Shia vs Sunni Nikah: Difference and Comparison

The Arabic word nikah has a special meaning in Islamic rituals. Nikah is a holy bond between two sexes that is safeguarded by mutual contact.

Marriage is the legal term for it. The difference between Shia and Sunni nikah, the two Islamic sects that split after the death of Prophet Mohammad, will be discussed here.

The two sects hold opposing beliefs and faiths. As a result, they have distinct wedding rituals.

Key Takeaways

  1. Shia Nikah allows temporary marriages (Mutah) with a specified duration and conditions, while Sunni Nikah only recognizes permanent marriages.
  2. In Shia Nikah, the woman can negotiate and stipulate her rights in the marriage contract. At the same time, in Sunni Nikah, the husband retains more control over certain aspects of the marriage.
  3. Sunni Nikah requires two witnesses and a guardian (Wali) for the bride, while Shia Nikah does not mandate a guardian’s presence or witnesses for the marriage to be valid.

Shia vs Sunni Nikah

Shia and Sunni nikah differ in that Shia has six verses while Sunni nikah does not. The duration of the Shia nikah is longer than the duration of the Sunni nikah. There are even more distinctions in the rituals performed during their marriage. Their differences stem from their differing religious beliefs.

Shia vs Sunni Nikah

Shia Islam is a sect of the Islam community that believes that any close relative of Mohammad’s family should succeed him as ruler.

They value self-sacrifice. When it comes to Shia nikah, the marriage rituals include six verses. As a result, the time it takes to complete the ritual is longer.

On the other hand, Sunni nikah does not include any of these verses. As a result, the nikah (marriage) is completed in a short time.

Sunni Muslims are members of the Islamic community who believe in electing their leader after the Prophet Muhammad’s death. They chose Abu Bakr, the prophet’s close friend.

They believed that their existence and strength were due to God’s will.

Comparison Table

Parameters of comparison Shia Sunni Nikah
During marriage No witnesses required Witnesses  required 
Divorce witnesses required No witness 
Ritual There is a bathing ritualThere is no bathing ritual
Time It takes longer It takes a short time
Is there a fixed-length wedding present?Yes No 

What is Shia?

Due to a conflict, the Islamic community was divided into Shia and Sunni groups. The prophet’s death shattered the peace among his people.

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They were both mourning the prophet’s death and debating who would lead them. The community was large, and someone needed to lead or guide it.

Furthermore, both sects have suffered severe consequences as a result of disagreements in political and religious beliefs.

The Shia believe that after Prophet Mohammad, the throne should be taken over by a member of his family. As a result, they wanted Ali, a blood relative of the prophet who later became his son-in-law, to be their leader.

As a result, they have differing perspectives on their nikah and marriage.

Due to the differences in their beliefs, a Shia and Sunni nikah could have a difficult outcome. A Shia nikah does not require the presence of witnesses.

In the case of a Shia nikah, however, witnesses are required if there is a divorce. Six verses are also read in front of the audience during the wedding ceremony.

This is a must in a Shia nikah, so their wedding rituals are lengthy. Bathing is also a concept in Shia nikah and is considered holy.

Another significant distinction between Shia and Sunni nikah is the presence of a temporary marriage period in Shia nikah.

It means that two people can enter into a marriage contract for a specific period. They can leave each other after the time limit has passed unless they both agree to stay married.

What is Sunni Nikah?

On the other hand, Sunni nikah does not require reciting any verses. As a result, marriages are completed quickly.

Unlike the Shia nikah, they also do not require a witness during their divorce. However, at least two witnesses must be present during their nikah or wedding.

In addition, the Sunni nikah lacks the Shia nikkah’s bathing ceremony. Aside from that, the Shia nikah has a pre-arranged fixed marriage option, whereas the Sunni nikah does not.

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Sunnis are thought to be more orthodox and rigid in their rituals. They consider marriage to be a lifelong commitment and do not believe in short-term or fixed-term marriages.

As we have seen, there are significant differences between the two major sects of Islam. It has existed since the prophet’s death, prompting the question of who would lead such a large community.

The Sunni sect believed that the leader should be elected rather than chosen while figuring this out. As a result, Abu Bakr was elected as their leader.

He was one of the prophet’s closest companions. In addition, unlike the Shia, they believe that their lives exist because of God’s will and have faith in God’s power.

As a result, Shia and Sunni religions and faiths are distinct.

Main Differences Between Shia and Sunni Nikah

  1. Shia Nikah is less orthodox than Sunni Nikah.
  2. There is no need for a witness during a Shia marriage, whereas a Sunni Nikah does.
  3. During a Shia divorce, a witness is required, whereas a Sunni nikah does not.
  4. The Shia nikah includes a bathing ritual, whereas the Sunni nikah does not.
  5. Shia nikah has a pre-arranged temporary fixed marriage, while Sunni nikah does not.
References
  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/1046719
  2. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/modern-asian-studies/article/ithna-ashari-law-of-intestate-succession-an-introduction-to-shia-law-applicable-in-south-asia/6BA281A5E60DFEBE8AAA13701C8CA627

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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8 thoughts on “Shia vs Sunni Nikah: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The unique aspects of Shia and Sunni Nikah, such as temporary marriages in Shia Islam and the absence of a bathing ritual in Sunni Islam, reflect the diversity within Islamic traditions.

    Reply
  2. The historical background and theological beliefs of the Shia and Sunni sects contribute to their contrasting practices in Nikah rituals.

    Reply
  3. The detailed comparison table provides a clear understanding of the significant differences in the Nikah rituals of Shia and Sunni communities.

    Reply
  4. The article provides a comprehensive overview of the prevailing differences between Shia and Sunni Nikah, further emphasizing the uniqueness of each community’s rituals.

    Reply
  5. Understanding the deep-rooted theological and historical differences is essential in shedding light on the distinct rituals of Shia and Sunni Nikah.

    Reply

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