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 AlKafi 1604



Assalamualaikum SS Datuk Mufti, my unit organized an activity where the weight of every individual is weighed fortnightly. If there is an increase of body weight, then he is fined RM5 for every kilogram he gained. The money is then collected and used for the activity or necessity of the unit. This is done in our unit to encourage the employees to maintain their ideal weight and health. This will be held throughout the year and in December whoever manages to lose the most weight will be a winner of a great prize. The present is bought using the money collected from the fines.

My question is: Is the present received considered as to be a form of gambling or usury?


Waalaikumussalam wrt wbt,

Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

Recently, there are various activities, competitions, contests, matches and others which promise numerous gifts and prizes. As a Muslim who is considerate and concern on the status of halal and haram set by syarak, we would like to call all of us to learn the general concept and basics before getting involved in any activities where prizes are offered.

First, although the explanation of above situation uses the word activity, however, the truth of the matter is it is a form of contest or competition. An Islamic legal maxim states:

العبرة في العقود للمقاصد والمعاني لا للألفاظ والمباني

“An akad is considered due to its purpose and objective, not to the words and arrangement of letters.” (See Ma’lamah Zayid Li al-Qawa’id al-Fiqhiyyah, 7/16)

According to the above maxim, it can be understood that although it is named as an annual unit activity, however, the real meaning of it is a contest or competition. The argument is that the prize that will be bought is from the money collected from the fine deposited to the unit’s account and not shared with all the staff, but is given to the individual who managed to lose the most weight. This is the depiction of a contest or competition.

Thus, regarding the general guideline of contests related to participant and organizer, one can refer to JAKIM’s website titled “Guideline for Contests Involving Prizes” [1] to get a comprehensive and clear explanation.

Second, among the general condition of contests that is permissible in syarak is that it has benefits towards the physical and mind of participants such as the health of a person’s body, sharpening of mind such as quizzes and questionnaires and others. Please refer AL-KAFI #584: THE RULING OF RECEIVING REWARDS FROM COMPETITIONS.

Considering the purpose of the above activity, there are elements permitted by syarak for it encourages the employees of the unit to maintain their health and ideal weight. It is a good and commendable initiative as encouraged in a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah RA:

الْمُؤْمِنُ القَوِيُّ، خَيْرٌ وَأَحَبُّ إلى اللهِ مِنَ المُؤْمِنِ الضَّعِيفِ

“A believer who is strong (and healthy) is better and dearer to Allah than the weak believer,”

Sahih Muslim (2664)

The issue that arises is when only the individual who succeeded to lose the most weight will receive the prize and the cost of the prize is from the fine collected throughout the year. This situation causes confusion that needs explanation and solution. Understanding the real situation is emphasized in syarak for different truth results in different rulings. Another Islamic legal maxim states:

الحكم على الشيئ فرع عن تصوره

“The ruling of a certain matter depends on the understanding of the issue.” (See Ma’lamah Zayid, 19/27)

From this point, there is a discussion of scholars which states that prizes from participation money is a form of gambling and haram according to syarak.

The question here, is money from “collected fines” the same as “participation fee” which is haram according to syarak?

Participation fee: A sum of money that needs to be paid by all participants to enter a contest or competition. The payment is compulsory for all participants without exceptions.

Collected fines: A sum of fines where for the above situation the money collected from participants who breaks the conditions of the contest.

According to the above definitions, the truth is there is a difference between participation fee and collected fines, where we consider that collected fines is not the same as participation fee which can lead to gambling and betting which is haram according to syarak.

The clear difference is where participation is compulsory for every participant while fine is only collected from those who break the rules.

Third, regarding the ruling of fining others in the form of money, the original ruling based on majority of the scholars state that it is haram to close the doors of opportunity for parties that will take advantage and property of others unjustly. (See Hashiyah Ibn 'Abidin, 4/61)

However, the above situation is different from the situation where scholars ruled it haram for the money is given voluntarily by the participant. As an alternative, the money collected from fine is similar to hibah or tabarru’ money where it is given voluntarily and not forced from others. While a fine or gharamah that is haram according to the majority of scholars is a compulsory payment enforced by certain parties as a compensation or through set rules. (See al-Gharamah al-Ta’ziriyyah, pg. 9)

Furthermore, such programs are an initiative to discipline oneself to maintain body weight and the physical health of oneself. The concept of this fine is equivalent to the concept of nazar. For example, a person said, “I set a nazar that I will donate RM5 to the unit’s account if I gain weight this week,”. Nazar such as this is permissible and valid according to syarak.

While for the collection of fine, it is categorized as tabarru’ fund such as practised by takaful companies. This fund is used for permissible matters according to syarak such as to buy prizes, welfare of the unit’s employees and others.

To conclude, to avoid any doubt and suspicion, the best way is for every participant to voluntarily donate some money to be credited into the unit’s account to be used for the activities organized by the unit throughout the year including to buy prizes for those who managed to lose the most weight.




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