I am due to be married very soon. I was wondering if it is permissible to exchange wedding rings. I have read online that it is impermissible due to it originating from non-believers and is considered a religious symbol of bonding and love between a couple. If so, is exchanging and wearing wedding rings imitating non-believers and unlawful?
Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh
Thank you for your question.
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, ‘Whoever imitates a people, he is one of them’ (Abu Dawud). This issue of imitating the disbelievers and the morally corrupt is a topic which has been discussed at length by the Ulema. The upshot is that it is impermissible to imitate them in matters which are specific to their religious beliefs and practices. Matters which are not of this nature such as birthdays, Mother’s Day, clothing not representative of a religious symbol or practice, etc do not fall within this bracket as long as the do not affect one’s belief, and that they are not done out of a desire to be like the disbelievers in an element which Islam does not approve of.
Culture and society have a big impact on this as well: there are some matters which have a particular significance in one time or place, yet none at all in another. In the latter scenario adopting a particular practice, clothing, etc is not considered to be the forbidden form of imitation.
Wedding rings, in our time, carry no religious significance in and of themselves. They are simply a cultural declaration of one’s being married, and little more. Therefore, wearing a wedding ring is permissible for both men and women. However, it should be noted that according to the Ḥanafī school it is superior for a man not to wear a ring -except on the two Eids. However, the Shāfiʿī school does allow this should one wish to do so.
(al-Mawsu’a al-Kwaitiyya, Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar, Ahmad al-Tahtawi, Hashiya Maraqi al-Falah).
Allah knows best.
May Allah bless you with the best of both worlds.
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat