Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Declares Chess UnIslamic

We have previously discussed the wacky views of Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh like declaring that Twitter is “the source of all evil and devastation.” Now the grand mufti has ruled that chess is forbidden in Islam even though Arabs helped spread chess around the world after conquering Persia in the Seventh Century. Yet, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s supreme Shia religious authority, has previously issued rulings forbidding chess. Likewise, after the 1979 revolution in Iran, chess was declared haram, or forbidden.

At first I was not sure if it was the role of a powerful “bishop” or the mixing of genders with the Queen intermingling with knights and other non-family members.  It turns out that the grand mufti believes that chess can encourage gambling and is a waste of time. That is appears is enough to declare it an affront to Islam.

Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh appears to play a pretty hard core version of the game. He insisted that chess is “a cause for hatred and enmity between players.” I am not sure how chess differs from any competitive sport. However, he declared that chess runs afoul of the Qur’an’s ban on “intoxicants, gambling, idolatry and divination”.

Given his position in Saudi Arabia, the announcement could have a substantial impact on chess players in the Kingdom — an association that has existed for centuries. Most people would view declaring a game like chess as anti-Islamic to be rather unhinged but the grand mufti is not just some guy raving about chess in the subway. These declarations are expected to be followed by faithful Muslims regardless of the absurdity of the suggestion. Of course, given the rise of online gambling in Saudi Arabia, there appears to be many Muslims who do not hold with such fatwas against fun.

Source: Guardian

108 thoughts on “Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Declares Chess UnIslamic”

  1. Ouch!! Not only has Po declared “with utmost certainty that Jesus does not consider RWL one of his people”, that there is ” no hope” for Paul C.Schulte, but I now find that out that Po doesn’t love me.

    1. po – I am loved by the people who count in my life. My emotional needs are being met.

  2. Isaac
    As for every modern atheist, you are biased and fundamentalist about your bias, which makes you very much of the same cloth as the mufti…and as RWL.

    All of you operate from the premise of the one vs the other, you, as the one, endowed with higher knowledge and better insight, the other as the one lacking in divine value, or rationality or knowledge or culture.

    Telling me that religion is obsolete is actually worse than me telling you that atheism is irrational. You do not know what the value of religion is to the believer, and I do not know what atheism does for you.
    In order to make your case however, you have to conflate all religions into a heap of violence and evil, which requires you to be blind completely to the other side of religion, the individual and communal benefits of it. You’d agree that is a very irrational process, at best.
    If most religious people try to abide by the rules of their faith by not killing, not raping, not stealing…how would you conclude that faith is useless to society? You really do not see that the more religious people there are (reasonable religious people I mean), the safer we all are?

    Another glaring and illogical mistake new atheists make is to speak forcefully about religion without knowing the least bit about it, which is not only dishonest but very much illogical. Most lack basic knowledge of religion. Richard Dawkins was recently on twitter blasting some for criticizing one of his books, whcih they never read, only to be met with a chorus of voices pondering why he, of the prophetic islamophobia and the relentless criticism of the Quran had never read it. I have yet to meet a critic of islam, religious or atheist, who had read it!!!!
    While past generations of atheists at least were knowledgeable in the holy books, the doctrines and dogmas, and were able to weigh what they perceived as good against what they saw as bad, their rejection of faith was informed and rational, hat is why it was also usually balanced and fair, not fundamentalist.

    Furthermore, you tend to use western society as the standard of civilization. That is fallacious as well because we all can see that western societies are failing us in every single measure. If we use one single standard, one of human rights, western society has been responsible for most of the abuse of human rights across the globe. In fact, there is no horror going on currently that is not outsourced from the west, and generally in the name of what…secularism and democracy.
    And I must bring this back…the number one cause of pregnant women’s death in US is murder. To me that is unfathomable and frames the issue perfectly.

    As for the Quran, you keep lumping it with other holy books as violent and horrific. As I affirmed before, you have not read, for what you claim is in it is not in it. You may find things to hold against it, but at least be fair and don’t blame it for what it does not say.

  3. How about Senegal? Declared by Po to be “the most tolerant country on earth”.
    Forget about ” a bunch of words strung together” by some lame organization like Human Rights Watch.
    What is that compared to the cosmopolitan Mexican/ Somali/Oriental Senegal expert? I’ll try not too complain too much about the wordy nothingness and sheer folly of Po’s ridiculous, baseless assertions.
    At a penny a word, he can feed numerous Senegalese transvestites for months.

