Praise be to Allah
The fact that the processors for computers and mobile phones contain some amount of gold is an old issue, and the amount is very small. It is used because gold is an excellent conductor of electricity. But now there is no need for that because we have processors made of silicon, copper or aluminium, as a specialist has told us.
Based on that, this question is no longer relevant, because processors no longer contain any gold.
If we assume that there is some regular type of gold in some device or other, then it is haraam for both men and women to use it, according to the view of those who say that, in addition to it being haraam to use gold for eating and drinking, it is also haraam to use gold for other purposes, which is the view of the majority.
It is haraam for women because what is permissible for them in terms of gold is jewellery. Anything other than jewellery is prohibited for them to use, which includes gold pens. It is haraam for women to use them just as it is haraam for men to do so.
An-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Our companions and other scholars said: The prohibition on using vessels of gold and silver applies equally to both men and women. There is no difference of opinion concerning that, because of the general meaning of the hadith and the inclusiveness of the reason why that is prohibited. There is only a differentiation between men and women with regard to jewellery, because the purpose thereof is adorning themselves and making themselves look beautiful for their husbands.
End quote from al-Majmoo‘ (1/306).
Al-Bahooti al-Hanbali (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Wearing jewellery is permissible for women because they need it in order to adorn themselves for their husbands. What is prohibited is making vessels of gold, and it is prohibited to make utensils from gold, even if it is a stick with which to apply kohl to the eyes. Similar to the prohibition on making a kohl stick of gold or silver is the prohibition on using these metals to make lamps, beds, chairs, shoes, spoons, doors and shelves.
End quote from Kashshaaf al-Qinaa‘ (1/51).
Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
It is not permissible for either men or women to use pens made of gold or silver, because that does not come under the heading of jewellery; rather it is more akin to vessels made of gold and silver, and vessels made of gold and silver are forbidden for all, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: Do not drink from vessels of gold and silver, and do not eat from plates made of the same, for they are for them [i.e., the disbelievers] in this world and for you in the hereafter.” Saheeh – agreed upon.
End quote from Majmoo‘ Fataawa Ibn Baaz (19/72)
Some scholars are of the view that what is prohibited is wearing of gold for men, and using vessels of gold or silver for eating and drinking. As for other utensils – other than things that are worn – that is not prohibited, such as kohl sticks made of gold or silver.
Ash-Shawkaani (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Undoubtedly the hadiths that speak of this issue indicate that it is prohibited to eat or drink (from vessels made of gold or silver). As for other uses, they are not prohibited. Drawing an analogy with eating and drinking from vessels of gold and silver is comparing two different things, because the reason for the prohibition on eating and drinking from vessels made of gold or silver is resemblance to the people of Paradise, because vessels of silver will be passed around to them. And that is something that the Lawgiver regards as a valid reason (for not allowing it). It was also proven that when the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) saw a man wearing a ring of gold, he said: “Why do I see you wearing the jewellery of the people of Paradise?” (Narrated by the three from the hadith of Buraydah). The same applies to wearing silk and so on. Otherwise that could lead to a prohibition on adorning oneself with jewellery or using silk for furnishings, because this is a kind of usage, yet some scholars allow these usages even though they believe it is prohibited to use it in general.
With regard to an-Nawawi’s report of consensus on the prohibition on using gold and silver in general terms, that cannot be true, when Dawood and ash-Shaafa‘i and some of his companions held different views. Imam al-Mahdi, in his book al-Bahr, limited the idea of consensus and attributed this view to most (not all) of the scholars.
However, it is not unclear to any fair-minded person that the idea that there is consensus has no proof.
Conclusion: the basic principle is that things are permissible, and proof of something being prohibited cannot be accepted unless the one who says that produces evidence – and there is no such evidence with regard to this issue. Following this principle which states that things are permissible unless proven otherwise is what a fair-minded person does, and there is no need to be scared of someone quoting the view of the majority. Especially since this principle is supported by the hadith: “But you have silver; you can play with it (and use it as you wish).” Narrated by Ahmad and Abu Dawood. This is supported by what was mentioned above, that Umm Salamah brought a vessel of silver in which there was some hair of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him)… The hadith was narrated by al-Bukhaari, as mentioned above.
And it was said that the reason for the prohibition is because it is showing off, or it may sadden the poor. The response to that is that it is permissible to make vessels from other precious materials, most of which are more precious and valuable than gold and silver, and no one disallowed that except those who held odd views. Ibn as-Sabbaagh narrated in ash-Shaamil that there was consensus on the permissibility thereof, and ar-Raafi‘i and those who came after him followed him in that.
And it was said that the reason for the prohibition was imitation of non-Muslims. But that is subject to further discussion, because it is proven that a warning is addressed to the one who does that, and mere resemblance does not deserve such a warning.
End quote from Nayl al-Awtaar (1/81).
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said: The correct view is that using gold and silver for purposes other than eating and drinking is not prohibited, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) prohibited a particular usage, namely eating and drinking. If what is prohibited was more than that, the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) – who was the most eloquent of people and the most able to explain things clearly – would not have mentioned one usage in exclusion of others. Rather the fact that he mentioned eating and drinking specifically indicates that other usages are permissible, because there are some benefits for people in other usages.
If using them was prohibited in all cases, the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) would have issued instructions to break them, as the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) did not leave anything on which there were images but he broke it or tore it down, because if it is prohibited in all cases, there is no benefit in leaving it.
This is indicated by the fact that Umm Salamah – who narrated the hadith – had a vessel of silver in which she put some hairs of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). The people used to seek healing by means of it, and they were healed by Allah’s leave. This is mentioned in Saheeh al-Bukhaari. This usage is something other than eating and drinking.
End quote from ash-Sharh al-Mumti‘ (1/75).
According to this view, it does not matter if the phone is made of gold or contains gold, and the same applies to computers.
So according to the first view, gold is prohibited in three forms: when it is worn by men, when it is used in vessels for eating and drinking, and when it is used or is made part of any tool or device, for both men and women.
According to the second view, the first and second forms are prohibited, but not the third. So there is nothing wrong with using a phone or computer even if there is some gold in it, for both men and women.
Moreover, the Shaafa‘is – who say that it is prohibited to use gold and silver purposes in addition to the prohibition on using it for eating and drinking – say that the reason for the prohibition is showing off. So if the gold is hidden and covered, then it is not prohibited to use it. Based on that, it is permissible to use the phone and computer, because what is inside them of gold is hidden.
It says in Tuhfat al-Muhtaaj (1/119): The reason is the item [i.e., the gold], if it involves showing off. Hence they said: If the gold vessel becomes tarnished, so that the tarnish covers the entire vessel, inside and out, then it is permissible to use it, because it is no longer showing off. End quote.
According to the Maalikis, if a gold vessel is covered with something else, there are two views. See: Haashiyat ad-Dasooqi (1/64).
And Allah knows best.