Punters keep fingers crossed:
IN RECENT years, soccer betting shops have sprouted across the country.
From early morning till late into the night, the betting outlets are always a hive of activity.
Indeed, betting has become a big thing, not just in Zimbabwe but across the whole world. Although punters risk their hard earned money on various sporting games, the dominating gambling bait is soccer, especially when the English Premier League and Spanish La Liga are underway. Only a few bet on the local soccer league. However, some seasoned betting addicts even place their money on horse and dog racing.
The business seems lucrative and one local senior clergyman and prominent businessman once operated a chain of betting houses in Harare.
As more and more people are drawn by the allure of gambling, this has ignited debate on whether the practice is approved by religious scriptures. Social commentators say betting is addictive and often leads to laziness as those practising it often spend a lot of time holed up in gambling houses.
Hospitals and Prisons Care Ministries International chair Reverend Isaac Silumbu said the Bible condemns gambling.
He said, “Riches gotten in vanity will fly away and never come back. According to Proverbs 13 verse 11, ‘Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.”
“Proverbs 23 verse 5 goes on to say, ‘Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.”
Rev Silumbu said Chris- tians should shun betting. “The wealth you gather easily will have wings to fly away. Those who set their eyes on lottery and betting as a way of earning a living will eventually be disappointed.
“Many young people, including university graduates, have resorted to gambling as they argue that there no jobs. Many servants of God have also fallen prey to this uncontrolled lust but let us repent and come before the Lord to worship Him with a clean heart,” he said.
Methodist Church in Zimbabwe clergyman Reverend Givemore Svesve also said betting is against biblical principles. He said those who believe in Jesus Christ must desist from gambling and resort to working hard to earn their living.
“Christians should not take part in gambling because it’s against the teachings in the Word of God. Gambling breaks several biblical principles which are central to a Christian’s way of life.
“A Christian lifestyle expresses faith in the loving care and provision of Almighty God, not in chance or luck (Mathew 6:33).
“A Christian seeks to love his neighbour, not to profit from someone else’s loss. A Christian seeks to avoid every form of greed and covetousness; and to be content with what he or she has (Hebrews 13:5).”
Rev Svesve said believers ought to trust in God and understand that earthly blessings are given by the Lord.
Clergyman Apostle Sibiya said the love of money is the root of all evil. He pointed out that this can be seen in betting behaviours, which lead to bankruptcy in most instances.
He said God teaches Christians to gather wealth step by step in line with Proverbs 13 verse 11.
“The Bible doesn’t talk of luck but prefers that all manner of human prosperity comes from the grace and power of God, according to Deuteronomy 8 verse 18,” said Apostle Sibiya.
Betting is also not condoned in Islam. The Holy Quran describes such activities as “vanity”. Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in Africa chairperson Sheikh Ismail Duwa said betting is prohibited in Islam as it is considered as “haram”.
“Muslims are guided by God’s Word in the Holy Qur’an. Chapter 2 verse 188 says, “O ye who believe! Eat not up your property among yourselves in vanities.
“Chapter 5:90-91 goes on to say, “O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination of Satan’s handiwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper. Satan’s plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah, and from prayer.”
Sheikh Duwa said gambling involves giving or taking money depending on something whose outcome is known, which is known in the Holy Qur’an as “maysir” which is derived from the word “yusr”, meaning “ease”.
“Gambling is a way of obtaining undeserved money. This makes man forget his Creator, prevents him from conducting prayers, leads him to laziness, eliminates his strength to work and causes grudge and enmity among people. All kinds of gambling, which causes irreparable wounds in individual and social life, are haram in the religion of Islam.”