Zeinab Donati has been studying books about various Islamic subjects for more than 19 years. She is deeply interested in history and politics as well as social issues in particular those pertaining to women.
Mahmood Abu Maryam,
Trying to make sense of it all...
Shaykh Saleem Bhimji was born and raised in Canada. After completing his post-secondary education at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), he moved to Medina, New York, to study at the Imam al-Asr Theological Seminary. He later continued his religious studies at the Hawza of Qum. To date he has translated over 40 full-length books into English that have been printed worldwide.
Jerrmein Abu Shahba,
Jerrmein Abu Shahba is originally from Egypt and has a bachelor’s degree in Biology and a masters in Chemistry from Rutgers State University in the US. She is actively involved in many Islamic projects that include organizing annual youth camps, teaching Islamic subjects, writing articles and translating texts from Arabic.
Sheikh Abbas Jaffer is an optometrist by profession and has a Master’s degree in Islamic Sciences. He is a part time lecturer at the Islamic College in London and is currently writing his doctoral thesis on the challenges faced by educators of young Muslims in modern day Britain. He has also co-authored a book on Qur’anic sciences for the Islamic College as well as translating several works from Persian into English.
This documentary from ABTV entitled Gems From Heaven - Rings & Stones may also be useful.
Some precious stones such as rubies, pearls and coral are mentioned in the Qur’an:
“(In beauty) they are like rubies and coral” [al-Rahmaan 55:58]
“Out of them both come out pearl and coral” [al-Rahmaan 55:22]
“Like unto preserved pearls” [al-Waaqi’ah 56:23]
And they have been mentioned in many traditions as well; most of the times the stones are mentioned to be set in rings.
Both Sunni and Shia have verified narrations confirming that the Prophet (s) along with his companions and Ali (as) wore rings. “Sahih Al-Bukhari”, “Sahih Muslim”, “An expository of the features of the Prophet” by Al- Tirmidhi, and “The compilation of the branches of belief” by Al- Bayhaqi all narrate that the Prophet (s) used to wear a ring.
Furthermore, Al-Jahiz in “Engravings of rings” enumerated 24 prophets who wore rings. However, scholars of the two denominations have split. While only some Sunni clerics uphold the legitimacy and merit of wearing a ring, Shias unanimously promote it. In Shia communities and culture, wearing a ring is part of casual attire for both genders. Yes, it is a very advised to wear silver rings (gold is forbidden for men) with specific gemstones especially in the right hand in Shiaism. It has been narrated in our traditions that it is one of the ‘badges of Shiaism’.
Here are a few traditions on some ring-wearing manners.
Some Recommended Stones
- Aqeeq (عقيق)
It is the best of all gems for the abundance of traditions in its virtues. Some traditions praise the red variety of it.
قال رسول الله (ص): تختموا بالعقيق فإنه مبارك، ومن تختم بالعقيق يوشك أن يقضى له بالحسنى
The Prophet (s): “Wear aqeeq rings for it is blessed. Whosoever wears aqeeq rings is almost destined to bliss”
شكا رجل إلى النبي (ص) أنه قطع عليه الطريق فقال (ص): هلا تختمت بالعقيق فإنه يحرس من كل سوء
A man complained to the Prophet (s) about road thieves. So the Prophet (s) replied, “you should wear an aqeeq ring, for it protects from all harm”
ان أبو عبد الله (ع)كان يقول : تختموا باليواقيت فإنها تنفي الفقر
Imam al-Sadiq (as): “Wear rubies as rings for it vanquishes poverty”
عن علي بن محمد الصيمري الكاتب أنه ذكر لعلي بن محمد بن الرضا (عليه السلام) أنه لا يولد له فتبسم وقال: اتخذ خاتماً فصه فيروزج واكتب عليه (رب لا تذرني فرداً وأنت خير الوارثين) قال ففعلت ذلك فلما أتى عليّ حول حتى رزقت منها ولداً ذكراً
A man lamented at Imam Ali al-Hadi (as) that he has no children. The Imam smiled and said “Obtain a ring with turquoise stone and write on it ‘My lord, do not leave be alone while you are the best of inheritors’ (21:89)”. The man narrates: “I’ve done so. When a year has passed, I was graced with a boy”.