  4. Paul

    As with going to North Korea, Saudi Arabia, or any other of the backward totalitarian and retarded places in this world, and taking with me my opinions, absolutely not. It has nothing to do with guts but more with keeping them where they are. Don’t confuse bravery with stupidity. Your comments are, as usual, as disparate and erratic as that famous book, the koran.

    1. issacbasonkavichi – you talk the talk, but you don’t walk the walk.

  5. RWL
    SMH! I am finished, and I will pray that the Lord Jesus Christ open your eyes.

    RWL, are you gonna cut and run again when the going gets tough?
    It says a great deal about that you keep quoting people who are debunked as scholars in the fields they pretend to know about.

    The history of Islam is 1500 years long, with thousands of established scholars who spent their lives studying the quran and Islam, yet it is lone Robert Spencer who has no knowledge of Arabic, who has no degree in Islamic studies (same for Dr Craig, whose view of Christian theology even other Chrisian scholars reject), whom every scholar disagrees with, whom you quote as expert against the 1500 year old legacy of islamic studies?????

    What type of rational mind would do that?

    It is people like you who give Christianity and Jesus Christ a bad name. You are an ignorant fundamentalist, not unlike this grand mufti and his ilk.
    Not only are you unable to know what your religion says, you double down by claiming to know what other religions say, using other ignorant fundamentalists as guides.
    I do pray that Allah guides you and your ilk in the name of Jesus (As) for I know you are not a Christian, just another corrupter claiming the mantle of reformer, another wolf in sheep clothing.
    I can tell you with utmost certainty that Jesus does not consider you of his people. And if he doesn’t, no other prophet will…No worries, I’ll be extra righteous so that when it gets way too hot for your comfort, look me up, perhaps I could place the good word in for you 🙂

  6. Paul, you have taught Tom well, saying a lot of little things and none containing much 🙂
    Thanks for correcting his spelling so nicely, you, truly, a friend 🙂

  7. The pantheons of gods that mankind used to try and organize itself through representation of all human attributes still exists today. There are still ‘love’ goddesses, ‘war’ gods, etc that are looked to for some semblance of understanding and tutoring. The Greeks didn’t make up all their gods and stories to amuse themselves. The characteristics and actions of the individual gods described different human characteristics and what would happen when one was out of balance.

    That same desire or need to address human characteristics, frail or strong, in order to give structure to society was continued in the Old Testament and other books developed by the ‘wizards’ of the Jewish religion. These stories of brothers killing brothers, kings killing the husbands of women they coveted, etc are illustrations of what went on and still goes on, when balance is lost. The ‘wise old men’ who wrote the books were the observers turned leaders.

    These devices were developed for the ignorant masses as the ignorant masses, as is the case today, are the ones that need to be organized and controlled, in order to keep them from killing each other or to get them to kill other groups of ignorant masses. Thousands of years ago a Greek leader determined that his daughter must be sacrificed in order for there to be a victory in the upcoming fight with Troy. The gods demanded it and some wizard said so. Reason and common sense were present but only as an observer. The author of ‘Iphigenia’, Euripides, was an observer. Today, in the more advanced countries of the West, the people with their self control and common sense determine who is to be sacrificed, not some god channeled through a wizard. Mistakes are made but not by gods.

    We have in the world today working examples of humanity in self control and humanity controlled by wizards in the name of bogey men/women. The grand muffdiver of Saudi Arabia, supreme muffdiver is a supreme example of how the world was thousands of years ago. His only real purpose is to illustrate where we have come from and must never return.

    1. issac – would you have the guts to repeat that in public in Saudi Arabia? Or are you just a gutless troll?

  8. I plagiarized one of his previous “answers”.
    I wanted to ” answer” his questions in the same, straightforward manner that he responds to direct questions.

    1. Tom, you do realize that you can more valuable outlet for your time?
      I Don’t know how much time you have left but it is ticking away, tock, tock, while you waste it not saying much?
      Give me your address and I’ll send you a signed teddy bear you can name Po…you can hug it, hold its hand, argue with it…it will be your best friend 🙂

  9. I guess I do owe Po an apology after all. The statement above plagurizes one of Po’s “answers”, almost verbatim. That’s how he answers questions, and one of the reasons many of us are so impressed with him.

  10. It is interesting to see that EVERY time Po gets put in his place, he either crows about “slapping somebody around” or stomping somebody, or letting somebody “win one”.
    Tens of thousands of words per column from him will not change him into some sort of debating genius, nor will his repeated bizarre boasts about how clever or victorious he always is.

