Does Islam allow marriage with adopted daughter?

Recently a bill was passed in Iran allowing male guardians to marry their adopted girls aged 13 and below, if the court decided it was in the interest of the girl.  If this bill is approved by the country's Guardian Council, it will become law.  The Guardian Council is a 12-member council in Iran which wields immense power.  No legislation can be accepted without its approval.  To put it briefly, this law is anti-Quranic.  It amounts to promoting the concept of incest.  A very disgusting scenario indeed.   Be it Shiias or Sunnis, neither can resist acting outright despicable because of their dependency on the distortions of Hadith.

I repeat, this practice is totally against the Quran.  It comes entirely from the corrupted Hadith. 

Relevant details of which are explained as follows.

First check Verse 33:5 of the Glorious Quran from Surah Al-Ahzab.

"Proclaim their real parentage. That will be more equitable in the sight of Allah. And if ye know not their fathers, then (they are) your brethren in the faith, and your clients. And there is no sin for you in the mistakes that ye make unintentionally, but what your hearts purpose (that will be a sin for you). Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful." (33:5) Al-Ahzab - Noble Quran.

The same law applies to adopted daughters. The verse clearly portrays a platonic, non-sexual relationship based on mutual coordination, help and affection similar to one's dealings with their own children within a household. Neither are adopted sons non-mehram (or marriageable) for the women who adopt them nor the adopted daughters non-mehram (or marriageable) for the men who adopt them.

Now let us check Verse 4:23 of Surah An-Nissa.  This verse mentions a complete list of all female relationships with which marriage is forbidden.  You can look up the entire verse on your own.  Below we will quote only a specific part of Verse 4:23 that is connected with this topic.

"Forbidden unto you are your ........ and your foster-mothers, and your foster-sisters ......" (4:23) An-Nissa (Noble Quran).  Translation: Muhammed Marmaduke Pickthall.

V.4:23 forbids marriage with foster mother and foster sister. The same law applies in the case of foster father and foster brother.  Adoption is a still closer bond than foster relationship as it confirms permanent guardianship.  Hence, if marriage isn't allowed between foster parents and foster children, there's NO way it can ever be allowed between adopted parents and adopted children.  I reiterate, these rules have been acquired from the very corrupted institutions of Hadith and Shariah which have nothing to do with the Quran. 

The Hadith-following translators have played their old trick by wrongly translating Verse 4:23 in order to keep it compatible with Hadith.  In their translations, along side the words "foster-mothers" and "foster sisters" they have mentioned in brackets 'those who have suckled you' and 'those who have been suckled by the same nurse as you,' respectively  .... thus introducing the concept of guardians marrying adopted daughters.  

To explain this more clearly, we need to remind you of a specific false hadith which claims that breast feeding establishes a mehram or platonic relationship between a man and woman.  It claims that if a man is breast fed by a woman other than his mother at any period in life (shocking as it may sound, Hadith allows breast feeding of adult men), she becomes mehram or unlawful for marriage to him.  According to the same false idea, the hadith also propagates that if two non-related male and female are breast fed by the same nurse during their childhood, they become mehram or unlawful for marriage to each other later in life.  This is simply a hadith fabrication.  It is not endorsed by the Quran nor does medical science confirm that mere breast feeding by an outsider changes the biological setup by creating motherly or sisterly relations.   Yet, the hadith followers have used this gimmick to promote marriage between a man and his adopted daughter by mistranslating Verse 4:23, claiming that foster mothers and foster sisters are unlawful for marriage only if the foster mother has breast fed that man or that man and his foster sister were breast fed by the same woman during childhood.  By this, the Hadith implies that if the issue of breast feeding (or suckling) does not exist, then that man can marry his foster mother or his foster sister.  From the same perspective, the Shariah legalizes marriage between adopted daughter and the man who adopts her.   Filthy, downright shameful and totally un-Quranic !!

As mentioned, an adopted child is even closer to its guardian than a foster child. While foster carers look after children on behalf of someone else which may not be a permanent arrangement, in adoption the man or woman who adopts a child becomes the permanent legal guardian. A legal guardian who gives their word to care for the child as a parent cannot take back their word, deciding to become a sexual partner. That would amount to violation of a promise, sexual abuse and gross injustice to the child. No girl in the world, after knowing that the man who adopted her and cared for her as a biological father since she was a baby, would ever desire sex with him as a teenager or a grown woman, unless she is abused and compelled. 

