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I have a son that is not attributed to me (named as my son). Everyone has made mistakes and commits sins in their past, but should I bear this sin until I die? My son is starting his school soon and this would surely have a negative impact on his life, especially at his young age. What should I do?



Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the many countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

Fornication is a great sin as mentioned through the hadith of the Prophet PBUH and in the Quran. There are numerous hadiths that warn of the dangers and punishments of fornication, keeping Muslims away from this immoral and disgusting act.

In the Quran, Allah SWT states:

وَلَا تَقۡرَبُواْ ٱلزِّنَىٰٓۖ إِنَّهُۥ كَانَ فَٰحِشَة وَسَآءَ سَبِيلا

“And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way.”

Surah al-Isra’ (32)

Al-Imam al-Qurtubi Rahimahullah states in his commentaries that the sin of fornication could lead to the punishment of hellfire for it is a great sin (al-Kaba’ir). Scholars agreed that fornication is a great and grave sin, especially if it is with your neighbour’s wife. [1]

In a hadith from Abdullah RA, he asked the Prophet PBUH:

أَىُّ الذَّنْبِ أَعْظَمُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ قَالَ: ‏ أَنْ تَجْعَلَ لِلَّهِ نِدًّا وَهْوَ خَلَقَكَ‏.‏ قُلْتُ إِنَّ ذَلِكَ لَعَظِيمٌ‏.‏ قُلْتُ ثُمَّ أَىّ قَالَ: ‏ ثُمَّ أَنْ تَقْتُلَ وَلَدَكَ تَخَافُ أَنْ يَطْعَمَ مَعَكَ.‏ قُلْتُ ثُمَّ أَىّ قَالَثُمَّ أَنْ تُزَانِيَ بِحَلِيلَةِ جَارِكَ.

I asked Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) "What is the biggest sin in the sight of Allah?" He said, "To set up rivals unto Allah though He alone created you." I said, "In fact, that is a tremendous sin," and added, "What’s next?" He said, "To kill your son being afraid that he may share your food with you." I further asked, "What’s next?" He said, "To commit illegal sexual intercourse with the wife of your neighbour."

Sahih al-Bukhari (7520)

Fornication is among the greatest sins stated by the Prophet PBUH in the above hadith, mentioned straight after syirk (polytheism) and killing, which show the seriousness of this sin and surely it would harm someone’s life.


Out of Wedlock Child

According to Act 303 of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984 in Section 2, the interpretation for an 'illegitimate' child is a child born out of wedlock and is not a child from syubhah intercourse.

Similarly, the 44th Muzakarah Fatwa Committee MKI, on June 1998, detailed the definition of an illegitimate children stating:

  1. Out of wedlock child is either due to adultery or rape and he is not from the syubhah intercourse or a child from slavery.
  2. Children born less than 6 months 2 years by Qamariah Calendar from the date of tamkin (intercourse).
  3. Illegitimate children cannot carry the name of the man who caused his birth or the name of anyone who claims to be the father of the child. Therefore, they cannot inherit the inheritance, are not considered as mahram and cannot be a wali.

The Federal Territories through its fatwa council have also explained this issue mentioning: "If the child in the womb is born after more than six months from the date his mother marries, then the child is considered as a legitimate child and may carry the name of his biological father, even if the child is born as a result of fornication." [2]


The Naming of Illegitimate Child

The Muzakarah of the National Council on Islamic Religious Affairs Fatwa of the 1st meeting held on 28-29 January 1981 had discussed the Naming of the Illegitimate Children (Out of Wedlock Children). Muzakarah has decided that a child born from fornication or out of wedlock child (illegitimate child) whether the biological parents of the child marries or not should be bin or binti to Abdullah. [3]



According to the above discussion, we find that the issue of illegitimate child is within the legal jurisdiction of an Act which is bound by the existing law of each state in Malaysia. The Act or the enactment must be obeyed as it has been gazetted. Hence, this issue should be viewed from the legislation system in Malaysia. It is best to consult with the National Registry Department and the State Department Court.

For those who had committed fornication before, rest assured that the doors of repentance are always open. No matter how great the sin is, Allah SWT is the Most Gracious and the Most Forgiving. We present a hadith from the Prophet PBUH that clearly portrays Allah SWT’s Forgiving attribute, narrated by Anas bin Malik RA:

سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللهِ يَقُولُ: قَالَ اللهُ تَعَالَى: "يَا ابْنَ آَدَمَ إِنَّكَ مَا دَعَوتَنِيْ وَرَجَوتَنِيْ غَفَرْتُ لَكَ عَلَى مَا كَانَ مِنْكَ وَلا أُبَالِيْ، يَا ابْنَ آَدَمَ لَو بَلَغَتْ ذُنُوبُكَ عَنَانَ السَّمَاءِ ثُمَّ استَغْفَرْتَنِيْ غَفَرْتُ لَكَ، يَا ابْنَ آَدَمَ إِنَّكَ لَو أَتَيْتَنِيْ بِقِرَابِ الأَرْضِ خَطَايَا ثُمَّ لقِيْتَنِيْ لاَتُشْرِك بِيْ شَيْئَاً لأَتَيْتُكَ بِقِرَابِهَا مَغفِرَةً". رَوَاهُ التِّرْمِذِيُّ وَقَالَ: حَدِيْثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحَيْحٌ.

“I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say, “Allah the Almighty has said: ‘O Son of Adam, as long as you invoke Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O Son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and you then asked forgiveness from Me, I would forgive you. O Son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the Earth, and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it [too].”

Sunan al-Tirmizi (3540) and Sunan Ahmad (21804)


End notes:

[1] See Al-Jami’ li Ahkam al-Quran. Dar al-Kutub al-Misriyyah, (10/253).

[2] See Buku Fatwa-Fatwa Mufti Wilayah Persekutuan 1987-2010 (Book on Fatwa by Mufti of Federal Territories 1987-2010). Published by Mufti of Federal Territories Office. First Edition 2012. pg. 8.

[3] See Kompilasi Pandangan Hukum Muzakarah Jawatankuasa Fatwa Majlis Kebangsaan Bagi Hal Ehwal Ugama Islam Malaysia (Compilation of Rulings by Muzakarah Fatwa Committee of the National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs Malaysia). Published by Fatwa Management Department, JAKIM. 5th Edition, pg. 115.