Many incidents happen in societies which make so many children orphans, Incidents such as earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, or smaller events. Thus, the issue of taking care of these orphan kids becomes a challenge that should be dealt with. Many of these children may be sent to orphanages by the government.
And they keep waiting for some family to adopt them and take care of them. But, there are many parents who cannot give birth to a child and they wish to adopt one and make their family bigger. Some parents may have children of their own, and they want to adopt a child to help and take care of him/her.
This text explains the rulings of adopting a child according to the Islamic law.
There are four major differences in Islamic law between adoptive and biological children:
1- Adopted children are better to be named after their biological parents. If they are named after their adoptive parents, the foster parents should not precisely introduce them as their own child. (This is forbidden (Haram) since it is a lie.)
2- Adopted children do not automatically inherit from their adoptive parents. Unless it is mentioned in the parents’ will.
3- When adopted children become mature (Baligh) they will become of the marriageable kin (non-Mahram) to their adoptive family (parents, brothers/ sisters, uncles/ aunts).
4- The property of an adopted child (provided by his/her biological parents or family members) belongs to him/ her. Adoptive parents will keep it as mere trustees.
Islam has careful considerations towards orphans. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) himself had adopted a child and was fed by an adoptive mother during the first two years of his life.
It is narrated by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that “‘ The one who sponsors an orphan and I are like these two in Paradise.’ Then he joined his index and middle fingers” .
Orphans are so important in the eyes of God that Allah says in the Holy Quran “Indeed those who consume the property of orphans wrongfully, only ingest fire into their bellies, and soon they will enter the Blaze.” (4: 10)
There are specific rules in Islam with regards to adopting children.
In Islam, biological parents and the family lineage are of great significance. So, child adoption must not occur in a way that children lose their filiation. It is essential to keep in mind that according to Islam, filiation will be inherited from biological parents. Thus, by making a child adoption contract, the adoptive family will not be the child’s filiation.
According to Islamic law, child adoption is forbidden (Haram). But child protection (Kifalah) is highly recommended. By child adoption we mean, accepting a child and considering him/her as the adoptive parents’ real child. By child protection, we suggest that the child is being taken care of by his/ her foster parents. And at a suitable age, he/ she will be informed of his/her real filiation.
Thus, there is no problem in accepting a child as his/ her protector (Kafil). It becomes problematic when adopted children are not told the truth about their biological parents. It is understandable that it would be hard to tell any child that he/ she is not a family’s real child. But, consultations can help parents to find a proper way of telling the truth to their adopted child.
Besides, it is highly recommended in Islam to protect and support orphans, which means giving them financial and spiritual support in all aspects of their lives.
One of the points that Islam has in this regard is that the adopted children are of unmarriageable kin (non-Mahram). So when they grow up, they may face problems within their adoptive family.
Also if the adopted child is not aware of his/her real identity, there would be a chance of him marrying a marriageable kin (Mahram) of his/her biological family line without being aware of that. In Islam, like every other Abrahamic religion, it is forbidden to marry a marriageable kin (Mahram) [ii].
There is a tradition in some cultures that women do not feed their own children. Instead, they choose a wet nurse to breastfeed the child. The child who is breastfed from another woman, for a specific duration, will become of marriageable kin (Mahram) to the woman and her family.
Thus, if the adopted child is under two years old, and if the adoptive mother or her sister or her mother can breastfeed the child for a specific duration, a Foster (Ridha’) relationship will be created. As a result, the child will become of marriageable kin (Mahram) [i]. But the rulings with regards to inheritance is still the same.
[i] For exact information about foster (Ridha’) you should refer to your own source of emulation (Marja’ taqlid)
[ii] Read more about marriageable kin (mahram) at http://salamislam.com/content/who-are-mahrams-islam/4
- Humairi, Abdullah bin Ja’far, Qurbul Isnad, p. 9, hadith 315, Aalul-Bait (a.s.) Institute, Qom, first edition, 1413 A.H.
- Chapter Yousuf. verses 23 - 32
Transgender in islam and their marriage is one of the new issues of our era. It does not mean that at the time of Prophet (PBUH&HP) no one was hermaphrodite. But the science of changing the sex into male or female, or curing this disorder to some extent had not been known yet. Therefore there is no verse or narration regarding this issue.
But how do we find out if transgender marriage is allowed (Halal) or forbidden (Haram) according to Islamic jurisprudence?
People who are known to be transsexual (a person who emotionally and psychologically feels that they belong to the opposite sex) or hermaphrodite (a person having both male and female sex organs or other sexual characteristics) are different from those who decide to be homosexual (lesbian or gay). Nevertheless, some of those who have homosexual tendencies may suffer from hermaphrodite disorders as well.
But the improvement of science these days has made it possible for transsexuals and hermaphrodites to go through a sex reassignment surgery (SRS) in which they can change their gender into the one they feel they belong to(obviously according to the physician’s opinion).
