Are Shiites Muslims?
Question asked by .
Answered by Jhangeer Hanif

 Are people of Shiite faith Muslim? Can a Muslim lady marry a Shiite?


The question whether the Shiite faction is Muslim or not must be understood in its proper perspective. As the Holy Qur’ān explains it, a person legally enters the folds of Islam when he renounces everything that is un-Islamic and establishes the ritual prayer and pays Zakāh, if he fulfills the criterion of Nisāb. As soon as he fulfills these conditions, he becomes a Muslim in the eyes of law and he will be given equal rights as those of other Muslims. Thus, the Book of Allah reads:

If they repent, establish the prayer and pay Zakāh, they are your brethren in religion. (9:11)

If they repent, establish the prayer and pay Zakāh, leave them alone. (9:5)

Establishing the obligatory prayer and paying Zakāh is actually the practical demonstration that a person maintains adherence to the religion of Islam. As far as the matter of un-Islamic things is concerned, we must know that there are some established facts of Islam that no Muslim ought to overrule. For instance, God is one and alone or that the Day of Reckoning is bound to come or that the Prophet (sws) is the Last Messenger of Allah etc. Every Muslim, in addition to establishing the prayer and paying Zakāh, is required to affirm these realities. 

It is however worth mentioning that the criteria elucidated above only make someone a Muslim in the eyes of law. His true status is only known to Allah since no other person can be aware of what is hidden in his heart. Allah, on the Last Day, shall decide the matter on the basis of the sublime principles of perfect justice.

Keeping the foregoing discussion in perspective, every Shiite, who is not overruling the established facts of Islam, and establishing the prayer, and paying Zakāh is indeed a Muslim in the eyes of the law.   

Of course, a Muslim lady may marry a Shiite. The Sharī‘ah has stipulated two restrictions regarding marriage. According to the first, a chaste Muslim gentleman/lady cannot marry a convicted fornicator and the second puts forth that a marriage contract must never be concluded with a polytheist. Obviously, in the absence of these two circumstances, no one can object to such marriage in legal terms.

However, it is of utmost importance that other social factors be kept in view while deciding the matter of marriage. The foremost factor is that there should be some harmony between the families of both parties in terms of financial status and religious setup. Obviously, aptitude, education, age, physical appearance and other similar matters must also be considered. In short, both families need to follow a thought out and reasonable strategy before culminating any matrimonial contract.

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