Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE MOST BENEFICENT, THE MOST MERCIFUL
Many believers question about playing cards if money is not involved, is it permitted or not.
Answer: it is not permitted, even if no money is involved and if it doesn’t affect a person to neglect his religious duties.
It is because it is the means that may lead to gambling which is strictly forbidden by Allah in glorious Quran.
Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), and gambling, and Al-Ansaab (stone altars for sacrifices to false gods) and Al-Azlaam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaytaan’s (Satan’s) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful”
The things that are forbidden in Islam have an ill effect in society. As the bonds of strong society are achieved by 2 things
1. Following commands of Allah.
2. Heeding His prohibitions.
A society disintegrates when it neglects any of those duties or does any of those things that are forbidden.
Playing cards pave way for evil and any means of evil must be prevented before it causes any harm, both to society as well as the individual.
Doing things that are prohibited in Islam cause a person to neglect his prayer, alienation, and breaking of ties because of conflicts that may arise and they make people too lazy to earn a living.
It must be noted that playing cards is devoid of any benefit. The goal of a recreational activity in Islam is to gain some skill and must be beneficial to an individual. No beneficial skill is learned or relaxation that will calm the nerves.
It has nothing good in it. It causes arguments and simply kills time. Moreover, it is based on chance and has an analogy with playing dice.
Based on the above, it would not be farfetched to suggest that it is haraam rather than makrooh, by analogy with dice, because both are based on chance and both lead to arguments.
Also, it is clear disobedience to the commands of Allah.
Conclusion: Avoid it. It is only harmful to an individual at all levels. It not only wastes his time and energy but also makes him disobedient to Allah.
Allah knows best.