On the Wearing of Silver Signet Rings

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logo greensmallThe Sunna of the Wearing Silver Signet Rings Ibn Khaldun said in his Tarikh:

“As for the signet ring it is from the demarcations of sovereignty and the functions of governmental authority. The sealing of correspondences and documents was well known among the kingdoms prior to Islam and after it. It is established in the two Saheeh collections that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace when he desired to dispatch a letter to the Caesar, it was said to him that the foreigners do not accept letters except if they are sealed. Thus, he took a signet ring made of silver and which was engraved with the words: ‘Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah’.”

It has been related by Qutayba ibn Sa`id on the authority of Ibn Shihaab on the authority of Anas ibn Malik who said:

“The signet ring of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace was made of silver and its stone was of Abyssinian origin.”

This establishes the permissibility of men wearing silver rings and it corroborates that there existed enduring trade between Abyssinia and the Hijaz. The reference to Abyssinian is that it was a stone whose origin was from Abyssinia because it was there that the stone was extracted. In the Rawdat’l-Ahbar it states that the stone was of black agate. It is said that it was made of black onyx. Shaykh Ali ibn Muhammad al-Malaa said in his Jamu`’l-Wasaa’il:

“It is said that the referent ‘Abyssinian’ is used to indicate both the agate and onyx because these two stones come to the Hijaz by way of Yemen, which at the time was considered a district under the sovereignty of Abyssinia.”

Other jurists said that it was called ‘Abyssinian’ because it came directly from Abyssinia; or because of its black color like the skin color of the Abyssinian; or because it was an Abyssinian who made the ring; or because the ring was actually molded and made in Abyssinia. Ibn Hajr interpolated the referent to mean all of the above; that is to say, that the stone was extracted from the soil of Abyssinia, and was brought to the Hijaz from Abyssinia by way of Yemen, and the ring was crafted by an Abyssinian.

It is said that the face of the black agate stone is a blessed stone which negates poverty, and the one who wears it will remain in good as it was cited by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Qaasim Jassus in his al-Fawaa’id’l-Jaleela’l-Bahiyya. This is corroborated by the words of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace:  “Wear as rings the onyx stone because it is blessed.” It is for this reason the jurists have said that wearing rings made of onyx and silver is a Sunna.

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