Is adoption permitted in Islam?


A lady from the UK wrote to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa to seek guidance regarding the adoption of children and the rights and responsibilities of their relatives. Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 26 September 2021, provided the following guidance to her:

“According to Islamic teachings, adoption of children is allowed, but Allah the Exalted has especially commanded in this regard in the Holy Quran that such children should be addressed by and carry the family names of their real parents alone. (Surah al-Ahzab, Ch.33: V.5-6) Therefore, such children should be informed about their adoption and their real parents at a young age. This is the correct Islamic teaching.

“As far as the Islamic legal right of such children on inheritance etc. is concerned, they are entitled to it only through their real parents i.e. the real parents of such children remain their legal heirs and such children remain the legal heirs of their real parents. Adoption does not affect the mutual legal inheritance rights of these children or their real parents. Nevertheless, if the adoptive parents who raise such children want to give something to these children, they can do so in the form of a gift [hibah] during their lifetime or they can bequeath something to them. However, one is only allowed to bequeath up to a maximum of one-third of one’s total assets. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-wasaya, Bab an yatruka warathatu ’aghniya’a khayrun min ’an yatakaffafu n-nas)”

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