Is it permissible to eat, to drink and to make wudu using silver or golden receptacles? How should we understand the following hadith: "A person who drinks something from a silver receptacle allows hellfire flow into his abdomen" (Bukhari-No:1904)?

Details of the Question

Is it permissible to eat, to drink and to make wudu using silver or golden receptacles? Is it permissible to eat, to drink and to make wudu using silver or golden receptacles? How should we understand the following hadith: "A person who drinks something from a silver receptacle allows hellfire flow into his abdomen" (Bukhari-No:1904)?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Umm Salama narrates: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"He who drinks in silver receptacles is only filling his abdomen with hellfire." [Bukhari, Ashriba 28; Muslim, Libas 1, (2065); Muwatta, Sifatu'n-Nabi 11 (2, 924-925); Ibn Majah, Ashriba 17 (3413)].

The following is stated in another narration of Muslim:

"He who drinks in a silver or gold receptacle..."

The original verb used in hadith is "yujarjiru"; it means flowing with a splashing noise. Although only silver is mentioned in this narration, gold is also mentioned in other narrations like the addition in Muslim. Thus, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) likens eating and drinking in gold and silver receptacles to making hellfire flow into the stomach. That is, he likens anything that goes down the throat to a burning fluid from hellfire going down into the stomach. The aim here is to express the severity of the prohibition.  

Hz. Aisha narrates: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"He who drinks in a silver receptacle is like a person who is filling his abdomen with hellfire."

First of all, we should state that gold and silver were also used as cash in Islam. Almost everybody, whether rich or poor, peasant or townsman, knew these two metals very well. 

Besides, it attracts the attention of the people with ill intentions, leading them to theft and degeneracy. It widens the gap between the poor and the rich. For, it is not appropriate for the rich to use gold and silver receptacles while the poor have difficulty in making ends meet and use earthen and copper receptacles.

In addition, it is extravagance to use these two metals for eating and drinking.

Due to the reasons mentioned above and similar ones, the religion of Islam rendered it haram to use plates, forks, spoons, cups and similar utensils made of gold and silver to be used in daily activities.

It is permissible to keep them at home as decorative objects - as long as they are a few. However, if they make a person feel proud and disdain others, it is makruh to keep them at home.

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