The Ahkaam Of The Ring

[By Syed Anwar Ali]

The Prohibition of Wearing Gold Rings for Men and the Permissibility of Silver Rings

Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar رضي الله عنهما relates that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم had a gold ring made and he kept the stone (gem) of the ring facing his falm, ‘Muhammad Rasool Allah’ was engraved in it. The Sahabah رضي الله عنهم likewise had rings made. When the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم saw that they had rings made he threw his away and said, “I will never wear this again.” Then he صلى الله عليه وسلم had a silver ring made. The Sahabah رضي الله عنهم likewise had silver rings made. Ibn ‘Umar رضي الله عنهما says, “After the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه wore the ring, then Sayyiduna ‘Umar رضي الله عنه and then Sayyiduna ‘Uthman رضي الله عنه wore the ring until it fell into the well of Arees.”  [Imam Bukhari رحمه الله in his Saheeh: Book of ‘Clothing’ chapter on ‘The Silver Ring’ Hadeeth #1]

In the early stages of Islaam the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم had a gold ring made until he was informed of its prohibition. It was a habit of the Sahabah رضي الله عنهم to follow the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in every aspect of life. When they saw that he had a gold ring made they also had similar rings made. Sayyiduna Jibreel عليه السلام later informed the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم that the wearing of gold is prohibited for men, so he took an oath, “I will never wear a gold ring again.” 

The prohibition of adorning oneself with gold is also understood from the following Ahaadith

Sayyiduna ‘Ali رضي الله عنه reports, “The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم took hold of some silk and put it in his right hand and took hold of a piece of gold and put in his left hand and said, ‘These two are totally prohibited for the men of my nation.'” [Imam Abu Dawood رحمه الله in his Sunan: Chapter on ‘Silk for women’ Hadeeth #1] 

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه relates, “The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم prohibited the wearing of a gold ring.”  [Imam Bukhari رحمه الله in his Saheeh: Book of ‘Clothing’ chapter on ‘Gold rings’ Hadeeth #2] 

Imam an-Nawawi رحمه الله writes in his commentary of Muslim, “The scholars have agreed upon the fact that it is permissible for women to wear gold rings and forbidden for men. Abu Bakr [ Abu Bakr Ibn Muhammad Ibn ‘Amr Ibn Hazm] رحمه الله  Ibn Muhammad رحمه الله is of the opinion that it is permissible for men, and some others also say that it is Makrooh (Tanzeeh), not Haraam.” 

Imam an-Nawawi رحمه الله further writes, “These two opinions are void due to the fact that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, ‘Silk and gold is prohibited for the men of my nation and permissible for the women.'”  [Shaykh Shamsudeen رحمه الله in Sharhul Muslim lin-Nawawi (This is an abridged version of al-Minhaaj fi Sharhis-Saheehil-Muslim by Imam an-Nawawi رحمه الله): Chapter on ‘The prohibition of wearing a gold ring for men and the abrogation of its permissibility at the beginning of Islam’]

Imam al-Qurtubi رحمه الله writes in his commentary of Muslim, “The scholars have agreed that it is permissible for men to wear silver rings on a general basis.” [Imam al-Qurtubi رحمه الله in al-Mufhim: Chapter on ‘The permissibility wearing a silver ring for men’] 

Imam Muhammad رحمه الله writes in his Muwatta, “It is not permissible for men to wear gold, metal or copper rings but silver is exempted from these. Whereas there is nothing wrong in women wearing gold rings.” [Imam Muhammad Ibn Hasan ash-Shaybaani رحمه الله in al-Muwatta: Chapter on ‘The detestation of wearing a gold ring’] 

Shaykhul Hadeeth Muhammad Zakariyya رحمه الله writes in his commentary of Muwatta lil-Malik recording from the author of Muhalla, “The opinion of the four Imam’s and the clear majority of the scholars is that it is forbidden for men to wear gold rings. A group of scholars have deemed permissible the wearing of gold rings, among whom is Ishaq Ibn Rahawai رحمه الله based on the Hadeeth recorded by Ibn Abi Shaybah رحمه الله, ‘Five Sahabah passed away and they were wearing gold rings.'” [Shaykhul-Hadeeth Muhammad Zakariyya رحمه الله in Awjazul Masaalik: Chapter on ‘The narration’s regarding the wearing of a ring’] 

As for those among the Sahabah رضي الله عنهم who wore gold rings, Hafidh Ibn Hajar رحمه الله says, “If they were aware of the abrogation they would have also refrained from it.” [Hafidh Ibn Hajar رحمه الله in Fathul-Baari: Chapter on ‘Gold rings’] 

Mufti Taqi Uthmani حفظه الله writes regarding the statement of Hafidh Ibn Hajar رحمه الله, “It is not possible that this statement is said about Baraa’ Ibn ‘Aazib رضي الله عنه because he himself narrated a Hadeeth about the prohibition of gold for men. The wording of the Hadeeth is: ‘The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم ordered us to carry out seven things and prohibited us from seven.’ Under the seven prohibited things he mentioned the wearing of a gold ring for men. It is possible that he interpreted the prohibition as Tanzeeh or he wore the ring assuming the prohibition to be a concession on his behalf. The Hadeeth recorded by Imam Ahmad رحمه الله indicates towards this fact. Muhammad Ibn Malik رحمه الله says, ‘I saw Baraa’ Ibn ‘Aazib رضي الله عنه wearing a gold ring, upon which he said, “The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم distributed some wealth and made me wear this and said, ‘Wear that which Allah and His Prophet have given you to wear.'”‘” [Mufti Taqi Uthmaani حفظه الله in Takmilah Fathil-Mulhim: Chapter on ‘The prohibition of wearing a gold ring for men and the abrogation of its permissibility at the beginning of Islam’] 

‘Allamah ‘Aynee رحمه الله mentions in his commentary of Bukhari names of several Sahabah رضي الله عنهم who wore gold rings: 

1. Anas Ibn Maalik رضي الله عنه 
2. Baraa’ Ibn ‘Aazib رضي الله عنه 
3. Jaabir Ibn Samura رضي الله عنه 
4. Huzhaifah Ibn Yamaan رضي الله عنه 
5. Zaid Ibn Arqam رضي الله عنه 
6. Zaid Ibn Haaritha رضي الله عنه 
7. Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqqaas رضي الله عنه 
8. Suhaib Ibn Sinaan رضي الله عنه 
9. ‘Abdullah Ibn Yazeed رضي الله عنه 
10. Abu Usayd رضي الله عنه [Allamah ‘Aynee رحمه الله in ‘Umdatul-Qaari: Chapter on ‘Gold rings’] 

‘Allamah Teebi رحمه الله writes in his commentary of Mishkaat, “The scholars are unanimous upon the fact that it is permissible for women to wear gold ring and prohibited for men.” [Allamah Teebi رحمه الله in al-Kaashif ‘an Haqaaiqis-Sunan: Chapter on ‘The ring’] 

What is meant by the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم throwing away the ring is explained by ‘Allamah Khaleel Ahmad رحمه الله, “It does not mean he destroyed the ring but it means he donated it to the women folk to acquire benefit from or he donated it’s value to the poor and needy.” [Allamah Khaleel Ahmad Sahaaranpuri رحمه الله in Badhlul-Majhood: Book on ‘The Ring’ chapter on ‘The narration’s regarding the making of the ring’] 

‘Allamah Anwar Shah Kashmeeri رحمه الله writes in his commentary of Bukhari, “The conclusion of this subject is, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم at first wore a gold ring which he threw away. At a later stage he had a silver ring made which he kept in his possession.” [Allamah Anwar Shah Kashmeeri رحمه الله in Faidhul-Baari: Chapter on ‘The Prophet threw away his ring’] 

Hafidh Ibn al-Arabi رحمه الله writes, “When the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم intended to write letters to the non-Muslim countries inviting them to Islaam it was said to him, ‘They do not accept documents without a stamp of proof.’ So for this reason the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم had a ring made. Before this he had a fingernail which he used as a stamp.” [Hafidh Ibn al-‘Arabi al-Maaliki رحمه الله in ‘Aaridhatul-Ahwazi: Book on ‘Clothing’ chapter on ‘The element which is desirable as a gem of a ring’] 

Hafidh Ibn al-‘Arabi رحمه الله is alone in reporting this view (a fingernail was used as a stamp), so on this basis his report will not be accepted. 

The letters were sent out to Kisraa, Qaysar and Najaashi. Kisraa was the name of the persian king of that time, Qaysar was the name of the roman king and Najaashi was a title used for the abyssinian (habashi) kings. [Muhaddith ‘Ali al-Qaari رحمه الله in Mirqaatul-Mafaateeh: Chapter on ‘The ring’] 

The Wearing of a Ring is only Sunnah for those persons who need it

Imam at-Tahaawi رحمه الله records a Hadeeth on the authority of Abu Rayhaanah رضي الله عنه, “The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم prohibited the wearing of a ring other than a Zhee Sultaan (a person who has power, authority, or rule).” He writes, “A group of scholars are of the opinion that it is Makrooh for anyone to wear a ring other than by a Zhee Sultaan.” Further on he writes, “Another group acting contrary to this say, there is nothing wrong in wearing a ring whether he be a Zhee Sultaan or a common person.” [Imaam at-Tahaawi رحمه الله in Sharh Ma’aanil-Aathaar: Chapter on ‘The wearing of a ring other than a Zhee Sultaan’] 

Also a similar Hadeeth has been recorded by Imaam Abu Daawood [Imaam Abu Daawood رحمه الله in his Sunan: Book on ‘Clothing’ chapter on ‘Those who label silk Makrooh’ Hadeeth #6] and Imaam an-Nasaa’ee [Imaam an-Nasaa’ee رحمه الله in his Sunan: Book on ‘Adorment’ chapter on ‘The plucking of the hair’ Hadeeth #1] on the authority of Abu Rayhaanah رضي الله عنه. In this, Abu Rayhaanah رضي الله عنه mentions that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم prohibited us from ten things, and the last thing he mentioned was, “The wearing of a ring other than by a Zhee Sultaan.” 

