I have a friend who works in the television industry. He does various technical jobs (i.e. camera, audio, etc…) for the broadcast. One of the shows that he works on happens to be the daily lottery. He does not gamble, participate in the money transfer, solicit any funds or customers, etc… All he does is the broadcasting part, which happens to be a part of his job.
Is he doing something wrong? Is it a must based on our religious duty to stop that part of his job (it would cause a great strain on the company and on his relations with the company)? What should he do? Is he committing harram? Your answer is anxiously awaited.
Lottery can, in most cases, be a kind of wager. Wager, as we know, is prohibited in Islam. Those who directly participate in this wager by purchasing its tickets and those who organize it are both indulging in an act, which is prohibited by Islam. A Muslim, therefore, must refrain from both these acts.
As for providing any auxiliary services in the transmission of the lottery program, it can, under certain circumstances, be considered as ‘cooperating in a sin’. For a Muslim, who considers lottery to be wager and, therefore, prohibited in Islam, it would be a requirement of piety to avoid providing even auxiliary services in such a program, if he has an option of refusing these services. Where we do not have such an option, then it may be hoped that the lack of our options may be accepted as our excuse by the Most Merciful.
Under the stated circumstances, I would suggest that your friend should first of all try to excuse himself from participating in the lottery program and request the management to find his substitute for the particular program. He should try to fully explain the reasons for his desire to be excused, to the management. If the management accepts his excuse, then his problem will be amicably solved and he shall, insha’Allah, be greatly rewarded for refraining from even an indirect participation in an act, which he considered to be against the directives of Islam. If, however, the management is not willing to accept your friend’s request, then he may continue providing the services, till the time that a viable alternative arrangement comes his way or he gets a job which is more coherent with his preferences. In the meantime, however, I would also recommend that your friend should estimate (roughly) the part of his salary, which is in return for the services provided for the lottery program and then donate that part of his salary for any charitable or pious cause. Above all, you must advise your friend to pray to God to help him save himself from all such acts, which are against His likes.
May the Lord guide us to the path of His liking and help us live a pious life.
May 30, 2002