The hand and fingers you should bedeck with rings
عن النبي ( ص) أنه قال: يا علي، لا تختم في السبابة والوسطى فإنه كان يتختم قوم لوط فيهما، ولا تعر الخنصر
The Prophet (s) said to Imam Ali (as): “O’ Ali, do not wear a ring on the index and middle fingers, as the people of Lot use to wear rings on them, and do not let bare your pinky [of a ring]”
Wearing more than one ring is mustahab (highly recommended)
كان لعلي (ع) أربعة خواتيم يتختم بها: ياقوت لنبله، وفيروزج لنصرته، والحديد الصيني لقوته، وعقيق لحرزه
Imam Ali (as) had four rings: a ruby for its nobility, a turquoise for its aid, a hadid sin (translates to Chinese iron but more accurately hematite, presumably brought from China) for its strength, and an aqeeq for its amulet.
عن العسكري (ع): علامات المؤمن خمس: التختم في اليمين
Imam Hassan Al-Askari (as): “The signs of the believer are five: wearing a ring on the right hand, …”
The gemstones that that are advised (mustahab) to be wore as in the head of the rings are agate, Chinese iron and turquoise.
While which one of those is ‘better’ hasn’t been clearly indicated, it can be easily deduced from our traditions that agate is the best one because it is mentioned many more times than the other gems. It comes in many different colours with the most famous one being dark red from Yemen. Indeed, there are many traditions specifically advising red agate from Yemen. Agate/aqeeq also comes in black, lighter shades of red (more orange-like), yellow and white.
About the Chinese iron, despite the name, it is actually the name of a gemstone. To be precise, it’s Hematite; a gemstone with a blackish shade of silver.
The third one is turquoise. It has a lighter shade of blue, like the sky.
As for the position of the ring, it is narrated that it should be on the ring-finger and Shia Muslims usually only wear them in the pinkie and ring fingers. It is narrated that it is hated to wear a ring on the middle finger so people usually avoid that.
It is also highly advised (mustahab) to wear a silver ring on the ring-finger of the right hand with either an agate/hematite/turquoise ring-head in Shiaism.
It is the Sunnah of the Prophet (s) and he and the Masumin (as) advised us to wear rings.
This text was not written by me but it sums it up well from the Shia perspective:
- Several sacred traditions have emphasized the significance and benefits of wearing an Aqeeq (agate) ring, preferably on the right hand.
-Imam Ali (peace be upon him) said, "The one who wears an aqeeq ring, Allah seals for him peace and faith." He also said, "Wear aqeeq on your rings, you will be blessed and will be saved from afflictions". (Makarimul Akhlaaq)
-In another tradition, Salman-al-Farsi (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates a conversation in which the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) was informing Imam Ali regarding the wearing of rings.
-The Prophet advised the Imam to wear the ring on his right hand, as by doing so, one would be included among the muqarrabin (those near to Allah). Imam Ali then asked which ring he should wear, and the Prophet advised him to wear a ring with a red aqeeq, as this stone had affirmed the Oneness of Allah, the Prophethood of Muhammad, the vicegerency of Ali, and paradise for the friends and Shias of Ali. (Hilyatul Muttaqin)
Imam Ali (as.) used to have four rings:
-1 with a ruby (gives humans beauty and dignity)
-1 with feroza/turquoise (brings divine help and victory)
-1 with hadid as-seen (brings strength)
-1 with aqeeq/agate (protects from enemies, misfortunes)
Our fifth Imam, Imam Mohamed Al-Baqir (as) has recommended 5 stones:
-Hadid as-Seen (hematite)
To deepen further the various traditions for each kind of stone, I suggest reading the following text:
Concerning the belief of healing property of crystals and how they are perceived by Islam, there are few ideas that may be loosely comparable like the lower self (nafs) for example and the heart being a seat of spiritual realities or for example the aqeeq having spiritual qualities, or the firooz or turquoise ring; so certain gemstones have their hadiths supporting the idea that they may have some spiritual benefit.
Lastly, here is a documentary based on some Islamic sources and traditions held regarding certain Gem stones:
PS: The text has been reworded and edited