‘Allaamah Khaleel Ahmad رحمه الله says, “Some scholars derive from this Hadeeth that it is Makooh for anyone other than a Zhee Sultaan to wear a ring. But the clear majority of the scholars are of the opinion that it is permissible.” [Allaamah Khaleel Ahmad Sahaaranpuri رحمه الله in Badhlul-Majhood: Book on ‘Clothing’ chapter on ‘Those who label silk Makrooh’] 

‘Allaamah Zarqaani رحمه الله writes about the Hadeeth of Abu Rayhaanah رضي الله عنه recorded by Imaam Abu Daawood and Imaam an-Nasaa’ee, “Imaam Maalik classified it Dha’eef when questioned about it and also Imaam Ahmad.” 

Mufti Taqi Uthmaani حفظه الله writes, “The reason of its weakness has not become clear to me except that Imaam Abu Daawood رحمه الله says after recording it, ‘The narrator is alone in mentioning the ruling of the ring.’ He further writes, ‘Even if the authenticity of this Hadeeth is established then the prohibition will be from the degree of Tanzeeh.’ ‘Allaamah Khattaabi رحمه الله has indicated towards this fact in his Ma’aalimus-Sunan, ‘It is appropriate that the wearing of a ring be Makrooh (Tanzeeh) for everyone except a Zhee Sultaan otherwise it will be worn only fashion.” Also this is the opinion chosen by al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar رحمه الله, regarding which he says, ‘It is apparent that the wearing of a ring other than by a Zhee Sultaan is contrary to that which is preferable because it is a type of beauty and men’s nature is against this. The Ahaadeeth, which indicate towards its permissibility, are to divert the prohibition from the level of Tahreem. This view is also stengthened by a few sources, wherein the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم has prohibited men from adorning themselves.” [Mufti Taqi Uthmaani حفظه الله in Takmilah Fathil-Mulhim: Chapter on ‘The wearing of a silver ring from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم’] 

‘Allaamah ‘Aynee رحمه الله writes, “With the exception of a Zhee Sultaan, to refrain from wearing a ring is preferable because it is only worn for beauty and fashion.” [‘Allaamah ‘Aynee رحمه الله in ‘Umdatul-Qaari: Chapter on ‘The wearing of the ring on the small finger’] 

Shaykhul-Hadeeth Muhammad Zakariyya رحمه الله writes in his commentary of Muwattaa lil-Maalik, recording from the author of Muhalla, “The scholars have disputed regarding the permissibility of wearing a silver ring. A large group is of the opinion that it is permissible on a general basis. Some say that it is Makrooh when a person intends beauty, and others say it is Makrooh with the exception of a Zhee Sultaan. The correct opinion according to the Shaafi’ee and Maalikee schools of law, is of its permissibility.” [Shaykhul-Hadeeth Muhammad Zakariyya رحمه الله in Awjazul-Masaalik: Chapter on ‘The narration’s regarding the wearing of a ring’] 

al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar رحمه الله writes in relation to this issue, “It has been recorded from a group of Sahaabah رضي الله عنهم and Taabi’een رحمة الله عليهم that they would wear rings even though they were not considered to be among the Zhee Sultaan. It is possible that the word Zhee Sultaan refers to any person who has authority or rule in any field, not only a leader.” [al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar رحمه الله in Fathul-Baari: Chapter on ‘The making of a ring to stamp a document or to write letters to the non-believers and others’] 

‘Allaamah Ibn ‘Aabideen رحمه الله commenting on the statement, “The wearing of a ring for anyone other than a king or a judge is permissible,” writes, “This indicates that it is only Sunnah for him who needs a ring.” 

The author of at-Taatarkhaaniyya records from al-Bustaan, “Some scholars say it is Makrooh for a person other than a leader to wear a ring, whereas another group say it is permissible.” 

It has been narrated on the authority of Yoonus Ibn Ishaaq رحمه الله that he said, “I saw Qais Ibn Abi Haazim, ‘Abdur Rahmaan Ibn al-Aswad and ash-Sha’bee wearing rings on their left hands and they were not Zhee Sultaan.” 

‘Allaamah Ibn ‘Aabideen رحمه الله concludes, “The author of al-Ikhtiyaar’s statement is distinct in this matter, ‘The wearing of a ring is Sunnah for a person who needs it, like a leader or a judge and also those who come under this category.” [Allaamah Ibn ‘Aabideen رحمه الله in Raddul-Muhtaar: Book of ‘Prohibited and permitted acts’ Chapter on ‘Clothing’] 

‘Allaamah Dhafar Ahmad ‘Uthmaani رحمه الله states, “The Hanafee scholars have linked the Karaaha of wearing a ring to the degree of Tanzeeh because the Sahaabah رضي الله عنهم wore rings at the time of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم regardless of them being leaders or not.” He also states regarding Imaam at-Tahaawi’s text, “The wearing of a ring has been established from a group of Sahaabah رضي الله عنهم who were not Zhee Sultaan. It has been recorded from Hasan رضي الله عنه and Husayn رضي الله عنه that they wore rings on their left hands. Also from Ibn al-Hanafiyyah رحمه الله that he wore a ring on his left hand, from Qais Ibn Abi Haazim رحمه الله, ‘Abdur Rahmaan Ibn al-Aswad رحمه الله, Qais Ibn Thumaamah رحمه الله and ash-Sha’bee رحمه الله that they wore rings on their left hands. This is not correct, these people were not only leading authorities who were followed in every aspect of life, but they were also scholars, jurists and a few were among the commanders like Hasan رضي الله عنه and Husayn رضي الله عنه.” 

The word Zhee Sultaan does not only refer to a leader but it also includes those who have any type of authority or power in any field. [‘Allaamah Dhafar Ahmad ‘Uthmaani رحمه الله in I’laaus-Sunan: Chapter on ‘Prohibition from wearing a ring for other than a Zhee Sultaan’] 

The Ring Should Be Worn On The Right Hand

Imaam Abu Daawood رحمه الله relates in his Sunan on the authority of Sayyiduna ‘Ali رضي الله عنه, “The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم would wear his ring on his right hand.” [Imaam Abu Daawood رحمه الله in his Sunan: Chapter on ‘The narration’s regarding wearing a ring on the right and left hands’ Hadeeth #1] 

He also relates on the authority of Sayyiduna ‘Umar رضي الله عنه, “The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم would wear a ring on his left hand.” [Imaam Abu Daawood رحمه الله in his Sunan: Chapter on ‘The narration’s regarding wearing a ring on the right and left hands’ Hadeeth #2] 

‘Allaamah Teebi رحمه الله writes in his commentary of Mishkaat, commenting on the Hadeeth, “The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم would wear a ring on his right hand,” “The last action of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in relation to this matter was wearing the ring on his left hand. But there is no disagreement in the Ahaadeeth regarding the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم wearing a ring on his right and left hands because both actions are permissible. He would at times wear it on his right hand and other times on his left hand. Also there is no Hadeeth indicating clearly the Prophet’s صلى الله عليه وسلم consistency or steadfastness on any one practise. The scholars unanimously agree regarding the permissibility of wearing a ring on both hands. There is disagreement as to which hand is more virtuous. The most authentic opinion in our Madhhab is wearing the ring on the right hand, because the ring itself is a sign of elegance and the right is more worthy and rightful of being adorned.” [‘Allaamah Teebi رحمه الله in al-Kaashif ‘an Haqaaiqis-Sunan: Chapter on ‘The ring’] 

al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar رحمه الله writes that Imaam Baghawi رحمه الله has mentioned in his Sharhus-Sunnah, “At first the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم wore the ring on his right hand and later transferred it to his left hand and this was his last practise in this matter.” In relation to this issue there is a dispute among the Shaafi’ee scholars. The most authentic opinion is wearing the ring on the right hand. Preference is given to the right hand because the left hand is used to clean the private parts. By wearing the ring on the right hand no kind of impurity will reach it. This is the opinion of one group, whereas another group does not give preference to either. Imaam Abu Daawood’s chapter, “The wearing of a ring on the right and left hands” also indicates towards this fact. [al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar رحمه الله in Fathul-Baari: Chapter on ‘He who kept the stone of his ring facing his palm’] 

It is mentioned in Fataawa ‘Aalamgeeri, “The ruling of wearing the ring on the right hand is Mansookh.” [Fataawa ‘Aalamgeeri: Book on ‘Detestable actions’] 

