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why is chess prohibited?

why is chess prohibited?

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:

i have doubts about hadiths i will just give the no,book .volume of the hadith i would like you to display the hadith as well as the doubt i am asking and these are as follows:

1)in shahi muslim(book 28.,hadith no 5612)

it says it is forbidden to play chess .if this is correct .my doubt is why is chess prohibited?
2)in shahi muslim (book 28.,hadith no 5611)

it is said not to read or recite or to by heart poetry is this correct .why is poetry prohibited?

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Why chess and poetry prohibited

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 no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.  

Your Question: if this is correct .my doubt is why is chess prohibited?

Sahih Muslim Hadith 5612 Narrated by Buraydah ibn al-Hasib

Allah's Messenger (saws) said: 'He who played chess is like one who dyed his hand with the flesh and blood of swine.'

The narration you have inquired about is indeed considered authentic. Islam guides that the absolutely most expensive commodity one has been blessed with and will be held accountable for is the 'time' one has been allocated with in the short and transient life of this world as a test and trial from their Lord.

Allah says in the Holy Quran in Chapter 67 Surah Al Mulk verse 2:

He (Allah) created death and life that He may test you, to see which of you is the best in deeds.

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 51 Surah Dhariyat verse 56:

I have not created the jinn and men except for this that they should worship Me alone.

The guidance of Islam encourages those who have professed belief to utilize this allocated time in doing good wholesome deeds either for oneself or for one's fellow mankind; deeds which will profit oneself or others spiritually, physically, materially, or even mentally so that the one may further strive towards success and salvation in the test period of this short and transient life.

Islam absolutely discourages the believers from 'wasting' their precious and allocated time in doing useless and worthless deeds; deeds which will bring absolutely no profit to themselves or others, either in this world or the Hereafter! All such useless and worthless deeds which bring absolutely no gain or benefit to one in this world or the Hereafter, nor furthers one's cause towards salvation and success are prohibited for the believers who sincerely believe in Allah and the Last Day.

Islam guides that just as a student in an exam utilizes his time to make sure he scores the maximum he can in his results, the precious time allocated by the Lord to each individual in the short and transitory life of this world as a test must be 'utilized' to further one's cause of existence rather than 'wasted' on worthless deeds and acts.

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 70 Surah Mairaj verses 42-44:

Therefore, leave them engrossed in their vain talk and play, until they encounter that Day of theirs which they are being promised; when they shall be rushing out of their graves as though they are racing towards the shrines of their deities. Their eyes shall be downcast and abasement shall be covering them. That is the Day they are being promised.

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 6 Surah Anam verse 32:

This worldly life is but a sport and an amusement. In fact, the abode of the Hereafter is better for those who desire to be safe from harm. Will you not, then, use your common sense?

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 43 Surah Zukhruf verse 83:

Well, let them remain absorbed in their falsehoods and sports, till they see that Day of theirs with which they are being threatened.

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 7 Surah Aaraaf verses 50-51:

(On the Day of Judgement) The inmates of Hell will cry out to the people of Paradise: "Pour upon us a little water or throw down a bit of the provisions Allah has bestowed upon you." The people of Paradise will reply, "Allah has forbidden both these things to the disbelievers, who had made their religion a sport and a pastime, and who had been deluded by the worldly life." Then Allah will say, "Today We will forget them just as they forgot the meeting of this Day, and rejected Our Revelations."

Beloved brother, the deen of Islam does allow some level of amusement or entertainment which are good and wholesome like spending quality time with family and friends, or some sport which benefits one physically, etc.; but to 'waste' a commodity as precious and invaluable as time on useless and worthless deeds which bring absolutely no benefit to oneself or others is absolutely discouraged in Islam.

Thus even though useless and worthless games like chess, backgammon, or games which involve dice are mentioned by name as discouraged and prohibited; the truth is that all such acts which bring oneself or others absolutely no benefit except 'killing' or 'wasting' time are discouraged in Islam.

Al-Muwatta Hadith 52.7

Yahya said that he heard Malik say, "There is no good in chess, and he (the Messenger of Allah (saws)) disapproved of it." Yahya said, "I heard him disapprove of playing it and other worthless games. He recited this ayat, 'What is there after the truth except going the wrong way.' " (Sura l0 verse 32).

