Is adoption allowed in Islam? What if you have children and want to adopt, what are the rules?
Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh
Thank you for your question.
Adoption is one of the most misunderstood issues in the Muslim community. What Allah has forbidden for us is robbing a child of his/her identity by changing names and hiding the truth. This is called “tabanniy” in the Quran. This process actually has proved counterproductive as when kids become adults and eventually discover their true identities, they tend to be furious that it was hidden from them. Societal issues also result from this such as marrying ones sibling and legal issues as well. Islam only protects against that.
With that being said, taking care of an orphan is of the greatest deeds in Islam. The Prophet (peace be upon) said “I and the one who takes care of an orphan are like these 2 fingers (holding up his index and middle finger).” This is a sunnah that we must revive. It is sad that many Muslim children end up in homes not conducive to their Islamic upbringing because Muslims lag behind in this area.
With that being said, the following conditions must be observed:
1. The child will not be a mahram unless the mother breastfeeds him/her before the age of 2 in which case both parents will be full mahrams. This could be through induced breastmilk and is highly recommended to give the child full comfort in the home.
2. The child must maintain his/her original identity through either the middle or last name. He/she should know that they are adopted but not be treated any differently.
3. Inheritance can only be assigned through the 1/3 portion which is not already designated. The child could even be given more through this process than one’s natural children.
I ask Allah that He enable us to revive this Sunnah in our communities!
And Allah knows best.
Answered by Shaykh Omar Suleiman
Hadith of the Day Imam
Director – Islamic Learning Foundation