Difference Between Shia and Sunni Marriage

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    Shia vs Sunni Marriage

    A major portion of the non-Muslim world may regard Shias and Sunnis as more or less the same. But, these are two very distinct sects of Muslims and should not be confused with each other. Each has a unique set of customs, traditions and even ceremonies. The way that a Shia and Sunni marriage is solemnized differs greatly. There are very few inter-sect marriages due to the glaring differences.

    Shia and Sunni marriages consist of very different wedding functions. In a Sunni wedding function, it is vital to have two adult consenting males present for the entire length of the ceremony as witnesses. Such witnesses are not required as per the rules of Sunni divorce. It can be done in the presence of only the husband and the wife. The case of a Shia wedding is completely different as in this case where the witnesses are mandated to be present in the case of a divorce and not when the wedding takes place.

    Another notable difference between a Shia and Sunni wedding is that in a Shia nikah ceremony, a total of six verses have to be delivered publicly. This factor is not present in a Sunni wedding ceremony. A Sunni nikah ceremony thus has a shorter length of time. In the case of a Shia wedding, there is a unique bath related ceremony that the bride and groom take part in. There is no such compulsion in a Sunni wedding. This ceremony usually occurs before the actual wedding.

    A major point of difference between these two sects is that Shias believe in a temporary arrangement of marriage. According to such an arrangement, it is lawful for the bride and groom to enter into a marriage for a pre-agreed length of time. After this time has passed, the marriage automatically comes to an end unless the bride and groom want to still remain in the marriage. This provision is not present in a Sunni marriage. Sunnis believe in entering into a permanent form of marriage only. A divorce is not required when Shias enter into a transitory marriage agreement. The date when the pact will come to an end is clearly mentioned on the papers pertaining to the marriage that is taking place.


    1. There is no bath ceremony in the case of a Sunni wedding. This ritual is not observed in Sunni weddings.

    2. A Sunni wedding ceremony lasts a shorter length of time than a Shia wedding.

    3. There is no stipulation for entering into a fixed length marriage in the case of Sunnis which is present in a Shia marriage.

    4. There are no witnesses required for a wedding ceremony between Shias which is vital for a Sunni wedding.

    5. It is observed that Sunnis are a comparatively more rigid and more orthodox minded sect than the Shias.

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