Adoption is of two types:
a) To adopt a child during his suckling age so that he can drink the milk of
the mother who has adopted him. In this case, the child will be her
foster-son and there will be no difference between him or her and the
mother’s real children in any manner. He or she will possess the same rights
in all affairs (eg inheritance) as the real children possess. This relation
is as strong as the real or blood relation.
b) To adopt a child when he is past his suckling age. In this case, he of
course will not be the son of the parents who have adopted him in the legal
sense. He will be called by the name of his previous father. The parents who
have adopted him can of course address him as ‘son’. The child will
consequently not inherit their wealth after them, unless of course they make
a will in his favour. This type of relation is not recognized as strong as
the real or blood relation.
In Arabia, both types of adoption prevailed. However, the two were not
differentiated between. In spite of the fact that the second type did not
establish a real relation , it carried the same restrictions as the first
one in which a real relationship is established between the two. The need
arose to reform this evil social practice and the Almighty chose none other
than the Prophet (sws) Himself to do away with this custom considering its
deep roots in the society.