Participating in a competition in which the competitors pay money

Fatwa no. 21724 Al-hamdu lillah (All praise is due to Allah) Alone and peace and blessings be upon the Last of the Prophets. To proceed:The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta' has reviewed what has been sent to His Eminence the Grand Mufty (Muslim scholar qualified to issue legal opinions) from the questioner through the Center of Da`wah and Guidance in Jeddah, and which was referred to the Committee from the Secretariat General of the Council of Senior Scholars under no. 5846 and dated 21/9/1421 A.H. The text of the question is:Attached to the Fatwa request, you will find an advertisement for the Ramadan quiz competitions presented by Saudi television, channel one. It was sent by someone requesting the Fatwa of Your Eminence, since the contributors have to buy a calling card that costs 15 riyals (Part No. 11; Page No. 180) for adults and 10 riyals for children. The contestants call the program using the calling card and provide their names and phone numbers. The program presenter chooses one of the contestants randomly through the computer, phones him, and asks him about something shown in a short film. If the contestant gives the right answer, he wins the prize. It is not possible to participate in this competition or even call the program except by purchasing this calling card.I wish for Your Eminence to clarify the issue for us.

After close examination of the Fatwa request, the Committee replied that it is not permissible to hold such a competition as it involves gambling. The participants pay a certain sum of money to buy the calling card in the hope that they might win a larger sum of money, which is the essence of gambling prohibited by Allah according to the evident text of the Glorious Qur'an when He (Exalted be He) says: O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), and gambling, and Al-Ansâb, and Al-Azlâm (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaitan’s (Satan) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful. It involves Riba (usury/interest), since the participants pay this money to get more money than they paid for the calling card, which is made as a means for obtaining money through Riba. (Part No. 11; Page No. 181) May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.