First of all, it is important to note that men are prohibited to wear golden rings or anything that is made of gold, and this prohibition extends to chains, watches and so on. Concerning watches that are plated with gold, Muslim scholars hold different views regarding them. Some say that is allowed to use such things if the amount of gold is very small. Anyhow, it is better to avoid such materials so as to be safe from any doubtful matter.

Sheikh Muhammad Saleh Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Muslim scholar and lecturer, states the following: “Essentially, wearing gold is prohibited for men. `Abdullah ibn `Abbas reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saw a gold ring on a man’s hand. He took it off and threw it aside, saying, “Would any of you take a burning coal and hold it in his hand?” When the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) had gone away, someone said to the man, “Take your ring and make use of it (i.e., sell it.)” He said, “No, by Allah, I will not take it after the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) has thrown it away.” (Reported by Muslim).

`Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn Al-`Aas reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “If anyone from my ummah wears gold and dies wearing it, Allah will deny him the gold of Paradise. If anyone from my ummah wears silk and dies wearing it, Allah will deny him the silk of Paradise.” (Reported by Imam Ahmad.)

This prohibition applies to men only, not to women, as `Ali, (may Allah be pleased with him), reported that the Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) took a piece of silk in his right hand and a piece of gold in his left, and said: “These are forbidden for the males of my ummah.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) also said: “Wearing silk and gold is permitted for the women of my ummah and prohibited for the males.”

Gold is permitted for women because of their delicate and gentle nature, and their inclination to like adornment. Allah says: “Do they then like for Allah a creature who is brought up in adornments (wearing gold and silk ornaments, i.e., women) and in dispute cannot make herself clear.” (Az-Zukhruf: 18)

As for men, it is a sign of instability and an un-masculine nature to adorn oneself with gold. Islam wants the differences between the sexes to be clearly defined, and their distinctive characteristics to stand
out, because when they resemble each another, a great deal of corruption results therefrom.

The prohibition of gold for men includes pure gold, gold alloys, cut pieces, joined pieces, gold inlay, etc. As for gold-plating and gilding, some scholars are of the opinion that such articles are forbidden for men if it is possible to extract gold from them (by peeling or shaving, for example); if no gold can be extracted from it, then such items are permitted. Some scholars say that it is not permitted to wear an item which is wholly or mostly gold-plated, but if only a little part of it is gold-plated (like the hands of a watch, or the numerals, or the tiny points denoting numbers), then it is permitted. They say that the issue is its appearance, not its value: if the gold-plating is obvious and covers all the article, it is not permitted, because most people can not make the distinction between gold-plate and real gold, and some may follow this person’s example and begin to wear pure gold.”