Adoption in pre-Islamic society:
In the time before the Islam, the adopted son would be ascribed to his foster father. He would inherit from him, was allowed to be in seclusion with his wife and daughters and his foster father's wife would be haram for him in marriage. The forbidden son would have all the benefits as of begotten son in all affairs.
The Prophet sallallahu alayhe was salaam adopted Zayd Ibn Haarith Ibn Sharaaheel al-Kilaby before the message of Islaam, and he used to be called Zayd Ibn Muhammad. This form of pre-Islamic adoption continued until the third or fifth year after the migration to Madeenah(Hijraah).
Adoption after Islam came.
Allah ordered to ascribe the adopted children to their real biological fathers if they are known. If, however, their parents are not known then they are considered as the brothers in the religion and as freed slaves to those who adopted them.
Allah has forbidden to ascribe a child to his foster parents or anyone other than his real father, except by a slip of tongue. He, glory be to Him, verified that this ruling is pure justice due to it entailing truth in speech, preservation of lineage, honour, and the reservation of financial rights to those who are more deserving. The Highest said :
“….nor has He made your adopted sons your real sons. That is but your saying with your mouths. But Allâh says the truth, and He guides to the (Right) Way.Call them (adopted sons) by (the names of) their fathers, that is more just with Allâh. But if you know not their father’s (names, call them) your brothers in faith and Mawâlîkum (your freed slaves). And there is no sin on you if you make a mistake therein, except in regard to what your hearts deliberately intend. And Allâh is Ever Oft¬Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Al-Ahzab 33:4,5)
Furthermore, the Prophet sallallahu alayhe was salaam said :
” Whoever attributes himself to other than his father or ascribes to other than his manumator(the person who frees a slave), then the continuous curse of Allah is upon him”. [Narrated by Abu Daawood.] Termination of Adoption:
The false acclamation of son-ship is forbidden. Allah has terminated those rules that were linked with adoption before Islam.
The first thing that was terminated was inheritance in the property. He declared that each must be charitable to another in their lifetimes and that a deserved share be bequeathed to the other from the deceased that does not exceed a third of his wealth.
In shareeah, it is clearly mentioned the laws of inheritance and who are the deserving heirs of it and there is no mention of adopted children.
Allah says in glorious Quran:
“…..And blood relations among each other have closer personal ties in the Decree of Allâh (regarding inheritance) than (the brotherhood of) the believers and the Muhajirûn (emigrants from Makkah, etc.), except that you do kindness to those brothers (when the Prophet Sallallahu alayhe was salaam joined them in brotherhood ties)….”(Al-Ahzab 33:6)
An adopted son can marry his guardian's wife if she no longer remains the wife of his guardian, as he is not mahram to her.
The Most High said :
“…..So when Zaid had accomplished his desire from her (i.e. divorced her), We gave her to you in marriage, so that (in future) there may be no difficulty to the believers in respect of (the marriage of) the wives of their adopted sons when the latter have no desire to keep them (i.e. they have divorced them). And Allâh’s Command must be fulfilled. (Al-Ahzab 33:37)
So the Prophet sallallahu alayhe was salaam married Zaynab Bint Jahsh by the command of Allah after Zayd Ibn Haarithah had divorced her.
Terminating adoption doesn’t mean terminating the human emotions and keeping ties. The brotherhood and love is not what is terminated, the brotherhood and Islamic rights remain.
A person is allowed to call the younger than him with kind words such as “son”. He is allowed to treat him with kindness and make him feel loved. Similarly, the child can call his foster father as “father” out of love and respect.
Also the Prophet sallallahu alayhe was salaam said :
” The similitude of the believers is their love, compassion and kindness between one another is like that of a body, if a limb complains, the rest of the body collapses with fever and restlessness.” [Narrated by Ahmad and Muslim].
He sallallahu alayhe was salaam furthermore said :
” The believers amongst themselves are like a structure, parts of it strengthen others” [Narrated by Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidthee, and Nasaaee.]
This includes caring for poor and orphans who are in need of love and kindness. Who may have no one to look after them. It also is important to spread goodness so that society is free of evil and its children are protected from harm.
If the treasury of the government does not suffice the needs of such people, assistance can be sought from the effluent of the Ummah, the Prophet sallallahu alayhe was salaam said :
” Any believer who dies and bequeaths wealth, let his heirs whoever they may be inherited from him, if he bequeaths a debt or loss, then let his creditors refer to me, for I am his sponsor”. [Narrated by Bukhari]
And Allah knows best.
May Allah help and guide us.