Since not having the operation and changing the sex may cause the person to commit a sin, or personal and social damages, it would be best if they can go through a sex reassignment surgery (SRS) and reduce these harms.
While transsexuality and hermaphrodites are obvious to be human disorders, most sufferers experience hostile encounters in the society. It is important for the society, especially for Muslim communities, to become familiar with their issues and support them in a way that they can have a normal life alongside others.
One of the most offending manners towards them is to accuse them of having immoral sexual behaviors. It should be very well understood by the society that accusing them of adultery is a forbidden (Haram) act according to Islam. We should keep in mind that they are human beings with all the rights and needs of a human.
The only difference is that they suffer from a disease, which makes them even more vulnerable. Hence they need special support from the society; such as disability support services provided by the government.
Since marriage, according to Islam and all the other Abrahamic religions is based on sexual differences, it is clearly false for a Muslim to marry a person with unknown gender. If a Man marries a transsexual with unknown gender, he cannot be sure if he has married a male or a female, therefore, that should become clear before marriage.
But if the sufferer has gone through the sex reassignment surgery (SRS) and the gender is now obvious, then there is no problem for a Muslim man or a Muslim woman to marry such a person under the Islamic rules of marriage.
However, they should both be aware that people who change their gender, will not be able to have children at all. (We hope that human knowledge can solve this issue in the near future). So, people who have had a sex reassignment surgery (SRS) should inform their “spouse to be” of their surgery and the consequences of the operation.
To conclude, we understand that marriage between or to a transgender -after the operation- is allowed (Halal) according to Islam and the couples may be able to shape a great family in which they feel comfort and relief. And if they wish to have children, they could always adopt a child which is strongly recommended in Islam.
Getting married, yesterday’s girl and boy become today’s husband and wife; they form the most basic and important foundation in the society in which each of them is bound to perform certain duties. In this peaceful and calming bond, namely the Islamic family, no person is superior to the other, and no responsibility is more vital than the one of the other; they both form the pillars of a firm foundation and are two equal sides of a scale which hold it in balance. Nevertheless, there are some certain tasks in which both husband and wife should participate; Actually, mutual responsibilities which Islam emphasize are really easy.
The very first duty that has been defined for husbands and wives mutually is affability in behavior . In other words, they should act in a kind and respectful manner toward each other, speaking with dignity and affection, understanding each other’s needs and feelings, being ready to comfort one another in times of hardship, and sharing their joy in times of happiness. Also, they should consult in their affairs with each other and respect one another’s views and decisions.
Furthermore, honesty and faithfulness are among the most important characteristics that both husbands and wives should observe in their married life. They should try to be as open as possible to one another and avoid hiding things from each other. Otherwise, there may arise a feeling of suspicion and insecurity between them.
Despite many misunderstandings, Islam does not consider housework the responsibility of women and condemns the men who force their wives to do so. On the contrary, Islam obliges both husbands and wives to participate in this task and help one another in doing it, rather than leaving the whole burden on the shoulder of one person only [i] . They should also cooperate in upbringing their children and reach unity in their behavior and speech toward them so that the feeling of harmony and comfort will spread in the family.
Besides, for husbands and wives to be always attracted to one another in an Islamic family, both of them should appear as clean and beautiful as possible in front of each other  & . For instance, they should wear the best clothes they have got, wear perfume, adorn their hair, etc.
As a result, the love between them will increase, and they will feel more secure. Also, when the need for physical attraction is satisfied in the private environment of married life, neither husband nor wife will feel the desire and urge to satisfy this need in other unlawful ways.
Finally, for a marriage to be successful and healthy and form the recommended Islamic family, both husbands and wives should attempt to do whatever is best to save this holy bond. For sure, this is not an easy job; it takes self-sacrifice, patience, hope, and optimism.
Regarding mutual responsibilities, you should know that you may sometimes feel tired, disappointed and hopeless but at the end of the day, when you look at your spouse, feel the love in him/her and think about the beautiful life that you can build with him/her, you will be surely willing to pay any expense to make this come true.
[i]. Whenever Imam Ali – pbuh- found a chance and was free, would come and help his wife Fatimah- pbuh- in the housework. One day Prophet Muhammad came to their house and saw they were working together and asked:” Which one of you are more tired so that I take his/her place?”, Imam Ali –pbuh- answered: “ Fatimah is more tired.” Our kind prophet gave Fatima rest and continued her work himself.
- MirzaHossein Noori, Mustadrak al-Vasael, V.13, P.48.
- Morteza Motahari, Dastan-e- Rastan, V.2, P.252.
- Shaikh al-Hur al-Aamili, Wasail al-shiah, V.20, P.158.
- Muhammad ibn Ya‘qūb al-Kulaynīm, Usul al-Kafi, V.5, P.511.