Q. Does fosterage refer to adoption in Islam?
A. If by fosterage, you are referring to the breastfeeding/suckling (Radhaa’at) of a child, then there is a difference between fosterage and adoption in Islam.
If a child is breastfed/suckled before the age of two years, a bond of fosterage (Radhaa’at) is established. The same relationship that is established through lineage will be the same relationship that will be established through fosterage (Radhaa’at). For e.g. ones foster mother, father, brother, sister etc. would be considered to be ones Mahrams.
If a child is taken under ones care and adopted without breastfeeding/suckling (Radhaa’at) the child, then no bond of fosterage (Radhaa’at) will take place. In this case, the child would not be considered to be ones Mahram.
As such, the laws that govern breastfeeding/suckling/fosterage (Radhaa’at) are different from the laws of adoption in Islam.
Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
Mufti Ismaeel Bassa
This answer was collected from TheMufti.com, which is a fatwa portal managed by Mufti Ismaeel Bassa from South Africa.