In a fatwa, or religious decree, issued in response to a question from a caller to a Saudi television show, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-Sheikh said that the game was “the work of Satan,” like alcohol and gambling, despite its long history in the Middle East. Chess is played across the Arab world. — NYTimes
I truly wonder what brought this on. It’s almost as if these clerics seek new ways to diminish their own status and credibility, both at home and abroad.
In his statement on the show, the grand mufti equated chess with gambling, which is forbidden in Islam. “It makes the rich man poor, and makes the poor man rich,” he said. “It causes hostility and wastes time where it should not be spent.”
Actually, that sounds more like most nations’ tax policy, except for the “poor man rich” part.
Let’s take a vote: Would you prefer young Saudis spending time drinking, gambling, and playing chess or taking flying lessons?