Assalaamu alaykoum. During my holidays in Spain, I bought my parents gifts. For my father, I bought small scissors decorated with gold, and even though I tried my best not to get anything with carvings or sculptures of animals, these scissors were made in the shape of a bird. (I did not notice this in the shop.) For my mum, I bought a pocket mirror decorated with pieces of gold, but at the time I did not realize that the hadith in which our dear Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, prohibited eating in dishes of gold applies to the gifts. Now that I know this, I have decided to throw the gifts away given that I can neither reuse their gold nor sell them because that which is haram to own, its price is haram too. However, before doing so, I wanted to know your thoughts about what I will do, Allaah willing. Is that another mistake in itself, and what do you suggest me to do? May Allaah reward you.
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 is His slave and Messenger.
If this decoration is done with pieces of gold, then it is not permissible to use them. Huthayfah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that he heard the Prophet say, “Do not drink in silver or gold utensils, and do not eat in plates of such metals, for such things are for them (the disbelievers) in this worldly life and for you in the Hereafter.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Even though the text is about the prohibition of eating and drinking (from such utensils), the majority of the scholars also prohibited all aspects of use, except what is excluded in the Sharia to be lawful.
If the decoration is just a coating, then the scholars differed in opinion regarding the use of what is gold-plated or silver-plated. Some of them absolutely permitted it, and some of them absolutely forbade it. However, some other scholars made a distinction; if the gold is much and melts by being exposed to fire, then it is forbidden, and if it is little and does not melt if it is exposed to fire, then it is lawful. For more benefit, please refer to fatwa 89406.
Perhaps the strongest opinion is this view that gives details, but absolutely abandoning it is better in order to be on the safe side and avoid the difference of opinion. Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen was asked, “What is the ruling on using gold-plated eyeglasses or utensils?”
“Gold-plated utensils, if they are exposed to the fire and the gold melts and gathers; meaning if the goldsmith says: this gold, if it is exposed to the fire, it will yield gold, then what is plated with this gold is forbidden, because it is really using gold, but if it is only a color, then there is no harm in it, meaning, it is acceptable to eat and drink from it. However, it is better to avoid this, because if someone looks at him while he is eating, he may think evil of him, and say: this man eats in gold utensils, and whoever sees him would think that this is pure gold and imitate him. Indeed, there are many utensils that one may use instead. The same applies to eyeglasses.”
What we can advise you to do is to remove the gold that is on the gifts and benefit from it by selling it or doing what is lawful with it and benefit from those gifts [after the gold is removed from them]. However, it is not permissible for you to throw them away because throwing them away is wasting money, which is forbidden, as reported in the hadeeth by Al-Mugheerah ibn Shu’bah, may Allah be pleased with him, who said, “I heard the Prophet say, “Allah forbade you from doing three things: idle talk, asking too many questions (about matters that yield no benefit), and wasting wealth.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Allah knows best.
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