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Why chess discouraged.

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)

 

One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

Assalam alaikum,

Your comments make interesting reading.

Although you quote extensively from the Hadith, you make no reference to the Musshaf (the Holy Quran).

Your recent view on chess, warrants a response, in the interest of the vast majority of Muslims who wish to be included in the nation of common mankind.

If you say that chess is haram, then, the following activities too will be considered in the same lines:-

BILLIARDS

SNOOKER

CARROM

BRIDGE

VIDEO GAMES

BOWLING

GO-KARTING

along with music, drama, painting, art, telewatching, etc etc......... all that is considered not contributing to physical growth, or the growth of mankind at large.

How are common Muslims expected to survive in this age and era, if scholars like you establish such narrow parameters.

You make very specific quotes, but leave out the broader meanings or messages of what our beloved religion is trying to convey - simply - to be good human beings, treat HIS, the Almighty's creation with justice, refrain from oppressing and fight oppression, pray to Him as prescribed, perform the Haj and prescribe to charity.

All other abstinences are necessary, in accordance with making the society and environment we live in, civil. Abstinences in the Holy Quran are such reality checks for the Muslims, and should be considered just that.

But anything more than what the Holy Quran says, is subject to interpretations and should be applicable to contemporary lifestyles.

 

(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)

 

Answer:

 

Why chess discouraged

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.

 

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 177:

177 It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces toward East or West; but it is righteousness to believe in Allah, and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance out of love for Him for your kin, for orphan,s for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer and practice regular charity; to fulfill the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient in pain (or suffering) and adversity and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the Allah-fearing.

 

 

My dear and respected brother in Islam, Allah is our witness, we could not agree more with your statements: the broader meanings or messages of what our beloved religion is trying to convey - simply - to be good human beings, treat HIS, the Almighty's creation with justice, refrain from oppressing and fight oppression, pray to Him as prescribed, perform the Haj and prescribe to charity.

All other abstinences are necessary, in accordance with making the society and environment we live in, civil.

 

Your Question: How are common Muslims expected to survive in this age and era, if scholars like you establish such narrow parameters?


Respected brother, the scales of rewards and punishments in Islam are not horizontal where the rewards of every good and lawful deed is equal or where the punishments of every evil and prohibited deeds is identical..but rather the plane is vertical where one good and lawful deed or act (eg. Belief in tawheed, and prayer, and charity, etc.) is ranked much much higher than another good or lawful deed (eg. Picking a harmful object from the path, or eating and drinking with ones right hand, or declaring the salaams, etc.)!

 

Similarly all evil and prohibited deeds are not equal in the Sight and Scales of Allah Subhanah. An evil like shirk or kufr or murder, or adultery, or oppression, etc. is much much more deserving of the Full Wrath and Anger of the Lord Most High than one who does a lesser evil like wasting ones time, or amusing oneself with contemporary games, or music, or films, etc.

 

You are absolutely right in your determination that our deen and religion of truth is unimaginably vast and magnanimous in its extent..but the parameters which define the boundaries of what is permissible and what is prohibited in this beautiful religion is not drawn by the scholars, but by Allah Subhanah and His Messenger (saws)!

 

If one comes to a scholar in religion and asks them about belief, and tawheed, and the Hereafter, and the significance of prayers, or charity, or Hajj, or the rights that are due to ones Creator, or the rights that are due to creation, etc.the scholar is duty bound to respond to the queries on these all-important subjects in light of the guidance of the Quran and the Sunnah.

 

But if one comes to a scholar and asks them about things or deeds which are still part of religion, but way down in the scales of importance.be it from the clipping of ones nails, to the raising of ones hands in prayer, to the declaration of Ameen after the recitation of Surah Fatihah, or whether or not games like chess or backgammon are lawful or prohibited, etc..the scholar is still duty bound to respond to those specific queries of the believer in light of the guidance of the Quran and the Sunnah!

 

Your Statement: ..You make very specific quotes, but leave out the broader meanings or messages of what our beloved religion is trying to convey

Just imagine if a believer seeks guidance from a scholar regarding one of the smaller issues in the deen like clipping nails, or raising hands in prayer, or declaration of Ameen, etc.and the scholar instead of addressing the specific issue asked by the brother conveys the broader picture of the Message of Islam!

 

Thus brother, because we were asked regarding the ruling of wasting time or playing games like chess or backgammon, etcour answer was dedicated to respond to that specific question of the brother in light of the guidance of the Quran and the Sunnah. Allah is our witness brother, if and when we are asked about the broader and more important Dictates of the deen, we will strive our absolute best to address that specific question of the brother in light of the guidance of the same Quran and the Sunnah!

 

All we can humbly say in our defense brother is that just because a less significant matter of the deen was asked and addressed by us, it would not be right to accuse us of leaving the broader meanings or messages of the deen!

 

Your Statement: But anything more than what the Holy Quran says, is subject to interpretations and should be applicable to contemporary lifestyles.

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 4 Surah Nisa verse 79-80:

We have sent you (O Mohamed) as a Messenger to mankind, and Allahs witness suffices for this. Whoever obeys the Messenger, in fact obeys Allah, and whoever turns away from him, he will be accountable for his deeds. Anyhow, we have not sent you (O Mohamed) to be a guardian over them.

