Adoption In Islam

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Mahmoodiyah


I am writing an article for our website about adoption, the processes, stigma attached and so on and finding conflicting information with regards to the Islamic view on adoption. Whilst one website stated that it is not permissible, yours says that it is? Could you perhaps provide me with some information in this regard?
Thank you for your time




Adoption in Islam

It is not only childless couples who choose to adopt, many couples with children choose to adopt either family members or orphans to nurture and take care of. Looking after a child as well as arranging for hisher education and well being is an admirable thing. However it should be kept in mind that by adopting a child his/her lineage does not change according to Shari’ah. The purpose of this discussion is to explain the laws concerning the adoption of children. These laws should be adhered to at all times and under all conditions. By doing this the adoptive parents will ensure that the rights of the adopted child are not transgressed and in so doing the act of adoption will become most beneficial to the parents.

1. To change the lineage of the adopted child or to write the adoptive parents name in place of that of the real parent will be Haraam. Care should be taken that at every juncture the real parent’s names are written and that the child is referred to as the child of hisher real parents. It should be made clear as to who the child’s real parents are so that people may call the child by hisher original name, ensuring that the child is well aware of his/her true background. Allah SWT mentions in the Qur’an – “…and Allah has not made your adopted sons your real sons. That is your saying with your mouth. But Allah says the truth. And he guides to the (right) way. Call them (adopted sons) by (the names of) their fathers, that is more just with Allah. But if you know not their father’s (names, call them) your brothers in faithIslam and freed slaves.” [Surah Al-Ahzaab {The Confederates} verses 4&5].



2. If the wife of the adopting couple breast-feeds the child, then the child will become the Ridhau’ee (breast-fed) child of the couple. This means that the child is not required to observe Pardah before her adoptive parents and any other children that they may have. The Ridhau’ee will not be permitted to marry any other children that his/her adoptive parents may have had. Finally, the adopted child will not be an heir to the adoptive father’s estate.

3. If the adopted child did not drink the breast milk of the adoptive mother, then the laws of Nikah and Pardah will apply as per normal. It will therefore be correct for the adopted child to marry one of hisher adopted parents children. An adopted girl won’t be Haraam on the man that adopted her, i.e. he can marry her. Similarly the adopted son won’t be Haraam on the woman that adopted him, i.e. she can marry him, and he is also allowed to marry the wife of the man that adopted him. It is incumbent upon them to carry out the laws of Pardah. Negligence with regard to this matter may result in many evils.

Nabi SAW made Hazrat Zaid Bin Haarithah his son. The Sahaabah started to call him Zaid Bin Muhammad (Zaid son of Muhammad). When the aforementioned verses were revealed, the Sahaabah once again began calling him Zaid Bin Haarithah. When Zaid Bin Haarithah RA divorced his wife Zainab Binte Jahsh, after the completion of her ‘Iddah Nabi SAW married her, even though she was the divorcee of Nabi SAW’s adopted child.  It is well known that the son’s wife is Haraam on the father forever, but because the adopted child is not the real child, the Nikah could therefore be allowed thereby refuting the famous false notion that it is incorrect to marry the adopted son’s wife. This marriage is explained in detail in Surah Ahzaab.

4. Even though the adopted child is naturally accepted as part of the family, the adopted child will not inherit from the estate of the adoptive parents. To subject the adopted child to the same laws of inheritance as that of the real children will be incorrect. However the adopted child may inherit as a family member, as is the case when one adopts one’s brother’s child, it then becomes permissible for the child to become an heir. To be certain this type of case should be discussed with a prominent Aalim.

If the adopted child is not an heir, a bequest can be made on hisher behalf. If the adoptee has real heirs i.e. children, father, brother, sister, husband or wife etc. then the bequest can only be up to a third (13) of the total inheritance. If the adoptee has no real heirs then the bequest can be for more than a third (13).The adopted child will only have rights over the wealth of the adoptee if he/she is an heir or a bequest was made for himher or if heshe is the niecenephew of the adoptee. Besides the above cases the adopted child has no right to claim the wealth of the adoptee.

5. After adoption the child must be allowed to visit hisher real parents, and there must be no difficulty experienced by meeting them. If this child is stopped from meeting hisher real mother, father, brother or sister, this will become Zulm (oppression).

6. The adopted child should not be treated in a different way. It is important to treat the adopted child with love and affection, especially if the child is helpless or in need of more attention. If a person feels that heshe can not maintain a good relationship with an adopted child, then they should not adopt, because instead of being worthy of reward heshe will be regarded as being sinful.

7. While the adopted child is a minor, their wealth should be kept safe and not misspent. If the adoptee is needy then he/she can use the wealth of the orphan to provide for any necessities e.g. food clothes etc. In this a lot of precaution should be taken and no wastage should be incurred. Allah mentions in the Qur’an that “Verily, those who unjustly eat up the property of orphans, they eat up only fire into their bellies, and they will be burnt in the blazing fire” (Surah An -Nisaa [the women] verse10). Therefore care should be taken that one should not spend the child’s money on unnecessary things, and the wealth should be used according to the child’s needs only. Wastage is to be avoided at all costs. The wealth must not be loaned, charity must not be given from it and it can not be invested. When the child reaches puberty and one feels that he/she is capable of handling the wealth, then the money should either be given to him/her or it should be deposited in an account. Once the child reaches puberty then Zakaah will be Waajib on his/her wealth. At this stage heshe has the option of investing their money, on their own free will or by the advice of their guardian and to give out some money as Sadaqah. The guardian should always give that advice which is geared towards the best interests of the child in order ensure that waste is minimal.

8. When the child reaches a marriageable age, find a suitable family into which they can marry. Do not be negligent in finding a suitable family, especially concerning an adopted girl. Try to find the best family. Do not place the adopted child into an unsuitable family for any personal gain or greed or marry them off early for the same reasons. Likewise do not delay the marriage because of greed towards their wealth. Do not marry the child off without his/her consent, and do not force them into an unwanted marriage.

In conclusion we would like to say, that in adopting a child there are huge responsibilities. They deserve more attention than your real children. If a person adhered to all the above mentioned conditions, then heshe is worthy of great reward. However if these conditions are not fulfilled, then the adoptee will be deserving of great punishment.

And Allah Ta’ala knows best

Mufti Muhammad Ashraf

Darul Iftaa

Jameah Mahmoodiyah



15 May 2006

10 Jumaadul Oola 1427

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