Q: We are spouses who live in
and have no children. Now, we are 40 years old and there is a newborn child and a three year old girl whom we want to adopt. They are not related to the same family. We discussed the matter with our Imam in
and he referred us to the Mufty of Saudi Arabia to give a legal opinion about the case. Could you kindly advise in this regard and explain how we should treat them (Part No. 20; Page No. 392) until they become of age? May Allah guide all Muslims to the right path. May Allah reward you with the best.
It is not permissible for you to
adopt the unknown boy, the girl you mentioned or any other child who are not your real children because Allah has prohibited adoption. He also abolished the adoption that existed in the pre-Islamic period and at the early period of Islam such as the Prophet's adoption of
Zayd ibn Harithah. Allah (Exalted be He) says in this regard,
...nor has He made your adopted sons your real sons. That is but your saying with your mouths. But Allâh says the truth, and He guides to the (Right) Way.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) also prohibited that a Muslim, male or female, adopt anyone or call anyone by someone else's name or tribe falsely.
Abu Dhar (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that he heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) saying,
Whoever claims knowingly anyone else as his father besides (his own) commits nothing but infidelity, and he who makes a claim of anything, which (in fact) does not belong to him, is not among us; he should make his abode in Fire.
(Agreed upon by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
In another narration:
Verily, one of the worst lies is to claim falsely to be the son of someone other than one's real father...
Thereupon, it is obligatory that every person is ascribed to his father and if his father is not known (Part No. 20; Page No. 393) but has a master, he should be attributed to that person. If he does not have a master, he should be attributed to religion, so he will be called a Muslim brother or a Muslim sister. Allah (Exalted be He) says,
Call them (adopted sons) by (the names of) their fathers: that is more just with Allâh. But if you know not their father’s (names, call them) your brothers in faith and Mawâlîkum (your freed slaves). And there is no sin on you concerning that in which you made a mistake, except in regard to what your hearts deliberately intend.
It is desirable for you to treat them kindly and take care of them if none of their relatives is caring for them and you shall be rewarded for that. If they stay with you until they become of age and there is no breastfeeding relationship between both of you, they are Ajnaby (lawful to marry) to you. Therefore, it is not lawful for the husband to be in privacy with the woman or even look at her and it is also not lawful to the wife to be in privacy with the man or look at him. The woman must wear Hijab (Veil) in the presence of the man and it is not permissible to travel with him without a Mahram (spouse or permanently unmarriageable relative). Likewise, when the boy and the girl become of age, there is no breastfeeding relationship between them, she is Ajnabiyah (lawful to marry) for him and he is Ajnaby for her. They must not be in privacy with one another and a woman must wear Hijab in his presence. It is not permissible for him to travel with her without a Mahram. Moreover, it is not permissible for you to be their Waliy (a legally accountable person acting for a woman regarding marriage) in concluding a marriage contract. If they do not have a Waliy or (Part No. 20; Page No. 394) a legal guardian or consanguine relative, the case should be referred to the Muslim ruler or his deputy such as a judge. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.