Imaam Bayhaqi رحمه الله says, “The ruling of wearing the ring on the right hand is Mansookh.” As evidence he presents the Hadeeth recorded by Ibn ‘Adi رحمه الله and others, “The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم wore a ring on his right hand and then transferred it to his left hand,” Muhaddith ‘Ali al-Qaari رحمه الله says, “This was not the permanent practise of the Prophet, so therefore it will not lead to Naskh. The most that can be said is, the left hand is more virtuous. Also, this is the most authentic opinion in our Madhhab.” [Muhaddith ‘Ali al-Qaari رحمه الله in Mirqaatul-Mafaateeh: Chapter on ‘The ring’] 

‘Allaamah Zarqaani رحمه الله writes, “Even though the apparent meaning of the Hadeeth leads one to think that the ruling is Mansookh, but this is not correct.” Haafidh Ibn Hajar رحمه الله says, “If this Hadeeth was established it would bring an end to all disagreements in this matter, but it’s chain of narration is Dha’eef.” [Sharhus Zarqaani: Chapter on ‘The inscription on the ring of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم] 

‘Allaamah ‘Aynee رحمه الله writes, “Imaam Maalik رحمه الله is of the opinion that it is perferable to wear the ring on the left hand and Makrooh to wear it on the right hand.” He was asked, could a person wear a ring on his right hand due to necessity? He replied, “There is nothing wrong with that.” ‘Allaamah ‘Aynee رحمه الله further writes, “A person should wear the ring on the small finger of his left hand and refrain from wearing it on the right hand and also from any other finger.” [‘Allaamah ‘Aynee رحمه الله in ‘Umdatul-Qaari: Chapter on ‘He who kept the stone of his ring facing his palm’] 

al-Faqeeh Abu al-Laith رحمه الله has balanced the ruling by saying that there is no difference whether a person wears the ring on his right or left hand. ‘Allaamah Ibn ‘Aabideen رحمه الله says, “A person should wear a ring on the small finger of the left hand and abstain from wearing it on any other finger and the right hand.” [‘Allaamah Ibn ‘Aabideen رحمه الله in Raddul-Muhtaar: Book on ‘Prohibited and permitted acts’ Chapter on ‘Clothing’] 

Imaam Haskafi رحمه الله writes in his book of Islamic Law relating from al-Qahastaani رحمه الله and others, “A person should wear the ring on his left hand. It has also been said that it should be worn on the right hand except that is has become a tradition and trend of the Rawaafidh (Shi’a), so it is necessary to refrain from this.” [Imaam Haskafi رحمه الله in ad-Durrul-Mukhtaar: Book on ‘Prohibited and permitted acts’ Chapter on ‘Clothing’] 

‘Allaamah Ibn ‘Aabideen رحمه الله commenting on this statement writes that it was a tradition of the Rawaafidh in those days but as for now this no longer remains. (One should keep in mind ‘Allaamah Ibn ‘Aabideen رحمه الله lived from 1198 to 1252 A.H.). Some also say to wear it on the right hand is a sign of unjust people but this holds no weight because authentic Ahaadeeth contradict this. [Allaamah Ibn ‘Aabideen رحمه الله in Raddul-Muhtaar: Book on ‘Prohibited and permitted acts’ Chapter on ‘Clothing’] 

‘Allaamah ‘Aynee رحمه الله writes, “The correct opinion is that to wear a ring on the left hand is more accurate even though authentic Ahaadeeth establish the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم wearing a ring on his right hand, but his practise remained on the left.” [‘Allaamah ‘Aynee رحمه الله in al-Binaayah: Book on ‘Detestable actions’ Chapter on ‘Clothing’] 

Muhaddith Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi رحمه الله mentions, elaborating on the tradition, “Hasan رضي الله عنه and Husayn رضي الله عنه both wore rings on the left hand,” “Although this is permissible but now he Rawaafidh made this their trend so it has become Makrooh for us.” [Muhaddith Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi رحمه الله in al-Kawkab ad-Durri: Chapter on ‘The clothing of the Prophet of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم] 

It is possible that during the lifetime of ‘Allaamah Ibn ‘Aabideen, the Rawaafidh had abandoned their tradition of wearing a ring on the right hand. During the lifetime of Muhaddith Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi (1244 to 1323 A.H.) they had adopted the custom of wearing a ring on the left hand, for this reason this practise was regarded unworthy of being practised upon. 

‘Allaamah Khaleel Ahmad رحمه الله further explains, “The Hanafi scholars have prohibited the wearing of a ring on the left hand from the time this became a custom of the Ahlul-Bid’ah (Innovators, meaning the Rawaafidh). Without doubt it is forbidden to imitate the Ahlul-Ahwaa (any group who follows their whims and desires) as it is forbidden to imitate the non-believers. The scholars may have differed in relation to their belief but for certain they are Fussaaq (grave sinners) and to imitate the Fussaaq is not permissible.” [Allaamah Khaleel Ahmad Sahaaranpuri رحمه الله in Badhlul-Majhood: Book on ‘The ring’ Chapter on ‘The narration’s regarding wearing a ring on the right and left hands’] 

The Ring Should Be Worn On The Small Finger

Sayyiduna Anas رضي الله عنه relates that the ring of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was on this finger, and he pointed to the small finger of the left hand. [Imaam Muslim رحمه الله: Chapter on ‘The prohibition of a gold ring for men and the abrogation of it’s permissibility in the beginning of Islaam’ Hadeeth #20] 

Imaam al-Qurtubi رحمه الله writes, commenting on this Hadeeth, “There is no controversy or dispute amongst the scholars nor the practise of the predecessors that for a man to wear a ring on the small finger is more virtuous as opposed to the other fingers. This is because the ring is more safeguarded and protected whilst carrying out daily work.” He further writes that if a person wears a ring on his ring finger then this is also permissible. [Imaam al-Qurtubi رحمه الله in al-Mufhim: Chapter on ‘The wearing of a ring for men on the small finger’] 

Sayyiduna Anas رضي الله عنه relates that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم forbade me from wearing a ring on this finger and this finger. The narrator says that he pointed to the middle and index fingers. [Imaam Muslim رحمه الله: Chapter on ‘The prohibition of a gold ring for men and the abrogation of it’s permissibility in the beginning of Islaam’ Hadeeth #24] 

‘Allaamah Teebi رحمه الله, commenting on this tradition, writes that it is Makrooh for a man to wear a ring on his middle and index fingers. This Karaaha is from the degree of Tanzeeh. [Allaamah Teebi رحمه الله in al-Kaashif ‘an Haqaaiqis-Sunan: Chapter on ‘The ring’] 

Imaam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal رحمه الله says, “It is Makrooh to wear a ring on the middle and index fingers.” [Allaamah Qastallaani رحمه الله in al-Mawaahib al-Laduniyyah: Chapter on ‘The inscription on the ring of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم] 

‘Allaamah ‘Aynee رحمه الله writes that it is mentioned in al-Ajnaas that it is preferable for a man to wear a ring on the small finger of the left hand. [Allaamah ‘Aynee رحمه الله in al-Binaayah: Book on ‘Detestable actions’ chapter on ‘Clothing’] 

‘Allaamah Ibn ‘Aabideen writes, recording from Zhakheerah that it is preferable to wear the ring on the small finger of the left hand, as opposed to all the other fingers and the right hand. [Allaamah Ibn ‘Aabideen رحمه الله in Raddul-Muhtaar: Book on ‘Prohibited and permitted acts’ chapter on ‘Clothing’] 

Imaam Ibn Maajah رحمه الله relates on the authority of Sayyiduna ‘Ali رضي الله عنه that, “The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم prohibited me from wearing a ring on the thumb and small finger.” [Imaam Ibn Maajah رحمه الله in his Sunan: Book on ‘Clothing and things pertaining to it’ chapter on ‘Wearing a ring on the thumb’] 

‘Allaamah Khaleel Ahmad رحمه الله writes, “The scholars are unanimous that the ring should be worn on the small finger.” [Allaamah Khaleel Ahmad Sahaaranpuri رحمه الله in Badhlul-Majhood: Book on ‘The ring’ chapter on ‘The narration’s regarding a metal ring’] 

The opinion attributed to the majority of the scholars seems to contradict the above Hadeeth recorded by Imaam Ibn Maajah رحمه الله. Shaykh ‘Abdul Ghani رحمه الله writes, “It is possible that Sayyiduna ‘Ali رضي الله عنه was prohibited due to a valid excuse or he was prohibited from combining two rings at one time.” [Shaykh ‘Abdul Ghani Dehlawi رحمه الله in Injaahul-Haajah: Book on ‘Clothing and things pertaining to it’ chapter on ‘Wearing a ring in the thumb’] 

The Stone (Gem) Of The Ring Should Be Facing The Palm

Sayyiduna Anas رضي الله عنه reports, “The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم wore a silver ring on his right hand and on it was a stone from Abyssinia (Habshah). He also kept the stone facing his palm.” [Imaam Muslim رحمه الله: Chapter on ‘The prohibition of a gold ring for men and the abrogation of it’s permissibility in the beginning of Islaam’ Hadeeth #18] 

‘Allaamah ‘Aynee رحمه الله writes that Ibn Battaal رحمه الله said, “There is no prohibition or command in the Ahaadeeth regarding the stone facing inwards or outwards, both of these methods are permissible.” [‘Allaamah ‘Aynee رحمه الله in ‘Umdatul-Qaari: Chapter on ‘He who kept the stone of his ring facing his palm’] 

