Gemstones of Islam

Gemstones of Islam

As early as the 10th and 11th centuries CE., Muslim scientists had written extensively on minerology and gems. Though many writings were lost, a few monographs survived till today. One of them being “Treatises on how to recognise gems”(Al-Jamhir fi Ma’rifatil Al-Jawahir) is most probably the best contribution on mineralogy in the Muslim civilisation.

Gemstones and the wearing of gemstones, according to Islamic Law, could be Sunnah (part of the Way or Tradition of the Prophet), Halal (permissible) or Haram (forbidden and punishable). We do not have the authority nor the knowledge to discuss on the subject. However, we will mention the gemstones that have been used and are still used in the Islamic world today.

Islam believes that stones are the creation of god and that they emanate energy that can be transferred to one's body.

Gemstones have been used since ancient time in religious worship. Rock crystals, Emeralds, Turquoise, Corals and many others are believed to give spiritual protection and guidance. They are also used for their healing and health benefits.

Gems have a special place in Islam. One example of this is Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, the Black Stone, which sits by the Kabah and which Muslims are keen to kiss and touch. Many believe that it is a meteorite that fell from heaven and it has been revered by the ancient people of that region since Abraham gave it to his first son Ishmael and built the Kaaba.

Two traditional gemstones of the Islamic world are forms of Chalcedony Quartz, the orange to red Carnelian and the Agate. It is said that the Prophet Muhamad wore on his right hand a silver ring with a Carnelian gemstone.

This particular stone is called Aqeeq. Aqeeq, akik or aqiq (Arabic : العقيق‎) means quartz in Arabic and agate in Turkish. Well-known types of chalcedony are carnelian, agate and onyx. It is considered a semi-precious gem stone and rings set with golden-orange variety of carnelian or sard have special significance in the Islamic religion. [ ]

Red Agate is highly esteemed in Islam as it was thought to be the first mountain to testify to the oneness of Allah. The Prophet was believed to have said that wearing agate as one prays amplifies the prayer a thousand times.

The Prophet was quoted as saying “Wear aqeeq rings for it is blessed. Whosoever wears aqeeq rings is almost destined to bliss”

He also said that wearing agate ring will guard one from any evil and it repels harm, poverty and grief.

Some quotes from The Prophet (s.a.w.):

“Whoever wears a stone of agate, Allah will give them a good outcome.”

“Wear the agate ring, for none of you will be inflicted with grief as long as it is on you.”

Agate was believed to safeguard against the punishment of hellfire.

- [,from%20you%20depression%20and%20stress.” ]

Today many Muslims follow this precept and wear a silver ring with a chalcedony quartz on their right hand.

Ḥirz (Arabic: حِرز) literally means a fortified and firm place. Terminologically speaking, it refers to some Quranic verses, dhikrs and narrated supplications that are recited in order to protect one's life and property against damages or are carried in written forms. [ ]

Hirz are usually amulets or talismans that are engraved with verses or prayers from the Quran. There is a famous Hirz Sharaf al-Shams which is a yellow aqeeq or agate gemstone engraved and wore as a powerful talisman. [ ]

Another gemstone sacred to Islam is Turquoise or Firoza.

Turquoise is derived from the French word TURQUOISE meaning TURKISH STONE because this sacred stone was first introduced to Europe via Turkey. The word Firoza or Feroza means Turquoise Stone and Successful in the following languages in Urdu, Hindi, Arabic and Bangla. It is a common name in Muslim countries for a baby girl.

Turquoise is a sky-blue or blue-green and apple-green translucent to opaque basic aluminum phosphate that contains copper. It is generally waxy to sub-vitreous and is usually opaque.

Turquoise has been a sacred stone for many ancient civilizations and cultures such as the ancient Egyptians, the Mesoamericans, Persians, Mesopotamians, the Incas, people of the Indus Valley, the ancient Chinese, and of course, the Muslims.