Sunan of Abu-Dawood Hadith 4920 Narrated by AbuMusa al-Ash'ari

The Messenger of Allah (saws) said: "He who plays backgammon disobeys Allah and His Messenger (saws)."

Al-Muwatta Hadith 52.6

Yahya related from Malik from Musa ibn Maysara from Said ibn Abi Hind from Abu Musa al-Ashari that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said, "Whoever plays games of dice has disobeyed Allah and His Messenger."

Your Question-2: in shahi muslim (book 28.,hadith no 5611)

it is said not to read or recite or to by heart poetry is this correct .why is poetry prohibited?
Sahih Muslim Hadith 5611 Narrated by AbuSa'id al-Khudri

We were going with Allah's Messenger (saws). As we reached the place (known as) Arj there met (us) a poet who had been reciting a poem. Thereupon Allah's Messenger (saws) said: "Catch (or detain) the shaytaan, for filling the belly of a person with pus is better than stuffing his brain with poetry!"

Beloved brother, it is not that poetry in its essence or in general is forbidden in Islam; but what is forbidden is poetry that does nothing but instigates and encourages 'fahisha' (indecency), illegal lusts and desires, and inspires one towards the transgression of the boundaries of Islam.

Islam absolutely encourages good wholesome poetry, which inspires one towards the fear of Allah, towards His awe and obedience, and towards anything that is good and made permissible by Allah and His Messenger (saws).

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 26 Surah Shua'raa verses 221-227:

221 Shall I inform you (O people!) on whom it is that the Shayaateen descend?  

222 They descend on every lying, wicked person 

223 (Into whose ears) they pour hearsay, vanities; and most of them are liars. 

224 And the Poets, it is those straying in Evil who follow them:  

225 Seest thou not that they wander distracted in every valley? 

226 And that they say what they practice not? 

227 Except those who believe work righteousness, engage much in the remembrance of Allah and defend themselves only after they are unjustly attacked. And soon will the unjust assailants know what vicissitudes their affairs will take!

In is indeed true that the Messenger of Allah (saws) did not like poets and poetry, which sensationalized and encouraged the pursuit of the world and its alluring lusts. But he encouraged those poets whose poetry praised Allah Subhanah, and contained words of wisdom which related to the guidance to Allah.

Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 8.166 Narrated by Ubai bin Kab

Allah's Messenger (saws) said, "Some poetry contains wisdom."

Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 5.509 Narrated by Salama bin Al Akwa

We went out to Khaibar in the company of the Prophet (saws). While we were proceeding at night, a man from the group said to 'Amir, "O 'Amir! Won't you let us hear your poetry?" 'Amir was a poet, so he got down and started reciting for the people poetry that kept pace with the camels' footsteps, saying: "O Allah! Without You we Would not have been guided on the right path, neither would be have given in charity, nor would we have prayed. So please forgive us, what we have committed (i.e. our defects); let all of us be sacrificed for Your Cause and send Sakina (i.e. calmness) upon us to make our feet firm when we meet our enemy, and if they will call us towards an unjust thing, we will refuse. The infidels have made a hue and cry to ask others' help against us." The Prophet (saws) on that, asked, "Who is that (camel) driver (reciting poetry)?" The people said, "He is 'Amir bin Al-Akwa'." Then the Prophet (saws) said, "May Allah bestow His Mercy on him."

Thus it is not poetry per say which is disliked in Islam, but what is said in those poetry. If the poetry encourages the believers to believe in Allah and follow His Commands, it would be considered good poetry and absolutely encouraged in Islam.

But the poetry which do not inspire faith in Allah, nor strengthen ones belief in Allah's Oneness, nor kindle one's heart to love Allah; but rather glamorize lust and the pursuit of the world, etc.; such poetry is disliked and discouraged in Islam.

Thus in conclusion, it is not poetry which is disliked or discouraged, but what will determine its permissibility is what message the poetry is portraying to its readers.

Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 4807 Narrated by Aisha

When the subject of poetry was mentioned to Allah's Messenger (saws) he said, "It is speech, and what is good in it is good, and what is bad is bad."

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 Allah's Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

Your brother and well wisher in Islam,