How to Tell My Brother That He Has a Different Father?
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How to Tell My Brother That He Has a Different Father?

Questioner

Adnan

Reply Date

Oct 10, 2017

Question

Dear respected sheikhs, as-salamu `alaykum. By Allah, I am embarrassed by my situation. This question is not about me but about my mother (may Allah forgive her). Before meeting my father, my mother was pregnant with my older brother from a man who was her instructor at school (i.e., the child was illegitimate). My father concealed her secret, and she gave birth to the baby and my father gave him his name. Until the day my father died, he did not reveal her secret; and he used to consider my brother his own son. The problem is that my brother, until now, does not know that he is another man's son. My aunt and grandmother informed me, and I was forced to tell my little brother and my sister too, so that there would not be any sin on the part of my father or at least his sins may be lessened. The biggest problem is that my older brother suffers from anxiety problems, and his condition might get worse if he knows about this issue. That is why neither me, nor my brother or sister, told him. Moreover, he married my cousin on the basis that she is his uncle's daughter, and she does not know that he is not her uncle's son. Even my mother does not know that we know, and I did not tell her so as not to embarrass her. But we forgave her and my father even concerning the issue of inheritance; he can inherit like us from my father's estate. The issue is complicated, not simple, and the lack of stability in our lives was because of our poor social status. My little brother got over that by turning back to Allah. He has now become deeply devout, and I hope that I will be, too. Please, I seek a convincing answer. JazakumAllah khayran.

Mufti

Answer


How to Tell My Brother That He Has a Different Father

Wa`alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.


In this fatwa:

1- It is really a complicated and sensitive issue that requires wisdom and carefulness when dealing with. So, you need to consider your brother’s feelings and psychological well-being.

2- Make du`aa’ for your father’s forgiveness and help your mother maintain sincere repentance.

3- We can truly appreciate the extent of the shock your brother will undergo when he faces the truth, which has been hidden from him this whole time, but you can be wise and let him know gradually.

4- We are not in a hurry concerning this now because there are no urgent, practical aspects dependent upon this information.


Answering this question, Dr. Salah Al-Sawy, the Secretary General for the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America (AMJA), said:

Your father (may Allah have mercy on him) did something good, and he also did something bad. It was good of him to keep your mother’s sin a secret and to help her repent and begin a new life of chastity, virtue, and purity.

What he did wrong, however, was to adopt a child that is not his and to claim that he is his own. That is one of the major sins, and it is absolutely forbidden by Shari`ah.

Almighty Allah says:

“Assert their relationship to their fathers; this is more equitable with Allah, but if you do not know their fathers, then they are your brethren in faith and your friends, and there is no blame on you concerning that in which you made a mistake, but (concerning) that which your hearts do purposely (blame may rest on you), and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (Al-Ahzab 33:5)

Nothing is left now but the practical considerations of the whole issue. As for your brother and cousin’s marriage, there is nothing wrong with that, because the marriage is lawful in either cases — whether he is her uncle’s son or not.

As for you and your siblings’ transferring of a share of the inheritance to him as a gift or donation, there is nothing wrong with that, for your father’s estate will become yours in the future, Allah willing. What remains, however, is the matter of telling him about the reality of his situation.

I can truly appreciate the extent of the shock he will undergo when he faces the truth, which has been hidden from him this whole time, but you can be wise and let him know gradually.

We are not in a hurry concerning this now because there are no urgent, practical aspects dependent upon this information.

We ask Allah to be merciful to us and to you in that which is brought by fate. Your brother did well to flee to his Lord from these trials, so he found under His protection serenity and tranquility.

Do as he did, and you will see blessings and subtle grace from your Lord that would never have come to your mind!

Almighty Allah knows best.

Excerpted with slight editorial modification from AmjaOnline.com.




About Dr. Salah Al-Sawy

President of the Shari`ah Academy and the Secretary General for the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America

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