In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
1- Wearing an engagement or wedding rings is not unlawful in the Islamic perspective, as there is no religious text that determines this.
2- If the ring is silver, there is nothing wrong in both men and women wearing it. But if the ring is made of gold, women can wear it, while men cannot.
Regarding your question, Sheikh Atiyyah Saqr, the late head of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, states:
History of Wearing Engagement Rings
Others say that it stems from an old custom still upheld by people. By this, they are referring to tying the bride and the bridegroom together with chains and making him ride a horse, while dragging his bride behind him to the marital home, which might be a distance of two houses. Later, it became popular to wear a ring, instead of being tied with chains.
Wearing engagement rings on the left finger has to do with an old custom of the Greeks who believed that the circulation of blood by the aorta is done through this area.
It became apparent later that the British were also fond of wearing engagement rings; in fact, they regarded the habit as purely Christian.
Muslims adopted the idea of wearing the engagement rings without any obvious reason, and some consider removing it as a bad omen. This has no basis in Islam.
Wearing engagement or wedding rings is not unlawful in the Islamic perspective, as there is no religious text that determines this.
It is also not a form of imitating unbelievers. We know in any case that such imitation is forbidden, especially on something contravening the teachings of Islam.
If the ring is silver, there is nothing wrong in both men and women wearing it. But if the ring is made of gold, women can wear it, while men cannot.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Wearing gold is forbidden for male Muslims, but it is allowed for female Muslims.” (At-Tirmidhi)
Prophet Muhammad forbade men from wearing gold rings. When Prophet Muhammad saw a man wearing a gold ring, he immediately removed it from the man’s hand and threw it away. He then said: “Wearing it (a gold ring) is like wrapping one’s hand with fire brand.” (Muslim)
Almighty Allah knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.