Intermarrying a Sunnah woman to a Shia man is not permissible especially if he is from the hard-line Shia as they are a deviant creed. Other scholars declare Shia as believers and they may marry Muslim women.  

Marriage between a Sunni Man and a Shia Woman

Similar Questions

  •  Marriage of a Sunni woman to a non-Sunni man;
  •   Marriage of a Shia man to a Sunni woman.

The Issue

A Shia man may come to a Sunni woman with a proposal of marriage. Is such a marriage permissible?


This is not a new question, but some people in Muslim minority communities may need it, as followers of deviant creeds live in the same countries and they mix with Muslims. A Shia man who is fanatically committed to the Shia beliefs may not be married to a Sunni woman. If he merely affiliates himself to the Shia, without sharing these beliefs, some contemporary scholars permit his marriage to a Muslim woman.

The fatwas

Ibn Taymiyyah was asked whether it is permissible to intermarry with al-Rafidah, the name given to the Shia in classical works. His answer was: ‘The hard-line al-Rafidah are people of deviant creeds and they go astray. A Muslim must not give a woman under his care to such a man in marriage. If he marries a woman from among them, his marriage is valid if he hopes that she will mend her ways. Otherwise, it is preferable not to marry such a woman so that she will not influence his children.’ [1]

The Fatawa of the Permanent Committee for Research and Fatwa includes fatwa No. 2,165, which replies to the question: ‘What is the verdict on marriage to someone who belongs to al-Rafidah? If it takes place, what should be done?’ The fatwa says: ‘It is not permissible for a Sunni man to marry a woman from al-Rafidah and if such a marriage takes place, it must be dissolved. It is well known that they appeal to dead members of the Prophet’s household and seek their help. This is an aspect of clear polytheism.’

The late Shaikh Muhammad Rasheed Rida said that the marriage between a Shia man and a Sunni woman is valid. The Sunnah people pride themselves on the fact that they do not label as unbeliever anyone who offers Islamic prayers. If any subscribe to notions that belong to disbelief, this is due to how they interpret it. The Sunnah scholars have declared the Shia as believers, because the differences with them are not related to the essence of belief and disbelief. Therefore, a Shia man is a Muslim who may marry any Muslim woman.

When we consider the backwardness and weakness that engulf Muslims today, we realize that this is due to a large extent to the enmity between different schools. Most of all we need to unite and strengthen our ties. Therefore, today intermarriage between different sects is necessary, particularly because Muslims now feel that they were wrong to stay apart from each other, and intermarriage is a great factor towards promoting unity.


  • Ibn Taymiyyah, Majmau' al-Fatawa.
  •  Muhammad Rasheed Rida, Fatawa, Beirut.
  •  Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Fatawa Mu'asirah.
  •  Fatawa on


  1. Ibn Taymiyyah, Majmu' al-Fatawa, vol. 32, p. 61.