Fatwaa ID: 1438
A Muslim man married a Christian woman on July 28th, 2018. The nikah was at the masjid with an imam and witnesses. The marriage was never legalized. On January 7, 2019 (less than six months later), they had a daughter, and due to legal concerns, the father was not documented. The couple is now divorced. Neither of them dispute the Muslim man being the father. However, the woman wants legal custody of the child, and the man knows that she will in that case be raised as a Christian (if with any religion at all). Since the father is undocumented, full custody will go to her automatically if he does not say anything. The man regrets his past mistakes and wants to make things right. Here are his questions:
- Islamically speaking, is the girl his daughter (considering that she was born less than six months after marriage to her mother)? Note again that neither the man nor the woman dispute this. The question is regarding the Shar’i family status of the child.
- Knowing that the girl will otherwise not be raised Muslim, the man is trying to win partial custody of her (full custody seems impossible). Does he have the right to do so? What exactly are his rights and responsibilities in regard to this child?
- After considering the Shar’i rulings regarding this case, what should this man do, moving forward? What course of action would you advise he take when it comes to his former spouse and their daughter?
In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salaamu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullaahi wa-barakaatuh.
We take note of the details of the query. May Allaah Ta’aala grant hidaayah to the Christian woman in question. May He keep the child guided on the path of Islam.
The answers to your queries are as follows,
- A child born within six months of marriage is considered an illegitimate child. The biological father will not be the father from an Islamic perspective. Thus, one will not inherit the other. The man should make sincere istighfaar and tawbah for the zina he has committed.
- Islamically, the biological father is not entitled to custody. However, he may try to win partial custody in legal courts in hope of influencing or raising the child as a Muslim.
- See the above. If he does not win the case, he should seek regular visitation privelages. In all cases, he should ensure that he behaves cordially with the child and her mother. He should display the true manners and beauty of Islam. Perhaps that will bring them closer to Islam. He should try to make himself present in the child’s life.
And Allaah Ta’aala knows best.
Mufti Muajul I. Chowdhury
Darul Iftaa New York
12/18/1444 AH – 07/06/2023 CE | 363
وصل اللهم وسلم وبارك على سيدنا محمد وعلى ءاله وصحبه أجمعين
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