Is it permissible to congratulate ...

Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta

Is it permissible to congratulate the parents of a child who was born out of wedlock?

 Is it permissible to congratulate the parents of a child who was born out of wedlock?

Is it permissible to congratulate the parents of a child who was born out of wedlock?

Congratulating the parents for having a child is permissible in all cases as a sign of kindness and gentleness for the joy they feel with the advent of their baby.

It is rather a popular phenomenon in the West for the woman to have a child out of wedlock and the father of the child might marry her after a while or she might remain a single mother. This issue is known in the Islamic jurisprudence as taking the child that was born out of adultery as the legal child of the adulterer. This issue has two forms, the first form has to do with the woman if she was married and the second form has to do with the case if she wasn’t married.

The majority of scholars deemed it impermissible for the adulterer man to have legal parenthood of the child that was born out of adultery. A handful of scholars on the contrary allowed the legal parenthood of the adulterer man to the child only in the case if the woman was not married.

The major proof on which the scholarly opinion on this issue is based is the prophetic tradition in which the Prophet said “the child to bed and the adulterer to the stone”. The phrase of the child to bed means that if the woman is married and got pregnant, then her born child belongs to her husband and the child enjoys all legal rights such as inheritance as long as at least six months have passed since their last intercourse. As for the phrase “and the adulterer to the stone”, the Arabs used to refer to disappointment and deprivation with dust or stone. So in other words the adulterer has no legal right in this child.

The handful of scholars -who permitted the adulterer man to have legal rights as the parent of the child that was born out of adultery only in the case of the woman not being married- based their opinion on the justification that if the woman is unmarried then there would be no legal dispute over the right of fatherhood between the husband and the adulterer man. We find it permissible to follow the minority opinion in this regard in places where this phenomenon is prevalent.

Imam Abu Hanifa said that he does not see any legal impediment for the adulterer man to have legal rights over the child that was born out of adultery and he could marry the mother of his child and becomes the legal father of this child.

You have to be easy and lenient with your parents as Islam does not appreciate isolation of the Muslim from his social surrounding. Also you have to be very careful not to call yourself “more religious” than your parents because you simply don’t know who is more virtuous in God’s sight. Your parents might be more beloved and virtuous in God’s sight with their sincere hearts regardless of their acts and sayings which you think mount to sins.

The mere fact that your parents watch movies or listen to music and the like is not a sin as what mounts to a sin is watching things which cause God’s discontent and same goes for listening to music as listening in itself is not prohibited as songs are simply words which can be either good or bad and we ought to avoid bad ones. As for the words that your parents utter and you classify them as words of polytheism or disbelief can simply be a sheer misunderstanding in your mind to what mounts to disbelief. Therefore you have to be careful not to judge your parents and think of their acts as prohibited in Islamic law.

You also have to stop thinking that you are better than your parents or closer to God than them because what actually matters is sincerity of the heart even if the acts were not many. Thus you have to be merciful with your parents as the mercy of the Muslim should flow over to encompass all people around him or her. You also have to bear in mind that Islam commanded us to be gentle and kind with our parents even if they were disbelievers let alone if they were Muslims.

I advise you dear sister to reconsider your position towards your parents and the judging attitude over their acts and sayings. Also you should not listen to the talks of half scholars and self claimed scholars who lack both religious knowledge and intellectual discernment to pass juristic rulings and lack the ability to comprehend the meanings of the textual doctrine.


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