The reason why the Quran mentions the term "foster" and not "adopted" in Verse 4:23 is because in the 7th century adoption centers didn't exist as they do today. If a child became orphaned, they would generally be taken over by other households or extended families, close friends or neighbors.  Often an orphan child would be transferred to three or four different homes by the time they reached age 18.  That made them foster children rather than adopted children by definition. However, there is no practical difference in relationships between a foster home and an adopted home as far as the child is concerned. And marriage between foster relationships is plainly forbidden (Haram) in the Quran.  Precisely the same law must apply in adopted relationships. That goes without saying.

Look at it this way:  You adopt and raise a little girl from the time she is one, two or three years of age.  You assume the role of a caring and responsible dad for more than a decade.  Would you be able to marry her by the time she is 13 or 14 or 15?  Even if she 18 or 19?  After looking upon her as a daughter since she was a toddler, will your fatherly instincts change when you view her as a teenager approaching womanhood just because you know that she is not your biological daughter?  If yes, then there is something seriously not right with you!  

There is another truth that is being intentionally ignored by the Hadith and Shariah crowd.  The Quranic values and principles completely clash with the idea of marriage of underage girls. The institution of marriage and its responsibilities have been articulately highlighted in the Quran. Marriage is categorically portrayed as an accountable pledge that brings with itself the duties of raising a family, managing a household, managing family relationships, inheriting and handling the husband's assets. It's not humanly possible for a minor girl aged 13 or under to understand such issues, let alone tackle them.  For more details on marriage of underage girls not endorsed by the Quran, please read our earlier post "The Noble Quran does NOT mention marriage of underage girls."


  1. Marrying with underage girls is prohibited at all (NO WAY) even if it is non-mahram. And Islam has clearly mentioned about who is poster and who is adopted. There is difference between foster and adopted.
    Zaid was the adopted son of the Prophet (PBUH) but the prophet married the divorced wife of Zaid.

    1. If you read the blog piece carefully, difference between foster and adopted children has been clearly explained, and with direct reference to Quranic information, is the reason why it can be confirmed that marriage with adopted daughter is not allowed. Age is not the point of contention here. Even if the adopted daughter is an adult in her 20s or 30s, her adopted father can't marry her.

      Marrying the ex-wife of the adopted son is a different matter. Adopted son's divorced wife is not under the care of her husband's adopted father as in the case of an adopted daughter.

  2. Yes there is a difference between foster children and adopted children, in that, adopted relationships are even closer. That's why any idea of marriage with adopted children becomes even more impossible.

    Secondly, that bit about Zaid is a very fallacious argument to justify the topic of this article.
    The self-motivated traditionalists misconstrue the event of the Prophet's marriage to Zainab bint Jahsh to justify non-mehram relations between adopted guardians and adopted children. Totally wrong & vile perception. First of all, Zainab was not the Prophet's adopted daughter. She was his cousin, his aunt's daughter and the wife of a man whom the Prophet (pbuh) supported financially for some years. There is a huge difference between one's relationship with an adopted child and the divorced spouse of that adopted child. Secondly, Zaid who is spoken of as the Prophet's "adopted son" was not exactly adopted the same way as one would adopt an infant from an orphanage to be raised as a son permanently in their household. Zaid was a slave. The Prophet (pbuh) freed Zaid and took over the responsibility of financing and feeding him because as a newly freed slave Zaid had no means of supporting himself. We don't know for sure exactly what may have been Zaid's age when the Prophet made him a free man, but he was surely not a small child. Then, after a few years the Prophet arranged his marriage with his cousin. But the marriage was short and unsuccessful because both Zaid and Zainab found they were not compatible with each other. After Zaid divorced Zainab, he is also reported in several historical pages to have left the city and relocated elsewhere because by that time he was independent and a free man very much on his own. It was at least several months later or probably as long as a couple of years after this divorce that the Prophet (pbuh) married Zainab as was mutually decided between them, Zainab's status being back to what it was formerly - a single woman and the Prophet's cousin. And marriage between cousins is of course allowed in Islam. This event has absolutely NO bearing whatsoever on the sort of offensive laws which the Hadith and Shariah are spinning around with twists & turns to justify their misinterpretations of marrying off underage adopted girls to their male guardians.

  3. Refer to this Fatwa ; " Can I marry my adopted daughter?"

    1. @ Akbar .. the link of your fatwa sees no difference between adopted child and spouse of the adopted child. The Quran permits marriage between an adopted father and his daughter-in-law (through the adopted son). In the blog we are discussing an adopted father and an adopted daughter, NOT the spouse of the adopted child.


Post a Comment

For all general Q&A visit the following link @ Zainab's Lounge. (Copy & paste link on browser)