Observing Hijab infront of one’s Father’s illegitimate Children

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by

My father has four wives. However, he has ceased to have any conjugal relationship with his wives for many years now and has not divorced them. However, he now has new “wives” that he has not made their marriage public. These wives now have some children for him. My question is, as one of the children from my father’s legitimate wives, how should I treat the other ‘children’? Islamically speaking, are they my brothers? How should my sisters (those wearing hijaab) behave in front of them?


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

A man is only permitted to have four wives (and that too with certain conditions) at one time, hence if he was to marry a fifth or sixth woman without divorcing any of his current wives, the marriage will be void.

Allah Most High says:

“If you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two, three, or four, but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one…” (Surah al-Nisa, V: 3)

It is stated in al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya:

“It is unlawful for a free (i.e. not a slave) man to have more than four wives in his marriage at one time.” (al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 1/277)


“If a free man was to marry five women in succession, marriage with the first four women will be considered valid, and not with the fifth woman. And if he married all five women at once, marriage with all the women will be considered void.” (ibid)

Therefore, your father’s marriage with these other women (besides the four legitimate wives he already has in his marriage) was considered invalid and void. Hence, children born out of his unlawful relationships with these women are not Islamically considered legitimate. As such, paternity will not be established with him.

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “The child will be attributed to the husband and the adulterer will receive the stone.” (Sahih Muslim, no: 1458)

The meaning of this Hadith is that, the right of paternity will always be for the one to whom the mother of the child is married. Hence, paternity will not be established with the adulterer. If the woman is unmarried, the child will only be attributed to her.

Based on the above, it becomes clear that if one’s father had illegitimate children from another woman, then they will not be attributed to him. His illegitimate children will not inherit from him, neither is he, Islamically, considered the father of these children. As such, the other legitimate children of his will not be considered their stepbrothers or stepsisters; hence the rules of Hijab will have to be observed.

However, this does not mean that marriage between them is permitted (due to the fact that one may marry a non-Mahram). The jurists (fuqaha) state that it is unlawful for one to marry one’s illegitimate daughter despite paternity not being established and her not inheriting from him.

Imam Dhafar Ahmad al-Uthmani (Allah have mercy on him) states in his renowned Ahkam al-Qur’an, quoting from Imam Ibn Kathir:

“The Majority of the Ulama (jumhur) have declared with this verse (Prohibited to you (for marriage) are: Your mothers, daughters, sisters…..Surah al-Nisa, V: 22) the prohibition of marriage with a woman born out of one’s unlawful relationship, due to the generality of Allah’s statement: “Your daughters” because she (girl born out of wedlock) is one’s daughter hence she will be included in this generality…….The reason being is that (the son or daughter born out of wedlock) is in reality one’s own child……However, precaution is important in regards to marriage, thus one cannot make analogy on inheritance.” (Ahkam al-Qur’an, 2/205)

What the above is trying to say is that, an illegitimate child is in reality and physically one’s own child hence marriage is unlawful, for one cannot marry one’s own daughter. However, due to the fact that the child is Islamically considered illegitimate, Shariah did not establish paternity with the adulterer hence the child will not inherit from his father.

In conclusion, your sisters will have to observe the rules of Hijab from your father’s illegitimate male children. However, this does not mean that marriage between them is permitted.

And Allah knows best

[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK

This answer was collected from, which is headed by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam Al-Kawthari. He’s based in the United Kingdom.

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