The basic objective of all Islamic directives is to cleanse the
human soul from excesses. Economic activities, it is a common observation,
have tremendous effects on a person’s character. Therefore, all such
activities which produce negative or evil traits in a person are prohibited
by Islam, since they tarnish the mirror of the soul. Let us take a look at
some of the typical traits of a gambler:
i. He bases his economic activity on chance rather than his own technical
ability which of course leads to cowardice and superstition.
ii. He loses the initiative to work hard, which can create severe financial
problems for him and his family.
iii. He becomes selfish and mean since his life inevitably becomes caught in
a vicious circle of gaining more and more.
iv He is generally distracted from the higher ideals of life.
Such traits and other similar ones are generally the outcome of gambling. It
is not necessary that they are produced in their ultimate form whenever a
person indulges in gambling. The temperament of Islam is to bolt all
pathways which lead to some evil. The line of prohibition is marked much
before the evil starts itself so that a person is discouraged much before.
Yes, betting on a horse in a horse race is a form of gambling. Also, there
is a world of difference between betting and investment. Betting or gambling
in a horse race cannot be called an investment in any sense of the word
since in this case the money involved is not brought in the market as a
means of providing service to the society which is necessary. Besides
however much you may be able to predict the ‘skill of a horse’ the
uncertainty factor is still tremendous.