Adopting a child in Islam, Jordan and Gaza
Smokes blow wrote a post last January on adopting children from Gaza. His post was one of few posts that addressed the issue. At that point I was very interested in exploring the possibility of adopting a child from Gaza. I eventually reached a dead end… but I learnt a few things in the process.
I decided to write about this now, because after leaving a comment on Smokes Blow’s blog, I had received many emails from different people around the world wanting to adopt a child and not knowing what the process was… I will put everything that I know here… and hopefully it will be useful to these people who want to adopt a child. Special thank to Naser for a great initiative.
As an orphan, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) paid special attention to orphans. He himself adopted a child and raised him as if he were his own son.
However things are not simple. In the Islamic Law, there are specific rules about the guardianship of an orphan. Mainly, the child has always to know who his biological family is and he/she can’t change their last name to match that of the adoptive family. If the biological parents are not known, then the child has to know that he is adopted.
He/she inherits from his/her biological parents, and can inherit up to one third from his/her adoptive parents (in a will). Also if the child was rich or has inherited anything from his/her biological parents, his adoptive parents can’t use that money. There are many Ayas in the Qura’an that insist on protecting the orphans’ rights and property. (this site provides more details)
“…Nor has He made your adopted sons your (biological) sons. Such is (only) your (manner of) speech by your mouths. But Allah tells (you) the Truth, and He shows the (right) Way. Call them by (the names of) their fathers; that is juster in the sight of Allah. But if you know not their father’s (names, call them) your brothers in faith, or your trustees. But there is no blame on you if you make a mistake therein. (What counts is) the intention of your hearts. And Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.”(Qur’an 33:4-5)
I need to explain, if these rules are respected, and the child was treated with love and respect, guardianship or kafala of an orphan child is something that is seen on top of the good deeds that any Muslim can do in his/her lifetime… it is a guaranteed way to go to heaven.
I will not go into explaining the rationale behind this, as it makes perfect sense to me… in Spain, a story made the news a few months ago about an adopted child who doscovered that his wife was his biological sister… but they did not know before because they were both adopted… and they only found out later when one of their children needed medical care and they both had to go through thorough medical testing… The case sparked harsh debate about the ethics involved in this case… everyone had an opinion…
In Jordan, there are laws that govern adopting a child. Jordanian law does not allow for full adoptions of Jordanian children. However, the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) may grant guardianship of children to people who are not the child’s biological parents. However under specific rules.
- To start with, the parents must be Muslims. Because every child is deemed Muslim if his parents are not known.
- The husband must be between 35 and 55 years of age and the wife must be between 30 and 50 years of age. And they MUST be married. Single parents can’t adopt children.
- Parents must be medically certified as infertile. They may have up to 2 children, including adopted. If they have one child then, the adopted child must be of the same sex. The reason is that in the Islamic Sharia law, there is no blood bond between them and so they are muhram.
Now to go back to the origin of the this whole research… what are the rules in Gaza?
Gazans feel very sensitive about sending war children outside Gaza, they have a sense of attachment to the land and the place. They feel that these children have already paid a lot for Gaza and it is not right to uproot them. They are home and should be brought up at home.
Also these childrem usually have relatives, sometimes too poor to raise them, but they are still loved. Relatives feel that they have btrayed the children’s parents if they put them for adoption.
However, there is only one category of children, on which the rules don’t apply. Children of incest, rape, outside wedlock… abandoned children… the problem is that no one wants to adopt them. With this category there is a room to listen, but someone needs to know someone inside.
There is a home for abandoned children in Gaza… only one place, in which all these children go. If someone got to them, then maybe… maybe they can adopt a child.