Games fall into two categories:
The first category is games which help in jihaad for the sake of Allah, whether that is physical jihaad (fighting) or verbal jihaad (i.e., knowledge), such as swimming, shooting, horse-riding, and games which involve developing one’s abilities and Islamic knowledge, etc. These games are mustahabb and the one who engages in them will be rewarded so long as his intention is good and he seeks to support the religion thereby. The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Shoot, O Bani Adnaan, for your father was an archer.” Shooting or archery includes by analogy all similar actions.
The second category is games which do not help in jihaad. These are of two types.
The first type is games which are specifically forbidden in the texts, such as playing with dice . These games should be avoided by the Muslim.
The second type is games which are neither enjoined nor forbidden in the texts. These are of two kinds:
The first kind is games which include something that is haraam,such as playing with dice, or games that involve statues or images of living beings, or which are accompanied by music, or games which lead to arguments and conflicts among people and result in their saying or doing something bad. These come under the prohibition because of the haraam consequences to which they lead or because they are a means to something that is haraam. If something is the means that usually leads to something that is haraam, then we should refrain from it.
“They ask you about the alcoholic drinks and the games of chance (the gambling). Say, “Both of them carry a lot of sin, and (also) have a little benefit for mankind. But the sin (inherent) in them far exceeds their benefits. They ask you as to what they should spend (in the path of Allah)? Say, “Whatever you can spare!” Allah makes His commands clear to you. Perhaps you will reflect!” [002:219]
“Oh you who believe! The liquor (and all intoxicants), the games of chance, idols (and shrines), and all divining devices (lots, cards, dices, crystal balls) are the filthy handiwork of Shaitan, stay away from them, so that you may succeed.” [005:090]
The second type is games which do not involve anything haraam, and which usually do not lead to it, like most of the games we see of football (soccer), volleyball and table-tennis etc. These are permissible, subject to the following restrictions:
1 – They should be free of gambling, i.e betting between the players.
2 – They should not form an obstacle to the obligatory remembrance of Allah, or to prayer, or to any obligatory act of worship, such as honouring one’s parents.
Allah knows the best.