Adoption in Islam

According to the Sharee’ah (Islamic law), there is no legal adoption. It is prohibited for a person to legally adopt a son or a daughter of whom he is not the biological father. If a person adopts a son or daughter, the Sharee’ah will not confer on the adopted person the status or rights of a biological son or daughter. According to the Quran, one cannot become a person’s real son merely by a declaration. Allah says:

 

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَكْفُرُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَيُرِيدُونَ أَن يُفَرِّقُوا بَيْنَ اللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَيَقُولُونَ نُؤْمِنُ بِبَعْضٍ وَنَكْفُرُ بِبَعْضٍ وَيُرِيدُونَ أَن يَتَّخِذُوا بَيْنَ ذَٰلِكَ سَبِيلًا

 

“Indeed, those who disbelieve in Allah and His Messengers and they wish that they differentiate between Allah and His Messengers and they say, “We believe in some and we disbelieve in others.” And they wish that they take between that away.” (Surah An-Nisa 4:150 )

 

The concept of Adoption exists in religion Islam but remember one thing that according to Shariah there is no concept of legal adoption in Islam. If we study it in details then it is prohibited for a person to legally adopt a son or a daughter of whom he is not the biological father. Allah says:

 

مَّا جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لِرَجُلٍ مِّن قَلْبَيْنِ فِي جَوْفِهِ وَمَا جَعَلَ أَزْوَاجَكُمُ اللَّائِي تُظَاهِرُونَ مِنْهُنَّ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ وَمَا جَعَلَ أَدْعِيَاءَكُمْ أَبْنَاءَكُمْ ذَٰلِكُمْ قَوْلُكُم بِأَفْوَاهِكُمْ وَاللَّهُ يَقُولُ الْحَقَّ وَهُوَ يَهْدِي السَّبِيلَ

 

“Not Allah (has) made for any man [of] two hearts in his interior. And not He (has) made your wives whom you declare unlawful [of them] (as) your mothers. And not He has made your adopted sons your sons. That (is) your saying by your mouths, but Allah says the truth, and He guides (to) the Way.” (Surah Al-Ahzab 33: 4)

 

Islam fully supports the concept of helping the orphan and poor and taking them under your wings. If there is no one to take care of the orphan and poor children. The Islamic form of “adoption” is called kafala comes from the root word meaning “to feed”, its literal meaning is sponsorship. Kafala is also known as legal fostering is the promise to undertake without payment the sustenance, education, and protection of a petty, in the same way as a father would do for his son or daughter.

 

Nature of Adoption in Islam

The guardian and child relationship has specific rules under Islamic laws, which provides the relationship somehow different than adoption in other cultures. In other cultures, adoptive children become virtually identical to birth children in the eyes of the law. In Islamic culture, it describes more of a foster-parent relationship. Some of the rules in Islam related to this relationship are discussed below:

  • An adopted child retains his or her biological family name 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 from the adoptive parents.
  • Members of the adoptive family are not the blood relatives of the adopted child so they are “not Mehram” to him or her.
  • So, 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 as they are “not Mehram” for them.
  • Adoptive parents serve merely as trustees for the property given to the child by his/her biological family.

Adoption is not helpful to family solidarity and overall harmony and peace, which are necessary for social stability. A completely different form of adoption, which is not prohibited by Islam, is when a man brings home an orphan and wants to raise, educate, and treat him as his child. A kind of adoption in which he protects, feeds, clothes, teaches, and loves the child as his own without associating the child to himself, nor does he give him or her the rights which the Shariah reserves for his biological children. Allah says:

 

وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِن بَعْدُ وَهَاجَرُوا وَجَاهَدُوا مَعَكُمْ فَأُولَٰئِكَ مِنكُمْ وَأُولُو الْأَرْحَامِ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلَىٰ بِبَعْضٍ فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

 

“And those who believed afterwards, and emigrated and strove hard with you, then those (are) of you. But those of blood relationship some of them (are) nearer to another in (the) Book (of) Allah. Indeed, Allah of everything (is) All-Knower.” (Surah Al-Anfal 8:75)

 

Shariah allows Muslims to adopt a child to satisfy their emotional and psychological needs. They are allowed to treat the adopted child as their child with regards to love, affection, care and behaviour in general. However, they should always keep in mind that they are not related to them by blood, hence, they are bound to follow the Islamic rules of adoption. It is indeed a virtuous deed to adopt a child and provide him or her with shelter. Allah says:

 

ادْعُوهُمْ لِآبَائِهِمْ هُوَ أَقْسَطُ عِندَ اللَّهِ فَإِن لَّمْ تَعْلَمُوا آبَاءَهُمْ فَإِخْوَانُكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَمَوَالِيكُمْ وَلَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ فِيمَا أَخْطَأْتُم بِهِ وَلَٰكِن مَّا تَعَمَّدَتْ قُلُوبُكُمْ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا

 

“Call them by their fathers; it (is) more just near Allah. But if not you know their fathers – then (they are) your brothers in [the] religion and your friends. But not is upon you any blame in what you made a mistake in it, but what intended your hearts. And Allah (is) Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Surah Al-Ahzab 33: 4)

 

If we take care of the orphans and the homeless children and reintegrate them into the society by complying with the rules, this will be an extremely favourable action. Such an act of kindness can help Muslims earn numerous rewards in this life and hereafter. As far as the legal aspects of adoption are concerned in Islam, adoption has no negative consequence. The Islamic way and rules of adoption do not create any new legal relationship which never existed before. Allah says:

 

مَّا جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لِرَجُلٍ مِّن قَلْبَيْنِ فِي جَوْفِهِ وَمَا جَعَلَ أَزْوَاجَكُمُ اللَّائِي تُظَاهِرُونَ مِنْهُنَّ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ وَمَا جَعَلَ أَدْعِيَاءَكُمْ أَبْنَاءَكُمْ ذَٰلِكُمْ قَوْلُكُم بِأَفْوَاهِكُمْ وَاللَّهُ يَقُولُ الْحَقَّ وَهُوَ يَهْدِي السَّبِيلَ

 

“Not Allah (has) made for any man [of] two hearts in his interior. And not He (has) made your wives whom you declare unlawful [of them] (as) your mothers. And not He has made your adopted sons your sons. That (is) your saying by your mouths, but Allah says the truth, and He guides (to) the Way.” (Surah Al-Ahzab 33:4)

 

Adopting a child is a huge responsibility. Adopted children deserve more attention than real children. If a person adhered to all the above-mentioned conditions, then he/she is worthy of great reward and if conditions are not fulfilled, then the adoptee will be deserving of great punishment in Hereafter. As far as the legal aspects of adoption are concerned in Islam, adoption has no negative consequence in the life of a Muslim.

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