The inheritance of an illegitimate child

بســـم اللــه الرحــمــن الـرحـــيــم

▪️The inheritance of an illegitimate child▪️

Our Shaykh, Muhammad ibn Hizaam -may Allaah preserve him- was asked the following question:

📩 Question:

The Questioner says: Does the presence of a child born out of wedlock have any effect on the shares of rightful inheritors?

📝 The Answer:

As for the woman, the child belongs to her without any doubt, and this child takes the same rulings as her (legitimate) son; as is well known.

But with regards to the man; the scholars have differed in his case. Many have stated that the child is not attributed to him even if he claims to be the father, due to the saying of the Prophet ﷺ:
‘The child is attributed to the (owner of the) bed (i.e. belongs to the husband) and the fornicator is to be stoned!’
[Narrated by Abu Hurraira, reported by Bukhari]

But the correct view (in sha Allah) is that of Ishaaq, and subsequently Shaykhul Islam and Ibnul Qayim – may Allah have mercy on them all – that; if a man makes an unchallenged claim to being the child’s father and he is not suspected of being fraudulent in this to attain a share in the inheritance, or any other financial gain; (for example, he claimed the child prior to any shares being distributed), then in this case the child is attributed to him and he inherits from him even if he was born out of wedlock. So just as the woman; who despite committing the same indecency, has the child attributed to her, the same would apply to the man – provided he is the biological father, and this is true whether the child is male or female.

So just as he is the child of the adulteress, he is also the son of the adulterer.

However, the child is not attributed to the fornicator if:

  • he denies the child is his
  • the mother fornicated with more than one man in the same period
  • the woman’s husband claims the child; and in this case he (the husband) is entitled to the child (due to the statement of The Prophet ﷺ):
    ‘The child is attributed to the (owner of the) bed (i.e. belongs to the husband) and the fornicator is to be stoned!’

Translated by:
Abu Sufyaan Saami Al-Ghaani

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