There is a hadith that is narrated as follows: "An illegitimate child is the evilest of the three evils." How should this narration be interpreted under the light of the verse, "No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another"?
Submitted by on Mon, 12/11/2018 - 13:53
Dear Brother / Sister,
A child who was born out of fornication has no crime and sin. As a matter of fact, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) states the following:
"An illegitimate child has no sins transferred from his mother and father." (Hakim, Mustadrak; Munawi V/372)
According to Islam, there is no belief of "pre-eternal sin" inherited from the ancestors as it is the case in Christianity:
"No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another." (al-Isra, 17/15).
"Then shall anyone who has done an atom´s weight of good, see it! And anyone who has done an atom´s weight of evil, shall see it." (az-Zilzal, 99/7-8)
It is necessary to keep the important rule mentioned in the verses above and similar ones in mind all the time.
However, this state is valid for the hereafter, that is, for Allah`s treatment. The people in the world will be affected by some values and display some fair or unfair acts. Therefore, Ibn Abbas states that "the illegitimate child" suffers the real problem and burden of fornication.
However, as we have mentioned, this is like that in terms of the community. A child who is born through fornication is not attributed to his father and is known and insulted as an illegitimate child. This harms an innocent person and crushes him spiritually; however, he is treated based on his own deeds in the hereafter.
The hadith “An illegitimate child is the evilest of the three evils” mentioned in the question was uttered about a munafiq. As a matter of fact, when Hz. Aisha heard the hadith “An illegitimate child is the evilest of the three evils” Abu Hurayra narrated, she said,
“May Allah show mercy to Abu Hurayra! That hadith is about a munafiq. He pestered the Messenger of Allah a lot. The Messenger of Allah asked people about him. They said, “He is an illegitimate child.” Then, he spoke like that. Otherwise, the Quran says, “Nor can a bearer of burdens bear another´s burdens”; how can the Messenger of Allah say such a thing?”
Thus, she clarified the issue. (Zarkashi, Ijaba, p.119; see Musnad, II, 311; VI,109)
That is, the woman and man who commit fornication are guilty. The illegitimate child is innocent. (see Bayhaqi, Sunan X/59; for the meaning of the hadith, see also Ali al-Qari; al-Asrarul-Marfua 466 ff.)
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