Muslim Matrimonials and More

Articles and Essays on Marriage and Family in Islam


Can a Sunni Marry a Shi'ah?

By Ayub A. Hamid


A sister has asked: Assalamu Alaykum. I want help in a very serious matter. Can you tell me if a Sunni can marry a Shiya? If a girl is Sunni and a boy is Shiya. Please tell me about this. I shall be very thankful to you. Thanks, Allah Hafiz.

My Answer:

According to the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah, a person should decide about marrying another person on the basis of his or her Deen. Using Deen as the criterion of marriage means that the person should have the correct Islamic ‘aqeedah and the right Islamic paradigm. In addition, his or her actions and lifestyle should reflect that ‘aqeedah and paradigm. For that purpose, appellations such as Sunni, Shia, Salafi, Sufi, etc. are useless. Our decisions should not be based upon the names people have given to groups but on an individual’s personal faith in, attitude towards and practice of the deen.

( Editor's Note: To elaborate on this point, it's important to look beyond the person's sectarian label or social background, because within any sectarian group beliefs can vary widely. In addition, a person may hold personal beliefs that are not consistent with his family's or region's sect. A person might call himself Shi'ah but his personal beliefs and practice might be quite correct and good; while a person might call himself Sunni but his personal beliefs could be completely heretical. That is why you must talk to the person in order to find out just what he believes and how he practices Islam.)


From the perspective mentioned above, one should marry a person who believes in the following:

  • Allaah Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala as the One and Only Lord, Master, Creator, Worthy of worship, Ruler, Sovereign, Protector and Provider -- Who is Infinite and Absolute in every attribute He has mentioned about Himself; to Whom we must submit readily and willingly in slave-like obedience in all aspects and matters of life, throughout our life; Who is the only One that can listen to and respond to our du’aas (ad’iyah) and provide us help in supernatural ways; and Who is so Majestic and Exalted that even those who are closest to Him from His creations can never demand something from Him or intercede for someone without His permission and pleasure. Hence we must rely only on Him, repose our trust in Him and seek only His pleasure.
  • Muhammad Sall-Allaahu 'Alayhi Wa Sallam is His last Prophet and the last Messenger who taught us and demonstrated for us the proper and balanced way of obeying Allaah SAAWS in our life and whose Sunnah is the perfect model for us to emulate in obedience to our Lord Allaah SWT. Other than the Prophet himself, there is absolutely no one who is perfect enough to be right all the time and whose words or actions could be followed on his own authority, without strong support form the Qur-aan and Sunnah.
  • The Holy Qur-aan is the final guidance from Allaah and is perfectly preserved in its complete and total form and perfectly relevant to all matters of human life in all ages until the Day of Judgment. All the personal and collective matters of our life must be conducted according to the guidance of the Qur-aan.
  • Angels are real creatures of Allaah SWT who are assigned different roles by Him. They carry out their assignments precisely, exactly and without compromising or making any mistake.
  • We will be raised and held accountable for our worldly life on the Day of Judgment and rewarded and punished according to our performance in this world. Only the personal faith that exists in the depths of our psyche (heart), and the right actions performed with sincerity and pure intentions for Allaah.

Islamic Practice

The potential partner's religious paradigm should be the following:

  • Islam is a complete way of life that is designed to develop personal excellence and superb behaviour, ethics and dealings in individuals and to establish the most superb global community that is characterized by peace, justice, graciousness, care and loving environment.
  • The five pillars of Islam provide us the structure and foundations to help us attain our individual and collective excellence, which is built upon that structure and foundations by practising the rest of the deen.
  • We must continuously work hard on a daily basis in an organized and planned manner for attaining personal excellence and as well as establishing the Islamic society of excellence for the pleasure of Allaah and the success in the Hereafter.

If a person testifies to have the above mentioned faith and his religious outlook corresponds to the above mentioned paradigm, and his lifestyle testifies to the truth of these assertions, that is the person with deen and that is the best person to get married to. Although I have used 'his', the same applies to 'her' as well.

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