Discussion:
Top Saudi Cleric Issues Fatwa Against Chess
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David Amicus
2016-01-23 03:28:36 UTC
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I think that's a bit extreme. There's no gambling involved. It's a game of skill not luck.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/22/world/middleeast/saudi-arabias-top-cleric-forbids-chess-but-players-maneuver.html?_r=0
Catherine Jefferson
2016-01-23 04:31:04 UTC
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Post by David Amicus
I think that's a bit extreme. There's no gambling involved. It's a game of skill not luck.
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/22/world/middleeast/saudi-arabias-top-cleric-forbids-chess-but-players-maneuver.html?_r=0
A bit? :/ I think the man is "out there", personally. But apparently a
number of Saudi chess players are not letting this stop them from
playing, organizing tournaments, forming and participating in chess
clubs, etc. Chess playing is very widespread in the Arab world and has
been for a long time.

It was odd reading the actual fatwa. I kept thinking of certain mostly
Protestant religious speakers of the English Reformation and
Enlightenment era who preached against board games of various kinds and
other "frivolous" entertainment using similar language and similar
approaches. You've read Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress"? Come to think
of it, a much earlier Catholic example comes to mind -- the Parson's
tale in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.

I've noticed that outsiders -- particularly non-religious outsiders --
often take pronouncements by prominent clerics of *any* religion more
seriously than insiders do. I've seen people do that to the current and
some previous Popes, and to the Dalai Lama.

Yusuf, how seriously do you expect this fatwa to be taken in Saudi
Arabia? Outside of it? Any other Muslims or people in the Middle East
-- what do you think?
--
Catherine Jefferson <***@ergosphere.net>
Blog/Personal: http://www.ergosphere.net
Yusuf B Gursey
2016-01-23 11:02:02 UTC
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Post by Catherine Jefferson
Post by David Amicus
I think that's a bit extreme. There's no gambling involved. It's a game of skill not luck.
Such fatwas or even legal prohibitions concerning chess have
on occasion been issued without long term results.
Post by Catherine Jefferson
Post by David Amicus
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/22/world/middleeast/saudi-arabias-top-cleric-forbids-chess-but-players-maneuver.html?_r=0
A bit? :/ I think the man is "out there", personally. But apparently a
number of Saudi chess players are not letting this stop them from
playing, organizing tournaments, forming and participating in chess
clubs, etc. Chess playing is very widespread in the Arab world and has
been for a long time.
It was odd reading the actual fatwa. I kept thinking of certain mostly
Protestant religious speakers of the English Reformation and
Enlightenment era who preached against board games of various kinds and
other "frivolous" entertainment using similar language and similar
approaches. You've read Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress"? Come to think
of it, a much earlier Catholic example comes to mind -- the Parson's
tale in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.
I've noticed that outsiders -- particularly non-religious outsiders --
often take pronouncements by prominent clerics of *any* religion more
seriously than insiders do. I've seen people do that to the current and
some previous Popes, and to the Dalai Lama.
The article says:

Fatwas are not considered law, rather they are legal opinions
sometimes meant to apply to specific situations or intended
as general religious guidance.
Post by Catherine Jefferson
Yusuf, how seriously do you expect this fatwa to be taken in Saudi
For Saudi Arabia see above.
Post by Catherine Jefferson
Arabia? Outside of it? Any other Muslims or people in the Middle East
ISIL lunatics?
Post by Catherine Jefferson
-- what do you think?
--
Blog/Personal: http://www.ergosphere.net
Yusuf B Gursey
2016-01-23 12:45:07 UTC
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Post by Yusuf B Gursey
Post by Catherine Jefferson
Post by David Amicus
I think that's a bit extreme. There's no gambling involved. It's a game of skill not luck.
Such fatwas or even legal prohibitions concerning chess have
on occasion been issued without long term results.
Among them: the eary days of the Islamic Revolution Iran (later
lifted), Taliban in Afghanistan.


Wahhabis (offical in Saudi Arabia) are an offshoot of
the Hanbali school.

See:

http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/01/the-islamic-world-has-always-had-a-chequered-relationship-with-chess/
Post by Yusuf B Gursey
Post by Catherine Jefferson
Post by David Amicus
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/22/world/middleeast/saudi-arabias-top-cleric-forbids-chess-but-players-maneuver.html?_r=0
A bit? :/ I think the man is "out there", personally. But apparently a
number of Saudi chess players are not letting this stop them from
playing, organizing tournaments, forming and participating in chess
clubs, etc. Chess playing is very widespread in the Arab world and has
been for a long time.
It was odd reading the actual fatwa. I kept thinking of certain mostly
Protestant religious speakers of the English Reformation and
Enlightenment era who preached against board games of various kinds and
other "frivolous" entertainment using similar language and similar
approaches. You've read Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress"? Come to think
of it, a much earlier Catholic example comes to mind -- the Parson's
tale in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.
I've noticed that outsiders -- particularly non-religious outsiders --
often take pronouncements by prominent clerics of *any* religion more
seriously than insiders do. I've seen people do that to the current and
some previous Popes, and to the Dalai Lama.
Fatwas are not considered law, rather they are legal opinions
sometimes meant to apply to specific situations or intended
as general religious guidance.
Post by Catherine Jefferson
Yusuf, how seriously do you expect this fatwa to be taken in Saudi
For Saudi Arabia see above.
Post by Catherine Jefferson
Arabia? Outside of it? Any other Muslims or people in the Middle East
ISIL lunatics?
Post by Catherine Jefferson
-- what do you think?
--
Blog/Personal: http://www.ergosphere.net
Fariduddien
2016-01-23 11:29:32 UTC
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Post by Catherine Jefferson
Post by David Amicus
I think that's a bit extreme. There's no gambling involved. It's a game of skill not luck.
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/22/world/middleeast/saudi-arabias-top-cleric-forbids-chess-but-players-maneuver.html?_r=0
A bit? :/ I think the man is "out there", personally.
A "fatwa" is of course a legal opinion, and just as
lawyers may have different legal opinions regarding the
interpretation of the law, similarly Islamic scholars
may have differing opinions, too.

Apparently in the Hanafi school, chess is generally
considered disliked (but not prohibited), because it
is thought of as a pointless waste of time. Pointless
wastes of time are generally disliked...

http://islamqa.org/hanafi/qibla-hanafi/42764

Apparently the Shafi`i school has two positions. One
is that it is permissable as long as it does not
distract from religious obligations. The second opinion
is that it is disliked (but not prohibited).

http://eshaykh.com/halal_haram/permissibilty-of-chess-game/

I think the Saudis, to my understanding, are
influenced by a different school of thought, the Hanbali
school, though they may not necessarily always follow it
- though I could be wrong.
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