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Making false claims about a child’s lineage, or denying one’s own child

According to Sharee’ah, it is not permissible for a Muslim to claim to belong to anyone other than his father, or to claim to belong to a people of whom he is not a member. Some people may do this for material gains, and may obtain documentation to “confirm” their false identity officially. Some people may do this out of hatred towards a father who abandoned them when they were children. All of this is haraam, and may lead to much chaos and corruption in a number of fields, such as knowing who is one’s mahram, marriage, inheritance and so on. Sa’d and Abu Bakrah (may Allaah be pleased with them) both reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever knowingly claims to belong to anyone other than his father, Paradise will be denied him.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari; see Fath al-Bari, 8/45). It is also forbidden to tamper with lineages or make false claims about a person’s descent. There are some people who, when they want to fight dirty in arguments with their wives, accuse them of immoral conduct and disown their children, without any proof, when the child was born “in their bed” (i.e. is the husband’s child and no-one else’s). Then there are some wives who betray their trust and become pregnant with another man’s child, but claim that it belongs to the husband. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) issued a stern warning against such conduct. Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that when aayat al-mulaa’anah [al-Noor 24:7 - check] was revealed, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The woman who brings into a people someone who does not belong to them has nothing to do with Allaah, and Allaah will not admit her to His Paradise. Any man who denies his own child when he is looking at him, Allaah will conceal Himself from him and expose him before all the people.” (Reported by Abu Dawud, 2/695; see also Mishkat al-Masaabeeh, 3316).

 


Not giving gifts equally to one’s children

Some people show favouritism in the way they give gifts to some of their children but not others. According to the soundest opinion, doing this is haraam unless there is some legitimate reason, such as one child being in greater need than the others due to sickness, being in debt, being rewarded for having memorized the entire Qur’aan, being unable to find a job, having a large family, being a full-time student, etc. When a father gives something to one of his children who is in need, he should have the intention to give similarly to any other children of his should the need arise. General proof of this principle may be seen in the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): “. . . Be just: that is nearer to piety, and fear Allaah . . .” [al-Maa’idah 5:8]. Specific evidence is found in the report of al-Nu’maan ibn Basheer (may Allaah be pleased with him), whose father brought him to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said: “I have given this son of mine a slave that I had.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) asked him, “Did you give all your children a similar gift?” He said, “No.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Then take (the gift) back.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, see al-Fath, 5/211). According to another report, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Fear Allaah and be fair to your children,” so he went away and took his gift back. (al-Fath 5/211).According to a third report, he said, “Do not ask me to be a witness, for I will not bear witness to injustice.” (Saheeh Muslim, 3/1243).Sons may be given twice as much as daughters, as in the case of inheritance, according to Imaam Ahmad, may Allaah have mercy on him (Abu Dawud, Masaa’il al-Imaam Ahmad, 204; Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim explained this in more detail in his footnotes). But there are some families where fathers do not fear Allaah, and their favouritism creates hatred and jealousy among the children. A father may give one child more because he looks like his paternal uncles, and give less to another child because he looks like his maternal uncles; or he may give more to the children of one wife and less to the children of another wife; or he may put one wife’s children in private schools, but not the other wife’s children. This will ultimately backfire on him, because in most cases the one who is deprived in this way will not respect his father or treat him kindly in the future. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) asked the man who showed favouritism to one son, “Do you not want all your children to respect you equally?” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad, 4/269; see also Saheeh al-Jaami, 1623).

 


Writing a will for the purpose of harming one of the heirs

One of the basic principles of Sharee'ah is that there should be neither harming nor reciprocating harm. One example of this harm is writing a will that deprives one or some of the legitimate heirs of his or their rights. Such a person is warned by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): "Whoever harms (others), Allaah will harm him, and whoever makes things difficult for others, Allaah will make things difficult for him." (Reported by Imaam Ahmad, 3/453; see also Saheeh al-Jaami', 6348). Ways in which a person's will can harm others is by denying an heir of his rights, or giving an heir more than he is entitled to in Sharee'ah, or by bequeathing more than a third to any one person.

In places where people are not subject to the rule of Sharee'ah, it may be difficult for a person to take what is his by rights granted by Allaah, because courts that apply man-made laws may order that the unfair will registered with a lawyer be executed. "Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for that they earn thereby." [al-Baqarah 2:79]

 

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Striking or branding the face

Jaabir said: "The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade striking or branding the face." (Reported by Muslim, 3/1673).

As far as striking the face is concerned, many fathers and teachers do this as a way of punishing children, when they strike them in the face with their hand, and so on; some people also do this to their servants, even though this is an insult to the face with which Allaah has honoured man. It may also cause the loss of some of the important senses which are located in the face, leading to regret and possible demands for retribution.

Branding animals in the face is done to make a distinguishing mark so that each animal's owner may be known and the animal may be returned to him if it is lost. This is haraam, because it causes suffering and deformity. If people claim that this is their tribal custom and that a distinguishing mark is necessary, it should be made on some other part of the animal, not on the face.

 

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