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
Written By: Md.Imran Wahab
- Family Law � II, Usha Jaganath Law Series
, IPS, IGP, Provisioning, West Bengal
Email: [email protected]
, Ph no: 9836576565