The Official Website of the Office of His Eminence Al-Sayyid Ali Al-Husseini Al-Sistani

Question & Answer » Chess

1 Question: Some people play with gambling instruments other than chess and backgammon for enjoyment and without placing a bet.
Answer: [It is prohibited to play with all that is considered a gambling instrument even without placing a bet].
2 Question: What is the ruling on playing chess by using the customary pieces? Is the ruling any different in the case where the game is played by computer which employs symbols and shapes instead of the customary pieces?
Answer: Playing it (chess) is absolutely forbidden even without placing a bet. And there is no difference in this, whether it is (played) with customary pieces or by computer.
3 Question: (Is it permissible) to play chess and backgammon without placing a bet?
Answer: It is not permissible to play them.
4 Question: What is the ruling on playing chess using the commonly known equipment? Is the ruling different if the play is conducted on a computer, using symbols?
Answer: Playing chess is haraam under any circumstances, even though betting is not used. There is no difference between the two methods of playing chess.
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