Wednesday, September 13, 2006

adoption

In Pakistan, when a childless couple wishes to adopt they are met with much opposition and resistance.
A second marriage is considered a more suitable option.
The people,who at the best of times cannot follow the basic rules suddenly go into holier than thou, its against islam mode at the mention of the word adoption.

A distant cousin of mine, has recently adopted a child.
I have always maintained that inshallah health and finances permitting one day I would like to adopt a child or two. I have only speculated, my cousin did it. They have a child of their own and yet they have such a big HEART, they have welcomed an abandoned baby into their home, lives and hearts.
Last thursday we were at the home of another cousin(K) . Male, unmarried and lately heavy on the religious side.My views on religion are liberal, I suppose. I pray(not always 5 times), I do not eat pork or you know the basic stuff.

For me as a woman and a mother, I have tremendous respect for the couple who adopted the baby. Its not an easy task.When I mentioned this to K in glowing terms. His immediate response was: OH! YOU KNOW ITS FORBIDDEN IN ISLAM.

When I am telling a warm, tingly, goose bumpy feel good story, personally, telling me ITS FORBIDDEN IN ISLAM pointblank, is like waving a red flag in front of me. I understand that it may not be allowed in islam, but to reduce someone's charitable act to a sin. Without acknowledging for a moment the generousity of that person. Am I right to feel annoyed at his narrow mindedness (which I have experienced on many other topics), or is it my faith that is weak?

It is said that you cannot bequeath any wealth to an adopted child. This so that you do not deprive your other offsprings of their rights. Any wealth to be given must be done when the person is alive. But not as an inheritance.

It is said that once a female adopted child reaches puberty, she will have to observe hijaab, in front of her adopted father , or if a male child is adopted then the adopted mother will have to observe hijaab in front of her adopted son. In both, cases because the men are not biologically related as father/son they are non "mahram" (ie unmarrigeable kin).

The only loophole here is if the child is suckled by the mother, ie as in foster mother. (again any children who have suckled of the same mother are foster brothers/sisters and any other relationship would be viewed as incestous).
But if a woman is unable to conceive from where is she to produce the milk to suckle an infant? That too must be done before th child turns TWO. Because any thing after that is considered as "food.

Yes, God is great, and he knows best. Therefore if he left a couple unable to conceive then there must be a reason. But isn't the whole marriage scenario all about having families and increasing tribes.
If adoption brings outside blood and dilutes the tribe. Then why are we encouraged to marry out of the tribe so as to facilitate the spread of Islam?

How many of us have ever heard (or maybe even seen) of an orphanage, where the children are getting any love? Barely enough food to exist on, and then how many of them are being beaten on a daily basis. Its never all Danny Kaye and Julie Andrews singing hugging kissing, the children at all.

Is it not so much better to bring a child into you own home, give it love, give it a chance. Do you have any idea how many young girls are raped or sent into prostitution from orphanages?
Yes, yes I have heard that one never knows the "neeyat" (intention) of adoptive parents, and they take the children to work as servants blah blah.
How many cases of incest have we come across in the last 1 year? We are talking biological parents now, not "adoptive".

Is it the fault of the children if they have become orphans? Is it their fault if they have been abandoned?
It is true blood (genes, traits) play a huge invisible part of our makeup. That there are many characteristics which will surface, which may not be agreeable. But I also belive the persons surrounding has a tremendous impact on his/her upbringing.
And no one of us is perfect.
But each one of is capable of giving love, be it a little or a lot.
I am not trying to be anti islamic, I am saying this because perhaps my understanding and grasp of the situation is not sufficient for me to comprehend. Maybe I am just being a woman, over emotional. The kind that cannot walk away from a mewling kitten.

We are supposed to be kind to orphans (yateem) and that is what the whole purpose of Zakat is. But do we live in a perfect world, where we abide the rules of the Quran? We do not practise it on a day to day basis ,yet how quick we are to preach it.







22 comments:

  1. hmm while being no religious expert or sheikh, I remember being taught about this at school (I was given the full dose!). At that young age I remember the rules were not clear.

    In Islam there are levels of right and wrong. The highest wrong is Ishraak which is when you believe there is another God along with Allah. Anything else is considered less of a sin but is still forgivable.

    Ok, so we have to take care of our elders and pay zakat. I doubt if we miss a payment or a visit then we'll be sentenced to death.

    Adoption is similar to the the 2nd example. OK. So the religion has stipulated against it but there are no clear rules. From what I read, calling your adopted son by your surname was discouraged. No punishment was given.

