India allows adoption under a secular Juvenile Justice Act (Care and Protection of Children). Islam on the other hand prohibits adoption among the community. The religion also forbid inheritance rights or giving the name to the adopted child. They, however, can foster a destitute or an orphan till they attain puberty but cannot adopt one and pretend like their own child.
Adoption in the county is governed by three laws, the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act (1956) – applicable to Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs, the Guardian Act of 1890 which is applicable to Muslims, Parsi, Christian and Jews, and the Juveline Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000.
One may ask why the religion allows foster care but does not permit adoption? Let’s discover the reason behind it.
Islam prohibits adoption due to the fear of sexual relations between the adopted child to either of the parent- son to his non-biological mother and daughter to her adoptive father, explains All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) to Law Commission. It was during the meeting held on 21 May 2018 of AIMPLB and Law Commission. Being the first of its kind, the meeting intended to come up with suggestions to the Islamic personal law in order to make adoption less troubled for prospective parents.
The commission was then made informed of the reasons behind the prohibition of adoption in Islam. Other issues such as child marriage, inheritance were also put forth to the table.
“We could consider some reasonable changes to our personal laws suggested by the Commission, as long as they are not in conflict with Islam,” AIMPLB member Kamal Faruqui, who was in the meeting, as quoted by The Print.
Islam encourages providing for an orphan but they cannot stay with the family once puberty is attained, clarified Faruqui.
“In Islam, all relations are ordained by Allah. Physical intimacy with a person with whom nikah and sexual relations are possible is not permissible. So an adopted son cannot live in the same house as the mother or a biological daughter,” he continued.
But in 2014, the Supreme Court of India ruled that the Islamic personal law of disallowing adoption cannot deny a Muslim to adopt a child under the Juvenile Justice Act.
What about the inheritance rights of adopted children?
Even though being one of the forward communities to give inheritance rights to daughters from the beginning, Islam forbids heritage to adopted children. The reason it holds is doing such may deprive man’s own children of the property, thus the religion considers such an act as Haraam. Allah has guaranteed the distribution of property in order to give each rightful and deserving heirs their share. The Quran, however, didn’t mention anything about inheritance to adopted children. There is only mention of blood relations and marriage. The Quran stipulates (what means); “And those who believed after [the initial emigration] and emigrated and fought with you – they are of you. But those of [blood] relationship are more entitled [to inheritance] in the decree of Allah. Indeed, Allah is Knowing of all things.” [Quaran 8;75].