White gold dilemma

In my culture, it is customary for the bride and groom to exchange rings on the wedding day.

The norm that most people go to is just to purchase a “couple ring” wedding band, a matching pair of rings which is made for both the bride and groom. For the female, there is no objection whatsoever to the kind of ring that she wants.

Well, except for budget, and a concious consideration of tabzir or wastage due to the cost of the ring. If it costs 8k, definitely the money can be put to beter use than a piece of overpriced rock which price is controlled by cartels. (At least according to some. Read: Have You Tried to Sell a Diamond?)

For me, the male, I have only one requirement: No gold. Numerous hadiths, which provides the backbone for Islamic legal rulings as we know it today have mentioned its prohibition, and together with ijma’, it is a definite no-no.

Among the hadith is one narrated by ابن زرير الغافقي, from Sayyidina علي رضي الله عنه who said:

أَنَّ رَسولَ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَسلَّم أَخَذَ حَريراً فَجَعَلَهُ في يَمينِهِ وَأَخَذَ ذَهَباً فَجَعَلَهُ في شمالِهِ ثُمَّ قَالَ: إِنَّ هذَيْن حَرَام عَلى ذكُورِ أُمَّتي

“The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) took a silk with his right hand, and took a gold withhis left hand, and then said: These two are haraam for the men of my ummah.”

– An-Nasa’i, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah

Furthermore, Al-Nawawi said:

وأما خاتم الذهب فهو حرام على الرجل بالإجماع

“Rings of gold are haraam for males, with ijma’ (consensus of the scholars).”

Deciding to get one of those “couple rings” wedding bands, it was dissappointing to find that these rings come in white gold.

Preferred scenario:

“Yes, that couple ring in the display. The female ring should be white gold. Mine, please have it made in platinum or silver.”

Real scenario #1:

“…What? Add another $1,800 to have it made  in platinum?”

Real scenario #2:

“…What do you mean I can’t have it in silver?”

So I found out that platinum is way too over-priced for a piece of man-ring. Silver, ridiculously enough, isn’t available at major jewelry shops.

Even at my request, the choice that was given by these big jewelry shops is that it can only be made in another form of white gold, in which the mixture of gold is reduced.

Note that the white gold that I’m referring to here is made of gold + other alloys. While some people do refer to platinum as white gold, that’s not the case in the shops I visited, apparently. So you need to do your homework and ask the jeweller whether that ring you’re eyeing is either made of white gold white gold or platinum.


So I found that gold are rated in k, or carat. If an item is rated:

24k gold: 100% (or close) of its content is gold.

18k gold: 75% (or close) of its content is the gold.

12k gold: 50% (or close) of its content is the gold.

9k gold: 37.5% (or close) of its content is the gold.

Etc, etc.

The shops did give me the choice to have the ring made in 12k or 9k gold, reducing the gold content to 50%and 37.5% respectively. While I prefer not to have mine in white gold, I just really must know:

Can a Muslim wear white gold?

To answer this question, we need to differentiate the types of white gold according to the prohibited content, which is real gold.

To simplify, perhaps we can categorize it into two:

1. White gold which contains more than 50% gold.

2. White gold which contains less than 50% gold.

For the first one, i.e. items of white gold which has more than 50% of gold; the answer is of course to avoid them. Furthermore, the hukm or ruling of an issue always follows the ghaalib (aka الحكم للغالب), the issue/item/material of which overwhelms. Since gold overwhelms, and men can’t wear it, its kinda clear-cut that #1 should be avoided at any cost (or the lack of it).

But what about #2, which is items which consist of less than 50% gold? This, the answer is not so simple. If you’ve ever tried looking for answers on the net, you’ll realize that not only must you be a proficient googler, but also familiar with the websites which the  answer is found on. Some websites may be overly c0nservative, others liberal.

In this case, of course, there are the khilafs:

1. Opinions which say that if the content of gold is less than  50%, it is okay for Muslim men to wear it. This view is also shared by Imam al-Nawawi (in his book المهذّب). Ibn Hazm (in المحلى بالآثار) expands the argument by saying that when different minerals/materials are mixed, they form a new substance and thus it doesn’t matter what its content is. [citation needed]

2. However, there are also others which states that white gold is not permissible.

Why the difference?

Basically, those who say that it is permissible for Muslim men to wear white gold, is basing is basing their views on the reason stated above: the rule follows the dominant content in the mixture (الحكم للغالب).

Meanwhile those who disagree tends to take the general view on the issue. As the initial ruling states that male cannot wear gold, their decision stems from a much more cautions approach to deriving the ruling. Furthermore, gold in Islam have a function in the monetary system; it should not be hoarded and its intrinsic value remains even when the jewellery is melted. Islam has clearly made an exception for the ladies to enjoy gold as jewellery, and not for man.


So, in the weeks that followed, I was trying hard to decide whether to have my ring made in 9k white gold (37.5% gold content), or get that piece of exhorbitant platinum plating from some space shuttle and cheaply fabricate it into a ring (aka an attempt in fitulity). Finding a silversmith was unexpectedly near-impossible; weeks of search, calling up jewellery-crafting schools, and coaxing goldsmiths didn’t garner any result.

Then I came across quote by which goes something like: Know what is halal and what is haram, and by all means avoid that is haram, and Allah will help you.

And the killer, narrated by the Prophet’s own grandson الحسن بن علي بن أبي طالب (RA), that the Prophet said:

دَعْ ما يُريبُكَ ، إلَى ما لاَ يُريبُكَ

“Leave what doubts you, to [take] what doesn’t doubt you.”

– al-Tirmidzi, al-Nasa’i

So I decided to have it made in platinum to avoid all the shubhah. But lo and behold, by Allah’s grace, I found me a nice silversmith at the last minute! She was kind enough to did it for a minimal fee, and even threw in a nice diamond!

Now, what about Muslim men and diamonds? We’re okay with it. The default ruling on anything is that it is permissible. الأصل في الأشياء هو الإباحة. Except if there are adillah which say otherwise. ;-)