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Child Out of Wedlock: Tell to the Parents?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Apr 10, 2017

Question

I have always been close to my brother, and he has shared most of his things with me. Recently, he told me that his ex-girlfriend just gave birth to his baby. While this came as an utter shock to me, I was scared more than anything else. My family would never accept this baby because they are very religious. Even though my brother is no longer with the girl, he is aware of his responsibilities and intends to support her. He is torn as whether to tell our parents and risk him being disowned or to carry on keeping it as a secret. He has also reached the age of marriage and intends to marry a girl of my parents' choice, which was the reason for his break-up with his ex-girlfriend. He was not aware that she was expecting his baby until months after they split up. I am aware that what he did was completely wrong. But the baby is here now, and I am inclined to stand by him as he is my brother. The problem is that I don't know what advice to give him. He talks about running away; he is completely guilt-ridden and hopes that Allah will help him. On the one hand, if he tells my parents, they with disowning him. It will tear up the family, and I am sure it will result in someone's death. On the other hand, if he keeps the baby in secret, she will live a life without knowing her father's family. What if they find out from someone else? Please help us.

Counselor

Answer


Child Out of Wedlock: Tell to the Parents?

Answer:

Salam ‘Alaikum,

Thank you for writing to us. Your brother is facing a very difficult situation, and we make du’aa’ to Allah (swt) that He (swt) guides your brother to what is best for his faith, family, and future. Here are some thoughts for your consideration.

First, realize that your brother has committed a grave sin, and he needs to first of all feel remorse and repent to Allah Most High for what he has done. It is very honorable that he is taking responsibility for his actions, but he needs to do more. He needs to come to terms with the fact that there is and was something wrong with his relationship with Allah Most High as to why he fell into a pre-marital relationship. He needs to repair and restore his relationship with Allah (swt) before and ponder his course of action. Due to the insurmountable challenges he faces with the newborn baby and the question of whether to tell your parents or not, he needs to be able to have a strong relationship with Allah (swt) so that he can turn to Allah (swt) for guidance, assistance, and healing. Please, as much as you care for him and want to help him, first make sure that he begins immediately to work on his relationship with Allah (swt), bearing in mind that he needs to make sure that he has brought a life into this world.

Second, the scholars are in agreement that the child born out of wedlock does not bear the sins of the man and woman whose actions led to his or her birth. This means that if it is confirmed that the child is, in fact, your brother’s, then he should do everything possible to support, maintain, and provide for the child. We also suggest that he provides for the child until the paternity test establishes the fatherhood or negates his fatherhood.

Third, your parents are religious, and that is wonderful to hear, but they cannot take the matter into their own hands and “disown” your brother or hurt him so that, as you write, their actions results in “someone’s death.” Islam has clear teachings on how to handle such situations, and despite how difficult it will be for the family, they must respect those teachings and abide by them.

Fourth, as lovely as it would be for your brother to marry a girl of your parent’s choice, the reality is that he was involved in a pre-marital relationship and impregnated his girlfriend, and then ended the relationship. According to the Qur’an, there is a clear injunction on a person who has fornicated or committed adultery:

The fornicator shall not marry any but a fornicatress or idolatress, and (as for) the fornicatress, none shall marry her but a fornicator or an idolater; and it is forbidden to the believers.” (24: 3)

Essentially, we are asking you to explore the possibility of your brother marrying his former girlfriend. What should make your family religious is that they live their lives according to the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Consult a local Imam and seek his assistance to determine how wise it would be perhaps for your brother to marry his former girlfriend.

Finally, we cannot imagine what you and your brother are about to go through as you take on the complex challenges facing you and your family. Throughout all this, we urge you to stand by him and to make sure that he first turns to Allah (swt) for help. Work with him and work with your family with the help of a local Imam to come to a final decision that is best for all of your faiths, your family, and your future. Make lots of du’aa’ and instruct your brother to make istikharah prayer before he takes any major decisions related to this very difficult matter.

Salam,

***

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