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Can a Sunni Muslim Marry an Ismāili?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by DarulIftaBirmingham

Answered by: Maulana Yūsuf Badāt


I am in contact with an Ismaili Muslim and I am a Sunni Muslim who offers prayers Alḥamdulillāh. I want to ask if it is permissible to marry this Ismāili guy or is it outside the pale of Sunni Islam? Please advise!

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful


Sunni Muslims are not permitted to marry Ismāilīs, according to Islamic law. The reasoning for this is that their beliefs contradict several major tenants of creed according to Islam, the Qur’ān, and prophetic teachings. – (See: Rad Al-Muḥtār, Vol 3, Page 45, Dār Al-Fikr1)

Some examples of Ismāilī beliefs are listed below:

  • God does not have attributes.
  • Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him) is not the final prophet, rather Muḥammad Ibn Ismā’il is, who was granted the status equal to prophethood.
  • The physical bodies of their “imams” and “Aga Khans” are unlike other humans, rather they are made from the direct light of God.
  • They disrespect, express their enmity and hatred to various Companions including Abū Bakr and Omar (may Allāh be pleased with them both).
  • The bounties of Paradise and the punishments of the hellfire are only virtual (not physical).
  • Every verse of the Qur’ān has a hidden meaning that only a selected few can access. The verdicts of the Aga Khan are more important and valuable than the Qur’ān itself.
  • They reject the reality of Judgment Day.
  • They believe in the reincarnation of souls after death in this world.
  • They believe in 7 pillars. Wilāyah is the first pillar.
  • Their real pilgrimage (Ḥajj) is to be in the presence or get a glimpse of the Aga Khan.
  • They only pray 3 times a day. The formal method of prayer (alāh) is left to the explained procedure of the Aga Khan, which is, in current times, just making supplications rather than the procedure expounded by the Prophet Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him).
  • Prostration to the Aga Khan is not only permissible but obliged since he is considered the manifestation of God in this world.

(See: The Ismailis, Their History and Doctrines, Institute of Ismaili Studies)

Only Allāh knows best.

 Written by Maulana Yūsuf Badāt

Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham

1 وَحَرُمَ نِكَاحُ الْوَثَنِيَّةِ نِسْبَةٌ إلَى عِبَادَةِ الْوَثَنِ وَهُوَ مَا لَهُ جُثَّةٌ أَيْ صُورَةُ إنْسَانٍ مِنْ خَشَبٍ أَوْ حَجَرٍ أَوْ فِضَّةٍ أَوْ جَوْهَرٍ تُنْحَتُ وَالْجَمْعُ أَوْثَانٌ وَالصَّنَمُ صُورَةٌ بِلَا جُثَّةٍ هَكَذَا فَرَّقَ بَيْنَهُمَا كَثِيرٌ مِنْ أَهْلِ اللُّغَةِ وَقِيلَ لَا فَرْقَ وَقِيلَ يُطْلَقُ الْوَثَنُ عَلَى غَيْرِ الصُّورَةِ كَذَا فِي الْبِنَايَةِ نَهْرٌ وَفِي الْفَتْحِ وَيَدْخُلُ فِي عَبَدَةِ الْأَوْثَانِ عَبَدَةُ الشَّمْسِ وَالنُّجُومِ وَالصُّوَرِ الَّتِي اسْتَحْسَنُوهَا وَالْمُعَطِّلَةُ وَالزَّنَادِقَةُ وَالْبَاطِنِيَّةُ وَالْإِبَاحِيَّةُ وَفِي شَرْحِ الْوَجِيزِ وَكُلُّ مَذْهَبٍ يَكْفُرُ بِهِ مُعْتَقِدُهُ – كتاب الدر المختار وحاشية ابن عابدين رد المحتار ج٣ / ص٤٥ دار الفكر

This answer was collected from DarulIftaBirmingham.co.uk, which is run under the supervision of Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah from the United Kingdom.

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