Discuss the difference between incidents of Muslim marriage under Sunni law and Shia law.
In India, Muslims are governed by their Muslim personal laws. All the main events like marriage, dower, divorce, guardianship etc. are regulated by Muslim personal laws. In India, Muslim Religion is divided into two sects:-
• Sunni Sect
• Shia Sect
Basically, these sects are based upon customs and usages and because of different customs and usages, the way of practicing Islam is a different and their rules are also different.
Marriage is one of the most important institution among both the sects but the way of solemnizing the marriage under both the sects is a different.
According to Sunni law, at the time of solemnizing a valid marriage, two male witnesses or one male witness and two female witnesses must be present and if witnesses are absent at that time, then marriage is considered an irregular marriage whereas according to Shia law, there is no need of witnesses at the time of solemnization of a valid marriage.
Moreover, according to Sunni law, the offer or acceptance need not to be in a particular form but it must be done in the same meeting and at once. But according to Shia law, offer or acceptance must be made by use of the terms of tafweez of Nikah.
According to Sunni law, the age of contracting the marriage is age of attaining puberty i.e. capacity to have sexual intercourse. So, at the time of solemnizing a valid marriage, the parties must be major according to their personal laws and they must be capable of giving free consent. But according to this school, if parties perform the marriage under compulsion or without an intention, then also their marriage is considered valid marriage. This rule is followed under the Hanafi school of Sunni sect. But the other three schools of Sunni sect and Shia sect hold contrary opinion and according to them marriage under compulsion is not a valid marriage.
Moreover, according to Sunni sect, a Sunni male can validly married a kitabia even if she is Jews or Christian. But if he marries with Hindu i.e. fireworshiper or idolatress, that marriage will be considered irregular marriage. But a Sunni female cannot marry a non- Muslim whether Kitabia or Non- Kitabia. But according to Shia sect, a Shia male or female cannot marry with non- Muslim even Kitabia.
According to Sunni sect, a marriage may be valid, void or irregular and if at the time of solemnization of marriage, any absolute or relative disability is present, then the marriage may either be considered void or irregular marriage. But in Shia sect, there is no concept of irregular marriage and if at the time of solemnization of marriage, any absolute or relative disability is present, then marriage is considered only void marriage.
According to Sunni sect, a marriage is contractual in procedure and socio- religious in substance. So, according to Muslim law, it is semblance of both that is contract and Sacrament. But it is always permanent in nature and until it has not been dissolved by divorce, it does not come to an end after a period of time. In simple meaning, it does not contracted for a fixed or prescribed period.
On the other hand, Shia law, besides permanent marriage also recognises temporary marriage i.e. Muta marriage. It is contracted for a fixed period and after the expiry of this period, the marriage comes to an end.
These are the main differences between the incidents of Muslim marriage under Sunni law and Shia law.