If someone holds an event and sells raffle tickets to all attendees and in return for purchasing the tickets they are all given some sort of gift. Thereafter a random few are selected and given a special prize.
Is this permissible?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
In the mentioned scenario, tickets are being sold, with the winner receiving a prize. This is nothing but clear gambling. Individuals are staking their wealth and the return is dependent upon whether their raffle number is selected or not. The money spent in purchasing a ticket may be completely lost or it may bring with it more. They are staking their wealth for an uncertain event. This is exactly what gambling is.
The organisers are trying to circumvent the ruling by offering a gift. A gift is a voluntary offering which is not given in return for money. Thus, they are selling the item to the attendees.
Technically, although the organisers are giving a return for the money paid by the attendees, all those buying a raffle are not at all intending to buy ‘the gift’. They are purchasing the ticket to win the ultimate prize.
A simple test, if a participant who was given the gift and thereafter his/her raffle number was selected, would he/she claim the item? Most definitely they would. This shows they entered for the item and not the gift.
Furthermore, if the raffle was purely a voluntary competition, could the organisers walk away and decide not to give anything even after drawing out a number? This is not the case. The participants will have recourse to claim their right. This again clearly highlights the reality of the event. A gamble.
Thus, the current setup of the event is not permissible. The event can be structured in lines with Shari’ah. We are willing to offer advice on how to make the event Shari’ah compliant.
And Allah Ta’ālā Knows Best
Mufti Faraz al-Mahmudi,