Answered by Shaykh Umer Mian
Is it permissible to use dinnerware that has gold trim? I received a tea set that has gold trim on it. The bottom does not indicate whether this is real gold or just gold paint.
Answer:Wa alaikum as-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu
There are three categories of rulings related to gold and silver instruments (plates, dishes, cutlery, pens, etc.)
1) Items made entirely of gold or silver (e.g. a spoon made entirely of silver)
These are makruh tahriman (prohibitively disliked), due to the hadeeth narrated by Hudhayfah that the Messenger of Allah (SallAllahi alaihi wa sallam) said: “Do not drink in vessels of gold or silver, and do not eat in trays of gold or silver. For verily these are for them (i.e. the disbelievers) in this world and for you all (i.e. the believers) in the hereafter.” (Recorded by Bukhari and Muslim).
2) Items that are adorned with gold or silver pieces while being made of something else (e.g. a ceramic cup that is adorned with gold pieces)
According to Imam Abu Hanifah and the position of the Hanafi madhab, these are permissible to use as long as one avoids the gold or silver while using them. For example, if the item is a cup, the gold or silver part should not be touched with one’s mouth when drinking from the cup.
However, other imams (from amongst them is Imam Abu Yusuf, the great companion of Imam Abu Hanifah) have prohibited using this category of item (i.e. even if one avoids the gold or silver while using them). Therefore, it would be more religiously scrupulous to avoid any use of this category of item.
3) Items that gold- or silver-plated
If the plating is so fine that were the item were to be heated, no gold or silver would flow off it, then it is permissible to use. This is because, in this case, it is only gold- or silver-colored, and no consideration is given to the mere color of the item.
However, if the amount of gold or silver on the item is enough that it would flow off upon sufficient heating, then the item is like category number 2 above (i.e. it could be used as long as it is possible to avoid the gold or silver while using the item).
Hence, the amount of gold on your dinnerware will have to be judged to determine whether it is from category 2 or 3 above, in order to know it’s ruling.
Also, note that men and women are the same in regards to the above rulings, i.e. gold and silver instruments (the ruling for men and women only differs in regards to gold and silver jewelry).
Sources: al-Durr al-Mukhtar, Radd al-Muhtar, al-Hadiyyah al-Ala’iyyah