Ruling on bringing up a foundling

Question:

A woman took home a female infant from one of the hospitals in the Kingdom (of Saudi Arabia) to bring up as her child. She raised the child and whenever someone asked about her she would say that she is her daughter. The young girl herself considered the woman her mother, the woman’s husband as her father and her children as her brothers and sisters, etc. What is your opinion regarding this? Does she have the right to inherit? Is it permissible for the children of this woman to marry this girl? Appreciate your guidance, may Allah guide you.

Answer:

Adopting and bringing up foundlings upon good manners and Islamic etiquette is a noble act. It is hoped that one who does so will be greatly rewarded, but such a child shall not be regarded as a daughter or a son and does not inherit from those who bring them up. It is permissible for the son of the person who raises a female foundling to marry her through the courts if there has been no legal breastfeeding from her or anything else that prevents marriage.

May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.

  • Date: Muharram 12, 1442 AH
  • Source: Fatawa Al-Lajnah Ad-Da'imah no. 15308
  • Muftis: Shaykh Abdul-Aziz Aal al-Shaykh , Shaykh Abdul-Aziz ibn Baz , Shaykh Salih Fawzan , Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd , Shaykh Abdullah ibn Ghudayyan