Giving up a child for adoption does not make it permissible
All Praise is due to Allah Alone. May peace and blessings be upon the Last Prophet.The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta' has read the request for a Fatwa (legal opinion issued by a qualified Muslim scholar) submitted to his Eminence the Chairman from the Assistant Chief of Passport Department in
referred under no. 1616/1d in 21/6/1400 A.H. It reads:Kindly find the enclosed documents related to the case of the child Shama whose Pakistani father submitted a request for a Fatwa in which he mentioned that after he had this child, he gave her to his wife's uncle, who is also a Pakistani. The latter in turn included the child in his wife's passport in the Pakistani Embassy in Jeddah and took two statements from them confirming their approval. It is clear that the child was born in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 14/11/1399 A.H. and that her real father and the adoptive father (Part No. 20; Page No. 354) both live in Saudi Arabia regularly.Therefore, we refer all the papers to you to examine them from the legal viewpoint and give us your Fatwa accordingly.
The Committee replied as following:
It is not permissible for anyone to give his children away to others and relate them to other people. Also, it is not permissible for anyone to adopt a child that he did not give birth to according to religious texts and the consensus of religious scholars. When asked about this before, the Committee replied in Fatwa no. (53) in 21/3/1392 A.H. which reads as follows:
Adoption was common in the Pre-Islamic period before the Message of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The adopted child would be related to his adopted father, inherit him, and sit in private with his adopted mother and sisters. It was unlawful for an adopted father to marry the wife of his adopted child. Generally, an adopted child was treated as a biological son in all matters. The Prophet (peace be upon him) adopted
Zayd ibn Harithah ibn Sharahil Al-Kalby before the Prophet's Mission. Zayd was then called Zayd ibn Muhammad. So adoption was practiced since the Pre-Islamic period until 3 or 5 A.H. (Part No. 20; Page No. 355)
Then, Allah ordered the believers to relate the adopted children to their biological fathers if they know them. If they do not know their fathers, they have to regard them as Muslim brothers or freedmen allies. Allah (Exalted be He) explains that this is the most just judgment because it maintains honesty in the use of words, protects lineage, saves honor and gives financial rights to those who deserve them. Allah (Exalted be He) says,
...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.
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. And Allâh is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said,
Whoever claims to be the son of a person other than his father, and he knows that person is not his father, then Paradise will be forbidden for him.
Abu Dawud, and
Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) also said,
May Allah's curse be upon whoever claims to be the son of a person other than his father or a slave of anyone other than his master.
(Part No. 20; Page No. 356)
By the prohibition of adoption, Allah (Glorified be He) eliminates all the false rulings practiced during the Pre-Islamic period and extending until the beginning of the Islamic period. (a) Allah prohibits inheritance between the adopted child and the adoptive father. He makes it permissible for them to treat each other in kindness and to bequeath to each other up to a third of one's legacy. The Islamic Shari`ah also explains in details the rulings of inheritance and the rightful recipients of inheritance excluding the adopted child and the adoptive parent. Allah (Exalted be He) mentions inheritance and kind treatment in general by saying,
And blood relations among each other have closer personal ties in the Decree of Allâh (regarding inheritance) than (the brotherhood of) the believers and the Muhâjirûn (emigrants from Makkah), except that you do kindness to those brothers (when the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم joined them in brotherhood ties).
(b) Allah makes it lawful for the adopted child to marry the spouse of his adoptive parent after they get divorced, something which was unlawful in the Pre-Islamic period. This ruling was first applied on Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him). This makes it clear that marriage between the adopted children and their adoptive parents is lawful and eliminates (Part No. 20; Page No. 357) the Pre-Islamic habit of prohibiting it; Allah (Exalted be He) says,
So when Zaid had accomplished his desire from her (i.e. divorced her), We gave her to you in marriage, so that (in future) there may be no difficulty to the believers in respect of (the marriage of) the wives of their adopted sons when the latter have no desire to keep them (i.e. they have divorced them). And Allâh’s Command must be fulfilled.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) married
Zaynab Bint Jahsh after an order from Allah for him to marry her after her husband
Zayd ibn Harithah divorced her.
It is then evident that the prohibition of adoption in Islam is not to eliminate philanthropy or Islamic rights of fraternity, mutual affection, intimacy, strong relationships and doing good to others. (a) It is permissible for a person to address a young man as, "son" as a way of showing him informality and kindness, so the latter may accept advice from him or fulfill his needs. Likewise, it is permissible for a younger person to address an old person as "father" as a way of showing him respect and kindness so that he may be kind to him, advise, and support him. This makes respect become mutual in society and ties among individuals become stronger. It will also make all people enjoy genuine feelings of fraternity in humanity and in religion. (Part No. 20; Page No. 358) (b) The Islamic Shari`ah encourages Muslims to cooperate in righteousness, piety, and enjoins all people to have mutual affection and be philanthropic. Allah (Exalted be He) says,
Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwâ (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) says,
The similitude of believers in regard to mutual love, affection, and fellow-feeling is that of one body; Member the whole body aches, because of fever and sleeplessness.
He (peace be upon him) also said,
A believer to another believer is like a wall of bricks supporting each other.
This also applies to:
Taking care of orphans, needy people, those who are unable to support themselves financially and those with unknown parents by supporting, bringing them up, and treating them kindly lest the Muslim society should include a category of miserable and neglected people and suffer due to their lack of care and support, as they may turn rebellious because of their society's cruelty and neglect of them. Therefore, it is the duty of Islamic governments to provide shelter for old aged people, orphans, foundlings, those with no one to support and the likes. If money in Bayt-ul-Mal (Muslim treasury) fails to afford this, governments may seek financial support from wealthy Muslims. Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said,
If a true believer dies and leaves behind some property, it will be for his inheritors (from the father's side), and if he leaves behind some debt to be paid or needy offspring, then they should come to me as I am the guardian of the deceased.
(Part No. 20; Page No. 359)
May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.