I have seen a lot of Muslims promoting the wearing of tungsten silver rings. Is this halal for us to wear and are we supposed to wear pure silver? I would like to know because I don’t want anyone to buy me something that is haraam.
In the famous book of Islamic Jurisprudence, Ad Durrul Mukhtar, it is written, ‘And it is not permissible for men to take a ring except that of silver’ (Ad Durrul Mukhtar-Chapter on wear; Raddul Muhtar (Shami) vol.6 pg. 359; Al Hidaya-Chapter of that which is disliked).
It is also recorded in a tradition which is narrated by Abdullah bin Buraidah from his father that, ‘A man came to the Prophet (SAS) and on him was a ring made of iron. The Prophet (SAS) said to him, ‘Why do I see that the ornament of the people of the fire is on you? Then he came (at another time) and on him was a ring made of brass. The Prophet (SAS) said to him, ‘Why do I smell the scent of idols coming from you’. The man then said, ‘O Prophet of Allah! From what I should make a ring?’ The Prophet (SAS) said, ‘from silver, but do not let it be to the weight of one mithqaal’ (that is, 4.68 grams) (Abu Dawood, Tirmizi, Nasai, Musnad Ahmad).
Based on these, the scholars have written ‘(Males) must not take a ring of anything besides silver like that of stone, gold, iron, brass, lead, glass.(Ad Durrul Mukhtar-Chapter on wear).
Further to this, the scholars have mentioned that the prohibition mentioned above refers to the ringlet (circular part of the ring, which is the main component) this means that it will be permissible to put a substance or stone on the silver ring which is of jasper, carnelian, sapphire, ruby or other similar precious stones. The stone etc. should however be placed in a manner that it faces the inner part of one’s palm (for males). This is not for women, since they are allowed to wear jewellery for the sake of beautification and adornment. This act of placing the stone towards the inner part of the palm is evident from the practice of the Prophet (SAS). In this regard, Abdullah bin Umar (RA) narrates that the Prophet (SAS) used to place the stone of his ring towards the palm.(Sunnan Ibn Majah pg. 259) in another tradition, Anas bin Malik (RA) states that the Messenger of Allah(SAS) wore a silver ring on which there was an Abyssinian ringstone. He used to place the ringstone to the inner part of his palm. (Sunnan Ibn Majah pg. 259; Sahih Muslim vol.2 pg. 196 – from the narration of Ibn Umar)
Based on these traditions, the scholars have stated that ‘it is far better to place the ring stone in the direction of the inner part of the palm. Since this was the practice of the Prophet (SAS) as clearly stated by Abdullah bin Abbas (RA). However, seeing that it was not an order of the Prophet (SAS), it would be permissible to wear the ring in a manner that it faces the outer part of the palm (as people normally do by making the top part of the ringstone visible on the finger). Sharh Muslim- Imaam Nawawi- Chapter on The prohibition for wearing gold rings for men. Ad Durrul Mukhtar- Chapter on wear).
While explaining the issue of wearing rings made of iron etc., the author of Al Jawhara has written, ‘wearing a ring made of iron, brass, copper and lead are reprehensible for both men and women’. (Raddul Muhtar vol.6 pg.360).
Based on these explainations it is clear that a Muslim male should only wear a silver ring from among the rings that are made of metals. Along with this, the allowance has been given to place a stone or substance on the hole of the ring (that is, a ringstone) as mentioned above.
As for a ring made of tungsten alone, then according to that which has been recorded in the above mentioned quotations, it will not be permissible. However, if the ‘tungsten’ is covered /mixed with silver to the extent that the silver content is more and the tungsten does not become visible, then it will be allowed to wear. This allowance is evident from another allowance which the jurists have mentioned. They have stated, ‘there is no harm (prohibition) for one to take (wear ) a ring made of iron which is covered with silver to the extent that the iron is not visible’ (Raddul Muhtar(Shami) vol. 6 pg.360).
Based upon this allowance, it means that permission will also be given to the case where the metallic element known as tungsten is covered /mixed with the metallic element known as silver in the manner I have mentioned above.
While on the topic of ‘rings’, it is also important to note that it is evident that a male should wear his ring in the little finger, a female can wear her ring in any of her fingers. (Sharh Muslim-Imam Nawawi Chapter- The Prohibition of wearing gold ring for males). With respect to wearing it on the little finger (for males), this is evident from the tradition of Anas (RA) in which he said, ‘The ring of the Prophet (SAS)was on this finger’. He then pointed to the little finger of his left hand’. (Sahih Muslim vol.2 pg. 197).
The scholars have also stated that it is Makrooh Tanzihi (reprehensible to a light degree) for a male to wear his ring on the middle finger and that which is next to it (that is, the index finger). This is based on the tradition of Ali (RA) in which he states, ‘The Prophet (SAS) prohibited me from placing a ring on this finger or this finger’. He then pointed to his middle finger and the one next to it’. (Sahih Muslim vol. 2 pg 197) In another tradition, it is stated that he indicated to the index finger and the middle finger’. (Sharh Muslim – Imam Nawawi- Chapter- The prohibition of wearing gold rings for males).
With respect to ‘on which hand a ring should be worn’, the jurists are unanimous on the ruling that it is permissible for one to wear a ring on the right hand and it is also permitted to wear it on the left hand. Both are evident from the practice of the Prophet (SAS). (Sharh Muslim -Imam Nawawi). In this regard, it is narrated in the tradition of Anas bin Malik that the Prophet (SAS) wore a silver ring on his right hand’. (Sahih Muslim vol.2 pg.197). Anas (RA) also reports that the ring of the Messenger of Allah (SAS) was on his left hand, on the little finger’. (Sahih Muslim vol.2 pg.197)
Based on these traditions, it will be permissible for one to place a ring on the right hand or on the left hand. With respect to what is preferred, there is a difference of opinion among the jurists. Many of the pious predecessors used the right hand, and many also used the left hand. Imam Malik(RA) considers it better to use the left hand than the right one. Other scholars have considered it better to use the right hand for wearing a ring. Both are however permissible.
It is allowed to engrave the name of Allah or the name of the Prophet (SAS) on the ring. In this case it is recommended that one takes off the ring from his finger when he goes to the toilet, or he places it on the right hand if it was on the left one (Raddul Muhtar vol.6 pg.361). It is also permissible to put words of wisdom or one’s name on the ring. However, it will not be permissible to engrave or place the image /picture /shape of a man animal or bird, or anything that has life in it on the ring. Some scholars have stated that if there are tiny images of a bird etc. which are normally not recognized, then it will not be reprehensible.(Raddul Muhtar vol.6 pg.361).
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan
This answer was collected from DarulUloomTT.net, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Waseem Khan from Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago.