Should Believers Wear Wedding Rings?
Generally, the wedding ring is considered a token of love that unites a husband and wife in holy matrimony, and has gradually become a status symbol for many Christians and Muslims over time.
Interestingly, while this ornament, which is usually made of gold, silver or bronze, is given scant regard in some churches and mosques, it is held in high esteem in others.
But, does the wedding ring have its origin in the Holy Books? How come the wedding ring has assumed such importance that so much sentiment is now attached to it? CHRIS IREKAMBA reports.
The Use Of The Wedding Ring Is Not
Christian In Origin’
(Dr. Cosmas Ilechukwu, General Overseer, Charismatic Renewal Ministries/National Vice-President (PFN)
HISTORICALLY, the wedding ring was first used among the ancient Egyptians to symbolise the infinitude of love. Hence, the ring is usually round without a visibly joining point.
The ancient Egyptians traditionally wore the wedding ring on the fourth finger of the left hand because they believed that the finger enclosed the Vena Amoris, a special vein leading directly to the heart.
Like some other common Christian practices and traditions, the use of the wedding ring is not Christian in origin. Generally today, couples exchange wedding rings made of metal of durable quality, as a testimony to their expectation of a lifelong relationship that is based on unconditional love, enduring faithfulness and unending friendship.
The use of wedding ring is not commanded in the Bible, and there is no indication that it was ever practised in the New Testament. The use of finger ring in the Bible was as a symbol of authority. For example, when the Pharaoh of Egypt promoted Joseph to a position of authority, he put a signet ring on Joseph’s finger, as a sign of his new authority in the land.
The signet ring was also used as a token of dignity and social status. When the prodigal son returned home, the father commanded that a ring be put on his finger to signify his full restoration as a son with full honour and privileges thereof. It is widely accepted in many denominations as a beautiful reminder that the marriage covenant is a lifetime commitment between a man and his wife. This in itself is a symbol of the covenant between Jesus and His church.
The ring reminds the couple that they swore an oath of fidelity and perpetual allegiance to their spouses. Besides, it reminds others that one is married and is not available for any romantic relationship with another person.
The wedding ring does not determine the quality or durability of the marriage relationship, as this absolutely depends on the individual couples concerned.
‘Wedding Ring In Islam Has No Basis’
(Arc. Taofeek Olawunmi Agbaje, President, Jama-at-ul Islamiyya of Nigeria / Overseas)
I SEEK refuge in Allah against the devil (ash-shaytan) the accursed. In the name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Compassionate. May the peace and blessings of Allah be on our noble Prophet Muhammad, his household, his companions and the generality of those that follow his footsteps.
The wedding ring in Islam has no basis. It’s not part of the requirement for conjugal solemnisation. It was rather an innovation, which was introduced to copy the Western culture/practice.
Wedding in Islam is conducted as “Nikah,” the prerequisites of which are proposal and acceptance between the prospective groom and bride; endorsement and approval by the parents/guardians of both the bride and the groom; “Mahr” (dowry), which is a right (compulsory gift) from the groom to the bride. (Although there’s a standard, but it could also be anything reasonable within the limit of Islam requested by the bride from the groom); and two witnesses that are trustworthy.
However, some people will defend the place of ring, even though it is obvious that it’s not in any way a part of it, on the premise of an instance, when one of the Prophet’s companions (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) requested the hand of a lady in marriage. He was to present something for the lady as dowry, on which occasion he confessed not having anything. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) requested him to search his house that even if it is a metal ring he could get, that will suffice than nothing…
It is this narration that some people are using to justify the exchange of rings. But principally, it is not tenable and should be discouraged, at least not as part of the wedding process.
‘Wedding Ring Is Not Bad But Using It To Bind Couples Is Not Accepted’
(Brother Felix Ekundayo Adedokun, Vice President, God’s Kingdom Society GKS (The Church of the Living God)
WE wear wedding rings like others, and it is an ornament that should be worn in moderation, such as your earrings and brackets. It can also enhance your beauty, but not in excess.
Marriage is an institution ordained by God, whether in the church or a customary court. Matthew 19:6 says, “What God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” We wear the wedding ring as a beauty piece. The marriage is bonded by God and witnessed by people around not by the wedding ring, which is like any other ornament. What God has joined together let no man put asunder.
