Is availing an unexpected prize or lottery same as gambling?
A couple of months ago I bought an air conditioner from a shop. And after a period of one month, to my utter surprise I received a phone call from Samsung sales rep. He told me that I won a return ticket to Malaysia. I was totally taken a back at this, at this he explained that I won this return ticket on account of the air conditioner that I bought and the company had a lucky draw of all those who purchased air conditioner in some specified period.
As far as my intention is concerned, it was only to buy an air conditioner irrespective of the promotion that was offered on specific brands. I just bought Samsung since I heard that they are of good quality. If I recall correctly, I remember that when I bought that air conditioner, the sales rep. did mention something about that promotion but I didn’t care.
So my question is, does this amount to gambling somehow? Is it halal to get that money? Should I consider it as a blessing in disguise from the Almighty as my intentions were absolutely clear as I mentioned above? I will appreciate if you could explain this from Islamic perspective.
I am delighted that you care for Islamic principles so much that you are willing to consider the possibility of letting go the opportunity of availing the lucky prize for the sake of them. That is the best part of this exercise, whatever be the actual outcome it.
I would want you take your own decision based on your honest opinion about whether one view seems more Islamically convincing to you or the other.
I can see your point that when you went to buy the air conditioner, you never had the prize in mind, and therefore you never gambled. However, it is a fact that the Samsung is financing the prize from the revenues it has generated by selling its products. Therefore, a tiny part for the prize has been contributed by you as well along with perhaps millions of others. If gambling is a game of chance where in some lose and others gain on the basis of a chance event when all participants contribute, then this prize, to me, is still the outcome of a gambling exercise. However, what you are saying in your message has its own merits.
I would personally be inclined to consider it gambling and not avail it. I know that it’s easier said than done. If you don’t avail it because you are convinced that it is gambling, the Almighty is indeed going to reward you with something more than that, may be here as well, but most certainly there where it would matter the most. However, if you are honestly convinced that my arguments are weak and that it is a clean deal, then hopefully the Almighty would not make you accountable for availing it.
I am sure that it is a difficult trial. If I were you and I was confused about it despite considering both views, I would start praying Istikhara for as long as I am not inclined towards one of the two views. May the Almighty enable you to take the right decision.