Imaam Abu Daawood رحمه الله relates a tradition on the authority of Muhammad Ibn Ishaaq رحمه الله wherein he says, “I saw as-Salt Ibn ‘Abdullah رحمه الله wearing a ring on the small finger of his right hand. I questioned him, ‘Why are you wearing the ring in this manner?’ He replied, ‘I saw Ibn ‘Abbaas رضي الله عنهما wearing his ring in this manner.'” As-Salt Ibn ‘Abdullah رحمه الله further says, “I think he also mentioned I saw the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم wearing the ring in this manner.” [Imaam Abu Daawood رحمه الله in his Sunan: Chapter on ‘The narration’s regarding wearing a ring on the right and left hands’ Hadeeth #4] 

‘Allaamah Teebi رحمه الله writes that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم kept the stone facing inwards because it protects a person from pride and conceit. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم did not give any order or command regarding this, so it is permissible to keep the stone facing outwards. The pious predecessors (Salaf) have practised both methods. [‘Allaamah Teebi رحمه الله in al-Kaashif ‘An Haqaaiqis-Sunan: Chapter on ‘The ring’] 

Imaam al-Qurtubi رحمه الله says that it is permissible to wear the ring with the stone facing outwards because there are narration’s mentioning the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم doing this. [Imaam al-Qurtubi رحمه الله in al-Mufhim: Chapter on ‘The wearing of a ring and keeping the stone facing inwards’] 

Imaam Haskafi رحمه الله says that the ring should be worn with the stone facing inwards. [Imaam Haskafi رحمه الله in ad-Durrul-Mukhtaar: Book on ‘Prohibited and permitted acts’ chapter on ‘Clothing’] 

The author of al-Hidaaya mentions this statement with the addition, “…contrary to women, because it is a type of beauty and fashion for them.” [Allaamah Burhaan-uddeen al-Marghinaani رحمه الله in al-Hidaaya: Book on ‘Detestable actions’ chapter on ‘Clothing’] 

‘Allaamah ‘Aynee رحمه الله, commenting on this, writes, “Men should keep the stone of the ring facing inwards because they wear it due to necessity, whereas women wear it for beauty.” [Allaamah ‘Aynee رحمه الله in al-Binaayah: Book on ‘Detestable actions’ chapter on ‘Clothing’] 

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم Had Several Rings

Imaam Muslim رحمه الله relates on the authority of Sayyiduna Anas رضي الله عنه that, “The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم had a silver ring and on it was a stone from Abyssinia.” [Imaam Muslim رحمه الله: Chapter on ‘The prohibition of a gold ring for men and the abrogation of it’s permissibility in the beginning of Islaam’ Hadeeth #17] 

Imaam Bukhaari رحمه الله also relates from Sayyiduna Anas رضي الله عنه that, “The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم had a silver ring and the stone was also silver.” [Imaam Bukhaari رحمه الله: Book on ‘Clothing’ chapter on ‘The stone of the ring’] 

These two Ahaadeeth apparently seem to contradict one another. Imaam al-Qurtubi رحمه الله writes, “In reality there is no contradiction. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم had a few rings. One had an Abyssinian stone whereas another had a silver stone. It has also been narrated that he wore a ring with a carnelian (‘Aqeeq) stone.” [Imaam Qurtubi رحمه الله in al-Mufhim: Chapter on ‘The permissibility of engraving a person’s name in a ring’] 

‘Allaamah Dhafar Ahmad ‘Uthmaani رحمه الله writes that Imaam Bayhaqi says in Shu’ab, “The two aforementioned Ahaadeeth indicate that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم had two seperate rings. One which had an Abyssinian stone, and another which had a silver stone.” Haafidh Ibn ‘Abdul Barr رحمه الله says that the narration mentioning the stone being of silver is the most authentic. Another group of scholars mentions otherwise. Imaam Nawawi رحمه الله, after recording both statements, writes that both of these opinions are correct. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم at one time had a ring with an Abyssinian stone, and at another time had a ring with a silver stone. ‘Allaamah Dhafar Ahmad ‘Uthmaani رحمه الله says that the fact that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم never wore more than one ring at one time is agreed upon, whereas him not making more than one ring is not. It is an established fact that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم took a ring from Khaalid Ibn Sa’d رضي الله عنه or ‘Amr Ibn Sa’eed رضي الله عنه, and also that Ya’laa Ibn Umayya رضي الله عنه made a ring for him. [Allaamah Dhafar Ahmad ‘Uthmaani رحمه الله in I’laaus-Sunan: Chapter on ‘The prohibition of a gold ring for men and the permissibility of a silver ring for them] 

Imaam Haskafi رحمه الله says that the loop of the ring is taken into consideration not the ring itself, thereby it is permissible that the stone be plain, carnelian-red or even ruby. [Imaam Haskafi رحمه الله in ad-Durrul-Mukhtaar: Book on ‘Prohibited and permitted acts’ chapter on ‘Clothing’] 

‘Allaamah ‘Aynee رحمه الله writes that it is mentioned in al-Ajnaas, “There is nothing wrong for a man to wear a silver ring with a silver stone. Also if the stone is onyx, carnelian-red, turquoise, ruby or emerald.” [Allaamah ‘Aynee رحمه الله in al-Binaayah: Book on ‘Detestable actions’ chapter on ‘Clothing’] 

It Is Permissible To Wear A Ring Made From Carnelian

Muhaddith ‘Ali Qaari رحمه الله says regarding the Hadeeth, “Wear a ring made from carnelian (‘Aqeeq) because it is blessed,” “‘Aqeeli has recorded it in ad-Du’afaa, Ibn Laal in Makaarimul-Akhlaaq, al-Haakim in his Taareekh, al-Bayhaqi, al-Khateeb, Ibn ‘Asaakir and ad-Daylami in Musnadul-Firdaus on the authority of Ummul Mu’mineen ‘Aa’isha رضي الله عنها. Numerous transmissions indicate that this Hadeeth does have an origin. Ibn ‘Adi has also narrated this Hadeeth in al-Kaamil on the authority of Anas رضي الله عنه with a different text, ‘Wear a ring made from carnelian (‘Aqeeq) because it removes poverty.'” [Muhaddith ‘Ali Qaari رحمه الله in Mirqaatul-Mafaateeh: Chapter on ‘The ring’] 

‘Allaamah Dhafar Ahmad ‘Uthmaani رحمه الله writes, “It is mentioned in Shira’tul-Islaam that to wear a ring made from carnelian or silver is Sunnah. The commentator of Shira’tul-Islaam writes, ‘One should know that it has been said that to wear a ring made from carnelian is Haraam because it is a stone. Imaam Abu Haneefa has preferred this opinion.'” [Allaamah Dhafar Ahmad ‘Uthmaani رحمه الله in I’laaus-Sunan: Chapter on ‘The prohibition of a gold ring for men and the permissibility of a silver ring for them’] 

Imaam Haskafi رحمه الله writes, “Shamsul A’imma Sarakhsi has authenticated the permissibility of wearing a ring made from jasper and carnelian.” [Imaam Haskafi رحمه الله in ad-Durrul-Mukhtaar: Book on ‘Prohibited and permitted acts’ chapter on ‘Clothing’] 

‘Allaamah Dhafar Ahmad ‘Uthmaani رحمه الله says, “Qaadi Khaan is also inclined to this opinion.” [‘Allaamah Dhafar Ahmad ‘Uthmaani رحمه الله in I’laaus-Sunan: Chapter on ‘The metal ring and others’] 

‘Allaamah Ibn ‘Aabideen رحمه الله writes, recording from Ghurarul-Afkaar, “The most authentic view is that there is nothing wrong in wearing a ring made from carnelian because the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم wore a ring made from carnelian, and he also said, ‘Wear a ring made from carnelian because it is blessed.'” ‘Allaamah Ibn ‘Aabideen رحمه الله further writes, “The correct opinion regarding wearing a ring made from jasper is that it is not permissible because idols are made from this. For this reason it has become like brass, and regarding brass there are clear injunctions which attest to its prohibition.” [Allaamah Ibn ‘Aabideen رحمه الله in Raddul-Muhtaar: Book on ‘Prohibited and permitted acts’ chapter on ‘Clothing’] 

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم Would Not Wear A Ring Constantly

Imaam an-Nisaa’ee رحمه الله reports on the authority of Sayyiduna Ibn ‘Umar رضي الله عنهما, “The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم had a silver ring made which he would use to stamp and he would not wear it.” [Imaam Nisaa’ee رحمه الله: Chapter ‘The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم threw away the ring and refrained from wearing it’] 

‘Allaamah Dhafar Ahmad ‘Uthmaani رحمه الله writes, “The meaning of this Hadeeth is that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم would not wear a ring constantly.” [Allaamah Dhafar Ahmad ‘Uthmaani رحمه الله in I’laaus-Sunan: Chapter on ‘The prohibition of a gold ring for men and the permissibility of a silver ring for them’] 

The Prophet’s صلى الله عليه وسلم Ring Fell From The Hands Of ‘Uthmaan رضي الله عنه Into The Well Of Arees

Haafidh Ibn Hajar رحمه الله writes, “Sayyiduna Mu’ayqeeb رضي الله عنه was given the responsibility of looking after the ring.” [Haafidh Ibn Hajar رحمه الله in Fathul-Baari: Chapter on ‘Should the inscription of the ring be engraved on three lines’] 

‘Allaamah ‘Aynee رحمه الله writes, “The ring was in the possession of Sayyiduna ‘Uthmaan رضي الله عنه for a period of six years, and in the seventh year it fell into the well.” [Allaamah ‘Aynee رحمه الله in ‘Umdatul-Qaari: Chapter on ‘Should the inscription of the ring be engraved on three lines] 

‘Allaamah Baghawi رحمه الله writes in his Sharhus-Sunnah, “The ring fell from the hands of Sayyiduna Mu’ayqeeb رضي الله عنه into the well of Aress.” [Muhaddith ‘Ali al-Qaari رحمه الله in Mirqaatul-Mafaateeh: Chapter on ‘The ring’] 

Haafidh Ibn Katheer writes that in the year 30 A.H. the Prophet’s ring fell from the hands of ‘Uthmaan رضي الله عنه into the well of Arees. [Haafidh Ibn Katheer رحمه الله in al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah: Chapter on ‘The events which took place in 30 A.H.’] 

