The following question: "My parents conceived me from zina.Whose name do I take and who are my people? Jazakallah khairan."
was addressed to Shaykh Abd-Allaah ibn Jibreen, who wrote the following response:
Praise be to Allaah.
The correct view is that there is no sin on the child of zinaa because of the sin of his parents, because he did not do anything wrong. The (burden of) sin is on his parents. On this basis, he can call himself after his father who has acknowledged his paternity, so that he can prove that he belongs to him and his state (in official papers). Or he can call himself after his mother who gave birth to him, because this is his line of descent; then he will belong to her tribe and state. He should also do righteous deeds and be upright in his conduct and commitment to Islam. What his parents did should not cause him any harm. A person who is hindered by his bad deeds will not be helped by his lineage [i.e., a persons origins do not count for anything if his actions are bad]. And Allaah knows best.
Zawaj.com Editor: I would like to add that the Shaykh uses the phrase "child of zinaa" because it is a simple statement of fact, rather than the term "illegitimate" which is a judgement and a wrong one at that. No human being is illegitimate. We are all creatures of Allah. Each of us has a soul, and each of us awaits our judgement, where our deeds will be weighed. The focus in Islam is on belief, conduct and deeds, not lineage.