Bandar Seri Begawan - In these modern times of ours, gambling can be found almost everywhere around us. The elements of gambling can be camouflaged by many faces _ shows, games and entertainments _ be it on the radio, television, the Internet or in print media, and also via mobile phone.
In certain countries, gambling is legalised for the purpose of tourism and increased economic revenue. In some other countries, initially entertaining TV and radio programmes are now dominated by elements of gambling.
Even to determine the winner of singing or preaching competition, it is done by encouraging listeners or viewers to send SMS via mobile phones. Not only are listeners or viewers provoked to spend money, the contestants themselves generate fans and voters by sponsoring the pulse to send SMSes.
So, what‘s wrong with that? You might ask.
God has created mankind to obey him. God has also bless us with precious gifts, namely mind, reason/thought, and senses. We use those tools to earn a living for our family, to work and pursue rezeki. Islam governs us to walk on the right path and to avoid any wrongdoing, which is considered haram. Among other things: to commit violence and oppression, to cheat, and to gamble.
What Islam means by gambling is any action that includes betting, adu nasib, put your fate at stake. This act can be in the form of games and entertainment. Even though given various names and forms, such as lottery, tail ticket (kartu ekor), betting, main ketam, all of these are definitely classified as sinful acts of gambling.
Islam clearly forbids gambling and explains the negative side of it in the Quran. In verse 219, surah Al-Baqarah, Allah says:
"They ask you concerning alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: In them is a great sin, and (some) benefit for men, but the sin of them is greater than their benefit."
But, there are still many Muslims who ignore or defy this teaching. One of the forms of gambling in our modern society is buying lottery or "tail" ticket to get money through an easy way. People want to get rich quickly without putting any effort. If they fail, they will get stressful and frustrated. It will affect their behaviour towards loved ones. As Muslims we must remember that gambling is considered maksiat. The money taken/earned from gambling is haram. It is very bad to feed your wife and children with gambling money. It is believed that it will ruin the body and spirit of those who consume any food and drink bought by that dirty/sinful money.
Even our Prophet Muhammad reminds us that every spoon you feed your family with that money means a flame in Hell. Again, in surah Al Baqarah verse 168, God reminds us: "O mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and wholesome in the earth, and follow not the footsteps of the devil. Lo! He is an open enemy for you."
Recently, gambling activities are increasingly accessible for people. It uses modern technology, such as broadcasting media (radio, television), even telephone, including mobile phone. Sometimes, what we do normally, without our conscience, contains elements of gambling. Joining a riddle in the radio, or following a quiz on a TV game show, or sending SMS to an "Idol" (like American Idol, Indonesian/Malaysian Idol, KDI, etc), are examples of that.
Islam doesn‘t teach its followers blindly. It gives you reasons. For instance, in a quiz or survey via SMS, participants must pay the pulse higher than the normal rate. This is economically bad for the participant, because he/she pays more for something doubtful. There is no guarantee that you will win the survey or the quiz.Actually, there is no benefit. It‘s the same thing with auctions via SMS, as compared to legal auctions ruled by shariah. In auctions based on shariah, only the highest bidder, the winner, pays the price and gets the thing. In auction via SMS, people will pay money for nothing, or for a false hope. It makes people rely on chance, luck, and prevent them from being productive. They become lazy to work hard.
So, the main question is: if there are any benefits in the gambling industry and if there are, do the benefits really outweigh its harm?
Allah has proclaimed that in gambling and alcoholic drinks, the harm and destruction wrought are greater than their benefits. The person who gambles or drinks, not only brings harm and destruction to himself, but also to those around him, particularly his loved ones.
Allah says in surah Al-Maidah, verse 91: Satan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with alcoholic drinks and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayers. So, will you not then abstain (from drinking and gambling)?
Indeed, we live only temporarily. And this very brief life is full of tests, challenges, and teases. We have Islam to guide us through all those, and reach our final destination, which is a better eternal life. We cannot avoid the possibility of wrongdoing. To err is human. Some are deliberate, some are due to ignorance. The important thing is, when you realise you have done wrong, you confess to God, ask for forgiveness (bertaubat), and stop doing it. The Brunei Times
Source: www.bruneitimes.com (25 Juni 2007)