Q. What does the Quran say about adoption? Is it permissible in Islam?
A. Adoption is permissible in Islam, and the Holy Quran has endorsed the adoption of Zaid which was done by the Prophet (SA). However, there are guidelines which one is required to follow in this regard. First of all, an adopted child must not be considered as one’s blood (real) child, it must always be known that the child has been adopted, and that he is not blood related to the others within the family. With this, I mean that the child should not be trained to call his adopted parents as mom and dad, nor should the adopted parents addressed him as ‘son ‘or ‘daughter’. The usage of these words eventually creates problems and difficulties for all parties. Adopted parents can be addressed with the words, ‘Uncle, or ‘Aunty’ and the adopted ‘son’ or daughter’ can be called by their respective names.
When the adopted child begins to grow older, you must implement the rules of Hijab/Purda for the opposite sex. This means that if it is an adopted son, then he will not be able to be alone with your grown up daughters, and they must cover their heads/bodies properly in front of him. The mother must also wear her hijab in front of him, since, he is not a mahram to the opposite sex of the family. The same applies to the father and grown up sons in the case of an adopted daughter.
It must also be known that an adopted child will not inherit from the adopted parents. If they (adopted parents) wish, they can give him gifts while they are alive, and can also leave a will to the limit of 1/3 (of the remaining estate) when they die.
The adopted parents will also not be able to inherit from an adopted son or daughter (in the case of their death). However, the adopted children can give gifts to them while they are alive, and can also leave a will to the limit of 1/3 (of the remaining estate).
Adopted parents should not conceal their true identity to the adopted children. In other words, they must reveal to them that they are not their real parents, and they are only their adopted parents or guardians. They must also identify the true/real parents of the children and make them known to the children. In the absence of these, we have seen a lot of problems among family members and adopted children.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan