Explore the intriguing history and cultural implications of chess across different religions, from its origins, adoption by Islam, to its controversial status in modern Islam.
Which religion invented chess?
Chess has been called the “game of kings” and pious Christian legend attributed its invention to King Solomon himself. Hindu legend says that it came from a wise man who invented the game to instruct a tyrannical king named Shimram what his subjects were actually like, hence the variety of characters on the board.
How did chess get to Islam?
From India it spread to Persia, where it was modified in terms of shapes and rules and developed into Shatranj. Following the Arab invasion and conquest of Persia, chess was taken up by the Muslim world and subsequently spread to Europe via Spain (Al Andalus) and Italy (Emirate of Sicily).
Who did the Muslims learn chess from?
The game originated in northern India in the 6th century AD and spread to Persia. When the Arabs conquered Persia, chess was taken up by the Muslim world. Later, through the Moorish conquest of Spain, chess spread to Southern Europe.
What does the Quran say about chess?
Many of the great Muslim scholars have clearly stated the prohibition and non-permissibility of chess. Imam Malik RA said that it is worse than the game of nard (backgammon, which is also haram) and more destructive than gambling. The playing of chess is Haraam.
Why is chess forbidden in Islam?
Is chess “haram” and “unIslamic”? For brief while, fundamentalist Islamic “scholars” — from both Sunni and Shia camps — decreed it is and banned the game. Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh once ruled that chess is forbidden in Islam, saying it encourages gambling and is a waste of time.
Why is chess haram in Iran?
Chess was banned in Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Said to encourage gambling, the public play of chess was pronounced haraam, a reprehensible activity encouraging gambling, excess, warmongering, and inattention to the five ritual prayers.