What Are The Rules Of Adoption And Fostering In Islam And What Can You And Can’t You Do When You Are Adopting Or osting And Are You Allowed To Adopt Outside Your Etnicity?
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatoh
If by the word fostering radha’at (suckling) is meant, then it is permissible to suckle a child before the age of 2. If the child is suckled before this age, the woman will become his/her foster mother and her husband will be the foster father. Purdah is not necessary between the child and the parent of the opposite gender since they are now each other’s mahram.
However, the word fostering is generally used for taking care of a child as if it were your own. This is similar to adopting a child.
It is permissible to adopt a child. The following conditions should be bore in mind.
1. The child should not take up the name of the parents who have adopted him. His lineage should be separate and not joined with the parents. He should keep the name of his biological father if the biological father is known. Rasulullah (Sallalahu Alaihi Wasallam) had adopted Zaid bin Harithah as a son before prophethood. People called him Zaid, the son of Muhammad (Sallalahu Alaihi Wasallam). Allah Ta’ala revealed the following ayahs.
مَا جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لِرَجُلٍ مِنْ قَلْبَيْنِ فِي جَوْفِهِ وَمَا جَعَلَ أَزْوَاجَكُمُ اللَّائِي تُظَاهِرُونَ مِنْهُنَّ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ وَمَا جَعَلَ أَدْعِيَاءَكُمْ أَبْنَاءَكُمْ ذَلِكُمْ قَوْلُكُمْ بِأَفْوَاهِكُمْ وَاللَّهُ يَقُولُ الْحَقَّ وَهُوَ يَهْدِي السَّبِيلَ . ادْعُوهُمْ لِآَبَائِهِمْ هُوَ أَقْسَطُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ فَإِنْ لَمْ تَعْلَمُوا آَبَاءَهُمْ فَإِخْوَانُكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَمَوَالِيكُمْ وَلَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ فِيمَا أَخْطَأْتُمْ بِهِ وَلَكِنْ مَا تَعَمَّدَتْ قُلُوبُكُمْ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا.
Allah has not made for any man two hearts in his (chest) cavity, nor did he make your wives whom you subjected to zihar, your mothers, no did he make your adopted sons you (real) sons. That is (merely) a word uttered by your mouths. And Allah says the truth and He shows the (right) way. Call them by (the name of) their (real) fathers; It is more equitable in the sight of Allah. And if you do not know their fathers, then they are your brothers in faith and your friends. And there is no sin on you in the mistake you make, but in that which you do with intention of your heart and Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.
In the verses Muslims are told not to call the adopted child by the person who adopted him, instead he should be call with his real father’s name if it is known. If not, then he is your brother in deen, but he is not your son. (Ibn Kathir)
2. Strict purdah should be observed when the child reaches the age of puberty. The purdah is between the mother and the child if it is a boy and between the father and child if it is a girl. The method to avoid this is to adopt the child in infancy and the mother breastfeeds the child. In doing so, they will become the foster parents and purdah will not be necessary. Nevertheless, breast feeding will still not make him a real son and his lineage will still be made separate.
3. The child should not inherit from the parents. The parents are allowed to bequest one-third of their wealth to adopted child in their will if they wish to do so.
The child may be adopted from any ethnicity group. When the child is old enough to understand, he should be informed with wisdom about the reality of the matter.
And Allah knows best
Ml. Ehzaz Ajmeri,
Student Darul Iftaa
Checked and Approved by:
Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa, Madrassah In’aamiyyah