Q&A (Fatwa)

#354: Ruling on Grandchildren bearing the Name of their Grandfather

Now what does Islam see to using a family name, like children bearing their grandfather’s name, when he’s not their direct father…..going in line with the Qur’anic injunction of not attributing oneself to other than one’s biological father? Please, since we just discussed the issue of a lady changing, or not changing her surname upon marriage….”



Firstly, if it can be proven that the meaning of Mrs as it is used in the English language means ‘wife of’ then there will be nothing wrong in using the word ‘Mrs’ for married women. Since the Sahaabiyyaat and the women of Islam in the Qur’an were titled the wives of their respective husbands.

However, this cannot be sufficiently proven and etymological dictionaries, though, mentioned that Mrs, Ms and Miss all mean mistresses do not distinctly separate that used for married women, single women and married but single women.

It should be realised that we mentioned that it is best not to follow this tradition in our previous verdict not because of attribution per say but because the tradition takes root in the English legal doctrine of Coverture as we explained.

We also mentioned that in situations where such attributions are needed for identifications and disambiguation or where Muslims are in a minority and such identifications are the norm, there is nothing wrong in doing that for the sakes of necessity.

Regarding the question asked, it should be understood that the Ulama a have formed a consensus that when the word ‘father’ or ‘child’ are used in the terminology of the Qur’an, it transcends the immediate father or son, especially in attribution and inheritance. Therefore, your grandfather, is still on the father’s line. Your grandson is still on your son’s line. Your grand daughter is still on your daughter’s line.

Evidence for this is the Hadith reported by the Taabi’i Abu Is’haq – rahimahullaah – the following:

“A man asked Al-Barraa radiyalllaahu an hu saying: O Abu Ammaara! Did you people actually turn on your heels on the day of Hunayn?
Al-Barraa answered while I listened:
The Messenger of Allaah – salallaahu alayhi wasallam – did not turn on his heels on that day. Abu Sufyan bn
Al-Haarith was holding the reins of his mount. So when the Mushrikun surrounded him, he alighted (his mount) and began to say:

“I am indeed the Prophet, not in falsehood;
I am indeed the son of AbdulMuttalib”

Nobody was seen to be more severe (in battle) that day than him.”

Recorded by Imaam Al-Bukhaari in his Sahih.

Imaam As-Sarakhsi – rahimahullaah – said:

“In reality, to attribute to the grandfather is like attributing to the father as most people are attributed to the grandfathers for identification and not the fathers. Don’t you see that Ibn Abi Layla was attributed to his grandfather? In like was Abu Nasr bn Salaama attributed to his grandfather because Salaama was his grandfather and not his father. And for that reason, the ruling becomes apparent that direct birth from parents and paternal grand parents are same.”

Ref: “Al-Mabsut” 27/158

The Ulamaa of Islam never condemned this sort of attribution. It was something they did and called others by.

Lastly, we want to encourage ourselves and the entire Muslim community, that we should beware and careful of the traditions of the west that we embrace and take after in this era of ours. Let us try as best as we can not to emulate them even in issues that look minor and insignificant to us. That is what the Rasūl – salallāhu alayhi wasallam – taught us.

Bārakallāhu Fīkum
Jazākumullāhu Khayran

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