Today I went to the masjid at the mall and when I started praying, a shiaa woman came to me and said that I was praying wrong. She was saying that I am not supposed to cross my hand on my belly and she also said that I am supposed to wear abbaya.

After that I overheard her talking to her daughter about how sunni people are kuffar

Do shiaa people pray differently? Do they think that Sunnis are kuffar?

  • Possibly a duplicate of islam.stackexchange.com/questions/1722/…
    – Zayn
    Nov 17, 2023 at 15:39
  • Not really sure what the context is for 'I am supposed to wear abbaya' but proper covering is required according to the Sunnis as well: "Salat of a women who has reached the age of menstruation is not accepted without a Khimar" - sunnah.com/tirmidhi:377
    – UmH
    Nov 18, 2023 at 10:32

1 Answer 1


There are some small differences between Shi'a and Sunni methods of prayer, although all of the core elements are the same.

One of differences, as you pointed out, is that Shi'a Muslims do not fold their hands in prayer. There is no requirement for Shi'a Muslim women to wear any particular garment during prayer, however; the rulings only outline to what extent the body must be covered.

For a more detailed list of some of the differences between Shi'a and Sunni prayer, see this answer. You may notice that none of the differences are large enough to change the essential form of the prayer; it is possible (and frequently the case) that Sunni and Shi'a Muslims pray side-by-side in the same congregation.

It is not at all a mainstream opinion of Shi'a Muslims that Sunni Muslims are kaafir. Unfortunately, sectarianism has led to strong polarizing emotions on all sides. The top Shi'a religious scholars and authorities do not hold this view.

  • I suggest editing this answer to imply more that really there is no "differences" or at least ones that can really be noticable. Even some Maliki have a similar view one folding hands, that does not make them any different from mainstream Sunnah.
    – lr0
    Nov 17, 2023 at 20:34
  • @Ir0 Thanks for the feedback! However, I don't think the differences are barely noticeable, and certainly not "none". They are small, but can be visible enough that a viewer can tell which members of a congregration are typical Sunni and which are typical Shi'a just at a glance. Although I do believe promoting unity and emphasizing commonalities is a good thing, I don't think it is bad to remark on the points of difference, especially in jurisprudential issues (where, like you pointed out, even different schools of thought in the same madhhab might differ).
    – Zayn
    Nov 20, 2023 at 15:40

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