Maths and probability

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Question:

Assalamu Alaikum,

What would be the best advice on teaching the maths concept of ‘probability’ in Islamic schools by using dice or spinners?
Would this have an effect on a child’s belief? Since we attribute everything that happens to Allah and not chance.

JazakAllah khairan

Answer:

Wa alaykum salam.

If you are referring to the idea that the number of alternative events occurring must balance out after a few trials like the rolling of a dice which has six sides numbered one to six then the probability of achieving any one of those numbers is as likely as achieving the others and that the chance of aquiring each number is the fraction 1/6 then this concept of probability and/or the law of averages is not something that opposes Islamic teaching.
Of course this is not a hard and fast rule as the dice are thrown randomly so it’s unpredictable to know the outcome exactly but the more trials we do the closer we should get to this probability that every number has a 1/6 chance of occurring.

I do not see how this should impact negatively on a child’s belief since the belief of a Muslim is that everything happens by the decree of Allah. Perhaps the child can be reminded that whatever Allah wants to happen only that will happen and nothing else and that Allah is the creator of every system and law in this universe including empirical laws.

If you are suggesting that the use of dice and spinners are common instruments used for gambling hence it may have a negative impact on the child by familiarising them with gambling objects then this can be mitigated by teaching them the prohibition and harms of gambling in Islam.

Allah knows best.

Shaykh Mohammed Shakeeb.

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