Regarding adoption, if we do not know the identity of the parents of the child are we still allowed to adopt?

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)


One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

Asalaam Alaikum,


Regarding adoption, if we do not know the identity of the parents of the child are we still allowed to adopt?


Eagerly awaiting your response.


(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)




Adopt without knowing identity of parents

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.


There is absolutely no such condition in Shariah which even remotely implies that one can only adopt children whose identity of parents is known….


Regardless of whether one is married or unmarried, regardless of whether one has a child or is childless, regardless of whether one is able to conceive or not, regardless of whether the identity of the parents of the orphan is known or unknown ….. not only is it permissible in Islam to adopt and/or sponsor orphan children, it is absolutely encouraged and considered one amongst the greatest virtues in Islam; and if one genuinely takes good care of their adopted children, a means of earning huge rewards from Allah Subhanah.


Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 177:

177    It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces toward East or West; but it is righteousness to believe in Allah and the Last Day and the Angels and the Book and the Messengers; to spend of your substance out of love for Him for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer and practice regular charity; to fulfil the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient in pain (or suffering) and adversity and throughout all periods of panic.  Such are the people of truth, the Allah-fearing.


Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 215:

215    They ask thee what they should spend (in charity).  Say: “Whatever ye spend that is good is for parents, and kindred, and orphans, and those in want, and for wayfarers.  And whatever ye do that is good Allah knoweth it well.


Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 220:

220    …..They ask thee (O Prophet (saws)) concerning orphans.  Say: "The best thing to do is what is for their good.”


Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 4974        Narrated by Abu Umamah

Allah's Messenger (saws) said, "If anyone strokes an orphan's head, doing so only for Allah's Sake, he will have blessings for every hair over which his hand passes; and if anyone treats well an orphan girl or boy under his care, he and I (Prophet Mohamed (saws)) shall be like these two in Paradise," putting two of his fingers together!


Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 4973        Narrated by Abu Hurayrah

Allah's Messenger (saws) said, "The best house among the Muslims is one which contains an orphan who is well treated, and the worst house among the Muslims is one which contains an orphan who is badly treated."


Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 8.34 Narrated by Sahl bin Sad

The Prophet (saws) said, "I and the person who looks after an orphan and provides for him, will be in Paradise like this," putting his index and middle fingers together.”


In light of the above guidance of the Quran and Sunnah one cannot even imagine the rewards the Lord Most Gracious would bestow on those blessed and fortunate people who took good care of orphans.


Because the relationship of blood in Islamic Law has obvious ties towards marriage, inheritance, etc.; there are certain guidelines in Islam a believer who wishes to adopt must follow:

  1. The child will always be called by his/her biological father’s name.
  2. The child will only inherit from his original blood-relationship.   He will not be eligible to inherit from his foster-parents.  The foster-parents who adopt the child have the option to will or bequeath upto a maximum of one/third of their wealth to their adopted children after their death, if they wish to do so.
  3. If the foster-mother has nursed the adopted child in her infancy, then she will be considered a mehram of the child; but if the foster-mother has not nursed the adopted child, then she will not be considered a mehram of the adopted child.


Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 33 Surah Ahzaab verses 4-5:

…Allah has not made your adopted sons your real sons.   These are the things which you utter from your mouths,  but Allah says what is based on reality;  and He Alone guides to the Right Way.   Call your adopted sons after their father’s names;  this is more just in the sight of Allah.   And if you do not know who their fathers are,  then they are your brothers in faith and your friends.   There is no blame on you if you say something unintentionally;  but you will surely be to blame for what you say with the intention of your hearts.   Allah is Oft-Forgiving,  Most Merciful.


Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone.  Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.


Your brother and well wisher in Islam,





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