As-salamu `alaykum. I have been married to my husband for over 8 years now. We have 2 children, ages 9 (a girl) and 6 (a boy). I only recently converted . Although my husband was born a Muslim, he has not seriously practiced Islam until now. In fact, we consider ourselves to be learning together and try to support each other as much as we can. My question is this: Am I obligated to tell my 9-year-old daughter that my husband is not her biological father?
My husband has completely taken her as his own and prefers not to ask about her biological father beyond what I have told him as the situation is quite upsetting to me. It is a situation of both shame and pain to me. My husband feels to tell her would only cause her to feel the same pain and shame that I have felt all these years. I fear Allah and am ready to face whatever I must. However, if I can spare my daughter without transgressing, I would certainly choose to do so. Please advise me. Thank you for your time and help.
As salamu akaykum sister,
Shokran for writing to our live session with your most important concern. First of all congratulations on your reversion to Islam, may Allah bless you and your husband and make your journey a blessed one indeed.
Regarding your husband not being your daughter’s biological father even those he raised her from age 1 , from an Islamic perspective you need to tell her. Depending on the circumstances of her conception you may want to write to “Ask the Scholars” section with more details as there are other rulings around this especially if it was a case of rape or incest.
According to Healthy Children (1), it is best to start with adoption concepts in the preschool years. However as your daughter is now 9, it is best to tell her now. “If your child is already of school age and has not been told that he is adopted, you need to talk with him about it, as early during this time of life as possible.” Sister, while it may be hard to tell her, she needs to know for her own sense of identity.
It sounds as if your husband has been a wonderful father to her and that along with your love and support will be a big plus in her adapting to this news. You do not have to tell her gory details of her biological father or of how she was conceived or anything that would be harmful to her. Basic information minus the hurt and pain.
While I am not sure what was involved in this situation sister, I am sorry for your hurt. It sounds like you went through an ordeal, but your daughter does not have to carry that legacy. For example-if she was conceived from a one night stand-she doesn’t have to know that. You can simply state what her fathers name is, personality, what he looks like, and that it did not work out. I do apologize as I do not know the specifics. Forgive me for poor examples, but I am attempting to give basic examples.
Insha’Allah I would kindly suggest that you speak with your husband about this from an Islamic viewpoint. I do understand he loves her very much and is trying to protect her but she will find out one day-sooner or later. When she does, she may be angry at you both for not telling her. She may even lose trust in you.
This may be a big adjustment for her. Then again, maybe it won’t. Make dua to Allah for ease and mercy before you tell her sister so that insha’Allah things will go smoothly. Again, she does not have to know hurtful details, only basic details of her biological father and circumstances.
As you just took shahada and your husband is just beginning to practice, this is the perfect time to get this done and over with. Starting a fresh new life in Islam-with nothing “hanging in the background” is a blessed way to start your family life in Islam. We wish you all the best, you are in our prayers.