I want to know if we are allowed to have silver or gold frames (around pictures for example). Im particularly intrested to know how the word “inaa” is to be understood. Jazakumu Allahu kulla al-khayr!
الحمد لله رب العالمين ، وصلى الله على سيدنا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين، وبالله التوفيقفاستعمال الإناء من ذهب أو فضة حرام وإنما نهي عنه للسرف والخيلاء (المجموع: 1: 135)
Imam An-Nawawi said,
“The utilization of utensils made of gold and silver is Haram. It is forbidden because it entails extravagance1 and boastful pride.” [Al-Majmu’ 1:135]
It is not permissible to use silver or gold frames. The utilization of gold or silver vessels are haram, this is due to the hadith narrated by Sayyiduna Hudhayfah that Rasulullah said,
“Do not drink and eat from gold and silver dishes, and do not wear silk and brocade, because indeed they are for them in this world and for you in the Hereafter.” (al-Bukhārī: 5633)
The prohibition taken from this hadith is for the utilization or usage of the vessel (al-Nihāyah: 1: 103). “Utilization or utilize” is defined by whatever is known as utilize in the ʿurf (custom) of the people. Therefore, the prohibition includes all practical purposes such as eating, drinking, purification, cooking, defecating, decorating etc.
Al-Imām Ibn Hajar in explaining how the word “istiʿmāl” should be understood mentioned,
وظاهر أن المدار على الاستعمال العرفي أخذا من قولهم يحرم الاحتواء على مجمرة النقد وشم رائحتها من قرب بحيث يعد متطيبا بها لا من بعد (التحفة: 1: 96)
“The clear opinion holds that the yardstick (in determining what constitutes usage) is customary usage [what this essentially means is that whatever custom considers to be usage will be usage; whatever it does not consider to be so will not be so]. This deduction is derived from their (the jurists/ashab) statement: it is haram to enclose oneself over a gold brazier (so as to capture the scented vapor) or for one to smell its scent from such a close distance that he is considered to be applying perfume. This is contrary to the case where he smells the scent from a far distance (as he is not considered to be applying perfume in this instance).” [Thus the jurist in the mentioned example draws a distinction between the two scenarios, near and far, based on custom]. (al-Tuḥfah: 1: 96)2
An even clearer text is presented by Imam An-Nawawi in his Majmu’ for the prohibition of utilizing gold or silver utensils,
ويحرم تزيين الحوانيت والبيوت والـمجالس بأواني الذهب والفضة على المذهب الصحيح المشهور
Lastly, the original query of the questioner: what constitutes an ‘inā/āniyah/awānī needs to be addressed. Consider the following from al-Qāmūs al-Muhīt:
كل ظرف يمكن أن يستوعب غيره
“Any vessel or receptacle that encompasses anything besides it.”
A picture frame is an object that encompasses, or contains within it, the picture so it is classified as an ‘inā. It is deemed forbidden if made of gold or silver.
والله تعالى أعلم
Allah Most High knows best.
Abdullah Muhammad al-Marbuqi al-Shafi‘i
with additions and translation assistance by Shaykh AbdurRahman Khan