Posted on 03/22/2012 by __socrates

CHESS. Arabic Shatranj. According to the Hidiyah, “It is an abomination to play at chess, dice, or any other game, for if anything be staked it is gambling (maisir), which is expressly forbidden in the Qur’an; or if, on the other hand nothing be hazarded it is useless and vain. Besides, the Prophet has declared all the entertainment of a Muslim to be vain except three: the breaking in of his horse, the drawing of his bow, and playing and amusing himself with his wives. Several of the learned, however, deem the game at chess lawful as having a tendency to quicken the understanding. This is the opinion of ash-Shafi`i. If a man play at chess for a stake, it destroys the the integrity of his character, but if he do not play for a stake, the integrity of his character is not affected. (Hamilton’s Hidayah, vol. iv. p. l22.)

Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam