If a man commits sin and has a daughter out of wedlock, is that daughter Mahram?

ⓘ Supported by Al Medina 313.



Islamic Text

Yes, if a man commits sin and has a daughter out of wedlock, that daughter is Mahram.

حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمْ أُمَّهَاتُكُمْ وَبَنَاتُكُمْ وَأَخَوَاتُكُمْ وَعَمَّاتُكُمْ

And prohibited (Mahram) to you are your mothers, your daughters, your sisters and your aunts. (Surah al-Nisa, 23).

Zina (adultery or fornication) is a vile sin and it does not establish all legal ties (e.g. inheritance). Which is why a man who commits this sin and has an illegitimate child should claim the child and establish legal ties. However, the ruling of Mahram will apply.

So if a man has a daughter outside of wedlock, she will be a Mahram to him. This ruling is well established in the Hanafi Madhab. They reference the verse above, which states that your daughter is your Mahram. An illegitimate child is still your child biologically. Therefore, the ruling of Mahram is applicable.

قَالَ فِي الْبَحْرِ: أَرَادَ بِحُرْمَةِ الْمُصَاهَرَةِ الْحُرُمَاتِ الْأَرْبَعَ حُرْمَةَ الْمَرْأَةِ عَلَى أُصُولِ الزَّانِي وَفُرُوعِهِ نَسَبًا وَرَضَاعًا وَحُرْمَةَ أُصُولِهَا وَفُرُوعِهَا عَلَى الزَّانِي نَسَبًا وَرَضَاعًا كَمَا فِي الْوَطْءِ الْحَلَالِ وَيَحِلُّ لِأُصُولِ الزَّانِي وَفُرُوعِهِ أُصُولُ الْمُزَنِيّ بِهَا وَفُرُوعُهَا. اهـ. (رد المحتار على الدر المختار)

He (Imam Ibn Nujaym) said in al-Bahr: What was intended by prohibition through relations was four prohibitions. The prohibition (Hurmah) of the woman upon the ancestors of the adulterer (Zani), and his descendants. Whether that relationship be through blood or suckling. Also her ancestors and descendants are prohibited upon the adulterer. Whether that relationship be through blood or suckling. However it is permitted for the ancestors and descendants of the adulterer to marry the ancestors and descendants of the adulteress. (Imam Ibn Abideen, Radd al-Muhtaar).

(قَوْلُهُ وَمَنْ زَنَى بِامْرَأَةٍ حَرُمَتْ عَلَيْهِ أُمُّهَا) أَيْ وَإِنْ عَلَتْ، فَتَدْخُلُ الْجَدَّاتُ بِنَاءً عَلَى مَا قَدَّمَهُ مِنْ أَنَّ الْأُمَّ هِيَ الْأَصْلُ لُغَةً (وَابْنَتُهَا) وَإِنْ سَفَلَتْ، وَكَذَا تَحْرُمُ الْمَزْنِيُّ بِهَا عَلَى آبَاءِ الزَّانِي وَأَجْدَادِهِ وَإِنْ عَلَوْا وَأَبْنَائِهِ وَإِنْ سَفَلُوا. (فتح القدير)

His saying: And whoever commits adultery (or fornication) with a woman, her mother becomes prohibited (Mahram) to him. Meaning it continues up (grandmother, great grandmother). Therefore the grandmothers are included based upon what he mentioned regarding the mother being an ancestor linguistically.

And her daughter. (Meaning) and on down. Likewise the adulteress is prohibited (Mahram) upon the father of the adulterer and his grandfathers, and on up (e.g. great grandfather). Also upon his children and on down. (Imam Ibn Humaam, Fath al-Qadeer).

فَمَنْ زَنَى بِامْرَأَةٍ أَوْ وَطِئَهَا بِشُبْهَةٍ حَرُمَتْ عَلَيْهِ أُصُولُهَا وَفُرُوعُهَا، وَتَحْرُمُ الْمَوْطُوءَةُ عَلَى أُصُولِ الْوَاطِئِ وَفُرُوعِهِ. (وَكَذَا الْمَسُّ بِشَهْوَةٍ مِنَ الْجَانِبَيْنِ). (الاختيار لتعليل المختار)

Whoever fornicates (or commits adultery) with a woman or has sexual relations in doubtful circumstances, her ancestors and descendants are prohibited (Mahram) upon him. And the fornicating lady is prohibited (Mahram) for the fornicating man’s ancestors and descendants. Likewise, if they touch with desire from both sides. (Imam Abu al-Fadl al-Mowsili, al-Ikhtiyaar).

As we see in the Nusoos above, not only will an illegitimate child become Mahram, rather the ruling extends way beyond this. Any two people who engage in intimate relations will cause a Mahram relationship with the parents (and on up, Usool) and children (and on down, Furoo) of the person they engaged with.

It must be noted that a Mahram relationship means marriage is prohibited. Although that often results in a relaxing of gender interaction regulations, it is not always the case. So, the mother of a woman a person has sinned with will become Mahram, meaning they can never marry. However, it does not mean that she is no longer required to wear Hijab in front of him, they can sit in seclusion or she is permitted to travel with him.

And Allah Most High Knows best.

-Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid (05.12.2022)

See also:
Is it sufficient to learn the Deen through questions and answers (Q&A) only?

See also video: