Identity and lineage in Islam: What does Islam say about attributing oneself to someone other than one’s father?


A student […] wrote to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa, stating that he would like to have his mother’s name, instead of his father’s, inscribed on his […] certificate, and requested permission for this. Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 8 June 2022, gave the following reply to his query:

“There is no doubt that both parents play an equal role in the birth and upbringing of a child. That is why the Holy Quran ascribes the child to both the mother and father, as it states:

لَا تُضَآرَّ وَالِدَةٌۢ بِوَلَدِھَا وَلَا مَوۡلُوۡدٌ لَّہٗ بِوَلَدِہٖ

“‘No mother shall be made to suffer on account of her child, and no father shall be made to suffer on account of his child.’ (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.234)

“This verse signifies that the child is a shared responsibility and a treasure of both parents.

“However, when it comes to addressing the child by someone’s name, the Holy Quran clearly states:

اُدۡعُوۡھُمۡ لِاٰبَآئِہِمۡ ھُوَ اَقۡسَطُ عِنۡدَ اللّٰہِ

“‘Call them after their fathers; that is most just in the sight of Allah.’ (Surah al-Ahzab, Ch.33: V.6)

“Undoubtedly, if your father did not partake in your upbringing and if he did not have any valid reason for his actions, he will be accountable in the sight of God. However, as far as worldly matters are concerned, you will be recognised as his offspring. Therefore, from a religious perspective, your father’s name should be the one to appear on your documents as a symbol of your lineage.”

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