|Q.) A contest is being held during the month of Ramadan throughout my city, in which participants are to answer 10 questions regarding the Qur'an, and the awards include a complete Hajj package, a complete 'Umrah package, and other lesser prizes. Participants are to purchase a booklet for
$2.00 which contains the questions, as well as a number of advertisements from Muslim businesses to help offset the costs of the prizes and the booklet.
The questions are very short, usually requiring no more than a one word answer, and participants have the entire month of Ramadan to complete their questionnaires. It is likely, then, that most participants will score perfectly on the questionnaire. Therefore, a random name will be drawn in order to determine the winner of the prizes.
All that being said, I can't help but think that this is no different from a standard lottery, since one pays for the "ticket" (the question booklet) and then by way of a random draw, a winner is decided. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Muslim people plan on participating in this contest, and many Masajid and Imams are supporting it. After reflecting on the issue a great deal, my feeling is that it is no different from gambling, and that participation should be discouraged.
A few brothers asked me to inquire from an Alim about the permissibility of such a contest, with as much proof from Qur'an and Hadith as possible.
What do you think about this? Many people, much more knowledgeable than I, have approved of and encouraged participation in this contest, so I am quite confused about its permissibility. [Faraz]