    I repeat I'm no religious expert, but to me this seems like a gray area and surely should be considered based on the merits of the situation. You take an orphan or a disadvantaged child and you give him/her your love and care as if one of yours. Surely it's a good thing no? Regardless of the name you choose.

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  2. Am I right to feel annoyed at his narrow mindedness (which I have experienced on many other topics), or is it my faith that is weak?

    No - trust your instincts. Charity can never be wrong. Ask yourself if God and the prophet intended it to be better for an orphaned child to be left in an orphanage, homeless, or adopted by a loving muslim family? What do you think that they would really want?

    Go with your conscience, and accept that some parts of the holy writings have probably been a little misinterpreted.

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  3. It was good to read something on this "taboo" in our religion and society. You are right it is considered better to marry again then to adopt a child, one thing you didnt mention is parents will encourage their son to marry another time not once doubting that he might not be able to bear children. Why is adopting considered so wrong, i have no clue, Its certainly not forbidden in islam to adopt from what i know there are stipulations on name and inheretance and the whole mahrean situation.

    I know some people who have adopted and they are very happy and the children are happy, but every time someone mentions their child it is a must to mention the adoption, when they don't have a problem why do others have a problem with this.

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  4. Adoption is not aram in islam, taking care of orphans is concidered the highest act of charity and God himself has elevated the status of orphans in many verses in the qur'aan.

    People simply don't know what they are talking about.

    Back in the day it wasa matter of small tight knit communities.And in Islam it is concidered inportant that everyone maintains their family name, girl or boy, and the stress on that in an adopted childs case is so that he not be "deprived" if his history.

    Then there are cases where you don't know where teh child is from, from what family. What to do then?

    Adoption is not haraam, it is encouraged. Trust your instincts for usually common sense will lead you back to the true essence of religion, not the diluted cultural one.

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  5. I don't think adoption is a "taboo" subject in pakistan, but it certainly draws a lot of attention on the family that adopts a child and you know how it is when the women of the family gather and gossip!

    Adoption draws a lot of flak in pakistan, for those who "truly and sincerely" want to love and treat as their own. Then there are numerous other people who adopt just so they can have a lifelong servant. It's cheaper than hiring one. This is very common in pakistan. If you were watching the fund raising shows on ARY and GEO tv during the earthquake in pakistan, you might have heard the hosts mentioning several times for people to come forward and adopt the children who have lost their whole families, but "ONLY if they will treat these children as their own and really love them." They were requesting people not to keep them as servants. It was pathetic. To think people would actually do such a thing! These heartless people will punished in the afterlife for this and it will be just.

    I think there is nothing wrong with adoption. If you can afford it and love the kid like your children, then why not. I think you will be blessed by Allah for doing this. You will not only enrich your life with another child, but also give him/her a chance to live life to the fullest.

    If you're seriously thinking about it, perhaps you can read some books on the topic, or talk to people who have adopted. That would give you a better idea of the whole process and how to deal with it, BEFORE adopting.

    Good luck and God bless.

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  6. Kaya you have been tagged, check out my blog.

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  7. @ Clayfuture, what i meant when i said taboo was exactly what you have said, people look down upon adopted children, of course its the topic of discussion with the ladies, but the question is should it be. I mean live and let live.

    I dont see anything wrong with adoption, i think its a wonderful concept, a very nice thing to do for whatever reasons. If you can love and care for a life that might have ended up in less fortunate places what could be wrong with that. There is nothing wrong, and its certainly not religious.

    Adopting and abusing, I havent heard of from my experience, but from what i'm hearing I guess its happeneing and more so in pakistan from you peoples comments. Its sad, and certainly pathetic.

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  8. @buj

    What you say is right. Bearing in mind the story of Prophet Mohammed(saw) and his adopted son Zayd.
    The later incidents and the instructions that followed regarding adoption.
    Now, though from a shariah point of view you cannot give your name, but from a legal point you can.
    In countries where two legal system work sdie by side (shariah/judicial)it gets a little complicated. Esp with greedy reltives clamouring to get their 2 bits worth.
    There the adopted child has not a chance in hell to get a penny.
    All has to be bequeathed during the parent's lifetime.

    I like what sd says , and sometimes everything is not black/white and ones instincts as a woman towards nuturing/mothering/protecting will always override all laws.
    But sadly even when it comes to women, their contribution as a witness or a recipient to any wealth/property is virtually nothing. The widow/daughter gets a pittance of her husband/father wealth.
    Wills are not permitted and sons/brothers all reap the benefits.

