بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
One of the laws of the Shari’ah is that Believers, both male and female, should avoid wearing certain metals, such as iron (including steel) and brass. Baptised adherents of the Sikh religion wear a Kara (steel bangle) to identify themselves. Regrettably, some Muslims, especially Shi’ites, emulate this pagan practice and likewise wear a Kara supposedly to commemorate the unjust shackling of the hands and feet of Imam Zain-ul-Abidin (Allah be pleased with him).
But as we shall see, the beloved Prophet ﷺ expressly forbade his true followers from wearing iron and brass:
حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ بُرَيْدَةَ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، أَنَّ رَجُلاً، جَاءَ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَعَلَيْهِ خَاتَمٌ مِنْ حَدِيدٍ فَقَالَ " مَا لِي أَرَى عَلَيْكَ حِلْيَةَ أَهْلِ النَّارِ " . فَطَرَحَهُ ثُمَّ جَاءَهُ وَعَلَيْهِ خَاتَمٌ مِنْ شَبَهٍ فَقَالَ " مَا لِي أَجِدُ مِنْكَ رِيحَ الأَصْنَامِ " . فَطَرَحَهُ قَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ مِنْ أَىِّ شَىْءٍ أَتَّخِذُهُ قَالَ " مِنْ وَرِقٍ وَلاَ تُتِمَّهُ مِثْقَالاً "
Abdullah bin Buraidah narrated from his father that:
A man came to the Prophet ﷺ and he was wearing an iron ring. He said: “Why do I see you wearing the jewelry of the people of Hell?” He threw it away, then he came and he was wearing a brass ring. He said: “Why do I notice the stench of idols from you?” So he threw it away, and said: “O Messenger of Allah, what should I use?” He said: “Silver, but it should not equal a Mithqal.” (Nasa’i)
This blessed Hadith has a number of benefits:
1. Wearing an iron ring is forbidden because it (iron) is the jewelry of the people of Hell. Meaning the people of Hell will be adorned with iron collars and shackles, as the Holy Qur’an states (see Surah 40:71, 34:33, 76:4, 73:12, 14:49, 69:32)
2Wearing a brass ring is forbidden because ordinarily the idols of false gods which are worshiped are made of brass, which has a foul stench.
3. Wearing a silver ring is permitted for men provided it does not exceed a Mithqaal (4.25 grams) in weight.
4. It is allowed to wear an iron ring if it is overlaid with silver, as the Prophet’s ring ﷺ was made of iron but it was overlaid with silver.
5. This prohibition of wearing iron and brass jewelry, including rings, bracelets, necklaces, anklets, etc., extends to women.
6. Men are prohibited from wearing silver jewelry (bracelets, necklaces, etc.) just as gold is prohibited for them. Only a silver ring which doesn’t exceed the weight of a Mithqaal (4.25 grams) is allowed for a male.
Many Muslim men wear metal wrist watches. If the wrist watch is silver, it is prohibited because obviously a wrist watch exceeds a Mithqaal in weight. If the wrist watch is made of steel, it is likewise forbidden, because steel contains mostly iron mixed with some other trace elements. Therefore, Muslim men should only wear a wrist watch that is non-metallic, such as rubber, leather, etc.
This prohibition of wearing iron does not extend to armor such as chain mail, helmet, etc., but only iron that is worn for adornment such as rings and jewelry.