In conclusion, the marriage between a Shia & Sunni is invalid and here we have gathered opinions of many Sunni Scholars of different backgrounds who agree on the invalidity of such a marriage..
Question: I have spoken to a lot of people regarding this issue please be so kind to give me the right advice. Basically please tell me the difference between Sunni and shi’a. Myself am sunni follow the Hanafi fiqh, however to cut along story short I met this guy he was shia. He proposed and then obviously I was faced with all these issues? I would just like to know your understanding of sunni shia marriages and the major differences. I have actually declined but I still need reassurance. I have read your webpage and am in agreement with all you say that’s why I think you will not give me a biased view and maybe just reassure me that my decision was right!
Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) himself explained that the primary consideration in choosing a spouse should be their Deen.
In a Hadith recorded by many Hadith scholars, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said:
"A woman is married for four reasons, her wealth, lineage, status and Deen. Choose the one who is religious." (Sahih al-Bukhari)
This also applies to women, in that a man is married for four reasons.
"Deen" is a very comprehensive word. It does not only mean praying and fasting. Rather, it relates to one's entire conduct of life.
Therefore, it covers:
1 Belief (Aqidah)
2 Outward worship (Ibadaat)
3 Good character and manners (Akhlaq)
4 Good dealings with others (Mu'amalaat)
5 Turning to Allah in all affairs (Suluk)
Therefore, the first and foremost thing that should be considered before marrying someone is their religious belief and conduct of life.
With regards to marrying a Shi'a man, firstly, it should be understood that there are two types of Shi'as.
a Those who hold beliefs that constitute disbelief (kufr), such as having the belief that the Qur'an has been altered, Sayyiduna Ali (Allah be pleased with him) is God, the angel Jibril made an error in descending with the revelation on the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) rather than Sayyiduna Ali (Allah be pleased with him), accusing Sayyida Ai'isha (Allah be pleased with her) of committing adultery or denying the Companionship (suhba) of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him).
The great Hanafi jurist, Imam Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) states:
"There is no doubt in the disbelief (kufr) of those that falsely accuse Sayyida Ai'isha (Allah be pleased with her) of adultery, deny the Companionship of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr ( Allah be pleased with him), believe that sayyiduna Ali (Allah be pleased with him) was God or that the angel Jibril by mistake descended with the revelation (wahi) on the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give peace), etc... which is apparent Kufr and contrary to the teachings of the Qur'an." (Radd al-Muhtar, 4/453)
Therefore, Shi'as who hold such beliefs are without doubt out of the fold of Islam.
b Those who do not hold beliefs that constitute Kufr, such as believing that Sayyiduna Ali (Allah be pleased with him) was the rightful first Caliph after the demise of the Messenger of Allah, belief in the twelve Imams, etc...
Such Shi'as cannot be termed as out of the fold of Islam, rather they are considered to be severely deviated and transgressors (fisq).
Imam Ibn Abidin states:
"It is difficult to make a general statement and judge all the Shi'as to be non-believers, for the scholars have agreed on the deviation and defection of the deviated sects." (ibid)
It should be remarked here that some members of the Shi'a community display outwardly not to have believes that constitute Kufr, but keep these beliefs in their heart, which they call Taqiyya.
The case with such people is that if they did hold beliefs that constitute Kufr in their heart but outwardly denied them, then even though according to Allah and in the hereafter they will be regarded as non-Muslims, but we will judge them according to their outward statements and actions.
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) is reported to have said: "I have been ordered to judge people according to their outward condition."
Keeping the above in mind, it becomes clear that marrying Shi'as that are not considered Muslims is out of the question. If one was to marry such a person, the marriage (nikah) would be invalid.
Shi'as that are not considered to be out of the fold of Islam are still regarded to be severely deviated, thus marriage with them also should never be considered, although the Nikah will be valid. This becomes more important when the case is of a Sunni Muslim girl marrying a Shi'a boy, as the affect this can have on the wife and children may be detrimental.
In conclusion, the decision you made not to marry a Shi'a boy is correct indeed. It could have long term damages with regards to your beliefs and your children's beliefs. There are many Sunni practising pious brothers you could get married to. May Allah bless you with a pious and caring husband.
