In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Brother, first of all, we’d like to say that we are impressed by your question, which emanates from a thoughtful heart. May Allah Almighty help us all adhere to the principles of this true religion, Islam, and enable us to be among the dwellers of Paradise in the Hereafter, Ameen.
In his well-known book, The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam, the prominent Muslim scholar, Sheik Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, states:
"While permitting a variety of games and sports, Islam prohibits any game which involves betting, that is, which has an element of gambling in it. We have already quoted the saying of the Prophet, 'He who says to his friend: 'Come, let us gamble,' must give charity.' It is not lawful for the Muslim to seek relaxation and recreation in gambling, nor is it lawful for him to acquire money through it.
There are sound and noble objectives behind this strict prohibition of gambling:
1. The Islamic teachings urge the Muslim to follow Allah's directives for earning a living, to use natural laws and direct means for the attainment of his objectives, and to employ such causes to produce the desired effects. Gambling, which includes raffling or the lottery, on the other hand, makes a person dependent on chance, 'luck' and empty wishes, taking him away from honest labor, serious work and productive effort. The person who depends on gambling loses respect for the laws of causation which Allah has established and commanded people to use.
2. In Islam, an individual's property is sacred; it may not be taken from him except through lawful exchange or unless he gives it freely as a gift or in charity. Accordingly, taking it from him by gambling is unlawful.
3. It is therefore not surprising that gamblers develop hatred and enmity towards one another, although they may claim that losing does not trouble them. There is always a winner and a loser. The loser may seem composed but behind his composure is frustration, anger, and regret: frustration due to disappointment, anger at the loss of money, and regret for not having played a winning game.
4. Gambling has its own compulsion. The loser plays again in hope of winning the next game in order to regain his earlier losses, while the winner plays again to enjoy the pleasure of winning, impelled by greed for more. Naturally, luck changes hands, the loser becomes the winner and the winner the loser, and the joy of winning changes into the bitterness of loss. Thus the gamblers may persist at playing the game, unable to bring themselves to leave it; this is the secret of the addiction to gambling.
5. Because of this addiction, gambling is a danger to the society as well as to the individual. This habit consumes gamblers' time and energy, making them non-productive idlers and parasites on society, who take but do not give, who consume but do not produce. Moreover, due to his absorption with gambling, the gambler neglects his obligations towards his Creator and his duties towards his community. It often happens that a gambling addict sells his honor, religion, and country for the sake of the gaming table, since his devotion to this table dulls his sense of values and kills all other devotions.
How correct the Qur'an is in mentioning drinking and gambling together in its verses, since their harmful effects on the individual, the family, and society are very similar. What is more like alcoholism than addiction to gambling? This is why one usually is not found without the other. Again, how correct the Qur'an is when it teaches us that both of these, drinking and gambling, are inspired by Satan, that they are akin to idolatry and divining by arrows, and that they are filthy and abominable habits which must be shunned: 'O you who believe, truly intoxicants and gambling and divination by arrows are an abomination of Satan's doing; avoid them in order that you may be successful. Assuredly Satan desires to sow enmity and hatred among you by means of intoxicants and gambling, and to hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. Will you not then desist?' (Al-Ma'idah: 93-94)"