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 Does Islam Permit Adoption?

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Obedient Angel

Join date : 2011-04-30
Posts : 2448

PostSubject: Does Islam Permit Adoption?   Wed Jul 06, 2011 3:39 am


Dear scholars,

Could you please furnish me with a fatwa on the Islamic stance on adoption? Your earliest response will be very much appreciated.

Jazakum Allahu Khayran!


In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger

Dear sister in Islam, thank you very much for having confidence in us, and we pray to Allah to guide you to have deep understanding of the teachings ofIslam.

Adoption in the sense of changing one’s identity and lineage for a false lineage is prohibited inIslam; but at the same time, it is allowed for Muslims to adopt a child in the sense of taking him/her under his/her wing for providing both physical and spiritual care for him/her. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,“The best house of Muslims is one where an orphan is cared for.”

Islam's stance on adoption rests on the necessity of keeping the biological parents of the child always in picture. Keeping the original name of the child, and letting him know who are his real parents are some of the conditions stipulated by the Shari`ah when legalizing fostering. The reasons are: in Islam, children have automatic rights to inheritance, they can not marry their mahrams (non-marriageable persons) and they can marry from their foster family if no suckling took place. The issue of hijabin the house is also given due regard between the non-related sisters and brothers, etc. All these rules have to be taken into consideration in this case.

Shedding light on the issue of adoption, we'd cite for you the following article:

"Before Islam, the Arabs practiced adoption, naming the child after the person adopting him or her, as if the adoptive parents and the child were related by blood.

Islam prohibits adoption but allows Muslims to raise children who are not theirs. Muslims can fully raise these children, look after them, and support them, but the children must be named after their real fathers. It is not a sin if a person is named after the wrong father by mistake.

For some of the same reasons, Islam prohibits any method of conceiving or delivering babies other than the traditional and natural method. Artificial insemination with sperm from a man the woman is not married to, surrogate mothers, the donation of sperm or eggs, and mothers' milk banks are all prohibited. These methods produce illegitimate children.

In a case when the father is not known, as with abandoned babies, the child should still not be named after the person raising him or her. In a case such as this, the children may be called brethren in Islam (Mawali).

Allah Almighty says, “Allah has not assigned unto any man two hearts within his body, nor has He made your wives who you declare (to be your mothers) your mothers, nor has He made those who you claim (to be your children) your children. This is but a saying of your mouths. But Allah says the truth and He shows the way. Proclaim their real parentage. That will be more equitable in the sight of Allah. And if you know not their fathers, then (they are) your brethren in the faith, and your clients. And there is no sin for you in the mistakes that you make unintentionally, but what your hearts purpose (that will be a sin for you). Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”(Al-Ahzab: 4-5)

In fact,Islam changed other pre-Islamic traditions related to this issue as well. The raised child cannot inherit from the people who raised him/her, and is not forbidden from marrying what used to be called relatives by the bond of adoption.

Before adoption was prohibited, the Arabs had prohibited the man from marrying the divorcee of his adopted son. Islam prohibits a man marrying the divorcee of his son. However, in Islam, a man can marry the divorcee of the man he raised, who is not his son by blood; this is declared explicitly in the Qur'an. People would have felt uncomfortable in practicing this new permission if Allah had not selected the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to demonstrate its acceptability. It’d be a very heavy duty before people even for the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

Zayd Ibn Harithah (may Allah be pleased with him) was adopted by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) before Islam prohibited adoption. He used to be called Zayd ibn Muhammad (son of Muhammad) until adoption was prohibited when he was again called after his real father.

Adoption is widely practiced in many non-Muslim western societies. Babies are taken from their parents and named after those adopting them. The children grow up having no idea who their real parents are. In a mobile society like the U.S.A. for example, an adopted boy may end up marrying his sister from his original parents without knowing that she is his sister. These cases have actually happened.

This harmful consequence is one of the reasons that Islam places such importance on the use of the child's real name. A person's name is important in Islam because many social rules like marriage, inheritance, custody, provision, and punishment, are contingent upon the blood relationship. This is a reason for women to retain their own names after marriage as well.

Adoption in non-Muslim societies is practiced for many reasons. Non-Muslim societies have many illegitimate babies as a result of extramarital sexual relationships. Very young mothers of these babies do not keep them because they cannot support them and devote time to raising them. So these young women give the children to other parents who have no children, or abandon them in the streets where people can pick them up. Worse than that, some of these babies are killed, put in trash bags, and then thrown in garbage cans.

In other cases, these children are sold to parents who cannot have children. Another reason for adoption in these non-Muslim societies is that many women do not like or want to get pregnant, for fear of ruining their beauty.

Many of these people claim that adoption is a humane service. They do not realize that Islam preserves the humane part of this practice by allowing people to raise children that are not theirs, while it prevents the negative consequences of adoption which can harm society by calling the child after the adoptive parents."

May Allah guide you to the straight path and direct you to that which pleases Him, Ameen

Adopting a Child in Islam

Islamic Legal Rulings about Foster Parenting and Adoption

By: Huda, Guide

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once said that a person who cares for an orphaned child will be in Paradise with him, and motioned to show that they would be as close as two fingers of a single hand. An orphan himself, Muhammad paid special attention to the care of children. He himself adopted a former slave and raised him with the same care as if he were his own son.

However, the Qur'an gives specific rules about the legal relationship between a child and his/her adoptive family. The child's biological family is never hidden; their ties to the child are never severed. The Qur'an specifically reminds adoptive parents that they are not the child's biological parents:

"...Nor has He made your adopted sons your (biological) sons. Such is (only) your (manner of) speech by your mouths. But Allah tells (you) the Truth, and He shows the (right) Way. Call them by (the names of) their fathers; that is juster in the sight of Allah. But if you know not their father's (names, call them) your brothers in faith, or your trustees. But there is no blame on you if you make a mistake therein. (What counts is) the intention of your hearts. And Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful."

(Qur'an 33:4-5)

The guardian/child relationship has specific rules under Islamic law, which render the relationship a bit different than what is common adoption practice today. The Islamic term for what is commonly called adoption is kafala, which comes from a word that means "to feed." In essence, it describes more of a foster-parent relationship. Some of the rules in Islam surrounding this relationship:

An adopted child retains his or her own biological family name (surname) and does not change his or her name to match that of the adoptive family.

An adopted child inherits from his or her biological parents, not automatically from the adoptive parents.
When the child is grown, members of the adoptive family are not considered blood relatives, and are therefore not muhrim to him or her. "Muhrim" refers to a specific legal relationship that regulates marriage and other aspects of life. Essentially, members of the adoptive family would be permissible as possible marriage partners, and rules of modesty exist between the grown child and adoptive family members of the opposite sex.

If the child is provided with property/wealth from the biological family, adoptive parents are commanded to take care and not intermingle that property/wealth with their own. They serve merely as trustees.

These Islamic rules emphasize to the adoptive family that they are not taking the place of the biological family -- they are trustees and caretakers of someone else's child. Their role is very clearly defined, but nevertheless very valued and important.

It is also important to note that in Islam, the extended family network is vast and very strong. It is rare for a child to be completely orphaned, without a single family member to care for him or her. Islam places a great emphasis on the ties of kinship -- a completely abandoned child is practically unheard of. Islamic law would place an emphasis on locating a relative to care for the child, before allowing someone outside of the family, much less the community or country, to adopt and remove the child from his or her familial, cultural, and religious roots. This is especially important during times of war, famine, or economic crisis -- when families may be temporarily uprooted or divided.

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