Islamic Rules for Adoption
Fatwa No: 84422

  • Fatwa Date:6-7-2002 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 26, 1423
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Question

What are the Islamic rules of adopting a child? My uncle and aunt have adopted a female child, as they do not have children. When this child attains puberty can my uncle see her or talk to her or be alone with her in a room as she is not her real daughter? Can she inherit property? What are other necessary steps to be taken? Hope you will answer these questions.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Adoption (to legally make another person's child your own regardless of whether that child's parents are known or unknown) is completely forbidden in Islam.

Allah Says (what means): {Call them by [the names of] their fathers; it is more just in the sight of Allah. But if you do not know their fathers - then they are [still] your brothers in religion and those entrusted to you.} [Quran 33: 5]

But, if one adopts a child, without changing his name, just to educate him and take care of him since this child has no guardian or because he is poor, then this is permissible. The reward is greater if this child is an orphan.

In this vein, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “I and the one who takes care of an orphan, will enter Paradise together like these two, and he raised his forefinger and middle finger jointly leaving space between them.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

As a rule, taking care of a child, nursing him or rearing him does not entail any of Sharee'ah rulings such as inheritance and so on.

The female child mentioned in the question is a non-Mahram to the man who adopted (took care of, nursed and reared) her. So, it is not permissible for him to look at her or be alone with her. Also, she will not inherit him. But, if she suckled from his wife, she would become his foster daughter provided that:

1) She should be less than two years old when suckling.

2) She suckled satisfactorily for five times.

3) She suckled and stopped freely; i.e., without being forced or stopped after each of the five times.

If these conditions are met, then she becomes his foster daughter and has the rights of his full daughter except inheritance.

In short, you have to inform this girl that the mentioned man is not her natural father, and consequently this has to be established and recorded legally.

If such a man wants to give her some of his property, he is free to do so. Also, he can transfer some of his property to her by will. However, a will is valid as long as it does not exceed one third of one's wealth. If the will exceed one third of the inheritance, the extra amount should be returned to the inheritors unless the adult heirs ratified such a will.

For more benefit on the ruling of adoption, please refer to Fatawa 119119, 84422 and 82371.

Allah knows best.

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