And Allah Knows Best
[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK
Question: I am a female doctor, who follows the Hanafi Madhab, and I need your guidance in the following matter:
I wish to marry my classmate whom I know for the last 13 years (including the last 7 years since we have decided to get married). He is a Shi'a and due to this reason my parents and brothers are against this marriage. I was aware of the problems that his being Shi'a could create for me. So I tried to find as much as I could about the religious views of shia- sect, in general, from his and our books of fiqh. I then asked him directly what his beliefs were.
He does not have any such beliefs that constitute Kufr (e.g. he does not think that Hazrat Ali is god or he should have been the last prophet or that there are alterations in the Holy Quran etc.) He does however believe that Hazrat Ali should have been the first caliph, for which he gives reference of the event at Ghadir Khum. But at the same time, he has never shown any disrespect for the other 3 caliphs or Sahabah & has a personal view that if The Prophet (P.B.U.H) had declared Hazrat Ali as the first caliph in his life, it would have been an indication of bias. I have found him to be thoroughly well mannered, devoted to his profession and listens to reason and logic. I have seen that if he is convinced properly he does not keep following something blindly. He offers prayers 5 times a day, instead of combining Duhr-Asar and Maghrib- Isha prayers.
His parents share the same religious views and they added that my colleague's paternal grand mother was Sunni and remained so after her marriage. Their family has several Shia â€“ Sunni marriages. They do not believe in self beating/using chains and knives. They have never attended Muharram processions, but they regularly attend majlis (lecture) on 9th/ 10th Muharram. They also re-assured me that I will have complete freedom to follow my own Sunni Hanafi Madhab.
I have been trying to convince my family to agree to this marriage since 7 years. My father concerned several local religious scholars to sort out this issue. But some said that this nikkah will be valid and some said otherwise.
My brother told me about your website. He showed me a reply from you to a question regarding marriage with Shi'a. You have regarded such a nikkah to be valid, but at the same time cautioned to be careful when the matter is of marrying a sunni girl to a shia. I believe that majority of cases require an individualized approach, as I believe that not all shia are extremists or deviants. I have seen the same individualized approach in your answers regarding various issues and not just this one.
Can you please advice on whether this marriage is allowed? I put my trust in you to guide us in this matter, as I genuinely believe that Allah Has Blessed you with an objective vision and your opinion in this matter is pivotal to me and my family.
Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
If it is true that he does not hold any beliefs that constitute disbelief (kufr), which include (and is not limited to) believing that the Qur'an was altered, accusing Sayyida A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) of committing adultery, denying the Companionship (suhba) of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him), and the other things you have mentioned in your question, then technically your marriage with him will be 'valid', meaning that the marriage contract will be recognized in Sunni law, and you will not be guilty of living in a unlawful relationship. However, if he does hold beliefs that constitute Kufr, then the marriage will not be considered valid; hence, even if you were to marry him, you will be considered living in an illicit unlawful (haram) relationship. This was explained in detail in a previous answer posted on our website titled: 'Marriage with a Shi'a'.
The Sunni position on marrying a member of the Shi'a community who does not hold beliefs that constitute Kufr is that even though the marriage may 'technically' be valid, it is still best avoided due to the many stances of Shi'as being considered as deviation by Sunni Muslims. The gravity or otherwise of taking this step also depends on the exact nature of beliefs held by the person in question.
You state that the brother whom you wish to marry believes that 'Hazrat Ali should have been the first caliph' but 'he has never shown any disrespect for the other three Caliphs or Sahaba'. This is very significant. If you can be fully assured and convinced of the fact that he has the utmost of respect and regard for all the Companions (Allah be pleased with them all), and that he considers the other three Caliphs to have a higher status than Sayyiduna Ali (Allah be pleased with him) in the order of: 1) Abu Bakr, 2) Umar, 3) Uthman, 4) Ali (Allah be pleased with them all), then I believe you may marry him.
In other words, the only differences between him and Sunni Muslims are the following:
1 Sayyiduna Ali (Allah be pleased with him) should have been the first Caliph of the Muslims, but this does not mean any of the other Companions (sahaba) were guilty of any wrongdoing, rather they are all forgiven by Allah, and Allah is pleased with all of them and they are all pleased with Allah. They are the highest of people after the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), and the highest in Maqam is Abu Bakr, then Umar, then Uthman and then Ali (Allah be pleased with them all).
2 He attends lectures on the topic of the martyrdom of Sayyiduna Husayn (Allah be pleased with him) in the month of Muharram, but does not believe in self beating, etc.