It is God Almighty, Who weds couples, and not the wedding ring. The issue of the wedding ring is not bad, but using it to bind the couple is not accepted. We wed members with God’s words from the Bible, the wedding ring is an ornament or a decoration like your earrings, and like other things, excess is bad.
‘Wedding Ring Is An Ancient Egyptian Practice’
(Very Rev. Msgr. Gabriel Osu, Director, Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos)
IN our society, wedding rings are important to couples planning to wed. Many couples are known to invest so much in procuring very exclusive rings, which are sometimes seen as status symbols. The sheer cost of engagement and wedding rings suggests they have very important meanings for couples.
During engagement parties, it is the norm for a prospective bridegroom to place the engagement ring in the middle finger (third) of the left hand of his fiancé. This ordinarily symbolises that the lady in question has been taken and was no longer in search of a husband.
On the day of the wedding proper, the couples exchange the wedding ring as physical evidence that they belong to one another. The couple would say, “Take this ring as a symbol of my love and fidelity from this day forward till death do us part.” Some would say that the roundness of the ring means that their love has no beginning and no ending. The band with no end represents eternal life and love, and its opening representing a gateway to worlds unknown.
But basically, the ring as worn by the couple, should be a visible sign of their love and commitment to one another and to show to the world that they belong to someone. It is believed that if a married person refuses to wear the ring, it shows that the marriage is in crisis.
Historically, the origin of wearing the wedding ring on the ring finger of the left hand is an ancient Egyptian practice. They believed that the finger enclosed a special vein that was connected directly to the heart.
So, when you wear the ring on that finger, it is assumed that your heart has been joined to the one who places the ring in your finger. Such does not suggest divorce, as is now being practised by some. Thus, the wearing of the wedding ring is an ancient adaptation.
However, I want to state here that the ring is just a symbol. It does not on its own make or mar a marriage. Rather, it is the effort of the couples, their spirit of commitment, tolerance and dependence on God that determines the success or otherwise of the marriage.
‘The Practice Was Brought Into Nigeria
By Christian Missionaries’
(Baba Aladura, Elder (Dr.) Israel Akinadewo, Secretary, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Lagos State/Prelate, Motailatu Church, Cherubim and Seraphim Worldwide)
THE use of wedding rings, in the solemnisation of marriages, has enjoyed a universal acceptability, even beyond religions. While the use of wedding rings was not mentioned in the Bible, something similar transpired between king Pharaoh of Egypt and Joseph.
According to Genesis 41:37-57, the king was so elated at the correct interpretation of his dream by Joseph, that he had to remove his ring, and insert it on Joseph’s finger. ” This, the king of Egypt did, purely to show his appreciation to Joseph and his invaluable contributions toward saving the entire nation from impending hunger.
However, while the use of ring for marriages has no mention in the Bible, historians have said that it came from the ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece. According to Carrie Fox (2010), in his History of the Wedding Ring, while the exact origin is unknown, historians believe that ancient Egypt started the tradition.
This practice, according to him, was as a result of archeological discoveries, some dating back more than 3,000 years ago. This use of the wedding ring, he said, is viewed by the society as a symbol of endless love between man and a woman.
Therefore, having become an acceptable practice by the society, the wearing of this ring, on the appropriate finger (depending on the tradition and culture, but mostly on the fourth finger), will firstly show at a glance that the man/woman with the ring is married.
Secondly, it reminds the parties of the vow existing between them, thereby guarding against infidelity, and thirdly, it strengthens the love between the couples.
While the adoption of the use of wedding rings by the church was said to have started in the ninth Century AD, it has no biblical reference/support and the Bible did not speak against it either. It is like someone saying that because your local name is not found in the Bible, then it has become unbiblical.
However, the use of the wedding ring is purely a romantic mindset from the secular world, which was brought into the church for spiritual blessing. Christian missionaries brought this practice into Nigeria and it became acceptable to the society.
While some religious organisations, which are not disposed to the use of wedding rings cannot be faulted, those who use them believe that it cements the more the bond between couples, and that when there is love in a family, the society will be the better for it.