Abdulaziz al-Sheikh, Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti, has ruled that chess is forbidden in Islam, saying it “encourages gambling and is a waste of time”. The fatwa was issued during a television show in which the grand mufti answered questions of religious matters.

He added that chess was: “a cause for hatred and enmity between players”. As to justify his ruling, Abdulaziz al-Sheikh refered to a verse in the Quran which bans “intoxicants, gambling, idolatry and divination”.

Saudis-Grand-Mufti-Sheikh-Abdul-Aziz-al-Sheikh

Whether chess falls under these categories is a source of much debate among Islamic scholars. formerly, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, largely regarded as Iraq’s most prominent Shia-religious figure, issued rulings which also deemed chess un-Islamic and as such forbidden. Furthermore, chess was declared haram in Iran from 1979 until 1988. However, in 1988 the supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini, lifted the ban and said it was permissible as long as it was not a source for gambling. Iran now has an active chess confederation and sends players to international games.

Remarkably, chess is actually an Arab invention which was exported by Muslims from Persia to Europe during the Islamic Golden Age from the 7th century onwards.

The Gulf region is no stranger to seemingly weird fatwas. For instance, in 2001, Saudi Arabia banned Pokemon. Let alone that, the United Arab Emirates also issued a ruling during the world cup of 2010 in which made the use of the vuvuzela horn forbidden.

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Student currently living in Denmark. Special focus on news from Syria, MENA map-making and strategical military analysis.

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a Shiite
Guest
a Shiite

He’s better bans terrorism.

Steven Mudd
Guest
Steven Mudd

He must have lost a game.He can ban it, He will still always be a LOSER

Muhammad Ahmed
Guest
Muhammad Ahmed

Creeping paranoia !

JIMMER FREDETTES DAD
Guest
JIMMER FREDETTES DAD

IT REQUIRES SORCERY TO WIN THEREFORE ILLEGAL UNDER ISLAMIC JURISPRUDENCE

Kristjan Murmur
Guest
Kristjan Murmur

time to ban usa dollar

Shite Tech
Guest
Shite Tech

@leithfadel bit silly noone gambles on chess. It’s a game of skill not chance.

Feridoun
Guest
Feridoun

@leithfadel
The new era of salman boy will not come soon
Lol