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We know that in Islam adoption is not allowed Qur'an verses Qur’an 33:37 and 33:4-5 pertain to that. My Question is which of these verses came first, 33:4-5 or 33:37 in terms of order of revelation!?! Did adoption become haram after Prophet Muhammad s.a.w married Zaynab or before in 33:4-5

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Adoption is Haram or not, I am not sure about that but The Verses that you are mentioning, these verses are not revealed for the prohibition of adoption. They are revealed to abolish some pre-Islamic rituals in Arab..

33:4

Allah has not made for a man two hearts in his interior. And He has not made your wives whom you declare unlawful your mothers. And he has not made your adopted sons your [true] sons. That is [merely] your saying by your mouths, but Allah says the truth, and He guides to the [right] way.

So Allah says that
he has not made your adopted sons your [true] sons
This was revealed concerning Zayd bin Harithah, may Allah be pleased with him, the freed servant of the Prophet . The Prophet had adopted him before prophethood, and he was known as Zayd bin Muhammad. Allah wanted to put an end to this naming and attribution because in the same Surah, Allah is declaring that

33:40

Muhammad is not the father of [any] one of your men, but [he is] the Messenger of Allah and last of the prophets. And ever is Allah , of all things, Knowing.

33:5

Call them by [the names of] their fathers; it is more just in the sight of Allah . But if you do not know their fathers - then they are [still] your brothers in religion and those entrusted to you. And there is no blame upon you for that in which you have erred but [only for] what your hearts intended. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.

The prohibition is about consider your adoptive son your real son. As it is clear in this Ayah, that you cannot call adoptive son with your name. Call them with their real father name. and if you don't know their father name, then they are your brother according to this Hadith too..

and

33:37

And [remember, O Muhammad], when you said to the one on whom Allah bestowed favor and you bestowed favor, "Keep your wife and fear Allah ," while you concealed within yourself that which Allah is to disclose. And you feared the people, while Allah has more right that you fear Him. So when Zayd had no longer any need for her, We married her to you in order that there not be upon the believers any discomfort concerning the wives of their adopted sons when they no longer have need of them. And ever is the command of Allah accomplished.

In pre-Islamic history, if a person adopted a son, they used to regrad him their own offspring, he(adopted son) had right in inheritance.He can not marry the widow of his adopted father nor to the daughter of his adoptive father and if he died or divorce his wife, then his adopted father used to regarded the women as his real daughter-in-law and he could not marry her.
These rituals were totally against the laws of marriage and divorce and inheritance declared by Allah in Surahs Al-Baqarah and An-Nisa. These rituals could not be rooted out by just passing legal order. So Allah married his Prophet (peace be upon Him) with Hadrat Zainab (RA) the Wife of his adopted son Zaid bin Harithah (RA) after Zaid had divorced her.


For more information regarding this, please follow:

Ibn-Kadhir refereance.

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This seems to create a confusion to me as you are quoting verses that maybe misleading for example: 33:4 begins quoting a pre-islamic custom of dhihar الظهار which is a kind of separation between spouses were the wife is not free to marry anybody else while her spouse declared her haram for him. A formulation for this could this were the men says: "you are to me like my mother", as marrying ones own mother even was haram to them before Islam. So shortly dhihar means declaring ones wife as haram to oneself. Islam declared such an act as munkar and haram, as a wife can't never be her spouses mother and therefore Islam didn't accept this kind of separation were the wife has no more rights: she is left by her husband and can't legally get married to any other man.

33:37 again doesn't prohibit adoption, but it quotes the story of Zaid ibn Haritah the former adopted son of our Prophet. And adds a new rule, which created much trouble, as an adopted child was considered as an own child in Jahiliya and was given all the rights of such a child. This means a man couldn't marry a former wife of his son (even if it was an adopted son), but this verse was a further step to declare the rights of an adopted child as invalid it made it legal to marry the wife of an adopted child. See also this hadith which explains the details. Note that in Verse 33:40 Allah clearly declares that Muhammad isn't a father of any of the men (referring to Zaid ibn Haritah).

The prohibition for adoption

This is declared by the following words from 33:4-5:

... And he has not made your adopted sons your [true] sons. That is [merely] your saying by your mouths, but Allah says the truth, and He guides to the [right] way. (4) Call them by [the names of] their fathers; it is more just in the sight of Allah . But if you do not know their fathers - then they are [still] your brothers in religion and those entrusted to you. ...

and this is apparently the first Verse on this Issue as quoted in a hadith:

We were in the habit of calling Zaid b. Harith as Zaid b. Muhammad until it was revealed in the Qur'an:" Call them by the names of their fathers. This is more equitable with Allah"

Note that the prohibition of adoption means: one is allowed to adopt or care for a child as long as one doesn't give it his name and it wouldn't have any rights when it comes to inheritance like an own or real child and an adopted boy is not a mahram for the females in the household as he is a foreigner end the same applies for an adopted girl she shouldn't be seen by the real sons without hijab once she is mature.

CONCLUSION: the beginning of verse 33:5 was the first revelation declaring the pre-islamic rules of adoption as void. While 33:37 is a 2nd revelation which declares an other major rule as void. Note at this point our Messenger has not yet married Zaynab, as Zaid needed to divorce her first.

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