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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles


A.M. Journal

Muhammad Speaks

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


QUESTION:   Do  the   various   prayer positions have symbolic meanings?
—Detroit, Mich.

IMAM: We are told in the Hadith that Prophet Muhammad (peace be unto him) said that "every ayat, every verse, has an expressed meaning and an implied or suggested meaning." In other words, an expressed meaning and a meaning by interpretation.

I believe that kind of understanding and that way of viewing matters in our religion should also apply not only to Quranic verses, or to Hadith (the sayings of Muhammad), but also should apply to our rituals.

QUESTION: How do you feel about Muslims who play chess?

IMAM: I think games that challenge the intelligence of the player and contribute to the increase in the level of intelligence, or increase the ability to analyze situations and benefit from the situation, are not-bad.

They are only bad if we introduce or allow gambling in those games. But as long as there is no risk of property or you are not gambling for money or for valuable things -- you are simply doing this for the skill — I don't see any problem with it myself.

Games of chance, as you know, are condemned in the Quran, but my understanding is that those games are condemned because those games were played for money and there was a winner who went away with somebody's wealth, somebody's money, or part of somebody's holdings or earnings, and that is forbidden.

Gambling is strictly forbidden in the religion. But we do have healthy competitions. I saw youngsters and men in the better Islamic countries playing soccer. That's competition. There is going to be a winner, and there is going to be a loser.

So if chess is played in the same way and the only victory is victory for the skill of the player, then I don't see anything wrong with it.