 

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 3 Surah Ale Imran verse 31-32:

O Prophet, tell the people, If you sincerely love Allah, follow me. Then Allah will love you and forgive you your sins, for He is All Forgiving, All Merciful. Also say to them, Obey Allah and His Messenger. And if, in spite of this, they do not accept your invitation, warn them that Allah does not love those, who refuse to obey Him and His Messenger.

 

 

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 33 Surah Ahzab verse 21:

There is indeed the best example for you to follow in the Messenger of Allah, for every such person looks forward to Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah much.

 

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chatper 59 Surah Hashr verse 7:

So take what the Messenger (saws) assigns to you and deny yourselves that which he withholds from you. And fear Allah; for Allah is strict in Punishment.

 

Beloved brother in Islam, The All-Knowing, All-Wise Lord did not send any of His Books alone.but rather He, in His Absolute Wisdom and Knowledge always appointed a Prophet amongst the people and revealed His Divine Guidance upon Him so that His Messengers would not only convey the Message of their Lord, but live and present a practical example of how the Message of the Lord is to be implemented in their lives and society.

 

Thus if one reads the Glorious Quran with understanding one will and can very well understand the basic concepts of faith like the Absolute Oneness of Allah Subhanah, the concept of the Hereafter, the Paradise, the Hell Fire, etc..but to implement the Shariah or Laws of Islam upon their social and individual lives, it is absolutely imperative that one look into, learn and study and strive to implement the Sunnah or the practice of the Messenger of Allah (saws) into their lives.

 

Thus if any amongst mankind states the Quran alone is enough for him without the understanding and implementation of the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saws) into their lives, his knowledge as well as his practice of Islam would be absolutely incomplete, to say the least.

 

To accept, obey, follow and implement the authentic and established Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saws) is an integral and inseparable part of being a muslim.

 

It is indeed unfortunate that some people have gone to the two extremes when dealing with the ahaadiths of the Messenger of Allah (saws). One extreme declares belief in each and every hadith of the Prophet (saws), without confirming whether the hadith is authentic or not! The other extreme declares their complete opposition and rejection of any and all ahaadiths, regardless of whether they are authentic or not!

 

One is at liberty to study, research, and argue with knowledge whether something which is being attributed to the Messenger of Allah (saws) in the records of hadith is indeed accurate and from the Messenger of Allah (saws) or not..but to take either of the two extremes, or to declare that the Sunnah or Way or Method of the Last and Final Messenger (saws) is inconsequential or inapplicable would be a gross misjudgment, to say the least!

 

Whether or not the hadiths recorded in the Sunnah regarding the subjects of playing games like nard, or chess, or backgammon, or amusing oneself with music, drama, painting, art, telewatching, etc etc. are considered as authentic or not is another question.Just imagine for a moment that if one was blessed to live at the time of the Messenger of Allah (saws), and the Messenger of Allah (saws) himself did indeed specifically forbid these deeds or acts or invoked the curse of Allah on those who did these acts Would it befit or behove a believer to disobey a command of the Messenger of Allah (saws)? Would it be guidance or misguidance to disobey the Messenger of Allah (saws)? Would it be belief or disbelief to disobey the Messenger of Allah (saws)?

 

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 33 Surah Ahzaab verse 36:

It does not behove a believing man and a believing woman that when Allah and His Messenger have given their decision in a matter, they should exercise an option in that matter of theirs. For whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has indeed strayed into manifest error!

 

Your Statement: But anything more than what the Holy Quran says, is subject to interpretations and should be applicable to contemporary lifestyles.

Respected brother in Islam, if one finds the Quran and the authentic and established Sunnah silent on a matter, there is indeed an option and scope to interpret the ruling of the matter in light of the guidance of the Quran and the Sunnahbut when Allah and His Messenger (saws) have given a Decision regarding a matter, it would be manifest transgression and misguidance at best, and utter and absolute disbelief at worst, to disregard or disobey that Decision of Allah and His Messenger (saws)!

 

My dear and respected brother, we remind you as we remind ourselves, the believers are commanded and guided to amend and align their lifestyle to the guidance of the Quran and the Sunnah, not to amend the guidance of the Quran and the Sunnah to suit their lifestyles!

 

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 9 Surah Taubah verses 111-112:

111 Allah has purchased of the believers their selfs and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the Garden (of Paradise): they fight in His Cause, and slay and are slain: a Promise binding on Him in Truth through the Torah, the Gospel, and the Qur'an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? Then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the Achievement Supreme.

112 Those that turn (to Allah) in repentance: that serve Him and praise Him; that wander in devotion to the Cause of Allah; that bow down and prostrate themselves in prayer; that enjoin good and forbid evil; and observe the limits set by Allah; (these do rejoice). So proclaim the glad tidings to the believers.

 

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verses 208-209:

208 O ye who believe! Enter into Islam whole-heartedly; and follow not the footsteps of the Shaytaan; for he is to you an avowed enemy.

209 If ye backslide after the clear (Signs) have come to you, then know that Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise!

 

If one trusts, obeys, and follows the guidance and commands of Allah and His Messenger (saws), one can be assured of never ever being misled; but if one believes, obeys and follows any other guidance, other than that of Allah and His Messenger (saws), one can be assured of being led astray.

 

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

 

Your brother and well wisher in Islam,

 

 

Burhan

 


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