Should illegitimate children be attributed to their known father?

Question:

Many misguided Muslim youth who work in France have illegal relationships with women and make sexual intercourse with them outside the bond of marriage. Some have children and after that they return to Allah in repentance. What is the ruling on a Muslim who has five children from a woman without a legal marriage contract? Are they attributed to him as being their father? I should mention that the children are his, but not through marriage. The woman considers him her husband as their man-made law allows such prohibited relations as long as the woman consents.

Answer:

The children who descended from him before the marriage contract are not attributed to him but to their mother. It was authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) stated: “The child is (to be attributed) to the (fornicating) mother, and the (married) fornicator is to be stoned to death.1

May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.


  1. Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Book on judgments, no. 7182; Al-Nasa’i, Sunan, Book on divorce, no. 3487; Ahmad, Musnad, vol. 6, p. 247; Malik, Al-Muwatta, Book on judicial decisions, no. 1449; and Al-Darimi, Sunan, Book on inheritance, no. 3106. 

  • Date: Muharram 12, 1442 AH
  • Source: Fatawa Al-Lajnah Ad-Da'imah no. 14063
  • Muftis: Shaykh Abdul-Aziz ibn Baz , Shaykh Abdul-Razzaq al-Afify , Shaykh Abdullah ibn Ghudayyan