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['Aalim Network QR] Adoption

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|       In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the All-Merciful       |\
|  Greeting of Allah be upon Muhammad and the pure members of his House |\
Assalamu 'alaykum
The following question was answered by Mulla Bashir Rahim.

Salaams & Duas
Ummulbanin Merali - Moderator -'Aalim Network


My question pertains to adoption.  What if I was adopted by a Christian
family when I was still Christian?  Does this mean I still have to cover in
front of my father and brothers?  I do not know anything of my maternal
parents and was very young upon adoption.  
I embraced Islam 4 years ago and suddenly I am expected to cover in front of
my father and brothers, the only family I have ever known?? 

This is an important question and thank you for submitting it to the ABDG-A.

The issue of Adoption was dealt with by El-Hajj Mullah Asghar some time ago.
He clarified the situation as follows:
"Islam allows adoption of children - the Holy Prophet (S) adopted Zaid bin
However, the child will not inherit the parents. And the child is not
mahram to both parents the way the natural child would be."

The issue which you are raising is one of mahrimiyyat. Under the Islamic law
your adoptive father is not your mahram nor are your adoptive brothers. 
A mahram is, as a general rule, a person with whom marriage is forbidden
because of blood or marital relationship. In common law, where ever it
applies, a similar law exists. People falling within the prescribed degree
of relationship can not marry. 

In Islam these relationships which give rise to the prohibition of marriage
are clearly set out in Ayah 23 of Suratun-Nisaa (Chapter 4). You will notice
that while a step-father under whose care the step daughter is can not marry
that step daughter no such prohibition is prescribed in relation to an
adoptive parent viz-a-viz adoptive son or daughter, nor in relation to
adoptive brothers and sisters.

I fully appreciate the personal anguish reflected in your question because
of the very pure and loving father/daughter relationship which exists
between your adoptive father and yourself. In fact you are very fortunate to
enjoy such a relationship. There can be only few people in your position. If
newspaper accounts are to be taken as a yard-stick, such a healthy
relationship is not universal in cases of adoptive parenthood.

You should not look upon the mahrimiyyat restrictions imposed upon the
relationship between you and your adoptive father as a threat to that
relationship. Of course it is a sin to sit with non-mahram without a hijab
or to have a physical contact like holding hands or hugging. No one would
want to advise you to a commit sinful act with impunity. However, you have
to take into account Allah's Mercy and Magfirah where the intent is pure and
the deed is not such as to harm the society or any member of the society.
This is a matter for
your conscience and between you and Allah.

May Allah grace the relationship between you and your adoptive father with
wisdom, mercy and love and may you one day become instrumental to guiding
your adoptive family to Islam.

With salaams and du'aas from a humble servant of Ahlul Bayt and their
followers, and with a request to be remembered by you in your prayers,

Bashir Rahim

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