In Islam, gambling (known as maisir, also maisira and sometimes called qimar[1]), is forbidden (Arabic: harām). According to, the term "maisir" was "originally used" as a reference to a "pre-Islamic game of arrows in which seven persons gambled for shares (portions) of an allotted prize". Maisir is prohibited by Islamic law (shari'a) on the grounds that "the agreement between participants is based on immoral inducement provided by entirely wishful hopes in the participants' minds that they will gain by mere chance, with no consideration for the possibility of loss".[1]

Both qimar and maisir refer to games of chance, but qimar is a kind (or subset) of maisir.[2] Author Muhammad Ayub defines maisir as "wishing something valuable with ease and without paying an equivalent compensation for it or without working for it, or without undertaking any liability against it by way of a game of chance",[2] while qimar "also means receipt of money, benefit or usufruct at the cost of others, having entitlement to that money or benefit by resorting to chance."[2]

It is stated in the Quran that games of chance, including maisir, are a "grave sin" and "abominations of Satan's handiwork". It is also mentioned in ahadith.

They ask you about wine and gambling. Say: 'In them both lies grave sin, though some benefit, to mankind. But their sin is more grave than their benefit.'
Qur'an, 2:219 (al-Baqara)[3]
O believers, wine and gambling, idols and divining arrows are an abhorrence, the work of Satan. So keep away from it, that you may prevail. Satan only deserves to arouse discord and hatred among you with wine and gambling, and to deter you from the mention of God and from prayer. Will you desist?
Qur'an, Sura 5:90-91 (Al-Ma'ida)[4]
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "Whoever swears saying in his oath. 'By Al-lāt and al-‘Uzzá,' should say, 'None has the right to be worshipped but God; and whoever says to his friend, 'Come, let me gamble with you,' should give something in charity."
Sahih Bukhari, Book 78 (Oaths and Vows), hadith 645


  1. 1 2 "Islamic Finance. Q&A. What is the Difference Between Qimar and Maisir?". investment-and-finance. Nov 23, 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 Ayub, Muhammad (2007). Understanding Islamic Finance. Wiley. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  3. Quran 2:219
  4. Quran 5:90–91
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