Answered by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
There is a famous Hadith narrated by Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) 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 person 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.
The Hadith says that the adulterer will receive the stone, meaning that he is liable to be stoned as punishment and not receive the child or (as some scholars have explained) the meaning of stone here is “deprivation”, meaning he will not have the right of paternity.
Moreover, the jurists mention that if one was to marry a woman whom one had impregnated and the child was to be born six months or more after marriage, then the child will be considered legitimate. However, if the child was born prior to six months elapsing, he/she will not be considered legitimate. (See: Radd al-Muhtar and other Fiqh references)
Thus, in light of the above, if the child is already born before marrying its mother, the child will, without doubt, be considered illegitimate; hence paternity will not be established with whom she had committed adultery, even if he was to marry her.
Therefore, this child born out of wedlock will not inherit from his/her mother’s husband. However, one may make a bequest up to one third of one’s wealth for the child, so that the child is not completely deprived from the wealth of his stepfather.
One should also remember that this should not deter the man from treating his stepchild as his own child. He should take care of the child, look after him and treat him as his own child. Thus, the above ruling does not mean he should treat the child as a stranger. Taking good care of the child will be greatly rewarded by Allah Most High.
And Allah knows best
Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari
Darul Iftaa, Leicester, UK
MMVIII © Qibla.
All rights reserved
No part of this article may be reproduced, displayed, modified, or distributed without the express prior written permission of the copyright holder. For permission, please submit a request at our Helpdesk.
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "Knowledge is only through study." While some knowledge can be gained from reading or casually listening to lectures, the best means to gain knowledge is through finding a qualified teacher and then setting up a systematic program of learning. Picking up a book or reading an article and trying to figure things out on our own is no substitute for learning from someone who has a direct link to our living tradition.
Through joining an online class at Qibla, you can benefit from convenient, online courses that will give you access to reliable scholars and our popular curriculum learning tracks. Knowledge gained in these courses will both build your iman and assist you in putting into practice what you learn. Don't give yourself less than you deserve, register today.