Egyptian Salafist cleric Mazen Al-Sersawi has stirred controversy, after a video in which he suggested that Islam allows men to marry their illegitimate daughters went viral.
In the video, Al-Azhar lecturer cites prominent Muslim jurist Imam Al-Shafi'i as saying that illegitimate daughters are not officially attributed to their fathers and can thus be married to them.
In the 2012 video that recently resurfaced online, he said Imam Al-Shafi'i - one of the four great Imams of Islamic jurisprudence - is known for saying men may marry their own daughters that are born out of wedlock.
Al-Sersawi explained that if a man has extramarital intercourse with a woman and impregnates her, he is allowed to marry his illegitimate daughter.
Attempting to rationalize the repulsive ruling, Al-Sersawi said that according to Al-Shafi'i, the girl is "not really his daughter" since she is the result of adultery.
"She is not his daughter according to Sharia. She is not officially attributed to him," he said, adding that illegitimate daughters do not carry their fathers' names.
Al-Sersawi admitted "this is a major gaffe in the school of Imam Al-Shafi'i," but went on to say "it is incomparable to his many good deeds."
"What is this madness? #A_Man_May_Marry_His_Daughter"
"I'm shocked my relatives were okay with the issue concerning men marrying their illegitimate daughters, just because Al-Shafi'i was cited."
Clerics shut down Al-Sersawi's claims
While Al-Sersawi is not the only Muslim preacher to attribute the ruling to Imam Al-Shafi'i, several clerics have pointed out that it has been misinterpreted.
According to Sheikh Mohammad Hassan, a Salafist cleric, Al-Shafi'i said if a man commits adultery with a woman, he is allowed to marry her daughter as long as he is not her father.
Additionally, the late Muhammad Metwali Al-Sharawi, an Islamic scholar and jurist, and the former Egyptian minister of Endowments, has previously asserted that Islam absolutely forbids men from marrying the daughters of women they have had extramarital sex with.