Top Saudi cleric declares chess forbidden

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- A video clip of Saudi Arabia's top cleric saying that the game of chess is "forbidden" in Islam because it wastes time and leads to rivalry among people has provoked heated debate, and widespread criticism, among Arabic Twitter users.

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Some Twitter users mocked Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdelaziz Al Sheikh, saying chess is an intelligent game, while others defended his religious advice.

The clip was shared on YouTube in December, gaining traction in recent days.

It's not the first time an ultraconservative Muslim scholar has urged people to avoid the game. Iran's Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani previously declared that chess is religiously prohibited because it could be used for gambling, which is not permissible in Islam.



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