    1. Tom, when and where was i put in my place?
      By whom?
      I don’t claim to be a debating genius, it’s just that compared to you and Nick, I certainly look like one:)

      Are you two ready yet to contribute anything of value to these discussions we are having…or are you satisfied with the childish/retarded flinging poo around?
      I mean, you have something to offer, right?

      What do you think of this topic?

  11. Isaac,
    Since I doubt very much that you have read the Quran in context, let me state that your claim that “…l the vicious stuff in that book. The book is such a jumble of disparate instructions it reminds one of a shotgun blast, holes everywhere. ‘ is false beyond belief.
    In fact, I challenge you to show where in the quran, in context, do we find that which you claim.

    I’ll go even further, I challenge anyone to bring a constitution, divine or human, anywhere, that is as detailed yet as balanced and as humane as the quran, in context.

    A 1500 years old book that remains the same, that offers scientific facts that remains unchallenged, that made predictions that came to pass, that challenges its detractors to bring a verse like it, that tells Muhamad that he is the last prophet and that no other prophet or other revelation would appear…all of which stands… then… RWL, perhaps the Quran is Muhammad’s miracle? 🙂

    1. po – the Mormons would disagree with you that Muhammad, assuming he existed, was the last prophet.

  12. What? Nobody posting about the brave Merican who stood up for our freedumbs today in a Washington movie theater showing 13 Hours and shot the lady in front of him in the chest?

    Maybe they would prefer to talk about the brave four year old who killed himself with his grandpa’s gun today?

    Thank god we have good, decent, Muricans who will keep us all safe from the bad guys with guns.

    Oh, yeah. Thanks, Obama!

  13. Po,



    First. Your website/link is not working.

    Second, where is the Wikipedia link/article that you copied and pasted from? You list people, including Ibn Warraq, who wrote several books, including ‘The Quest for the Historical Muhammad’, 2000 ed., & ‘Why I am not a Muslim’, 1995 ed.,. According to Wikipedia, ‘Ibn Warraq is the pen name of an anonymous author critical of Islam. He is the founder of the Institute for the Secularisation of Islamic Society (ISIS) and used to be a senior research fellow at the Center for Inquiry,[1][2][3] focusing on Quranic criticism.[4][5] Warraq is the Vice-President of the World Encounter Institute.[6]’

    Third, your article delineates that some of these writers ‘were clearly polemical in motivation and cannot be termed objective’ and ‘The most recent entries are often sourced in universities, and include works by Muslim professors…….’

    Which ones are authentic or provides validity of Muhammad’s existence & accomplishments, refuting the evidence of individuals from Islam Watch website, Robert Spencer, and now Ibn Warraq, etc…??

    You complied this list of people to confuse me, hoping that I wouldn’t look at the material? Are you even reading what you are posting?

    You are something else…..very special….unbelievable!!!!

    1. RWl, I need not try to confuse you, you have done a fine job confusing yourself already, and seems like it started long before you got here.
      As I said earlier,you are simultaneously making the case that Muhammad was a false prophet and that Muhammad did not exist. One of you is obviously lying…perhaps even both of yous.

      My job is not to prove that Muhammad existed, or that Islam is “valid”! The historical record is clear enough. Thousands of scholars throughout the last 1500 years have done either pretty convincingly. To go along with the theory of one false Islamic scholar doubting the existence of Muhammad or of Islam is a waste of everyone’s time. The first answer where I linked Karen Armstrong shoulda been sufficient to satisfy your requirement.
      Look up Lesly Hazelton too if you want another Jewish scholar…
      Or are you looking for someone who was there when the quran was revealed to Muhammad? You do know how the historical record works, right?

      As for the list, I gave you hundreds of names that examined the historical record that support both the existence of Muhammad and that Islam is…”valid?”. The least you can do is to go through them and find your information. You want me to do that for you too?
      Do you have anything other than Robert Spencer’s “work” to support your claim that Muhammad did not exist or Islam is “invalid”?

      And will you at all answer any of my challenges to you?

      1. Tnash80hotmailcom,

        And he continues to do it. He can’t help himself.


        SMH! I am finished, and I will pray that the Lord Jesus Christ open your eyes. Although I don’t want you to become completely like the ex-Muslims on Islam Watch (who are not Christians), but I do hope that your eyes become open, as theirs are about Islam & Muhammad. Finally, please read Ibn Warraq’s books (and thanks for that source; it proves my case even more). Also, visit Dr. Craig’s website and watch his debate with a couple of Muslim scholars (you will see how he really good Dr. Craig is).

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