Nahid Khan

Photo of Nahid Khan

Department of Theology and Religion
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD title:  ‘Adoption is not prohibited in Islam, it is misunderstood.’
Supervisor: Dr Katherine E. Brown
PhD Theology and Religion


  • PG Dip Islamic Studies,
  • LLM in International Human Rights
  • PG Cert Legal Practice Course (LPC)
  • LLB (Hons) Law,
  • BSc (Hons) Business Information Technology
  • PG Dip Public Service Interpreting


I have been working for nearly two decades with different organizations including Home office, police, courts, social services and charities. I witness many challenges and problems faced by different communities but the impact on vulnerable children in local authority care was most difficult to deal with when they are placed in culturally, linguistically and religiously unmatched families. The research shows a chronic shortage of Muslim foster and adoptive families and one of the reasons often highlighted is that adoption is prohibited in Islam. Hence this study demonstrate that this is a misconception and there are many ahadith and references in the Qur’an to show that it is an obligation to care and provide for vulnerable/orphan children. It is one of best deeds recommended by Prophet Muhammad, who himself was an orphan and cared by his grandfather and uncle.


  • Teaching assistant at University of Birmingham October 2018-May 2020
  • Lecturer with University of Wales Trinity Saint David, May 2021


My research explores children’s adoption in Islam. This is a multidisciplinary study and considers social, theological, and legal perspectives. The study explores several questions, including why adoption is prohibited in Islam and whether this prohibition comes from the Qur’an/ ahadith or fiqh (jurisprudence). Second, whether adoption as we understand today for vulnerable children’s placement with families was practiced in pre-Islamic Arabian Peninsula or was there a regime to care or adopt vulnerable children. What were the historic motivations for adoption and whether it involved children or only adults? Third, adoption practices in majority Muslim majority countries and the consideration of welfare principle in line with developments in children’s rights, i.e. how Muslim countries consider the best interests of the child as defined in Art.3 of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the child 1989. Fourth, whether existing framework in Islamic law for parentless children meet contemporary safeguarding developments. In other words, whether these historic recommendations cover new developments in childcare provisions. In addition, the understanding of mahram (modesty), suckling, inheritance, and biological identity of adopted children in a contemporary context. The findings provide a comprehensive policy framework in line with Qur’an and ahadith for vulnerable children’s care and placement including adoption and fostering.

Other activities

Volunteering work

  • Student Mentor for Postgraduate Researcher (PGRs Mentees)
  • Student Representative for 3rd year onwards for PGRs
  • Volunteer for Academic Appeals, Student Complaints and Concerns and Colleges Misconduct Committees


  • 19 June 2019 - Poster conference 2019 'Children’s Adoption’s is not prohibited in Islam' University of Birmingham
  • 12 June 2019 - Paper on 'Children’s Adoption’s and Biological Identity in Shari’ah with a Civil Law Perspective' TIMES (The Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies Post-Graduate Forum) conference held at University of Birmingham
  • 15 and 16 April 2019 - A paper on, 'Adoption is not prohibited in Islamic law, it is misunderstood' BRAIS (The British Association for Islamic Studies) conference held at University of Nottingham
  • 28 March 2019 - Delivered a seminar on 'Adoption and the prohibited degree in a marriage' Westmere Hub, University of Birmingham to the TIMES members
  • 16 April 2019 - Three Minute Thesis 2019 'Adoption is not prohibited, it is misunderstood' held at University of Birmingham
  • 11 April 2018 - Images of Research 2018 'Provide a Loving Home to a Vulnerable Child'