God has prohibited gambling and as lottery is a type of gambling it is forbidden. Despite the fact that some countries raise national lottery and a part of the income is given to the poor it is still rejected in Islam.
Games of chance.
Playing the lottery is essentially buying a ticket for a small amount of money hoping to win a large prize, or the jackpot, or anything else in the draw. Each ticket has a number and then the numbers are drawn and the winners get what they have won. Can a Muslim living in a non-Muslim country play the lottery?
It is unlawful to play the lottery even though a portion of its income goes to good causes and charitable purposes. This is stated in Decision 7-14 of the Islamic Fiqh Council of the Muslim World League.
Everyone who takes part in the lottery will either win a prize or lose whatever he pays. This is the criterion that is distinctive of gambling and since the lottery is a form of gambling it is forbidden in Islam.
The justification that some countries provide to run a national lottery is that a portion of its income goes to good causes and charitable purposes. However, this is rejected by Islamic law because gambling for any reason is forbidden. In pre-Islamic Arabia a winner from gambling – or what was termed maysir, i.e. game of chance – was expected to distribute his winnings to the poor. This is the benefit the Qur’an mentions as resulting from gambling: ‘They ask you about intoxicants and games of chance.
“In both there is great evil although they have some benefits for people, but their evil is far greater than their benefit.”’
Hence God prohibited such games and all gambling because the harm in them is greater than the benefit.
‘Believers: intoxicants, games of chance, idolatrous practices and divining arrows are abominations devised by Satan. Therefore, turn away from them so that you may be successful.’
Decisions of the Islamic Fiqh Council of the Muslim World League.
Khalid Abd al-Qadir, Fiqh al-Aqaliyyat al-Muslimah.