Definition of Orphans
In Islam, an orphan is typically a child who lost their father. This definition is different from the Western definition of a child who has lost both parents. However, this definition is changing. UNICEF is now defining an orphan as a child who has lost a parent, mother or father. A child who is isolated from their parents is called a “social orphan.” Children who have lost both parents are “double orphans.” There are currently more than 153 million children around the world who are orphans. Of these, 23 million are “double orphans.”
What does Islam say?
Providing for orphans is a significant act in Islam. It is so significant that Allah mentioned orphans in the Qur’an at least 25 times! In addition, the Prophet (peace be upon him) reminded us of the virtues of caring for an orphan.
Of the most famous sayings of our Beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), is: “‘the one who cares for an orphan, and myself will be together in Paradise like this’ and he held his two fingers together to illustrate.” [Bukhari]
Caring for orphans is very dear to the Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) heart, given he was orphaned as a child. And, as followers of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), it is our duty to ensure that orphans are cared for and supported. So, what’s the reward of supporting an orphan?
#1: You will have the best house
As Muslims, it is essential to support yourself, your close relatives, and the needy. But did you know that Allah speaks about orphans in multiple places in the Qur’an and lists them right after our close relatives?
In Surah Baqarah, verse 83, Allah says, “and recall when We made a covenant with the Children of Israel: “You shall serve none but Allah and do good to parents, kinsmen, orphans and the needy; you shall speak kindly to people, and establish prayer and give zakah (purifying alms)...”
Likewise, in Surah Baqarah, verse 215, Allah says, “They ask you as to what they should spend. Say: “Whatever good you spend should be for parents, kinsmen, orphans, the needy and the wayfarer; and whatever good you do, Allah is all-aware of it.”
Did you notice the placement of the orphans in these verses? Orphans are placed between kinsmen (close family members) and the needy. The Qur’an associates the orphans as close relatives but still in need of our service and goodwill. And what better way to help someone in need who is like family? By giving them a loving home! Whether that is in your own home or helping situate orphans in another safe and secure home, you will gain the reward of this union. Your home (or the home you help place a child in) will be the best home.
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “the best house among the Muslims is the house in which orphans are well-treated. The worst house among the Muslims is the house in which orphans are ill-treated.” [Bukhari]
That is also because caring for an orphan is one path to softening your heart. The Prophet said, “If you want to soften your heart, then feed the poor and pat the head of the orphan.” (Musnad Ahmad). Whether you welcome an orphan in your own home or sponsor a child in a loving home, you will gain the reward of keeping the child in a loving and caring environment.
#2 Your wealth will be blessed
We learn from the Qur’an and Sunnah that giving in charity is a way to bless your wealth. It does not decrease it, in fact, it increases it manifold. Supporting orphans is one of the ways to give charity!
“Righteousness in the sight of God … dwells in one who, despite his love for it, gives of his wealth in charity to close relatives and orphans and to the needy and the wayfarer, and beggars and for the emancipation of slaves.” (Surat Al-Baqarah, 2:177).
Want to know more about how your wealth is blessed the more you give? Check out our blog on charity here.
#3 Supporting an orphan is the ultimate form of continuous charity
Supporting an orphan is the ultimate form of continuous charity, also known as sadaqah jariyah:
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “When a person dies, his deeds come to an end except for three: sadaqah jariyah (a continuous charity), or knowledge from which benefit is gained, or a righteous child who prays for him.” [Muslim]
Sponsoring an orphan with HCI’s Orphan Care Program means you could be sending a child to school, placing them in a loving home, and protecting them from dangerous situations, such as abuse, violence or exploitation. Everything that child learns as a result of your support means YOU will gain the reward for it. Every time that child learns to serve Allah, YOU will gain from it. Every time that child makes a supplication for your thanks, YOU will gain from it!
“And they ask you, O Prophet, about looking after orphans. Say: Setting their affairs right is best for you and them. Thus if you interrelate with them, then they are to be treated as your brothers in faith. And God knows best the sower of corruption from the sower of righteousness. And had God so willed, He could have overburdened you with restrictions. Indeed, God is overpowering, all-wise.” (Surat Al-Baqarah, 2:220).
So how can you help orphans with HCI?
Child Sponsorship Program
Human Concern International’s Orphan Care Program offers continuous support for an orphan in several regions around the Middle East, Asia and North Africa. Check out our Frequently Asked Questions on our Orphan Care and Child Sponsorship Program page today to learn more about how you can help, and the children we support.
HCI has been proudly serving the Muslim community for 40 years, and through your generosity and support, our programs are continuously improving the lives of many vulnerable people. Each donation made enables us to further the mission of taking impoverished people from crisis to sustainability.
November 17, 2021
Human Concern International