Islam encourages its adherents to get married and procreate, in raising a happy family according to the Shari’ah and not just to merely fulfill one’s own desire. This is because a legitimate marriage has its role in curbing the immoral act of adultery that could give birth to illegitimate children. Allah mentions in verse 32 of Surah al-Isra (which means):
“And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way.” [Al-Quran, Surah al-Isra, verse 32]
This verse firmly asserts that zina (adultery) is a vile act and all avenues that would lead to fornication are prohibited altogether.
Preserving the lineage is one of the higher objectives of Islam or also known as Maqasid ash-Shari’ah. And a valid marriage provides the main route towards the preservation of lineage. In other words, marriage is not just purely to provide pleasure and enjoyment, externally (physical) and internally (spiritually), but as a proper channel in obtaining offspring and continuing a legitimate descendant. Allah mentions in the first verse of Surah an-Nisa (which means):
“O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allah is ever, over you, an Observer.” [Al-Quran, Surah an-Nisa, verse 1]
Even though the religion encourages us to increase our offspring and lineage, however, it must be reminded and asserted here that it is not to be attained through zina or illegitimate sexual relationship. A child born out of wedlock is an illegitimate child, and so on and so forth, from one descendant to another descendant. According to Islamic rulings, an illegitimate child cannot be attributed to the male who had impregnated the mother.
Imam ibn Rushd had mentioned in his book Bidayah al-Mujtahid and Imaam ibn Qudaamah mentioned in his great work al-Mughni that it was agreed by the majority of scholars that children born out of wedlock cannot be ascribed to their biological father.
If illegitimate children are ascribed their biological father, then it can possibly lead to greater problems, among them:-
- The marriage of a child born out of wedlock with the guardianship (wali) of the biological father is not rendered valid. Its impact is that there will be damages within the family institution due to continuous adultery resulting from an invalid marriage contract.
- The birth of illegitimate children will be widespread in society.
- It will give birth to a nation having chaotic lineage;
- Illegitimate children will claim the same rights as legitimate children in issues pertaining to wali (guardianship), inheritance, and many others, which could further cause greater destruction.
- In terms of inheritance, children born out of wedlock are not entitled to inherit the estate of their father, due to having illegitimate status. They can only inherit from their mother. Similarly, their fathers are not entitled to inherit the estate of his children, having illegitimate status.
All of these harmful effects and implications are due to the sins of the mother and her partner. However, the children born will not bear the sins committed by their father and mother. Therefore, we advise the Muslims do not look down upon children born out of wedlock, who will not at all inherit the sins of their father or mother. Hence, the Muslim ummah is urged to not sidestep the Shara„ solely due to the stigma and psychological effects upon illegitimate children.
In addition, any dispute shall be referred to the main authority in Islamic law, which is the Fatwa Committee who is recognized by the legal system in your country.
To end this, we would like to emphasize that:
- The Muslim Ummah must have cognizance upon the implication of children born out of wedlock, that when it is widespread, it will result in severe effect upon the lineage and wellbeing of the society.
- The Muslim Ummah must return to the authentic guidance of al-Qur’an and as-Sunnah by fully internalizing its teachings and applying them in daily lives.
- The Muslim Ummah must preserve its lineage or ancestry by avoiding matters that can lead to disorderliness within the lineage and hereditary.
- The Muslim Ummah must avoid zina to ensure a lineage that is valid and legitimate
“Then is it the judgement of [the time of] ignorance they desire? But who is better than Allah in judgement for a people who are certain [in faith].” [Al-Quran, Surah al-Ma’idah, verse 50]