Man wearing gold-plated metal
Fatwa No: 144089

Question

What is the Sharee'ah ruling on wearing a watch that is mostly made of metal but is gold-plated? It should be taken into consideration that the gold color could be removed by using water or by long-term use.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

It is permissible for a man to wear rings and other similar objects made of all metals, except for gold. It was narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, forbade men to wear gold rings.  Al-Bara’ ibn ‘Azib  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said, "The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, ordered us to do seven things and forbade us from seven: … He forbade us from wearing gold rings…" [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, saw a man wearing a gold ring and took it off from his finger, threw it aside, and said, "One of you takes a burning coal of fire and puts it on his hand." [Muslim]

According to the preponderant opinion, men are also forbidden to wear true gold-plated materials. The majority of scholars are of the opinion that men are forbidden to wear such materials, regardless of the quantity of the gold used. The Hanbali scholars  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them adopted the same opinion, arguing that using such objects break the hearts of the poor and that it is also regarded as a form of using gold, which has been forbidden by the Sharee'ah. Other scholars, including the Shafi‘i scholars, addressed this issue in more detail. According to them, if it is possible to separate the gold from the other metal, then it is unlawful to use it, because the possibility of separation is evidence of the large proportion of gold. If it is impossible to separate the gold with fire, however, then it is lawful to use, because the impossibility of separation is evidence of the little proportion of gold.

Some Hanbali scholars adopted an opinion closer to the last one. According to them, if the gold layer with which the item is plated is scratched with something and then something of gold is collected, it is unlawful to use it. Otherwise, it is lawful.

The preponderant opinion, and Allah knows best, is the first opinion, which completely disallows this, as it is supported by proof. So it should be adopted because it is sounder and keeps the person away from doubtful things. Moreover, adopting this opinion ensures avoiding the difference in opinion among the scholars in this respect.

Allah knows best.

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