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Why is Gold Impermissible for Men But Permissible for Women?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Why is gold permissible for women but impermissible for men?

Answer
: In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

“The decision is for Allah only. He tells the truth and He is the Best of Deciders.”

[Qur’an, 6:57]

“And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it. And whatsoever he forbids, abstain (from it). And keep your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is stern in reprisal.”

[Qur’an, 59:7]

Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

It is important to understand that the basis of good and bad is Divine: the good is what Allah has deemed good; the bad that which Allah has deemed bad. The role of the intellect regarding good and bad is to understand and fulfill the Divine Command. [ See below]

The second point to understand is that all the Commands of Allah are for the ultimate good of humans. This good is either worldly or next-worldly, or both. Normally, the benefit of rulings is evident to all; sometimes, it is only evident to those of understanding. When the benefit or wisdom is not immediately evident, one believes that there is benefit, at least in the next life by fulfilling the command of Allah and eternal reward in the next life. [As explained by Izz al-Din Ibn Abd al-Salam in his Qawa`id al-Kubra]

Allah tells us:

‘Lo! Allah enjoins justice and kindness, and giving to kinsfolk, and forbids lewdness and abomination and wickedness. He exhorts you in order that you may take heed. [16:90]

The spirit of the Shariah with regards to needs and comforts is summed up in the Qur’an,

“He has not placed any hardship for you in religion,” [22: 87]

And,

“God does not seek to place a burden on you, but that He purify you and perfect His grace upon you, that you may give thanks.” [5: 6]

Women and Gold

It is permitted for women to adorn themselves with gold jewelry, by scholarly consensus, because of rigorously authenticated (sahih) hadiths, as Imam Nawawi (Allah have mercy on him) states. [al-Majmu`, 4.327, Muniriyya ed.]

These include:

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) saying, “Gold and silk have been permitted for the women of my community (umma), and forbidden for its men.” [Ahmad, Nasa’i, and Tirmidhi, who deemed it rigorously authenticated (sahih); this has been related in more than 8 chains of transmission, which confirm each other]

Men and Gold

The hadiths regarding the prohibition of gold for men are numerous. These include:

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should not wear silk or gold.” [Ahmad, with a sound chain of narration]

The Beloved of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) also said, “Whoever of my community dies wearing gold, Allah shall prevent them from wearing it in Paradise.” [Tabarani]

Ali (Allah be pleased with him) reported that, “The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) forbade gold rings.” [Muslim, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Nasa’i, Ibn Maja]

Imam Nawawi (Allah have mercy on him) transmits scholarly consensus ( ijma`) that it is prohibited for men to wear gold jewelry.  [ al-Majmu`, 4.326, Muniriyya ed.]

Wisdom Behind Shariah Rulings Regarding Worldly Habits and Customs

The wisdom behind the Shariah regulations regarding worldly habits and customs was explained by Imam Wali Allah al-Dahlawi (Allah have mercy on him) in Hujjat Allah al-Baligha:

Among the wisdoms is that getting busied with these matters makes one forgetful of the remembrance of Allah, and clouds the purity of the hearts. Therefore, it was appropriate to treat this poison with appropriate medicine, which is that it is a sunna of making remembrance of Allah (dhikr) before, after, and during one’s worldly actions in order that this protect the soul from finding its final comfort in these. Rather, the remembrance reminds it of the True Giver, and makes its thought incline towards Allah’s Sacred Presence. [Dahlawi, Hujjat Allah al-Baligha, 1.482]

And:

Among the wisdoms is to be different from the non-Muslims in excessively lavish worldly habits and getting deeply at comfort with worldly life such that it made them forget the remembrance of Allah. This led them to busy themselves with seeking the worldly and for worldly pleasures to become firmly fixed in their hearts [f: to the exclusion of Allah and matters of the spirit]. Thus, it was fitting that the essential manifestations of their excesses be prohibited, such as silk, gold, and the like.

This entailed considering their particular habits and customs to be generally discouraged.

It also meant that it is recommended to leave most ostentation. [Dahlawi, ibid. 1.483]

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,
Faraz Rabbani

The Wearing of Silk and Jewelry

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: I have heard an opinion related to the hadith forbidding gold and silk which states that the reason the Prophet, may peace and mercy of Allah be upon him, forbade us from wearing gold and silk was because they were expensive commodities in that era, as they are now, and that the prohibition is related to wearing things which are very expensive.

Also, since silk is relatively not that expensive now, I have seen men wear silk shirts because they are following the opinion stated above. At the same time, I have seen people wear extremely expensive clothes, is it ok to do so if it is not being done out of riya’?

What is the essence of the hadith, and how shall it be interpreted?

Answer: I’m not aware of a legal position–within mainstream Sunni scholarship–permitting gold or silk for men on the basis of specifying the legal cause of the prohibition being expensiveness.

(Even in the time of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), where were things more expensive than gold, and clothing more expensive than silk.)

And if that were the case, then why only for men?

As for the “opinions” of those not ascribing to recognized scholarship, “their presence is no more consequential than their absence,” as the scholars would say.

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani