There is a huge need for Muslim foster carers as the Muslim population continues to grow as well as the influx of Syrian refugee children. Many Muslims may not realize that by fostering a child they are following a sunnah of the beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Fostering should be not only welcomed but encouraged in the Muslim community to help diversify foster parents in today’s society—with the right guidance and education, there’s no doubt many families will offer a loving and stable home for a foster child.
Fostering from Islamic perspective
If you look at fostering from an Islamic perspective, the rewards for the selfless act is of high nature. The sahih hadith found in Bukhari, according to a narration by Sahl ibn Sa’d says,“Whoever takes care of an orphan, he and I will enter Paradise like these two,” and Prophet Muhammad, gestured with his two fingers. Furthermore, there are numerous texts in the Qur’an and Hadith that talk about the virtue of looking after orphans. The prophet (PBUH), himself was an orphan and was taken care of by his community; his life was a testament to taking care of orphans. Islam is religion which encourages and promotes taking care of the community and society and looking after the weakest elements of our community be it orphans, needy children who’s parents can’t take care of them, widows or the elderly etc.
The need for Muslim to foster children
There is a huge shortfall of foster families in the UK and elsewhere in the world with the numbers estimated at 10,000. There is also a specific need for more Muslim foster carers who can look after Muslim children to provide the appropriate diet, language, religious beliefs/teachings, understanding of culture and customs so they don’t lose their identity.
Reluctance from the Muslims
One of the reasons why there is a reluctance from the Muslim community is due to the misunderstanding between adoption and fostering. Some scholars have ruled out adoption due to fiqh issues in regards to being a non-mahram because the child is not biologically the adopter’s child. Another reason is adoption gives legal rights to the adoptive parents and removes rights from the birth parents of the children. The child also takes the surname of his/her adoptive family which is forbidden in Islam. This is not to discourage people from adopting children. Adoption, when and if done according to Islamic guidelines, is permissible.
On the other hand when it comes to fostering, the child is not cut off from his biological family and thus they are encouraged to keep in contact with the child. The foster child does not take the surname of the foster parents either and the child can have multiple placements with different foster families. This is why Muslim Foster Network has been working hard to get more Muslims to foster children who are in need of homes and families to take care of them. Muslim Foster Network is an initiative setup by Mercy Mission UK to raise awareness within the wider Muslim community in regards to fostering children.
The Muslim Foster Network
Muslim Foster Network is a non-profit organisation that has been creating awareness all over the UK and has been heavily involved with local authorities and sitting on forums with fostering agencies on how we can generate more Muslim foster carers. We have been working with masaajids all over UK to deliver Friday khutbahs on the virtues of fostering and holding community events. We also create resources for foster parents to better prepare them for the challenges that may arise. If interested in this great cause then please visit to our website and get in touch with us: http://www.muslimfosternetwork.org.uk/
Guest post by Asim Khan