Question 271: A man has been a student at Hawza for 2 years. He reverted in 2011. He has just found out that there might be a problem because his mother never married his father. I have heard, and so has he during his studies, that people cannot pray behind an Imam that is illegitimately born. He’s wondering if there is any point in continuing as a seminary student if people cannot pray behind him? Is it the position of Khamenei and the other Grand Marja that he cannot be an Mola/Sheikh because of this reason? Does his illegitimate birth not count against him because he’s a revert? What is your advice on his continuance in seminary. Can an illegitimate child lead congregational prayer?
Answer 271: Each country has its own special nikah. Islam has respected the law obtained in each country regarding marriage and never considered a child born by such nikah as illegitimate.
If his parents did, according to the rights that were obtained in their country in this regards, their marriage would be considered as valid and he is not illegitimate.
If they didn’t know the rules concerning marriage rights, their child is not considered illegitimate too. It is said to be a child of doubtful nature.
According to common law, if his parents’ relationship is not considered as adultery but, instead it is considered as nikah, their relationship would be valid and the man is not illegitimate as well.
In these previous cases the man can lead congregation prayer.
Otherwise, if they didn’t respect their religious rights (such as Christian, Islam, etc.) and the child was born in this situation and they had committed adultery according to common law he is not able to lead congregation prayer, however he would be able to continue learning and studying Islamic sciences and other acts, which he is allowed to do.
For further information in this regarding, please read the following answer:
Index: Qualification of an Imam of congregational prayers, answer 021.
 . Tahzibul Ahkam, Vol. 8, Pg. 29; Al-Tahzib, Vol. 7, Pg. 472, H 99, Wasael al-Shia, Pg. 588, H. 2.
 . Ameli, Baha al-Din Muhammad bin Hussain & Sawoji, Nidham bin Hussain, Jame’ Abbai wa Takmil e an (its completion), annotated, researcher and editior: Mahallati Haeri, Sheikh Ali, Vol. 2, Pg. 280, Manshoorat al-Farahani Institution, Tehran, first edition.
 . Ale Usfoor al-Bahrani, al-Hussain bin Muhammad, Sidad al-Ebad wa Rishad al-Ebad, Pg. 142, al-Mallati, Qom, first edition, 1421 A.H; Jawad, Miftah al-Kiramah fee Sharh e Qawaed al-Allamah, Vol. 10, Pg. 14, al-Nashr al-Islami al-Tabeah Lijama’at al-Modarresin Institution, Qom, first edition, 1419 A.H.