Other than the above two things, if there are no issues, then you may go ahead and marry him, but it will still be somewhat disliked to do so. The reason for this is that according to the beliefs of Sunni Muslims, one who believes that Sayyiduna Ali (Allah be pleased with him) was the worthy first Caliph is also misguided. (See: Al-Aqida al-Tahawiyya with its commentaries) As such, marriage should be avoided in normal situations and whenever possible.
Another aspect worth considering is whether you will be free to practise Islam as a Sunni, and whether your children will also have a chance to be Sunni Muslims.
And Allah Knows Best
[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK
In light of all the above, it is apparent that the vast majority of present-day Shia's are not Muslims. If the person in question ascribes to any of these heretic views, nikaah will NOT be permissible with him. (Imdadul Ahkaam 2/213 Maktabah Daul uloom Karachi, Khairul fatawa 1/374 Shirkat printing press, Kifaayatul Mufti 1/289 Darul ishaat, Bahishti zewar kitab an nikah) In fact, the Shia kitabs show that it's not permissible for Shias to marry sunnis, as they regard sunnis as disbelievers. "It is not permissible to marry a sunni because they are Kaafirs" (Tahdhidul Akaam, Manlaa Yahzurulul Faqih 3/258.)
If this person claims to be from the Tafdheelis (The group that are considered as Muslims), then too extreme precaution should be exercised. There is the possibility he will conceal his real beliefs and practice on taqiyyah. (Kifaayatul mufti 1/289-290 Darul ishaat) Also keep in mind the Shia practice of mutah (temporary marriage).
Bear in mind that even though it is permissible to marry the tafdheelis it is highly discouraged. (ibid) Marriage is a lifetime affair; therefore, you exercise extreme precaution. Whoever gives up something for the sake of Allaah, Allaah will compensate him with something better. We ask Allaah to make you strong and grant you a good life in this world and in the Hereafter.
And Allah knows best
Ml. Ismail Moosa,
Student Darul Iftaa
Checked and Approved by:
Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa, Madrassah In'aamiyyah
I need to find some useful info about shias and thier difference between us sunnis... i know this man and he loves me very much and wishes to marry me - forever not the mut aa type of marraige, however i know his bsiefs are not in line with the sunnis so i ahve discussed this wiht him and he has agreed to to research the differences - i ma hoping that this way he will be able to decide for himself which is the right path my problem is that i ma not able to find any sights whihc provide proper comparison and which do not directly accuse shias as being wwrong - i wish to talk to someone about this aaas i know there I wll be questions raised between me and this person however i need assistance and would much apreciate it if i could talk to someone or get a source where even he could study which would not make him feel as if his beiefs are being pout down - i think that telling soeone softly and nicely will amke a person more willing to listen than saying his beilefs are worng?
Praise be to Allaah.
We Sunnis wish all people well, and we ask Allaah to guide all those who are misled and to reward all those who obey Him. We hope that Allaah will guide those Raafidis...
The differences between the Ahl al-Sunnah (Sunnis) and the Raafidis are very great and are fundamental. For example, the Raafidis say that the Qur'aan was altered, and they condemn most of the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) and think that they went astray; they exaggerate about their imaams and worship them, and give them precedence over the Prophets and angels; they go on pilgrimages to mashhads (shrines) and graves, where they do all kinds of actions of shirk, associating others in worship with Allaah. They also believe in hypocrisy (as a tenet of faith) and call it taqiyah (dissimulation), and they believe in al-badaa'(the notion that Allaah "changes His mind"), al-raj'ah (the Return, i.e., the raising of the dead to life again for some time in the same form as they were before) and absolute infallibility of their imaams, and in prostrating on a handful of clay...
We advise you to read "Al-Khutoot al-'Areedah" by Muhibb al-Deen al-Khateeb [this book is available in English – Translator], or Mukhtasar al-Tuhfat al-Ithna' 'Ashariyyah by al-Dahlawi, or Fikrat al-Taqreeb bayna Ahl al-Sunnah wa'l-Shee'ah by Naasir al-Qaffaari.
And we advise you not to think of marrying this man... Whoever gives up something for the sake of Allaah, Allaah will compensate him with something better. We ask Allaah to make you strong and grant you a good life in this world and in the Hereafter.
We would also remind you that it is not permitted to have relationships with non-mahram men, as you will find explained clearly in Questions 2005 , 9465 And 1114 We ask Allaah to help you to do all that is good.