Assalamualaikum ustaz, I have a question, I have an adopted child that I’ve been taking care of since he is a child. The question is, is it permissible for him to inherit my property after I pass away considering that I don’t have any other children? If he cannot inherit my property, what is the best and appropriate solution for this?
Waalaikumussalam wrm. wbt.,
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
We will start with the words of Allah SWT:
لِّلرِّجَالِ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا تَرَكَ الْوَالِدَانِ وَالْأَقْرَبُونَ وَلِلنِّسَاءِ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا تَرَكَ الْوَالِدَانِ وَالْأَقْرَبُونَ مِمَّا قَلَّ مِنْهُ أَوْ كَثُرَۚ نَصِيبًا مَّفْرُوضًا ﴿٧﴾
“For men is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, and for women is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, be it little or much - an obligatory share.”
Surah al-NIsa’ (7)
Imam al-Qurtubi when commenting on the above verse states, there are wisdoms from the verse; it explains that one of the ‘illah or reason of inheritance is القرابة (al-qorobah) which means family relations. Second, the general meaning for the word قرابة whether it is close or far relations. And third, the generality of all the parts set by Allah SWT. (See Tafsir al-Qurtubi; 5/46)
Coming back to the question presented regarding an adopted child, we should first analyse what is meant by an adopted child and the reasons that permit a person to inherit the inheritance.
According to the 2nd edition of Kamus Pelajar, an adopted child means a child that is adopted from someone else and considered as his own. This means, an adopted child does not have any family relations with his adopted father. In inheritance law or in Arabic known as faraid or mirath, scholars have stated the reasons that permits a person to receive the inheritance of a deceased are:
- Family relations (of the same lineage)
- Wala’ (Freeing a slave)
(See al-Majmu’ Syarh al-Muhazzab; 16/53)
However, contemporary scholars added one more reason for inheritance and that is he must be a Muslim. (See al-Fiqh al-Manhaji; 5/75)
Next, we consider what is meant by inheritance as stated in the book al-Fiqh al-Manhaji (5/75), inheritance is any property owned that can be divided to anyone who is eligible to receive it after the death of its owner, whether because of family relations or others such as marriage and wala’.
Thus, according to the definition of inheritance, the meaning of adopted child and reasons a person can receive the inheritance, we found that an adopted child is not listed as an heir that has a right to accept any inheritance from his adopted parents according to faraid. The reason is an adopted child does not have any blood relation through syarak and it is impermissible for him to be named after the adopted father even after he has been named after the adopted father in his birth certificate.
However, not having a right to receive the inheritance does not mean that he cannot accept some of the inheritance through other ways such as hibah and will. Some adopted parents today neglect to take other ways to give their adopted child anything because of their misconception that an adopted child is ineligible and has no right to receive anything after the passing of the adopted parents.
To conclude, here we would like to state that an adopted child has no right to receive inheritance from his adopted parents because he has no blood relations that permit him to receive the inheritance. However, it is best if the other heirs to care and love the adopted child the same way the adopted parents did when they were alive. Thus, among the early step or initiative the adopted parents could take if they wanted to leave something for their adopted child is to do so through the process of hibah and will. However, both processes must be carried out in a fair manner and does not burden the other heirs in the matter of managing the inheritance and it must follow the guidance and amount set in the shariah of Islam.
Lastly, we pray to Allah SWT to ease all our affairs in this world and the hereafter, and give us the correct understanding in practising His religion as well as bless all our deeds. Amin.