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The Elevated Status of Orphans in Islam

In Islam, orphans are children who are left with no protection as a result of the passing of their fathers. Many orphans have no source of income or a guardian to take care of them. 

This is where Muslims as a community should step in and render help to the orphans, not just to extend a helping hand to the children, but also to their mother, who in most cases is the sole breadwinner of the family. 

As Muslims, it is our duty to protect others from any kind of harm and to assist those who are in need in any way that we can. Islam is a religion that has always uplifted the deprived communities in the society and brought them the status of orphans are elevated. Prior to the Islamic era, orphans were vulnerable individuals and were often victims of cruelty. They were ignored members of society who had no rights and had no caring individuals around them. 

Additionally, the mistreatment and abuse of orphans is one of the worst kinds of oppression that is prohibited in Islam. As Allah s.w.t. says in the Quran: 

فَاَمَّا الْیَتِیْمَ فَلَا تَقْهَرْؕ(۹)

‘Therefore, do not put pressure on the orphan.’

[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)](Part 30, Surah Al-Duha, Ayah 9)

Let us take a look at what the Quran says about Orphans:

Taking care of an orphan is a form of worship

In Surah Al-Ma’un, Allah s.w.t. Suggests that a person who is repulsed or ignores orphans is not a real believer:

“Have you seen the one who denies the Recompense? For that is the one who drives away the orphan.” (107: 1-2) (Sahih International)

While in Surah Al-Insan, Allah s.w.t. describes the reward that the righteous will be blessed with – an abundance of spring of which the believers will drink from. Allah s.w.t. describes these believers in Paradise as those who took care of orphans in their worldly life:

“A spring of which the [righteous] servants of Allah will drink; they will make it gush forth in force [and abundance]. They [are those who] fulfill [their] vows and fear a Day whose evil will be widespread. And they give food in spite of love for it1 to the needy, the orphan, and the captive…” (76: 6-8) (Sahih International)

Across the Al-Quran and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w., this promise of Jannah and an abundance of blessings is repeated, signifying the importance of taking care of orphans and children in Islam. 

Orphans have the right to support

They ask you, [O Muḥammad], what they should spend. Say, “Whatever you spend of good is [to be] for parents and relatives and orphans and the needy and the traveler. And whatever you do of good – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.” (2:215) (Sahih International)

According to this verse, orphans have the right to be taken care of. However with every right, comes responsibility, and the Quran places this responsibility on the individual. This means that every Muslim should give to orphans in need. 

Orphans have the right to dignity

And as for man, when his Lord tries him and [thus] is generous to him and favors him, he says, “My Lord has honored me.” But when He tries him and restricts his provision, he says, “My Lord has humiliated me.” No! But you do not honor the orphan. And you do not encourage one another to feed the poor. (89: 15-17) (Sahih International)

By rebuking the Quraysh for dishonouring Orphans, Allah s.w.t. is simultaneously stating that orphans must be honoured and respected. Not only are they granted support, they also deserve high dignity, like other individuals as well. 

In this blessed month of Rabi’ul-Awwal, let us commemorate our beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. by sponsoring an orphan today. 

Global Ehsan Relief is celebrating our Care for Orphans campaign for this month. Join us in our efforts to provide previous orphans with nutritious meals, school materials, clothing, shelter and an education. You can sponsor an orphan today and give them the happy and healthy childhood that they rightly deserve.

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