Marriage with a Shi’a

Marriage with a Shi’a


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!.


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
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK

Question #: 5411
Published: 14/04/2004

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