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Adoption in Islam

Islam places a significant emphasis on the preservation of a person's identity, including their lineage. Changing a child's name or attributing false parentage is discouraged. It's essential because it affects inheritance, kinship, and some legal rights.

In contrast to traditional adoption, where a child gets the adopting family name and lineage, Islam doesn't permit this. The idea of adoption in Islam is pretty unique. This difference primarily comes from the strong focus on preserving biological and legal family ties.

If an adoption takes place, then an adopted child retains his or her own biological family name (surname) and does not change his or her name to match that of the adoptive family. In all sense, unlike the Hindu Law, the adoptive Muslim parents are not given the status of the natural parents. Adoption is not prohibited in Islam, but the concept of adoption is slightly different.

Looking after a kid who doesn't share your genes is approved, and it's even promoted for orphans in Islam. However, from the Islamic perspective, the kid doesn't turn into a legitimate child of the adopting parents. Just to illustrate, the kid is named after the birth father, not the one that adopts. This doesn't imply that bringing up a kid without shared genetics is forbidden.

Rather, it indicates that the child under sponsorship doesn't adopt the same surname as the sponsoring parents. Within Islam, it's viewed as a virtuous act to tend to an orphan, to the extent that it's regarded as an obligation for some people. In Islam adoption is called "kafala," it's a system of sponsorship.

To clarify, it means taking guardianship of an orphan while respecting their identity. In kafala, an individual or family can offer an orphan, love, care, and a secure home. But importantly, the child's name and lineage don't change.

According to Islamic teachings, adopted kids don't receive inheritance from their adoptive parents the same way blood-related kids do. But, these parents are urged to show consideration and impartiality towards their adopted children. The Quran promotes fair treatment of orphans. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) has said, people who look after orphans will be near him in heaven.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) himself set an example by caring for and supporting orphans, and this practice is considered highly virtuous in Islam.

Creating a new family lineage by adopting in Islam is not permitted. However, giving support and care to a child, both physically and spiritually, is wholly acceptable for Muslims. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "The best house of Muslims is one where an orphan is cared for."

Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, once the Islamic Society of North America's president, stated: "Caring for orphans is hugely rewarding and a blessing. In the Qur'an, Believers are repeatedly encouraged to look after the orphans. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has reportedly said, "I and an orphan's caretaker will be like these two fingers in Paradise or Jannah."

He showed his two fingers for emphasis - Al-Bukhari documented this. He also noted "every time a person, out of kindness, caresses an orphan's head, they receive a grace for each hair of the orphan from Allah - Ahmad recorded this."

Simply put, Sharia law doesn't approve of changing an adopted child's last name to match his adoptive father's name. However, you may keep the child, nurture them well, and ensure their needs are met, but their surname should remain. As noted in the Qur'an: "Your adopted sons are not your actual sons. This thought is just humans talking. Allah guides you to truth and the right path.

Call them by their fathers' names, it's fairer in Allah's view. If you don't know those names, refer to them as your faith brothers or friends. Mistakes in this are overlooked but it's your heart's intention what matters. Allah is truly forgiving and very compassionate." (Al-Ahzab: 4-5)

In America, for necessities like tax breaks, health coverage, school enrolments, the child may need your surname. In such cases, be clear that you're only guardians, not the birth parents. Inform your adopted children about their biological parents' surnames. It's important for everyone in the family to know that you aren't the child's birth parents. As these adopted kids come of age, they won't be blood relatives to you, your spouse or your children. Also, they won't be entitled to any of your property, unless given as a will-determined gift.

In India, one can adopt a child from an orphanage by getting court approval under the Guardians and Wards Act. The Supreme Court made a significant decision and ruled that anyone can adopt a child under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 irrespective of the person's religion or personal laws.

  3. Family Law � II, Usha Jaganath Law Series

Written By: Md.Imran Wahab, IPS, IGP, Provisioning, West Bengal
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9836576565

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