Haafidh Ibn Hajar رحمه الله writes, “The well of Arees is in a garden near the masjid of Quba. The ring falling from the hands of Sayyiduna ‘Uthmaan رضي الله عنه (mentioned in the previous Hadeeth) is possibly a metaphorical indication or vice versa. Sayyiduna ‘Uthmaan رضي الله عنه asked for the ring from Sayyiduna Mu’ayqeeb رضي الله عنه to stamp a document with. He was deeply concerned about some matter which caused him to fiddle with the ring. Then accidentally it fell into the well. Or he returned it to Sayyiduna Mu’ayqeeb رضي الله عنه and then it fell in.” [Haafidh Ibn Hajar رحمه الله in Fathul-Baari: Chapter on ‘The silver ring’] 

Muhaddith ‘Ali Qaari رحمه الله writes, “The apparent text of the Hadeeth indicates that the ring fell from the hands of Sayyiduna ‘Uthmaan رضي الله عنه. Also, in another Hadeeth it is explicitly mentioned that the ring fell from the hands of Sayyiduna Mu’ayqeeb رضي الله عنه, who was made responsible for looking after it. It is possible that one of them handed the ring to the other, the other one came forward to take the ring and it fell. For this reason, the falling of the ring has been attributed to both of them. But still an objection can be raised against the Hadeeth recorded by Imaam Bukhaari رحمه الله on the authority of Anas رضي الله عنه. When Sayyiduna ‘Uthmaan رضي الله عنه at the well of Arees, he took out the ring and started to fiddle about with it, when all of a sudden it fell. (The narrator says) ‘We remained with Sayyiduna ‘Uthmaan رضي الله عنه for three days, draining out the water, but we couldn’t find it. Also, the Hadeeth recorded by Imaam an-Nisaa’ee رحمه الله, that Sayyiduna ‘Uthmaan رضي الله عنه asked for the ring from Sayyiduna Mu’ayqeeb رضي الله عنه to stamp a document. He was deeply concerned about some matter which caused him to fiddle with the ring, when all of a sudden it fell. This Hadeeth also answers the question as to why Sayyiduna ‘Uthmaan رضي الله عنه indulged himself in futile work.” [Haafidh Ibn Hajar رحمه الله in Fathul-Baari: Chapter on ‘The silver ring’] 

‘Allaamah ‘Aynee رحمه الله writes, “After Sayyiduna ‘Uthmaan رضي الله عنه lost the ring in the well of Arees, he had another one made with the same inscription.” [Allaamah ‘Aynee رحمه الله in ‘Umdatul-Qaari: Chapter on ‘The statement of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, ‘No one should engrave as I have engraved on my ring’] 

Haafidh Ibn Hajar رحمه الله writes, “Some of the scholars have said that there is a secret about the ring of our Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, which was also in the ring of Prophet Sulaymaan عليه السلام.” The reason is that when Prophet Sulaymaan عليه السلام lost his ring, along with it he also lost his kingdom. And when Sayyiduna ‘Uthmaan رضي الله عنه lost the ring of our Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, all the affairs collapsed on him. The Khawaarij rebelled against him and this was the beginning of the corruption and evil that ultimately led to his martyrdom, and also, affairs will remain like this until the last day. [Haafidh Ibn Hajar رحمه الله in Fathul-Baari: Chapter on ‘Should the inscription of the ring be engraved on three lines’] 

It Is Permissible To Engrave Any Name On The Stone (Gem) Of The Ring

Imaam Bukhaari رحمه الله reports on the authority of Sayyiduna Anas رضي الله عنه that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم had a silver ring made, and he engraved ‘Muhammad Rasool Allaah’ on it. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “I have made a silver ring and I have engraved on it ‘Muhammad Rasool Allaah.’ No one should engrave on their rings as I have engraved.” [Imaam Bukhaari رحمه الله: Chapter on ‘The statement of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, “No one should engrave as I have engraved on my ring” Hadeeth #1’] 

Haafidh Ibn Hajar رحمه الله says, “Abul-Fath al-Ya’muri claims the ring was made in the 7th yearh A.H and others claim it was made in the 6th year A.H.” It is possible that these two opinions are combined, by saying that it was made sometime at the end of the 6th year and the beginning of the 7th year. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم sent letters during the truce period, which was in Dhul-Qa’dah of the 6th year, then he returned to Madeenah in Dhul-Hijjah and sent some messengers in the month of al-Muharram. The ring was made before the messengers were sent to the neighbouring non-Muslim countries. 

He further says, “The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم forbade them from engraving an inscription like his because the purpose of his ring was to be used as a stamp. This was a special mark through which his ring could be distinguished from others. Now if it was permissible for others to have the same inscription the initial purpose will no longer remain.” [Haafidh Ibn Hajar رحمه الله in Fathul-Baari: Chapter on ‘The making of a ring to stamp a document or to write letters to the non-believers and others’] 

‘Allaamah Teebi رحمه الله writes, “The ring was made to stamp letters and documents, which were sent out to the neighbouring non-Muslim countries. So therefore if anyone was to have the same inscription it will cause disorder and confusion.” [Allaamah Teebi رحمه الله in al-Kaashif ‘An Haqaaiqis-Sunan: Chapter on ‘The ring’] 

Imaam al-Qurtubi رحمه الله writes, commenting on, “The inscription on the ring was Muhammad Rasool Allaah,” “This is evidence proving that it is permissible for a person to engrave their own name on their ring. Excluding the name Muhammad even if it is the person’s own name. This is not permissible because we have been prohibited from this in the Hadeeth. Also, the Hadeeth is evidence proving that it is permissible to engrave the name of Allah, words of wisdom or even verses of the Holy Qur’aan.” [Imaam Qurtubi رحمه الله in al-Mufhim: Chapter on ‘The permissibility of engraving a person’s name on a ring’] 

Muhaddith ‘Ali al-Qaari رحمه الله writes, “Some scholars are of the opinion that it is Makrooh to engrave the name of Allaah on one’s ring.” Haafidh Ibn Hajar رحمه الله says, “This opinion holds no weight. I quote, ‘When a person’s name is ‘Abdullaah, then without doubt this is not Makrooh.'” [Muhaddith ‘Ali Qaari رحمه الله in Mirqaatul Mafaateeh: Chapter on ‘The ring’] 

Muhaddith Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi رحمه الله says, “The prohibition of engraving the name Muhammad on one’s ring no longer remains, because it won’t cause any confusion or dispute.” [Muhaddith Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi رحمه الله in al-Kawkab ad-Durri: Chapter on ‘The clothing off the Prophet of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم’] 

The Inscription Can Be In Any Language

Imaam at-Tahaawi رحمه الله reports on the authority of Sayyiduna Anas رضي الله عنه, that Sayyiduna ‘Umar رضي الله عنه said, “It is not permissible to engrave Arabic on one’s ring.” He also reports another tradition on the authority of Sayyiduna Anas, that the Prophet said, “Do not engrave in Arabic.” [Imaam Tahaawi رحمه الله in Sharh Ma’aanil-Aathar: Chapter on ‘The inscription on rings’]

A group of scholars are of the opnion that it is Makrooh to engrave anything in Arabic, and as evidence they present this Hadeeth. They also say that there is nothing wrong if the inscription is other than Arabic. This is not correct, and it is contrary to the practise of the pious predecessors. What Sayyiduna ‘Umar رضي الله عنه actually meant is explained in the following Hadeeth. 

