion, not on any saying of the Prophet (pbuh), but by relating it to the prohibition of “Nard” or “Nardsheer“. However, deriving the prohibition of Chess from the prohibition of “Nard” seems quite inappropriate keeping in mind the fact that “Nard” is primarily a game of dice (chance) and was played with stakes which qualified it as gambling, while Chess, on the other hand, is a game of mental ability.
In my opinion, therefore, the opinion of Imam Malik and Imam Shafie` in the referred matter seems to be more appropriate. No reasonable grounds exist to prohibit the game of Chess.
19th August 1999
- i.e. the rejecters or the infidels. [↩]