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Participating in a New Form of Lottery

Adil Salahi

Arab News

Q. Is it permissible to participate in the telephone competitions which promise large prizes? Many companies, magazines, papers, etc. encourage their readers or customers to telephone and win prizes. The problem is that the numbers to call are of the 700 type, which cost about 4-5 times the normal rate for ordinary calls. There seems to be income for the companies, but only prizes for some of the customers. Please comment.

S.T. Ali

A. When you provide a service or sell an article, you must explain to the customer the nature of your service or the type of article you are selling. You should also make him clear of the price he will be paying for that service or article. When there is deception, or even confusion, so as the customer does not know exactly what he is buying, then this comes under what is known in Islamic law as gharar, which renders the sale forbidden.

In this case, the customer is asked to telephone a number in order to claim a prize. He is not told how long the call would last and how much it costs. Since it is a very expensive call, and the likelihood is that the call will last at least five minutes, then he is parting with a sum of money in return for entering a draw, or getting a prize which is often worth much less than the amount he pays for the call. One or two callers in thousands will get substantial prizes in some sort of a draw. This makes the whole thing akin to a lottery, and lottery is undoubtedly forbidden.

This means that we have two different reasons that make this whole thing forbidden. It is forbidden for the companies running it because they are making a gharar sale, and forbidden for the participants because they are using a lottery system. However, many of them are not aware of this fact. May God forgive us all.

Repentance After Adultery

Q. A husband discovered that his wife has had an extra marital relation. However, because of the fact that his children are young and in need of their mother, and because he believes his wife when she expresses genuine regret and vows that she would never do any similar offense, he wants to retain her. Could you please explain the status of the marriage under these conditions, and how to make the repentance acceptable to God?

(Name and address withheld)

A. The marriage is not affected by the adultery of either partner. The rule that operates in this connection is that what is forbidden cannot invalidate what is lawful. Marriage is the lawful state, and it cannot be invalidated by adultery, which is forbidden. So the husband need not have any worry about the validity of his marriage.

The husband is within his rights when he considers what to do with his wife. What is important from the Islamic point of view is that she should genuinely repent, because she has committed a very grievous sin. Proper repentance means genuine regret of committing the offense and a firm resolve not to repeat it. Without these two, repentance is not valid. Suppose a person drinks wine, and then he says that he repented. Yet when you ask him about his drinking, he says that it was enjoyable, or it was fun, or whatever, then he does not genuinely regret the offense. Again, if a chance offers itself and he would be ready to drink then he has not made the necessary resolve. In either case, the repentance is not the type specified by Islam as the one which erases past sins.

If the husband feels that his wife has genuinely repented her past error and that it is better for him and his children that the family stays together, then this is perfectly acceptable. However, he should do everything possible to help his wife so that she does not slip into sin again.


Earth, a planet hungry for peace


The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers (Ran Cohen, pmc, 5/24/03).


The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers in the West Bank, like a Python. (Alquds,10/25/03).

Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah's.