Islam & Muslim Fostering – Foster Care Link and the Islamic Fostering Service
Foster Care Link – an independent fostering agency (IFA) – was launched in April 2004. We are the first and remain the only Muslim specialist Independent Fostering Agency in the UK.
Through our project the “Islamic Fostering Service”, our agency specialises in matching Muslim foster carers with Muslim children aged between 0-18 for short-term, long-term, respite, emergency, bridging and Parent & child placements. Since August 2002 we have been an active voice for promoting Muslim fostering issues in the Muslim and wider communities, authorities and media.
Islam’s teachings regarding fostering and adoption
Islam is grossly misunderstood. A religion that teaches peace, tolerance, equality and respect for all is often misrepresented as a religion of violence, misogyny, and oppression.
Islam is clear in regard to the issue of foster care; it is a duty for Muslims to care for those within the community that require this.
Islam has made it a fundamental right for every child to live in a good family environment where they receive the love, protection, care and support to help them thrive as human beings across all areas of their life. Muslim’s believe that children are born with an awareness of and affinity to Allah (God) and that their Parents are responsible for developing their child’s spirituality. This spiritual socialisation can be achieved through a variety of ways; daily life, teaching in the home, attending community activities and events, reading, enrolling a child at a madrasa etc. The family/family home should also protect the child from being taken advantage of by any unscrupulous individuals within the community and society.
Islam makes it compulsory upon the Muslim community and Ummah (Nation) to collectively ensure that orphans and children who cannot receive parental care; receive the protection, care, support, nurturing, social and welfare opportunities that they are entitled to as a birth right.
This is why many Muslims across the world choose to donate to causes and organisations that help orphaned children, or children that have been separated from their parents.
The Shariah defined system of foster care known as “Kafala” – which literally means “to feed” is best translated as “foster care”.
Prophet Muhammad’s (Peach be Upon Him) teachings and practices regarding fostering and adoption
Indeed, fostering and caring for needy children was exemplified by Islam’s greatest and final Prophet – the Prophet Muhammad.
The Prophet was orphaned at a very young age. His father passed away almost six months before his birth, and his mother died when he was six years old. He was therefore raised by his paternal grandfather, Abd al-Muttalib, until he too died when the Prophet was still only eight. He then came under the care of his uncle Abu Talib.
These early childhood experiences of being fostered and looked after by his family may explain his compassion and love for orphans, and also why the Prophet fostered Zaid ibn Haritha when he was a child and later adopted him.
Throughout his teachings, the Prophet promoted and reinforced the rights of looked after children, the need to put their wealth in trust, the duty for the community to parent them and promote their wellbeing. He also warned against those that wished to take advantage of their vulnerability due to their lack of guardianship. For example, he stated that “The home wherein the orphan [child] is ill treated is the worst home on Earth”.
Thus over 1400 years ago the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) set the example and the ground rules for the preservation of fostered and adopted children and their identity.
As such, the aim and vision of Foster Care Link and the Islamic Fostering Service is to support the Muslim community by; developing a team of compassionate and highly trained Muslim Foster Carers, that will provide the highest quality culturally appropriate foster care for vulnerable Muslim Children, to help them to achieve the best outcomes in their spiritual and worldly lives.