Sheikh `Atiyyah Saqr, former head of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, states the following: “The engagement ring or wedding ring has a history of thousands of years old. Some people claim that the Pharaohs were the first to invent it long before the Greeks had any notion of it.
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 an engagement or a wedding ring on the left finger is related to 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 the engagement (or the wedding) rings; in fact, they regarded the habit as purely Christian.
Muslims adopted the idea of wearing the engagement ring without any obvious reason, and some consider removing it as a bad omen. This has no basis in Islam.
Wearing an engagement or wedding ring is not considered unlawful in the Islamic perspective, as there is no religious text that determines this.
It is also not considered as 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. At-Tirmidhi relates through the authentic chain of narration that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Wearing gold is forbidden for male Muslims, but it is allowed for female Muslims.”
According to the hadith narrated by Muslim, the Prophet forbade men from wearing gold rings. It is also narrated that when the Prophet, peace be upon him, 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”.