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In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
Question: Is adoption prohibited in Islam?
Adoption is not prohibited in Quran. There are references to adoption in Quran clearly implying that one could adopt children. God requires us to maintain a distinction between adopted children and genetic children for obvious reasons (this does not imply we love the adopted children any less). God's law is to give the adopted children names that preserve their relationship with their genetic parents (if the parents are known). The child and society must know who the child's real parents are.
[33:4] GOD did not give any man two hearts in his chest. Nor did He turn your wives whom you estrange (according to your custom) into your mothers.* Nor did He turn your adopted children into genetic offspring. All these are mere utterances that you have invented. GOD speaks the truth, and He guides in the (right) path.
(sub-title) Do Not Change Your Names
[33:5] You shall give your adopted children names that preserve their relationship to their genetic parents. This is more equitable in the sight of GOD. If you do not know their parents, then, as your brethren in religion, you shall treat them as members of your family. You do not commit a sin if you make a mistake in this respect; you are responsible for your purposeful intentions. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.
The prophet Muhammad too had an adopted child, Zeid (mentioned in 33:37 in connection with laws of marriage). Thus adoption is clearly allowed.
There are other examples in Quran which refers to adoption (Joseph & Moses) and we know from Quran that God teaches us through examples.
[12:21] The one who bought him in Egypt said to his wife, "Take good care of him. Maybe he can help us, or maybe we can adopt him." We thus established Joseph on earth, and we taught him the interpretation of dreams. GOD's command is always done, but most people do not know.
(sub-title) Inside the Lion's Den
[28:9] Pharaoh's wife said, "This can be a joyous find for me and you. Do not kill him, for he may be of some benefit for us, or we may adopt him to be our son." They had no idea.
[39:27] We have cited for the people every kind of example in this Quran, that they may take heed.
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