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What is the Status of Adopting Children in Islam?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Mathabah.org
Answered by Shaykh Yūsuf Badāt


Is an unmarried person allowed to adopt a child in Islam? Is adoption even allowed in general, according to Islam?


In the Name of God, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate

Jazāk Allāh Khayr/ Thank you for your question.

In general, adopting children is a praiseworthy practice in Islam. The Prophet Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him) had adopted Zayd bin Ḥārithah (may God be pleased with him).

Most children who are adopted are orphans and or children who cannot be taken care of by their birth parents. The virtues related to caring for orphans and adopting children are countless, which include the following:

  • The children will form a barrier for those who cared for them, from the hell. (Ibn Mājah)

  • The best wealth one can spend is on needy children. (Bukhārī)

  • Entry into Paradise with the Prophet (Bukhārī)

  • Caring for children graces one with rewards, equal to the rewards of perpetual vigil prayers and fasting. (Bukhārī)

It is permissible for an unmarried person to adopt children, if they are able to care and fulfil all necessary requirements of the adopted children.

Some rulings, Islamic jurists have highlighted in most fiqh manuals, when one adopts children are mentioned below:

  • The adopted child’s lineage and last name cannot be altered or concealed.

  • When the adopted child reaches puberty, all rules regarding Islamic gender interaction, ḥijāb and maḥram will apply, even when interacting with the adoptive parents, unless the adopted child was suckled during infancy.

  • A bequest can be made for the adopted child from one third of one’s wealth, however automatic inheritance will not come in to place, as would with biological children.

And Allāh Knows Best

This answer was collected from Mathabah.org. It’s an Islamic educational institute based in Canada. The questions are generally answered by Sheikh Yusuf Badat and Sheikh Omar Subedar.

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