Most scholars agree that an illegitimate person cannot be blamed on his parents’ sin. If a man is born outside of wedlock and proposes to a Muslim woman, it is permissible to marry her if he is Muslim with good manners.

Compatibility of an Illegitimate Person

Similar Questions

  • Marriage to an illegitimate person.

The Issue

In non-Muslim countries those born outside wedlock and who do not know their fathers are numerous. Such a person may come with a proposal of marriage to a woman of a good family. What is the ruling on such a marriage?


Scholars of olden days discussed the question of social compatibility and whether it is a condition for the validity of marriage and pointed out the differences in this regard. They discussed the issues that determine compatibility, such as faith, freedom and family line. They mentioned that only a Muslim man has the social compatibility to marry a Muslim woman, and only a free man can marry a free woman. Some scholars discourage marriage to an illegitimate person altogether.

Marriage to an illegitimate person is perfectly permissible because he cannot be blamed for the adultery of someone else. Fiqh councils have not discussed the subject of the compatibility of such a person but have discussed the general question of compatibility. In its decision 1/14 on the matter, the European Council for Fatwa and Research says:

Having thoroughly discussed the paper presented on ‘compatibility in marriage’, the Council adopts the following decision:

1.Compatibility between husband and wife ensures a good family relationship and continuity of married life without estrangement or problems due to social and environmental differences.
2.Islamic law has combined what some societies uphold as differences that influence family stability with its own values and ideals that make God-fearing, moral behaviour and earned good qualities the basis of honour. It confirms its aim to gradually end those differences while enhancing the value of good action and God-fearing, achieving all this through correcting behaviour, reform and wisdom.
3.The work of scholars of Islamic jurisprudence with regard to the qualities that influence compatibility has always looked at current social values, as these influence marital and family relations. However, their work has always stressed that good personal behaviour replaces traditional social compatibility.
4. There is no disagreement that the top element in compatibility is being religious.

The late Shaikh Abd al-Azeez ibn Baz was asked about a man who married his daughter to someone who was then confirmed to be born illegitimate. He answered: ‘If the man is a Muslim the marriage is valid, because he bears no blame for his mother’s sin or for the sin of her partner in adultery.

God says:

“Say: ‘Am I, then, to seek a lord other than God, when He is the Lord of all things?’ Whatever wrong any human being commits rests upon himself alone. No one shall be made to bear the burden of another. In time, to your Lord you all must return; and then He will tell you the truth of all that over which you were in dispute.’”

(6: 164)

If this husband follows the Islamic path and acquires good moral values and manners, no shame attaches to him through his parents’ deed.

God says:

“Mankind! We have created you all out of a male and a female, and have made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another. Truly, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the one who is most genuinely God-fearing. God is all-knowing, all-aware.”

(49: 13)

The Prophet was asked about the noblest of people,

and his answer was:

“The most God-fearing among them.”

He also says:

“Whoever is held back by his own deeds, cannot advance through his family lineage.”


  • The European Council for Fatwa and Research.
  •  Abd al-Azeez ibn Baz, Fatawa.