Is Playing Board Games Haram


As Muslims, it is important to understand the concept of ‘haram’ and what it entails for a pious believer. The term ‘haram’ is an Arabic word that means forbidden or prohibited by Islamic law. What constitutes as haram varies from tradition to tradition, however most traditions agree that gambling, engaging in sexual activities outside of marriage, consumption of alcohol, and theft are all haram practices. However there is more flexibility involved when determining whether certain activities are considered haram depending on the context and severity of the activity in question. This concept can be applied when considering the question – ‘Is playing board games haram?’

A potential interpretation of the prohibition against these activities as seen in Quran 5:91 states: “He who gambles destroys himself…” indicating that there is an element of harm associated with prohibited acts that deem them unfit for a Muslim to engage them. As such, any game that involves luck or chance with the stakes being money or material goods can certainly be deemed as gambling and therefore outside acceptable boundaries for Muslims. Though games like Chess or Checkers which involve skill instead of chance could be permissible provided both sides have a fair chance of winning regardless of their relation with money or goods.

When looking at modern board games where there may be elements like collecting resources such as coins or other materials coupled with random events it would certainly constitute as a form gambling given that aspects involving randomness exist and thus would not be permissible for followers of Islam to participate in. Furthermore, if playing board games becomes an obsession where one person spends substantial amounts of time playing only these types of games rather then fulfilling their social obligations than this objection in itself constitutes it being haram regardless of luck or chance being involved.

In summary, while some schools may view certain types of boardgames as permissible depending on the objectives pursued by players without involving money or any other physical gain, many stricter interpretations suggest they should all be avoided out right as they can lead to addiction and potential loss which violates prohibitions imposed on believers by Islam teachings.

Historical & Religious Perspectives

Throughout its long history, the concept and practice of playing board games has had numerous cultural, religious, and political influences. Board games have evolved in different cultures across the world; each culture offering a unique version of play and interpretation. In some instances, the earliest forms of board games have been used as educational tools to develop skills or taught religious lessons by using figurines or symbols.

In Islamic culture, there are different opinions on whether or not it is permissible to play games with dice and other devices. Many believers look at board game from a philosophical perspective arguing that if it’s played for entertainment purposes only then it would be considered halal (permissible). On the opposite end, others believe it is haram (forbidden) as gambling with dice is associated with Shaytan (Satan). Muslims who abide by strict ethical codes typically take this perspective in order to protect themselves from participating in any type of sin.

Relaxing Board Games

With respect to alternative board games such as checkers, chess, mancala, senet and so forth that do not use dice and are without an element of winning by chance or ‘luck’ there appears to be more consensus among religious interpreters regarding their legitimacy. These board games offer understanding and insight while they also foster our spiritual growth; thus they remain seen as valid pastimes in many Muslim households.

Modern Board Games & Their Effect on Islamic Perspectives

Playing board games is an activity that has been enjoyed for centuries, even predating the Islamic faith itself. Board game play can be seen as a cultural and social experience where families and friends come together to create memories, increase bonds, and have fun. As such, Islamic law provides general rulings on recreational activities that may or may not be allowed in certain cultures.

In order to understand modern interpretations of Islam regarding board games, it is important to consider the historical ruling of “building” games, which are those much like chess or checkers involving calculated moves around a board. Generally speaking, building games have been allowed in Islam so long as they do not involve gambling elements such as betting money on the outcome of the game (otherwise known as maisir). It is also important to recognize how excessive use of playing these types of games can lead to mental overstimulation and poor behavior within society. Thus it has been deemed necessary to regulate them under Islamic Law in order to ensure fair practices among its player base.

Now when looking at more modern board game variants like Settlers of Catan or Monopoly we immediately see the diffences between these types of recreational activities and traditional building style game play. There are usually no defined winners or losers but rather scores accumulated from actions taken during a turn-based cycle – such as collecting resources or taking buildings from one another – all with their own individual set values.

Therefore it is safe to say that many hold a neutral attitude towards modern interpretation of recreational activities including but not limited to these new popularized board games in Islam today due to their lack of gambling elements compared to traditional ones. So long as players remain mindful and avoid creating situations where gambling becomes involved then any associated risk is minimal at best carrying many positive aspects along with it for sound leisurely mindsets within individuals

Criticisms & Critiques of Modern Board Games

Playing board games may be seen as haram by some because of the perception that board games can lead to gambling and excessive gambling can have undesirable outcomes in both wealth management and health. Additionally, some argue that playing board games encourages competition based solely on financial gain and an end-goal-oriented approach which can be detrimental to fruitful conversation and personal relationships. Indeed, modern board games include titles like Monopoly, Settlers of Catan, Risk, or Trivial Pursuit; all with a goal of accumulating resources and/or gaining knowledge. These activities center on gaining wealth or acquiring knowledge primarily through luck or chance gaming elements.

However, not all board games are seen as haram. There is a large range of cooperative type board games available today like Pandemic, Forbidden Island & Forbidden Desert; which rely more on collaboration than individual competition. Furthermore, there are now many different educational type board games like Scrabble or Boggle where quick thinking skills are tested rather than simply amassing resources. Games such as these focus on creative problem solving techniques instead cashing in the luck element normally associated with most board games. Critical Thinking Games such as Rorys Story Cubes (by The Creativity Hub) have also emerged in recent years and offer an entirely different gaming experience compared to older versions of traditional dice rolling / chance based mechanics.

Simple Board Games For Adults

At the end of the day, whether playing basic card and dice games or more advanced strategy types – different people will ultimately make their own choices regarding what determines haram or halal activity for them within gaming environments and play their own level of risk accordingly

Alternatives to Board Games

Playing board games can be fun, but there are other ways to challenge your mind and have a good time. If you’re concerned about whether or not playing board games is considered haram according to Islamic teachings, there are several alternatives available for entertainment that don’t involve dice-rolling or cards.

Games such as scavenger hunts, mental and physical challenges, puzzle solving, charades and creative writing activities all offer up plenty of possibilities in terms of mastering problem-solving skills or team building. Many of these activities also offer the opportunity to exert physical activity while being creative and having fun.

Other activities, such chess and checkers, provide interesting alternatives which pit players against one another on an intellectual level as well as allow for strategizing and teaching concentration skills – enabling participants to familiarize themselves with aspects of Islamic thought in a fun setting.

Additionally, technology has made its way into more traditional Muslim activities such as sports which can be played indoors via video game consoles or online with other people across the world. With the addition of motion controllers and smart phones wireless remote gaming options exist that people from all different backgrounds can engage with each other in a virtual environment. This technology allows for even more interactive exchanges between people that may not have had access previously due to geographic location or financial constraint.


Overall, the discussion on whether playing board games is haram has revealed that there is much disagreement between scholars. Some believe it to be an acceptable form of entertainment, as some of the more ancient games are thought to have even been played by the Prophet and his companions. Others consider such games to be potential avenues for gambling and unacceptable behavior and therefore assert that they should not be played at all. Ultimately, it falls upon individuals to decide what’s best for themselves based on their own research and understanding of Islamic teachings.

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