Sayyiduna Anas رضي الله عنه says, “I asked Hasan رضي الله عنه as to what this statement, ‘Do not engrave in Arabic,’ means. He Replied, ‘Do not engrave on your rings Muhammad Rasool Allaah.'” [Imaam Tahaawi رحمه الله in Sharh Ma’aanil-Aathar: Chapter on ‘The inscription on rings’] 

Listed below are various inscriptions of rings belonging to some of the Sahaaba رضي الله عنهم and great scholars after them: (Only the translation of the inscriptions are listed and Arabic text has been omitted): 

Sayyiduna Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه : “What an excellent Master Allaah is” 

Sayyiduna ‘Umar رضي الله عنه : “Death is a sufficient advisor” 

Sayyiduna ‘Uthmaan رضي الله عنه : “You will indeed observe patience or you will be remorseful” 

Sayyiduna ‘Ali رضي الله عنه : “All authority belongs to Allah” 

Imaam Abu Haneefa رحمه الله: “Speak good otherwise remain silent” 

Imaam Abu Yusuf رحمه الله: “Whoever acts upon individual judgement will be remorseful” 

Imaam Muhammad Ibn al-Hasan رحمه الله: “Whoever observes patience will be successful” [Allaamah Ibn ‘Aabideen رحمه الله in Raddul-Muhtaar: Book on ‘Prohibited and permitted acts’ Chapter on ‘Clothing’] 

These are the great Sahaaba رضي الله عنهم and scholars after them. They were all pious and god fearing people. How is it possible that they act contrary to the commandments of the beloved Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. Also, their practise indicates that it is permissible to engrave rings in Arabic. 

‘Allaamah Zarqaani رحمه الله writes that it is recorded in Ikleel by Imaam Haakim, “Sayyiduna Aadam عليه السلام made a ring and he engraved on it ‘Laa ilaaha illAllaah, Muhammadur Rasool Allaah.'” (This is a Marfoo’ narration). It is also mentioned in Nawaadir al-Usool, “The inscriptionon the ring of Sayyiduna Moosa عليه السلام was, “For every generation there are a set of laws.” Imaam Tabaraani رحمه الله records, “The gem on the ring of Sayyiduna Sulaymaan عليه السلام was divine. It was offered to him as a gift, which he willingly accepted. He placed it on his ring, and the inscription on it was, ‘I am Allaah there is no Lord except me, Muhammad is My servant and messenger.” [Sharhus-Zarqaani: Chapter on ‘The inscription on the ring of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم’] 

The Weight Of The Ring Should Not Exceed A Mithqaal

Sayyiduna Buraidah رضي الله عنه relates, “The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said to a person who came to him wearing a bronze ring, ‘What is it that I smell from you the odour of idols?’ (The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم made this remark out of dislike) so the person threw away the ring. The person came again, but this time with a metal ring on. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said to him, ‘What is it that I see on you an ornament of the dwellers of Hell?’ So the person threw this ring and asked, ‘O Prophet of Allah! What should I make the ring out of?’ He صلى الله عليه وسلم replied, ‘Make it out of silver, and the weight should not exceed one Mithqaal.'” [Imaam Abu Daawood رحمه الله in his Sunan: Chapter on ‘The narration’s regarding metal rings’ Hadeeth #1] 

Mithqaal is the singular of Mathaaqeel. It weighs one dinaar, which is equivalent to 72 grains of barley. In Egypt it is equal to 24 Qeeraat. The author of Ahsanul-Fataawa writes, “The weight of the ring should be less than 4.86g.”  

‘Allaamah Teebi رحمه الله writes, “The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, regarding the bronze ring, ‘I smell from you the odor of idols,’ because in those days the idols were made from bronze. And he صلى الله عليه وسلم said, in regards to the metal ring, ‘An ornament of the dwellers of Hell,’ because metal was considered to be a type of jewellery for the non-believers, and the non-believers are the dwellers of Hell.” [Allaamah Teebi رحمه الله in al-Kaashif al-Haqaaiqis-Sunan: Chapter on ‘The ring’] 

Muhaddith ‘Ali al-Qaari رحمه الله writes, commentating on this Hadeeth, “Ibn Malik says, reporting from Mazhar, ‘The preferable view is that it should not weigh more than a Mithqaal, because it safeguards a person from extravagance. A group of the Shaafi’ee scholars are of the opinion that to exceed a Mithqaal is totally forbidden, and others have given preference to the view of permissibility. Among them is Haafidh ‘Iraaqi رحمه الله, who had labelled the aforementioned prohibition to the degree of Tanzeeh.” [Muhaddith ‘Ali al-Qaari رحمه الله in Mirqaatul-Mafaateeh: Chapter on ‘The ring’] 

The author of al-Ikhtiyaar says, “It is Sunnah that the weight of the ring be equivalent to one Mithqaal or less.” [al-Ikhtiyaar: Chapter on ‘Detestable actions’] 

Imaam Haskafi رحمه الله says, “The weight of the ring should not exceed a Mithqaal.” [Imaam Haskafi رحمه الله in ad-Durrul-Mukhtaar: Book on ‘Prohibited and permitted acts’ Chapter on ‘Clothing’] 

The Inscription On The Prophet’s صلى الله عليه وسلم Ring Was “Muhammad Rasool Allaah”

Imaam al-Bukhaari رحمه الله relates on the authority of Sayyiduna Anas رضي الله عنه, “The inscription on the ring of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was on three lines: Muhammad on one line, Rasool on another line and Allaah on the other line.” [Imaam al-Bukhaari رحمه الله in his Saheeh: Chapter on ‘Should the inscription of the ring be engraved on three lines’] 

Muhaddith ‘Ali al-Qaari رحمه الله writes, recording from Meerak رحمه الله: “The apparent and obvious meaning of this Hadeeth is that the inscription on the ring was ‘Muhammad Rasool Allaah’ without any addition. But Abu Shaykh رحمه الله relates in Akhlaaqun Nabi صلى الله عليه وسلم a narration of Ar’ara رحمه الله wherein he says, ‘Ibn Thaabit رحمه الله reports from Anas Ibn Maalik رضي الله عنه that he said, “The ring of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم had an Abyssinian stone and the inscription on it was ‘Laa Ilaaha Illallaah Muhammad Rasool Allaah.”‘ Ibn al-Madeeeni رحمه الله has classified this as Dha’eef, so therefore this addition is now Shaazh. Also, a different addition has been recorded by Ibn Sa’d رحمه الله on the authority of Imaam Ibn Seereen رحمه الله as ‘Bismillaah Muhammad Rasool Allaah,’ but this is also Shaazh, and no one else has followed him in this narration (This is a Mursal narration).” He further says, “It has been mentioned from Taawoos رحمه الله, al-Hasan al-Basri رحمه الله, Ibraaheem an-Nakhaa’ee رحمه الله, Saalim Ibn ‘Abdillaah رحمه الله and others that there is no addition to Muhammad Rasool Allaah (This is also a Mursal narration).” Muhaddith ‘Ali al-Qaari رحمه الله then says, strengthening this view, “There is no doubt that an addition of a trustworthy narrator is accepted. It is possible that the Prophet had a few rings.” [Muhaddith ‘Ali al-Qaari رحمه الله in Mirqaatul Mafaateeh: Chapter on ‘The ring’] 

‘Allaamah Khaleel Ahmad رحمه الله writes, “Some scholars say that the inscription on the ring was engraved in the correct manner (not back to front), and when it was used as a stamp it would also come out in the correct manner. In addition to this they say that this was among the distinctions of the Prophet (peace be upon him).” [Allaamah Khaleel Ahmad Sahaaranpuri رحمه الله in Badhlul-Majhood: Book on ‘The ring’ chapter on ‘The narration’s regarding the making of the ring’] 

Haafidh Ibn Katheer رحمه الله says, “There is a defect in the authenticity of this opinion also. I do not know of any Saheeh or Da’eef Hadeeth mentioning this.” [Haafidh Ibn Katheer رحمه الله in al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah: Chapter on ‘Omitting the ring’] 

Meerak رحمه الله says, “It is apparent that the inscription on the ring was in the sequence mentioned in the Hadeeth, but with the inscription engraved back to front, because for the stamp to come out straight it is necessary that the inscription be in this manner.” [Muhaddith ‘Ali al-Qaari رحمه الله in Mirqaatul Mafaateeh: Chapter on ‘The ring’] 

Ibn Battaal رحمه الله says, “The inscription being on two or three lines is not more virtuous than it being on one line.” [Sharhus Zarqaani: Chapter on ‘The inscription on the ring of the Prophet (peace be upon him)] 

‘Allaamah ‘Aynee رحمه الله writes, “It is permissible to have an incription one one, two or three seperate lines.” [Allaamah ‘Aynee رحمه الله in ‘Umdatul Qaari: Chapter on ‘Should the inscription of the ring be engraved on three lines’] 

al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar رحمه الله writes, “Some scholars are of the view that the inscription on the ring was written from the bottom to the top, meaning Allaah on the top line, Rasool on the middle line and Muhammad on the bottome line. I have not found any Hadeeth explicitly mentioning this, and also their view appears to contradict this Hadeeth.” [al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar رحمه الله in Fat’hul-Baari: Chapter on ‘Should the inscription of the ring be engraved on three lines] 

The aforementioned opinions of the scholars regarding the sequence of the inscription on the ring were based on possibilities, and not facts. Now, because copies of the documents and letters stamped by the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم are found in various contries of the world, we have come to know that the insciption was in this manner. Allaah engraved on the first line, Rasool on the second line and Muhammad on the third line. [This has been mentioned in Majmu’atul-Wathaaiq as-Siyaasiya] 

It Is Permissible To Wear A Silver-Plated Ring

Imaam Abu Daawood رحمه الله relates, “The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم had a metal ring which had a coating of silver, only sometimes he would keep it in his possession. Sayyiduna Mu’ayqeeb رضي الله عنه was made responsible for looking after it.” [Imaam Abu Daawood رحمه الله in his Sunan: Chapter on ‘The narration’s regarding metal rings’ Hadeeth #2. He records this Hadeeth on the authority of Eyyas Ibn Harith رحمه الله who relates from his grandad.] 

