Ramadan 2013 – Day 18 – Muhammad’s Concept of Adoption

2013 Ramadan PrayerIn the 1990s the phrase, “What would Jesus do?” abbreviated to WWJD became popular among evangelical Christians in the United States. The acronym was printed on bracelets and t-shirts, as a reminder that Christians should act in the same way that Jesus did.  If a similar acronym were developed for Islam, it would be “WDMD” meaning “What DID Muhammad do?” The Qur’an repeatedly says that Muhammad is the perfect Muslim so in order to practice Islam correctly a Muslim should imitate Muhammad.

It is easy to see this when looking at the issue of adoption. In pre-Islamic Arabia adoptions were similar to western adoptions with children taking on the name of the adoptive parents and receiving an inheritance from them.  However Muhammad rejected this procedure so the western concept of adoption does not exist in Islam. Instead there is a system more akin to a foster care relationship in the west, called “kafala.” In western adoptions the child becomes a full member of the family taking on the name of the adoptive family. In Islam the child retains his biological name.

Zayd bin Hâritha (Zayd, son of Hâritha) was captured in an inter-tribal raid and sold into slavery. Upon arrival in Mecca he became a slave for Khadijah (Muhammad’s first wife.). She then gave him as a present to Muhammad when they were married. Zayd’s biological father and uncle later found him in Mecca, and wanted to buy him out of slavery. Zayd confirmed to Muhammad that the men were his father and uncle, and they offered to pay any price to Muhammad in order to free the boy. However, Muhammad offered Zayd a choice to leave with them or stay with him.

Zayd chose to stay with Muhammad so Muhammad freed him and adopted him as a son. His name became Zayd bin Muhammad (Zayd, son of Muhammad), and he was one of the first converts to Islam.

Years later Muhammad and his followers migrated to Medina. Zayd was married to a woman named Zainab and eventually divorced her.  Later during a trance, Muhammad stated that he received revelation that Allah wedded Zainab to Muhammad in heaven.

Muhammad married her, but this caused a problem for him since in their culture it was considered wrong to marry your son’s wife. Muhammad then stated he received new revelation from Allah, which said Allah did not make your adopted sons your real sons. (Sura 33:4). From this point forward an adopted son was no longer considered a full part of the family. Muhammad continued to say that Allah gave him permission to marry Zayd’s ex-wife (Sura 33:37). Zayd’s name once again became Zayd bin Hâritha.

This is how the concept of adoption was established in Islam. Since Muhammad received the revelation that adopted sons are not real sons, even in the West today Muslims are unable to fully adopt children.

Prayer Points:

In Islam, Muslims are discouraged from questioning anything within their religious texts. Pray that modern Muslims will begin to see that there is little freedom or choice within Islam.

As Christians, we are fully adopted as children of God and co-heirs with Jesus Christ. Pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal to Muslims that through Jesus, they too can be fully accepted into God’s family.

Ramadan 2013 – Day 17 – Sharia Exploits Compassion

2013 Ramadan PrayerIn February, Spanish Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon announced Spain would agree to demands of the Moroccan government that children adopted from Morocco by Spanish families must remain culturally and religiously Muslim. The concession to the Moroccan government was made in order to end a freeze on the adoption process.

The Feminine Solidarity Association based in Casablanca reports an average of 24 children are abandoned every day throughout the nation of Morocco. This high rate of child abandonment is thought to be due to Moroccan law that imprisons anyone found guilty of having sexual relations outside of marriage. It is also estimated that only 10% of children growing up in Moroccan orphanages become productive members of society. Sadly 10% of the orphans end up committing suicide and 80% become delinquents.

In 2011, the year before the Islamist government implemented the freeze, 254 Moroccan children were entrusted to Spanish families.  Almost 60 families were assigned children but were unable to bring the children to Spain because of the freeze. Some of these families moved to Morocco in an attempt to adopt the children, and in approximately a dozen cases the Spaniards converted to Islam to try and obtain custody of the children.

The agreement obligates the Spanish government to establish a system to allow Moroccan religious authorities the ability to monitor the children in Spain until they reach adulthood and to make sure they have not converted to Christianity. The requirement conflicts with Article 16 of the Spanish Constitution, which protects religion.

This also means Spanish parents would be unable to fully adopt the children, because they would be forced to comply with sharia law which prohibits adoption. Adoption does not exist in Sharia compliant nations. Instead there is a system called, “kafala.”

Kafala comes from a word that means, “to feed,” and can be traced back to Muhammad and his adopted son. The system for orphans in Islam is more of a foster parent relationship than an adoption.  According to kafala the “adopted” child must keep the name of his or her own biological family and does not change their name to match that of the adoptive family. The child’s inheritance comes from his or her biological family not automatically from the adoptive parents. Once the child becomes an adult, he or she could marry members of the adoptive family because they are never considered a blood relative. It also means the rules of modesty would exist between the grown child and the adoptive family members of the opposite sex. For instance, a female from the adoptive family would have to be covered in the presence of an “adopted brother” and could never be left alone with him.

In what is reported as being in the interest of “cultural pluralism,” the French Civil code gives kafala precedence over French law in all cases of Muslim children born outside of France. A French citizen challenged the law when she was prohibited from adopting an Algerian child who had been abandoned at birth, but lost the case. The European Court of Human Rights said the ruling was in compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child that calls the kafala an “alternative care” equal to adoption.

In an attempt to save innocent children Spain and France have all heedlessly allowed Islamic Sharia law become part of their legal code.

Prayer Points:

For orphan children around the world, pray the words of Psalm 10:14: “But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.”

There are many couples and families that yearn to reach out with love to these children who have been abandoned and bring them into their homes. Pray that God will raise up leaders who recognize the life-giving potential of the love of a family.

Pray that leaders of western governments will recognize the subtle nature of sharia law in situations like this, and rather than bowing their knee to the demand of the Islamists, become advocates demanding the Islamist governments stop using innocent children as pawns in a power struggle.