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  9. But coming to D-reb
    What I meant to say about doosri shaadi, which will also be there should you in sucession give birth to more than 1 daughter in sucession- what I meant to say. I know 3 couple who are amongst our group of friends who have been unable to have a baby.
    Of that group, 2 went for fertility treatment and 1 just refused-(bearing in mind that artificial insemination is not permitted.
    Of the 2 that went for treatment one couple had a baby this year after 7 years of marriage, and the other couple adopted a neice (wife adopted her sister's baby).
    couple number 3 who have been married almost 15 years (despite the wife being a doctor, refuse treatment and are totally against adoption.
    I think myself that is rather sad. What does it matter who's womb has given life. Giving birth alone does not make you a mother.
    So they marry the son's off again, always assuming that the woman is at fault.
    there was a rather controversial drama where a husband forced his wife to sleep with a total stranger for a sum of money so that she could have a baby. The family always assumed that the problem was with the woman because the husband hid her reports of being normal and falsified his own.

    What is very interesting on a side topic, that when we die and we will be called on the day of judgement. we will be called by our mother's name. Because only the mother knows who the father is.

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  10. @ SS and Void
    Valid points made.

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  11. @Clayfuture

    But its true. Even after 20 years whenever people refer to XYZ child they cannot resist saying. Oh but you know woh baccha unka apna nahi hai( its not their own child).
    The same happens when the mom/dad have to have a quickie wedding because mom has already got a bun cooking in her oven.
    The retard group always comes out with the origin of birth.

    But another question for you. If the conception/birth takes place before AQD/NIKKAH
    what are the ramifications there? Is it still Zinna?(adultery)Will the child always be regarded as illegitimate?

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  12. @kaya.. premarital sex is a sin, like DUH! but conception before nikkah, I don't really know. I think the experts here might be able to answer that.. I would like to know as well!

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  13. Interesting topic..........can get a bit confusing tho' or is that just me? What I personally feel saddened by is that the laws of a persons religion appear to dictate the conditions of an adoption?

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  14. Wow - the prophet had an adopted son?

    I think that speaks greater volumes than any modern day mullahs can ;)

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  15. i have to go with shaykhspeara, adoption per se is not haram, taking care of an orphan is amongst the best things you can do in islam. but adoption does come with a high responsibility. for example, the prophet said that you MUST teach the child the religion that it's parents would have taught it, and then let him/her decide when he's an adult.

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  16. Adoption is an honourable thing.

    I have slightly different thoughts about the whole idea of charity. I'll blog about it during the weekend.

    In the meanwhile...


    In Pakistan, when a childless couple wishes to adopt they are met with much opposition and resistance.
    A second marriage is considered a more suitable option.



    Kaya, this second marriage... is it considered a suitable option for both wife and husband? Or is it a luxury the man enjoys with or without proper medical check ups to figure out who cannot have the child?

    Or is it assumed, no matter what, that the woman is at fault for not bearing a child? (As is the case in most parts of the developing world)

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  17. Adoption in a legal Western sense, as in taking over a child's natal identity and giving her your own, including your name, and allowing her to inherit from u like a biological child is forbidden. However, raising a child, providing her love, shelter, education, even allowing her to call u mother and treating her in everyway like your own family member is NOT in anyway haraam. It is encouraged. As usual, Muslims can't see the forest for the trees when they call adoption haraam. Perhaps it is better to say "fostering" rather than adoption. As for the hijab issue, another "give me a break" issue. Which is a greater evil, a non-mahram raising a child or a child growing up in a state of loveless destitution. we make it seem as if hijab is more important than protecting orphans. Such nonsense, really. I hope you do adopt, or foster a Pakistani child. And May Allah shower blessings and bring you closer to Him for doing so.

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  18. Dear Kaya,

    Please check out this link

    http://www.al-islam.org/organizations/AalimNetwork/msg00474.html

    It has the usual stuff, you know, the mahram-non mahram relations, hijab, etc, but I think this mullah is somewhat less strict that others in matters of family interaction and is very sympathetic to adopted kids and their parents. I especially like this paragraph:

    "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."

    Wassalam,

    Your sister in Islam,

    Dewi

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  19. Dear Dewi
    thanyou for the link.
    As I said , its really not me who has all these hang ups, I am quite liberal on a lot of things.
    But unfortunately the men who have taken it into their heads to follow the teaching of some religious fanatics also feel it compulsory to stuff it down the throats of others.
    But thanks for the link. I had almost forgotton about this post.

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