‘Allaamah Dhafar Ahmad ‘Uthmaani رحمه الله writes, “There is no prohibition in the Ahaadeeth pertaining to metal rings with silver coatings.” [Allaamah Dhafar Ahmad ‘Uthmaani رحمه الله in I’laaus-Sunan: Chapter on ‘The metal ring and others] 

Muhaddith ‘Ali al-Qaari رحمه الله writes after recording this Hadeeth, “The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم would stamp documents with this ring but he would not wear it.” [Muhaddith ‘Ali Qaari in Mirqaatul-Mafaateeh: Chapter on ‘The ring’] 

‘Allaamah Ibn ‘Aabideen رحمه الله says, recording from at-Taatarkhaaniyyah, “There is nothing wrong in making a metal ring where the silver covers the ring in such a manner that the metal can no longer be seen.” [‘Allaamah Ibn ‘Aabideen رحمه الله in Raddul-Muhtaar: Book on ‘Prohibited and permitted acts’ Chapter on ‘Clothing’] 

The Prohibition Of Engraving Pictures On Rings

Imaam at-Tahaawi رحمه الله reports that al-Qaasim رحمه الله said, “‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood رضي الله عنه had two flies engraved on his ring.” [Imaam Tahaawi رحمه الله in Sharh Ma’aaanil-Aathaar: Chapter on ‘The inscriptions on rings’ Hadeeth #3] 

Imaam at-Tahaawi رحمه الله also reports, “Huzaifah رضي الله عنه had two cranes engraved in his ring.” [Imaam Tahaawi رحمه الله in Sharh Ma’aaanil-Aathaar: Chapter on ‘The inscriptions on rings’ Hadeeth #4] 

Imaam Haskafi رحمه الله writes, “It is not permissible to engrave pictures of humans or birds on rings.” [Imaam Haskafi رحمه الله in ad-Durrul Mukhtaar: Book on ‘Prohibited and permitted acts’ chapter on ‘Clothing’] 

‘Allaamah Ibn ‘Aabideen رحمه الله writes, regarding the reason for this prohibition, “This practise has been prohibited because it is not permissible to draw or take pictures of living beings.” He also writes, recording from at-Taatarkhaaniyyah, “Al-Faqeeh Abu Layth رحمه الله says, ‘If a person has a picture of a living being on his silver ring then this is not Makrooh, not like the pictures in houses and clothes because the pictures on rings will be small.'” [‘Allaamah Ibn ‘Aabideen رحمه الله in Raddul-Muhtaar: Book on ‘Prohibited and permitted acts’ chapter on ‘Clothing’] 

‘Abdur Rahman رحمه الله relates that his father رحمه الله said, “I saw on the hands of Abu Burdah رحمه الله who is the son of Abu Musa al-Ash’aree رضي الله عنه a ring with a stone. A lion and a lioness along with a child were engraved on the stone of the ring.” Abu Burdah رحمه الله says, “The ring used to belong to the person regarding whom the people of this town believe to be the Prophet Daaniyaal عليه السلام. My father Abu Musa al-Ash’aree رضي الله عنه took this ring from him on the day of his buriel.” Abu Burdah رحمه الله further says, “Abu Musa al-Ash’aree رضي الله عنه asked the scholars of the village regarding the inscription on the ring. They replied, ‘Some astrologers along with some other knowledgeable people approached the king of the Prophet Daaniyaal’s عليه السلام era. They said to him, “On such and such a night, a boy will be born who will criticise and corrupt your kingdom.” The king said, “I swear by Allah that no child will remain alive for that night except that I will kill him.” All the children were killed, except that the Prophet Daaniyaal عليه السلام was thrown into the den of some lions. A lion and lioness both passed the night gently stroking him, and they did not cause him any harm. Some time later his mother came and found him being stroked by the lion and lioness. Thus Allaah the Almighty had saved him in this manner.'” Abu Burdah رحمه الله also relates, “Abu Musa al-Ash’aree رضي الله عنه further said, ‘The scholars of the village mentioned that the Prophet Daaniyaal عليه السلام had a picture of himself and the lion and lioness stroking him engraved on his ring. This was so that he does not forget the favours that Allaah bestowed on him.'” [Haafidh Ibn Katheer رحمه الله in al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah: Chapter on ‘Some information regarding Daaniyaal (peace be upon him)] 

Imaam at-Taahawi رحمه الله writes in relation to those who had pictures engraved on their rings, “It is possible that it was permissible at one time, but later they engraved in Arabic over it.” He further writes, “Sayyiduna Hasan رضي الله عنه would dislike that people engrave pictures on their rings.” He would say, “When a person uses such a ring to stamp then it is as if he has drawn a picture.” [Imaam Tahaawi رحمه الله in Sharh Ma’aaanil-Aathaar: Chapter on ‘The inscriptions on rings’] 

Muhaddith ‘Ali al-Qaari رحمه الله writes, “Meerak رحمه الله says, ‘The Hadeeth reported by ‘Abdur Razzaq رحمه الله on the authority of ‘Abdullah Ibn Muhammad Ibn ‘Aqeel رحمه الله, “Ibn ‘Aqeel took out a ring which had a picture of a lion and claimed that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used to wear this ring. (The narrator Ma’mar رحمه الله says), A few of the Companions رضي الله عنهم washed the ring and drank the leftover water.” This Hadeeth, despite it being Mursal, has some weakness, because there are diverse opinions regarding Ibn ‘Aqeel’s authority, so what is his state when he is being disagreed with?'” [Muhaddith ‘Ali Qaari رحمه الله in Mirqaatul-Mafaateeh: Chapter on ‘The ring’] 

‘Allaamah Qastallaani رحمه الله writes, “‘Abdur Razzaq رحمه الله has quoted a few traditions regarding the permissibility of engraving pictures on rings. I have avoided mentioning them because they are neither correct nor authentic, so there is no benefit in mentioning them.” [Allaamah Shiaabud-Deen al-Qastallaani رحمه الله in Irshaadus-Saari: Chapter on ‘The insciption on the ring’] 

Additional Fatawa 

Gold, Silver & other types of Rings for Men

Mufti Muhammad Ibn Aadam

Question: 

Are men allowed to wear white gold rings or those that are made from metal, wood, brass, etc? 

Answer: 

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful, 

It is unlawful for men to adorn themselves with any type of jewellery besides a silver ring. Gold has been decisively prohibited for men by the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace). 

Sayyiduna Abu Musa al-Ash’ari (Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: 

“Gold and silk have been made lawful for the women of my Ummah and prohibited for men.” (Sunan Tirmidhi, no. 1720 & Sunan Nasa’i) 

Sayyiduna Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) held silk in his right hand and gold in his left, and then said: “These two have been prohibited for the males of my Ummah.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, Sunan Nasa’i & Musnad Ahmad) 

Sayyiduna Ali (Allah be pleased with him) reports that “the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) forbade the wearing of gold rings.” (Sahih Muslim). 

Sayyiduna Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) saw a man wearing a gold ring. He (Allah bless him & give him peace) took of the ring, flung it and said: “One of you desires the live coal of fire, thus places it in his hand.” (Sahih Muslim) 

Due to the above narrations, it is unlawful (haram) for men to wear any type of gold jewellery. This also includes white gold, as the ruling is for gold regardless of the colour. Gold is Haram whether it is white or yellow. 

Rings made from other substances for men

In the Hanafi Madhhab, the only jewellery men are permitted to wear is a silver ring. Rings made from other than silver are impermissible, such as rings made from stone, metal, brass, platinum, etc… 

Imam al-Haskafi (may Allah have mercy on him) states in his famous work in Hanafi Fiqh, Durr al-Mukhtar: 

“It is not permissible for a man to adorn himself with any type of gold and silver besides a ring….. And it is impermissible to wear a ring except that which is made from silver, as silver rings are sufficient (m, for stamping), thus it will be unlawful (haram) to wear rings made from other than silver.” 

The great Hanafi jurist, Allama Ibn Abidin (may Allah have mercy on him) comments on the above in his super commentary (hashiya) saying: 

“It is Haram to wear other than a silver ring, because of what Imam Tahawi related with his chain of transmission to Sayyiduna Imran ibn Husain and Sayyiduna Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with both of them) that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) forbade the wearing of gold rings. And it is narrated that a man came to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) wearing a ring made of brass. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “What is it that I smell the odour of idols from you, so he got rid of the ring. Then he came to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) wearing a ring made of iron. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “What is it that I find on you the adornment of the people of hellfire”, so he got rid of it and said: “From what substance should I make my ring O Messenger of Allah?” The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Make it from silver that is less than one Mithqal.” It becomes clear from the above narrations that to wear a ring that is made from gold, iron, metal and brass is Haram.” (Radd al-Muhtar, 6/359, fasl fi al-libas) 

The above statement of one the major Hanafi Imams is clear in determining the prohibition of wearing rings that are made from other than silver. However, it should be remembered here that consideration is taken of the ring itself and not the stone, as mentioned in Durr al-Mukhtar. 

Is wearing a ring Sunnah?

According to the Hanafi understanding (ijtihad), wearing a (silver) ring is only considered a Sunnah for those who need to stamp with it, such as a judge (qadhi) or an author. 

