Playing Marbles

Dar al-Ifta Ahl al-Sunnah

Mufti Muammad Hashim Khan Attari Madani

1. ‘More love than 70 Mothers’

What do the noble scholars say about the following matter: People often state, “Allah Almighty loves His servant more than 70 mothers.”

1) Has this phrase come in any hadith, or is it merely widespread amongst people?

2) Is it permissible to state this phrase without mentioning it as a hadith?

بِسْمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِیْمِ

 اَلْجَوَابُ بِعَوْنِ الْمَلِکِ الْوَھَّابِ اَللّٰھُمَّ ھِدَایَۃَ الْحَقِّ وَالصَّوَابِ


1) After much research, the statement mentioned in the question could not be found in any hadith. This has spread amongst people without a chain of narration. Therefore, unless a reliable reference for it is found, it should not be mentioned as a Hadith.

Allah Almighty is the Most Merciful, and He bestows His generosity and grace upon His creation. It is not necessary to mention this particular sentence to explain the love and mercy of Allah for His servants. There are many Quranic verses and Prophetic Aādīth which describe the love, mercy and benevolence of Allah Almighty upon His servants. We should mention these and refrain from relating reports which the scholars prevent us from narrating.

2) There is no harm in mentioning this phrase, without stating it as a Hadith, by way of indicating upon an abundance of love, as the number 70 is used proverbially to indicate upon the profusion of a particular thing. However, even when mentioning it in this way, it should be clarified that this is not a Hadith. This is because people assume it to be a Hadith and then convey it onwards. It is stated in Farhang-e-Asifiya:

Seventy: 70 is a number indicating abundance, many, hundreds, many multiples.[1]

The online Urdu Rekhta Dictionary gives one meaning of seventy as: “For the expression of abundance, many, thousands.”

From the perspective of this meaning, the purport of the sentence “Allah Almighty loves His servant more than seventy mothers” is that Allah Almighty loves His servant a lot.

وَاللہُ اَعْلَمُ عَزَّوَجَلَّ وَ رَسُوْلُہٗ اَعْلَم صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم

2. Playing Marbles

Q: What do the noble scholars say about the following matter: Children and adults play with marbles in local alleyways? The method of play takes different forms including the following two:

1) A child takes some marbles in his hand and then asks, “Are they odd or even?” If the one questioned answers correctly, he is given all the marbles in that person’s hand. If he answers incorrectly, he has to give that many marbles to the questioner.

2) A target is made of marbles. If the player strikes the target, he receives an agreed number of marbles from the other player.

In both these forms of play, a time comes when one person loses and is left empty-handed, and the other person wins and doubles his marbles.

Are both these forms impermissible due to falling into gambling?

بِسْمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِیْمِ

اَلْجَوَابُ بِعَوْنِ الْمَلِکِ الْوَھَّابِ اَللّٰھُمَّ ھِدَایَۃَ الْحَقِّ وَالصَّوَابِ

A: Both of the described forms of playing with marbles are considered gambling and impermissible. The detail concerning this is as follows:

Maysar (میسر) has been declared forbidden in the noble Quran. The exegetes, Hadith experts, Hadith commentators and jurists have deemed that all forms of gambling are included in this term. Therefore, gambling is impermissible based on the explicit text of the noble Quran. The form of gambling in these games is that a condition is placed that the winner takes something from the loser. The scholars have informed that the walnut game played by children falls within the impermissibility of gambling. The walnut game was played in the era of the Companions and their Successors رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْھُم and is played in some areas even now. The game of marbles played in our time is like that game of walnuts. In the early periods when marbles did not exist, people played with walnuts. Therefore, the ruling of impermissible gambling which applies to the game of walnuts also applies to the game of marbles when the condition of the winner taking something from the loser is stipulated.

Consequently, both forms of playing with marbles described in the question are gambling and forbidden. It is obligatory upon Muslims that they save themselves and their children from this impermissible act.

Removal of a doubt:

A contention could be raised upon this answer that walnuts are clearly a form of wealth whereas this is not apparent in marbles, so how can the condition of taking and giving marbles be gambling?

The reply to this is that just as walnuts are wealth, so are marbles, because the latter are made from glass, and glass is clearly wealth. For marbles to be used for play and vain pursuit does not remove them from the category of wealth, otherwise walnuts would also cease being wealth. Furthermore, as for that which the scholars have written about that no compensation is due if someone breaks toys like a bull, elephant, horse, etc. as they have no value, they have specified that for toys made from mud. Conversely, if those toys are made from wood or metal, compensation would be necessary.

وَاللہُ اَعْلَمُ عَزَّوَجَلَّ وَ رَسُوْلُہٗ اَعْلَم صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم

[1] Farhang-e-Asifiya, vol. 2, p. 32




Security Code