Ulamaa ID 04
Answer last updated on:
24th October 2006
Ulamaa ID 04
Al-jawab billahi at-taufeeq (the answer with Allah's guidance)
Adoption of a child has no legal effect in Shariah. One can adopt a child for his emotional and psychological satisfaction. He can treat him as his own son in the matters of love, affection and general behavior. Adoption of a child to provide shelter to him is a virtuous deed which carries much reward in the Hereafter.
In a Hadith recorded by Imam al-Bukhari in his Sahih, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:
“I and the guardian of the orphan will be in Paradise like this”, and the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) joined his index finger with his middle finger.
Meaning that the one who looks after the orphan will be very close to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in Paradise.
This is an extremely neglected Sunnah of our beloved Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) and we should definitely encourage ourselves and others towards this direction.
But so far as the legal aspects are concerned, adoption has no consequence. The child should not be attributed except to the natural father, and not to the one who has adopted him.
This is a fundamental principle and ruling laid down by the Holy Qura’n. The people in the days of ignorance (Jahiliyya) used to treat an adopted child as the real one in all aspects. The Qur’an condemned this practice with the following verse:
“And He (Allah) did not make your adopted sons your sons. That is only your speech by your mouths. And Allah guides you to the right path. Call them by (the names of) their (real) fathers. It is more just in the sight of Allah” (Surah al-Ahzab, v: 4, 5)
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) adopted the Companion Zaid ibn Haritha (Allah be pleased with him) and the other companions (Allah be pleased with them) initially referred to him as “Zaid ibn Muhammad”. When the abovementioned verse of the Qur’an was revealed, they reverted to calling him “Zaid ibn Haritha”.
Also, in the matter of hijab adoption has no effect whatsoever. If a male child is adopted by a woman, she will observe hijab from him after he reaches the age of puberty, unless she is related to him in a prohibited degree. An adopted child can marry a daughter of his adoptive parents, because she is not his real sister. In short, adoption does not create a new legal relationship which did not exist before.
It should be remembered that although an adopted child cannot inherit from his adoptive father, but it is permissible, rather advisable, for him that he, in his lifetime, makes a will in favour of his adopted son. Through such a will he can bequeath upto one third of his property to his adopted child who cannot otherwise share his inheritance.
And Only Allah Ta'ala Knows Best.