It is best for other than those who need to use a ring for stamping not to wear a ring. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is understood to have worn a ring for stamping, not adornment. As such, it is only a sunnah for those who have this need. However, as Imam Ibn Abidin mentions, it is permissible for men to wear a silver ring that is equivalent or less than 2.975 grams (mithqal). 

And Allah knows best 

[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam 
Darul Iftaa 
Leicester , UK 

Women Wearing Rings Made from other than Gold & Silver

Mufti Muhammad Ibn Aadam

Question: 

Is it permissible for women to wear rings made from other than gold and silver? 

Answer: 

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful, 

Shariah has not only permitted women to adorn themselves, rather they are encouraged to do so to a certain degree. Islam has given this special permission only to women in order that they use the various means of adornment and be a means of pleasure and satisfaction for their husbands. 

Among the various means of adorning oneself, is the usage of jewellery and rings. Men have only been permitted to wear silver rings, and the idea is not to adorn yourself, rather the reason for this permissibility is to use silver rings for stamping and other purposes. This is the reason why, according to the Hanafi Ijtihad, it is preferable not to wear a ring for those who don’t need it for stamping. (Radd al-Muhtar, 6/361) 

Women are without doubt allowed to wear rings made from gold and silver. However, to wear rings made from other substances such as metal, wood, etc…is impermissible, even for women. 

The great Hanafi jurist, Allama Ibn Abidin (may Allah have mercy on him) says: 

“It is unlawful (haram) to wear other than a silver ring (for men), because of what Imam Tahawi related with his chain of narrators to Sayyiduna Imran ibn Husain and Sayyiduna Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with both of them) that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) forbade the wearing of gold rings. And it is narrated that a man came to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) wearing a ring made of brass. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “What is it that I smell the odour of idols from you, so he got rid of the ring. Then he came to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) wearing a ring made of iron. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “What is it that I find on you the adornment of the people of hellfire”, so he got rid of it and said: “From what substance should my ring be, O Messenger of Allah?” The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Make it from silver that is less than one Mithqal”. It becomes clear from the above narrations that to wear a ring that is made from gold, iron and brass is Haram……….And to wear rings made from iron, brass, copper and lead is Makruh for both men and women.” (Radd al-Muhtar, 6/359, fasl fi al-libas). 

It is stated in al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya: 

“It is Makruh to wear a ring that is made from iron, copper, brass and lead for men and women. As far as using carnelian is concerned, there is a difference of opinion between the Hanafi scholars. Some said: it is impermissible to wear a ring made from it, whilst others permitted it.” (al-Fatwa al-Hindiyya, 5/335) 

In light of the Hadith mentioned by Ibn Abidin which has also been recorded by Imam Abu Dawud in his Sunan (4/470, no. 4220), the Fuqaha have stated that it is impermissible for women also to wear rings that are made from other substances such as copper, brass, metal, iron, etc… 

Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (Allah have mercy on him) states in the explanation of the famous Hadith “Search for something, even if it is just a ring made from iron.” (Sahih al-Bukhari): 

“Some claim the permissibility of wearing a ring made of iron in view of this Hadith, but their claim is incorrect, because the permissibility of acquiring it does not necessitate the permissibility of wearing it. It is possible that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) intended for it to be acquired so that the woman may benefit from its price.” (Fath al-Bari, 10/397, kitab al-libas). 

However, it should be remarked here that consideration is taken of the ring itself and not the stone, as mentioned in Durr al-Mukhtar (6/360). 

Also, if the various types of rings are plated with gold or silver, then there is nothing wrong in women wearing them. 

It is stated in al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya: 

“There is nothing wrong in wearing a ring made of iron, but is plated with silver in a way that the iron is not visible.” (5/335) 

And Allah Knows Best 

[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam 
Darul Iftaa 
Leicester , UK 

On Which Hand and Finger Should a Man Wear his Silver Ring?

Question: 

On which hand and finger should a man wear his silver ring? Can you please clarify, since some people are saying it is wrong to wear the ring on the left hand? 

Answer: 

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful, 

As for which finger, most of the scholars of Hadith and Fiqh are of the opinion that it is Sunna and recommended for a male, if he chooses to wear a silver ring, to wear it on his little finger of the hand. 

Imam Muslim (may Allah have mercy on him) reports in the chapter pertaining to clothing and adornment (Kitab al-Libas wa’l Zina) in his Sahih from Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: “The ring of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) was on this”, and he pointed towards the little finger of his left hand. (Sahih Muslim, no: 2095) 

Sayyiduna Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) says: “The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) forbade me that I wear a ring on this or this finger of mine.” The narrator says that he pointed to the middle finger and the one next to it [i.e. the index finger].” (Sahih Muslim, no: 2078) 

Based on the above narrations, the renowned Shafi’i jurist and Hadith scholar, Imam Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) states: 

“Muslim scholars have agreed that it is a Sunna [for men] to wear the ring on the little finger. As for women, they may wear rings on their various fingers.” (Al-Minhaj sharh Sahih Muslim, P: 1584) 

Imam Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) then explains the reason for wearing the ring on the little finger. He says that the other fingers are more frequently used when utilizing the hand, whilst the little finger is not so frequently used due to it being at the corner of the hand. As such, he says, it is somewhat disliked (makruh tanzih) for a man to wear his silver ring on the middle and index fingers. (ibid) 

In light of the above reasoning given by Imam Nawawi and others, we can add that the thumb would probably take the same ruling as that of the middle and index fingers, since the thumb is also frequently used. As for the “ring” finger, due to it being close to the little finger and also not being frequently used, one may wear his ring on it.

As for which hand, there are somewhat conflicting reports regarding the practice of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace). Some narrations indicate that he wore his ring on his right hand, whilst others indicate that he wore it on his left hand. 

Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) reports that “the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) wore a silver ring on his right hand which had an Abyssinian stone in it, and he would keep its stone towards the palm.” (Sahih Muslim, no: 2094) 

Sayyiduna Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) says: “The ring of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) was on this”, and he pointed towards the little finger of his left hand. (Sahih Muslim, no: 2095) 

As such, Imam Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) states: 

“As for the [legal] ruling in this issue according to the jurists (fuqaha), they have all agreed upon the permissibility of wearing the ring on the right hand, and upon the permissibility of wearing it on the left hand, and there is no dislike (karaha) in wearing the ring on either of the two hands. However, they disagreed in regards to what is preferred. Many early scholars (salaf) wore their rings on the right hand, whilst many others wore theirs on the left hand. Imam Malik (may Allah have mercy on him) considered wearing the ring on the left hand to be recommended (mustahab) and disliked wearing it on the right hand. In our [Shafi’i] School, both positions are mentioned by our scholars. The correct (sahih) opinion is that it is better to wear the ring on the right hand, for wearing a ring is a form of adornment, and the right hand is more deserving of this adornment and beautification.” (Al-Minhaj sharh Sahih Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj, P: 1585) 

Shaykh Taqi Usmani (may Allah preserve him) explains in his commentary of Sahih Muslim that most of the narrations indicate that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) wore his ring on his right hand whilst some others indicate that he wore it on his left hand. Some scholars preferred the latter narrations whilst others preferred the former. Some scholars reconciled between the two types of narrations saying that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) initially wore his ring on the right hand and thereafter resorted to wearing it on his left hand. The great Master of Hadith (Hafidh), Ibn Hajar (may Allah have mercy on him) reconciled by stating in his Fath al-Bari that if the objective is to adorn oneself, then one should wear the ring on the right hand. However, if one wears a ring for the purpose of stamping, then wearing it on the left hand would be better. (Takmila Fath al-Mulhim 4/82) 

Shaykh Taqi Usmani (may Allah preserve him) then gives his personal stance on the issue at hand. He says: 

“It is possible to reconcile between the various narrations by assuming them to be describing different occasions. It seems that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) normally wore his ring on his right hand, as this is indicated by the majority of the narrations. However, he occasionally wore his ring on his left hand due to a need, or to show its permissibility. And Allah knows best.” (Ibid) 

Imam Badr al-Din Ayni (may Allah have mercy on him), the renowned scholar of Hadith and Hanafi jurist, is of the opinion that wearing the ring on the left hand is preferable. He explains in his commentary of Al-Hidaya that a man should wear his ring on the little finger of his left hand due to the fact that Sayyiduna Ali and Sayyiduna Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) both report that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) wore his ring on the left hand. Moreover, Sayyiduna Ibn Abbas, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr, Sayyiduna Umar, Sayyiduna Ali, Sayyiduna Hasan and Sayyiduna Huseyn (may Allah be pleased with them) all wore their rings on their left hands. As such, he says, it is better and preferable to wear the ring on the little finger of the left hand, and not on any other finger. (See: Al-Binaya fi sharh al-Hidaya 9/235-236) 

In light of the above, a man may wear his ring on either his right or left hand, since some scholars preferred the former whist others the latter. No one should be rebuked for wearing their ring on any one of the two hands, since both ways have been reported from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace). 

In conclusion, it is Sunna and preferable for men to wear their silver rings on the little finger of either their right or left hands. To wear it on the middle and index fingers is somewhat disliked, but not forbidden. As for women, they may wear their rings on any finger of their right or left hands. 

And Allah knows best 

[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam 
Darul Iftaa 
Leicester , UK 

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