Golf League

17 Jul 2021 Ref-No#: 3170

Question:

A group has organised a golf social league on the following basis.

A committee has been appointed to administer all affairs of the league. *The committee does not get paid for there efforts*

In order to enter into the league, a participant will pay R500.00 once off.

All participants have to pay this amount in order to be eligible to play in the league.

Any participant who cannot pay the full amount or part thereof is not allowed to enter the league.

The committee has decided to offer the following prizes to all participants provided that they pay their entry fee of R500.

1. Cash prizes for winners based on various categories . These will be handed out at the end of the season.
2. End of season Honorary meal for all participants.

The tiers for category one above is:

1) Winner after first 7 rounds – R2k
2) Winner division 1 – R3.5k
3) Winner division 2 – R2.5k
4) Winner division 3 – R1.4k
5) Winner division 4 – R0.6k
6) Longest drive – R200 each
7) Closest to the pin – R200 each

All participants have been informed that this is how the funds will be used.

Anybody who wishes to exclude himself after these conditions have been made known, may do so. *However those who have already paid there R500 will not be reimbursed because the league has started and the question of Islamic permissibility arose after the first 2 games*

No pay, no play , no win!

*The option to have trophies and prize money sponsored by a 3rd party is not possible and not an option*

Is the above permissible according to Islamic law .

Answer

Wa’alaykum as Salam wa rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu, 

Based on the current scenario, the aspect of having cash prizes is not in accordance with the Islāmic principles. This is because the one who receives the prize would have also contributed money, which then resembles a raffle or sweepstakes. In other words, those who win would receive more than their contributions.

Apart from the winners, it is natural that every participant would be paying with the expectation of receiving something much more. 

The aforementioned factors give rise to unlawful elements such as gambling and contractual uncertainty; hence, the aspect of having cash prizes should be excluded since the sponsorship from a 3rd party is not an option.

Since the participants cannot be reimbursed at this stage, as you have mentioned, the entry fee may then be used for administration expenses, and the participants should be notified as such. (Al-Muḥīṭ Al-Raḍawī 8/459 DKI, Kitāb Al-Mabsūṭ 23/163 DKI)