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When Is a Child Ascribed to the Father in Islam?

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org


If a woman gets pregnant out of wedlock and then marries the biological father less than 6 months before the delivery of the baby, is the baby deemed the child of the father?


Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

No, if the child is conceived out of wedlock and then the marriage happens in less than six lunar months from the time of delivery, the child will be Islamically fatherless. It would not be permissible for the man to claim the child as his. [al-Iqna’, al-Shirbini al-Khatib]

To give an illustration, a man and a woman are in a long-standing relationship, and the woman gets pregnant. Four months into the pregnancy, she informs him, and they decide to get married. The child is born 5 months later. The child will not be considered his child.

The questioner specifically asked about certain dates. January 1st 2020, was 6th Jumada Al-Awwal, 1441. Six lunar months later was 7th Dhul Qadah, 1441, which was  June 27th, 2020. This means that the child cannot Islamically be ascribed to the husband of the child’s mother. The child is however a mahram of the husband of the child’s mother.

This would not apply if the child was initially conceived out of wedlock and then the two married, and the child was born six months after the two got Islamically married and had intercourse. This is because of the theoretical possibility of the child being the product of the marriage and the subsequent intercourse. If the child is born less than six lunar months from that time, there is no possibility that the child is Islamically his. [al-Iqna’, al-Shirbini al-Khatib]

The mother’s husband who is the biological father of the child should still support the mother and child and be a paternal figure. However, it should be clear to the child that his biological father is not the father in Allah’s eyes, and he is merely a step-father.

This is keeping with the words of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), “The child shall be ascribed to the mother (lit. the bed) and the fornicator gets the stone!” [Muslim]

Repentance and reparation are always possible. Just because the relationship starting with sin, and just because the child is fatherless, does not mean that the baraka of a new and strong Islamic trajectory cannot mend everything.

“O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” [Qur’an, 39: 53]

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid Dingle

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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