In many cultures of the Old and New Worlds, turquoise has been esteemed as a holy stone, a bringer of good fortune and health. Muslims say that those who wear turquoise are welcoming riches and fortune to come into their lives and homes.

The best turquoise in the world is found in Iran where it has been mined for thousands of years. It comes in a beautiful heaven blue color. Traditionally these turquoise gemstones are used as talismans with inscriptions from the Quran.

Another sacred gemstone is the Ruby, known to them as Yaqut. Muslim tradition says that after Adam was thrown out of the Garden of Eden or Jannah, he travelled to Sri Lanka and where his feet touched land, he created whole mountain of gems, rubies being one of them.

Ruby was said to prevent blood loss, cure blood and heart diseases, protect its wearer from nightmares, and bring light (noor) to the eyes of those who gaze on it. It is also said that ruby vanquishes poverty.

Hadid, or iron, the name given to Hematite gemstone, is another sacred stone in the Islamic tradition. Wearing hematite is believed to give strength and is a great protector from danger and from the temptations of the devils. Hematite which is of a metallic color, is recommended not to be used on a daily basis but only when going on a long and dangerous trip.

Dur E Najaf is the Arabic name given to Rock Crystal.
It is one of the most spiritual gemstones used by Muslims. Originally obtained from central Iraq from the Najaf Al Ashraf sacred site, Muslims believe that rock crystal keeps evil away. Most importantly it is said that wearing Dur E Najaf is akin to going on a sacred pilgrimage to Mecca or the sacred city of Najaf Al Ashraf (Hajj or Umrah pilgrimage).

The reward of looking at it is similar to the reward of looking at the Prophet (s.a.w.).

Iraqi clear quartz or rock crystals are very rare and not easy to obtain. Rock crystals are known as the master healers.

Yaqut sometimes can refer to a Garnet, Ruby and Sapphire. The latter two are of the same mineral known as corundum; they only differ in colors. Sapphires are known for their beautiful blue colors but they can also occur in lovely yellows, greens and oranges. These are known as Fancy Sapphires. Among the Muslim gemstone tradition, it is the yellow sapphire that is of spiritual value. Besides being used as medicine for all types of illnesses ranging from fevers, swellings, problems with perspirations, poison, plague and skin diseases, it also has great power in resisting black magic and curses.

Sapphire can be used as an amulet against envy, witchcraft, quarrels between friends, and the whispering influences of devils.

Zumurrud is the Arabic term for the Emerald gemstone. Muslims believe that all green gemstones are sacred. Emerald is the green gemstone par excellence. The finest and most beautiful and sacred artifact from the Muslim Mughal Empire is the Mogul Emerald, a 220 carat rectangular cut emerald with a prayer engraved in Arabic.

The prophet Muhammad was quoted "wearing an emerald ring repels poverty."

Finally, the Quran mentions two other sacred gemstones: the Pearl and Coral which in Arabic are named Lolo and Marjan.

AR-RAHMAN (The Beneficent) Sura 55: 20-22 reads:

"He has made the two oceans meet each other, but has created a barrier between them so that they will not merge totally. (Jinn and mankind) - which of the favors of your Lord do you then deny? From the two oceans comes pearls and coral"

Both of these gemstones are called organic gemstones because they are not actually stones but were created from once-living organisms such as shellfish (pearl) and polyps and algae (coral).

In the Holy Quran we also read that God loves colors and that these colors were created just for us, to be enjoyed by us:

"Hast thou not seen that Allah causeth water to fall from the sky, and We produce therewith fruit of divers hues; and among the hills are streaks white and red, of divers hues, and (others) raven-black. [Surah Fatir - 35:27]"

An-Nahl - The Bee - 16:13 says: "And (consider over) that what He has created for you in the earth which is of varying colours and qualities. verily, in that is, of course, a sign for a people who take heed"

What these Surahs reveal is that all colors, including the colors contained in fruits, mountains and gemstones are the perfect gifts given to us from a loving creator.

Indeed, GOD is Great!