Assalamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,
A sister asks:
“I’m a convert, I’m not married and I’ve been adopted: does this mean that I have no mahrams?
Also, is the obedience due to one’s parents also due to one’s adoptive parents? If there have been bad relations for years due to very delicate situations which can’t be solved, is it haram to break the ties with one’s adoptive parent?
Wa’alaykum as ṣalām wa raḥmatullāhi wa barakātuh
Adoption does not cancel the obligation of Ḥijāb, nor does the adopted relationship make a male and female into Maḥrams for each other. If a woman adopts a male child, she will have to observe Ḥijāb with him after the he reaches the age of puberty, unless she is otherwise bound to him in a blood-relation that makes him her Mahram, e.g. she adopts her sister’s son. If however, she adopts him before he reaches the age of two, and breast-feeds him during that period, then to observe Ḥijāb will not be necessary, as the breast-feeding will render him her foster son. If the adoptive mother does not have breast-milk, and her sister breastfeeds the child, then obligation of Ḥij āb will fall away for adoptive mother as well as her sister. Due to this, an adopted male child can marry the daughter of his adoptive parents because she is not his real sister, unless if they were both breast-fed by the same woman, in which case it will not be permissible for them to get married to each other.
The above laws have been extracted from the principle laid down by the Noble Qurān in the 34th verse of Surah al-Aḥzāb where Allah Ta’ālā says:
وما جعل ادعيا ئكم ابنا ئكم… ……. ادعوهم لآباءهم هو اقسط عند الله .
“And Allāh did not make your adopted children your sons. That is only your words coming out from your mouths. And Allāh says the truth and He guides to the right path. Call them with reference to their (natural, biological) fathers. It is more just in the sight of Allāh.”
I am not aware of the reason behind you intending to break off relations; however, it should be born in mind that breaking off ties with any Muslim is prohibited, unless there is a valid Sharī reason.
It has also been stated in Sunan Abī Dāwūd that Abū Hurairah (May Allāh Ta’ālā be pleased with him) mentions that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
قال الأمام مسلم حدثنا قتيبة بن سعيد عن مالك بن أنس فيما قرئ عليه عن سهيل عن أبيه عن أبي هريرة أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال تفتح أبواب الجنة يوم الإثنين ويوم الخميس فيغفر لكل عبد لا يشرك بالله شيئا إلا رجلا كانت بينه وبين أخيه شحناء فيقال انظروا هذين حتى يصطلحا انظروا هذين حتى يصطلحا انظروا هذين حتى يصطلحا .
“The doors of Heaven are opened every Monday and Thursday, and every servant (of Allāh) is forgiven who is not a polytheist, except those whose enmity is between them; Allah Says: ‘Postpone those until they re-establish normal relationship (with each other).” (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, 4/1987)
And Allaah Ta’aala knows best
Ismail Moosa (Mufti)