“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.”What's wrong with making the rich man poor, and the poor man rich?
What's the history of chess? Where is it from? Probably originally from China, and then from India to Persia. After the Muslim conquest of Persia in 651, it spread through the Arab world.
From "The Immortal Game: A History of Chess" by David Shenk:
From the very first exposure to the game, there had been a serious and recurring question as to whether chess was allowable under Islamic law. The Koran—the sacred text of revelations received by Muhammad—did not mention chess by name, but did explicitly outlaw the use of both “images” and “lots.”... [M]any first- and second-generation Muslims considered the game altogether tainted and plainly illegal. Others regarded chess as having no purpose other than recreation....
But chess did have a purpose, a deadly serious one, according to many proponents at that time. It not only broadly sharpened the mind, but also specifically trained war strategists for battle. “There is nothing wrong in it,” proclaimed Muhammad’s second successor, the pious and austere Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab. “It has to do with war.” Eventually, a general consensus found the game acceptable in the Islamic world under certain conditions:
no wageringThis last item came out of the Koran’s prohibition against images. It is said that Ali ibn Abu Talib, Muhammad’s cousin, son-in-law, and the fourth caliph (caliph means “deputy of the prophet”), passed by a game in progress one day and asked, disapprovingly, “What images are these upon which you are gazing so intently?” By Indian and Persian tradition, chess pieces had vividly represented the mechanics of war, depicting tiny soldiers, elephants, chariots, horses, and so on. Islamic law forced a complete reconception of chess’s aesthetics. Muslim craftsmen abstracted the explicit Persian figures into elegant, hand-carved, cylindrical or rectangular stones with subtle indentations, bumps, and curves to symbolize a throne or a tusk or a horse’s head. They created symbols, that is, of symbols. The severe abstraction made the game acceptable to most religious authorities....
no interference with religious duties
no displays of anger or improper language
no playing in public
no representational pieces
“A Muslim philosopher has maintained that the inventor of chess was a [believer] in the freedom of will,” wrote medieval Islamic historian al-Mas’udi (appropriating the earlier Indian legend), “while the inventor of nard [a Persian board game similar to backgammon] was a fatalist who wished to show by this game that man can do nothing against fate.” In the history of intellectual progress, the embrace of free will over fate was a critical step. The realization, both personal and institutional, that people could help shape their own destiny helped lay the foundations of all modern science, philosophy, economic development, and democratic culture. Chess may have helped fertilize the concept, and certainly helped some people comprehend it.
With such weighty associations, chess from the very beginning was intuitively understood by Muslims to be more than a game, and its most expert players to be engaged in more than simple recreation....