Is My Adopted Son Mahram?

Shaykh Jamir Meah advises on adoption, the rulings on mahram, and telling the truth to an adopted child.

My question is: I was childless me and my husband adapted the son of my husband’s brother. Ten years ago my husband died. This boy is 29 and I am 60 so there is huge age gap. My son doesn’t know I am not his real mom, so like an actual mother, when he comes home he shows his respect with hugs, and kisses on the head. What are the rulings on this? I need guidance.

This is a very sensitive issue, however, if handled carefully, will work out fine insha Allah. There are two issues that need to be dealt with; informing your husband’s nephew and adopted son of his real parents, and how to interact with each other.  

Telling the Truth

You should tell your adopted son the truth about his parents. This may be very difficult to do, but he has a right to know who his real mother and father are. It is not clear from the information given whether his real parents are alive or not, which may simplify or complicate the process. 

Either way, hopefully he will realize that what you and your husband did was out of love. He is a grown man and should understand the complexities of the situation. You may also want to seek advice from other family members who can support both you and him during this process.  

Mahram (Non-Marriageable Kin)

Because he is your late husband’s nephew, your adopted son is not your mahram, unless you breastfed him when he was under the age of two years old, with certain conditions fulfilled. For further details on who would be your mahram please consult this answer

This means that a) you will have to fully cover in front of him except for your face and hands, b) avoid seclusion with him, and c) avoid physical contact.  

I understand that this is going to be the most difficult and strange thing to you both as your relationship is of mother and son. Therefore, be patient and know that your love and care for each other will not go unrewarded and whatever hardship you undergo for the sake of Allah, will be recompensed. It may take more thought and effort, but try to find ways you can be in each other’s company lawfully, such as with another female family member present, so you can still enjoy one another’s company.  

If at times, the maternal bond over takes you and you forget or slip in your interaction, or your adopted son towards you, then do your best to stay within the limits while being assured that Allah Most High is most Knowing and ever Compassionate.  

I wish you both every happiness, and that your bond is made stronger for the sake of Allah Most High. 

Warmest salams,


Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

My Adopted Parents Keep Rejecting My Marriage Proposals. Can I Go Ahead Without Their Permission?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I am an adopted girl. My mother is still alive. My adopted parents do not want me to get married because they don’t want to take responsibility for my marriage. There is a boy I want to marry but they have ignored him. Can I marry with my biological mother’s permission?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. Dear sister, may Allah grant you ease in this difficult situation.


You have the right to marry a Muslim man of good character and religion. However, your adopted parents also deserve to be treated with respect, consideration and kindness.

I strongly encourage that you and your suitor complete Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life when registration reopens. Please make this a priority, and please do not take any drastic action until you have completed this course.


Please find and consult a compassionate local scholar or a community elder who can speak to and reason with your adopted parents.

“Among the signs of success at the end is the turning to God at the beginning” [Aphorism of Ibn ‘Ata illah Al-Iskandari]

Please do everything in your power to win over your adopted parents before you do your nikah. Please perform the Prayer of Need, give in charity with the intention of seeking Allah’s favour, make regular istighfar, and salawat upon the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace).

Because your father has passed away, you do not need your adopted father’s permission to marry. But I am concerned that if you mishandle this situation, you will damage your relationship with your adopted parents. Who will you turn to when you support and guidance during your time as a newlywed?

Marriage is more than you and the man you want to marry. Marriage is also about families coming together, and that brings both ease and hardship. The first year of marriage is often a big adjustment, even in the best of scenarios.


Until you resolve this matter peacefully, I urge you to limit your contact with the man you wish to marry.

Yes, the threat of falling into zina is real when you are already emotionally attached for so many years. However, rather than think that the only solution is to rush into nikah, take a step back. Give yourselves some time to cool things down. Ask yourself, “How am I making this better or worse?” If you know that seeing or talking to him regularly is only inflaming your desire and his, then please take a breather. When you do meet, please ensure you are chaperoned.

Please be honest with yourself. If you are already involved in sin, or are very close to it, then don’t delay your nikah. Again, this is your last resort, and not your first.

I pray that Allah blesses you with a tranquil marriage which brings you and your loved ones closer to Allah.

Please refer to the following links:

Can I Marry Without My Parents’ Consent?


Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Philip Halling