Stones used for spiritual purposes have been around for thousands of years, used by many communities for the powers they hold. People who wear these stones in the form of jewellery not only wear them for how nice they look but also wear them for the good they can bring to the wearer.
Tradition has it that prominent figures in Islamic history used to wear different stones to help them in some way, and this tradition has been carried on thousands of years later with people in contemporary society also wearing them. Some communities such as the Shia Muslim community wear stones in the form of a ring usually on their right hand because the twelve Imams used to.
Many of the Imams, such as the seventh Imam, Musa Al-Khadhim (a.s.)* speak about why it is beneficial for people to wear stones saying they “ease difficulties.” The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) also stated that wearing a ring on one’s right hand is a way to identify a believer.
While it’s not compulsory, many of the Shia community wear them as a sign to show that they are a Shia Muslim, with them being one of the largest communities to wear stones on their hands. Many of the community also wear them because they truly believe in the benefits they can receive through wearing them.
Members of the Shia community love that wearing a gem symbolises that you are a Shia. This is one of the reasons stones are essential to them, because of what they represent. They also love how sometimes you do not realise how much help your stone has given you until you look back and realise that nothing would have gone as well as it did have you not have worn your stone. Now, many can’t imagine their life without them, because of the impact wearing a ring on their finger has made.
There are dozens of different types of stones that can be worn by anyone who wants blessings from them. One of the many important figures in Islamic history who used to wear various stones as rings were Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.), the cousin of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). According to tradition, the names of the rings he used to wear are carnelian (aqeeq), ruby (yaqoot), turquoise (feroza) and Hadid Thin.
The most commonly worn ring, because it is easily available to purchase in many countries, and the cheapest, is the aqeeq stone. It is widely used in other religions such as Hinduism and Sikhism and is believed to have various uses, one of them being to protect the wearer from misfortune and enemies.
The ninth Imam for Shia Muslims, Imam Muhammad Taqi (a.s.) stated, “the aqeeq takes away poverty and dissolves differences in one’s heart.” Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) also stated that an aqeeq brings safety to a person while travelling. An aqeeq is said to absorb the rays of the sun and spread the energy to the wearer, bringing the wearer benefits.Aamer Nadeem, a Shia Muslim, wears the aqeeq stone every day because he believes it will keep him safe. “I wear the aqeeq because it supports me, but I don’t completely rely on just the stone itself, it is an added support on top of praying and trying to fulfil my full potential in day-to-day activities.”
The feroza stone is also commonly worn in many cultures as it is believed to obtain victory and divine help to the person who wears it. This stone is worn by many Muslims as well as non-Muslims from areas such as India, Pakistan and Iraq. The feroza stone was featured in a popular Indian television drama Naagin, where it was shown to protect one of the antagonists of the show from being bitten from a shape-shifting snake by the power of his feroza.
Sadia Zahra, who is also a Shia Muslim, wore the feroza stone for a year to help her through some of the struggles she was facing. “When I wear a stone, whether it be a feroza or an aqeeq or something else, I wear it with the belief it will help me. The feroza helped me while I was struggling with stress, but it also gave me hope when looking at the stone, because it reminded me that things will be alright.”
The feroza stone is a fragile stone, which means that it is important to be careful when wearing it. The good thing about it is that it isn’t very expensive to purchase and so can easily be replaced.
According to Imam Sadiq (a.s.), the dur-e-najaf stone is known to give the wearer happiness as well as ease the wearer when doing their activities, and the Hadid Thin is usually worn for strength and to overcome your enemies. This stone should also be worn if a person is afraid of mischief because the stone keeps the devil away.
However, both stones aren’t as popular as many of the other stones. The reason for this is because these stones aren’t as easy to find and purchase as the others. The dur-e-najaf stone is only found in Najaf, Iraq and so it isn’t as readily available. It is also difficult to know whether they are genuine or not.
The yaqoot stone, also known as ruby is known as the master of all stones. However, it is also the most expensive. This stone is believed to have many benefits such as dignity and beauty, as well as help the wearer with sadness and bring the wearer safety. But again, the yaqoot is not as frequently worn as the aqeeq and feroza because of the amount of money it can cost.
Many people alternate between stones with some wearing a particular stone for a few months, and then another for several other months, while some keep the same one on until it cracks, which usually means that it has done its duty and helped you in the ways it can. Then you would need a replacement.
Others wear two stones at a time, with one being on their ring finger on your right hand – which is where it is commonly worn as it is believed to be most beneficial to wear it on that finger – and the other ring being on another finger.There are researchers and Muslim scholars who have described gemstones as being like medicine. The point of wearing a gemstone, whether it be an aqeeq or a yaqoot is to benefit the wearer spiritually and is recommended by the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) to be worn by all people, especially during prayer.
But do the stones work? Nadia Iftikhar, an avid wearer of stones, has worn the aqeeq stone for many years, and truly believes she has gained from it. “I have worn my aqeeq from about five years now, and I think that it has kept me safe, and I feel like it has actually improved my life for the better by strengthening me as a person. I just feel like a whole different person now, so I can say it definitely worked for me.”
Whilst some do believe the stones help throughout everyday life, others believe they are most beneficial when you also pray with them. Otherwise, you don’t feel the full benefits of the stone. However, a stone can’t benefit you if it is not real.
The owner of Al Kareem jewellers, who sells a variety of gems in his store says, “finding rings and other types of jewellery that contain real stones are not hard if you know where to look. One way that people find out whether a stone is real or fake is by doing a test.”
There are various tests a person can do to find out whether the stone they have is real or not. One test which some do is to use a lighter to apply some heat to the stone. If the stone melts, it is plastic, but if it doesn’t then, it could be real. But, not all fake stones melt. So other tests would need to be undertaken, which is why instead of purchasing a stone online, you should purchase them from a jeweller shop or have a store that sells stones to help you identify if it is authentic.
It is also important to purchase a ring which is silver with scales on the side as this also indicates whether the stone inside the ring is real or not.
Wearing stones for their uses will not be something which will die out anytime soon like a fashion trend of a season. This is something that many will pass down to the generations by those who use them daily, with the belief it will help with everyday life.
* Alayhis Salaam or (a.s.) means may peace be upon him – it is a term used to show respect to prominent figures in Islam.
Featured image by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash