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Allah swt Exalted The Orphan

Allah SWT, in HIS Infinite Wisdom, chose as HIS Final Messenger and Seal of the Prophets - Surah 33 Al-Ahzaab, Verse 40 - a man who had been orphaned as a child. Though the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) suffered the misfortune of having to endure life without a Mother and Father, this personal sadness made him an ideal candidate for the Office of Prophethood. His sensitivity, kindness, compassion and love for his family, freinds, companions and humankind were expressions and manifestations of the empathy he felt for all - irrespective of race, creed, status or nationality.

Surah 93 Ad-Duha, Verses 1-11
By the morning brightness,
By the night, when it darkens.
Your Lord has not forsaken you, nor is HE displeased.
And the Hereafter is indeed better unto you than the present life.
And soon shall your Lord give unto you so that you shall be well-pleased.
Did HE not find you an orphan? So HE sheltered you.
And HE found you wandering. So HE guided you.
And HE found you destitute. So HE enriched you.
Wherefore as to the orphan be not you overbearing to him;
And as to the beggar, chide him not;
And as to the favours of your Lord, discourse you thereof.

The best method by which the Prophet's life-example is honoured and followed, is by conferring upon the orphans the special status and dignity which is their due:

Surah 33 Al-Ahzaab, Verse 21
Assuredly there has been an excellent pattern for you in the Messenger of Allah, for him who hopes in Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.

Al-Qur'an details the manner in which orphans are to be treated: this represents one of the greatest obligations conferred upon the Community of Believers - comprising the Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Surah 2 Al-Baqarah, Verse 83
And recall when WE took a bond with the Children of Israel saying: "You shall not worship any god save Allah, and show kindness to your parents and also to your kindred and to the orphans and the needy, and speak kindly to mankind and establish prayer and give the poor-rate." Then you turned away, save a few of you, and you are back-sliders.

Verse 177
Virtue is not in this that you turn your faces to the East and the West, but virtue is of him who believes in Allah and the Last Day and the Angels and the Book and the Prophet, and gives of his substance, for love of HIM, to kindred and orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and the beggars and for the freeing of slaves; and establishes prayer and gives the poor-rate and is of the performers of their promises when they have promised; and is of the patient in adversity and affliction and in time of violence; these are they who have proved true, and these are they who are conscious of Allah.

Surah 4 An-Nisaa, Verse 36
And worship Allah, and do not join aught with HIM; and to parents show kindness and also to kinsmen and orphans and the needy and the near neighbour and the distant neighbour and the companion by your side and the wayfarer and those whom your right hands possess (ie., slaves) Verily Allah does not love the vainglorious and the boastful.

Surah 76 Al-Insaan, Verse 8
And they feed, for love of HIM, with food the destitute, the orphan and the captive.

Those who have been blessed - and tested - with wealth and sufficient means of sustenance, are Commanded to employ them for the good of their near of kin, orphans and wider society, so that all may gain benefits and attain the status of dignity -

Surah 2 Al-Baqarah, Verse 215
They ask you as to how they will spend. Say: "Whatever you spend of wealth, let it be for parents and kindred and orphans and the needy and the wayfarer, and whatever good you do, surely Allah is Knower thereof.

With especial reference to the rights of orphans in respect of their own property, as well as under the Laws of inheritance: and the duty of those entrusted with their affairs -

Surah 2 Al-Baqarah, Verse 220
..And they ask you of orphans. Say: "To set right affair for them is best. If you mix with them, then they are your brethren; Allah knows the foul-dealer from the fair-dealer. And had Allah so willed, HE could have afflicted you; surely Allah is Mighty, Wise.

Surah 4 An-Nisaa, Verse 2
And give to the orphans their substance, and do not substitute the bad for the good, and do not devour their substance by adding it to your substance. Surely that is a great crime.

Verse 6
And test the orphans till they attain the age of wedlock, then if you percieve in them a discretion, hand over to them their property and do not consume it extravagantly or hastily for fear that they may grow. And whoso is well-to-do, let him abstain, and whoso is needy let him take from it honourably. And when you hand over their property to them, call in witnesses in their presence and Allah suffices as a Reckoner.

Surah 6 Al-An'aam, Verse 152
And do not approah the substance of an orphan save with what is best until he reaches maturity, and fill up the measure and balance with equity. WE burden not a soul except according to its capacity. And when you speak, be fair, even though it be against a kinsman: and fulfill the Covenant of Allah - 'AHD-ALLAH. In this wise HE enjoins you that perhaps you may be admonished.

Surah 17 Al-Israa, Verse 34
And do not approach the substance of an orphan save with what is best, until he reaches the age of strength. And fulfil the Covenant; verily the Covenant shall be questioned.

Surah 4 An-Nisaa, Verse 8
And when those of kin are present at the division and the orphans and the needy provide for them out of it, and speak to them a word of kindness.

The disbursment of funds as well as its amount for the vulnerable and weak, including orphans, by governments and the relevant authorities acquired through just and lawful war has been clearly stated -

Surah 8 Al-Anfaal, Verse 41
And know that whatever of the spoils you get then verily to Allah belongs one-fifth thereof and to the Messenger and to his kindred and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer, if you have believed in Allah and what WE sent down upon OUR bondsmen on the Day of Distinction, the day when the two hosts met. And Allah is Potent over everything.

Surah 59 Al-Hashr, Verse 7
Whatsoever Allah may restore to HIS Messenger from the people of the cities is due unto Allah and the Messenger and his kinsmen, and the orphans and the indigent and the wayfarer, so that it may not be confined to the rich among you. Take whatsoever the Messenger gives you, and refrain from whatsoever he forbids you. And fear Allah; verily Allah is Stern in chastizing.

Those who mistreat, neglect, ignore or demean orphans and steal from them, have been categorically condemned - 

Surah 4 An-Nisaa, Verse 10
Verily those who devour the property of orphans wrongfully, only devour fire into their bellies, and soon they shall roast in the Blaze.

Surah 89 Al-Fajr, Verses 16-20
And when his Lord tries him and stints unto him his provision, he says: "My Lord has despised me."
No indeed! But you do not honour the orphan,
nor urge upon each other the feeding of the poor,
and you devour the inheritance greedily,
and you love riches with exceeding love.

Surah 90 Al-Balad, Verses 11-16
Yet he does not attempt the steep.
And what shall make you understand what the steep is?
It is freeing the slave,
Or, feeding in a day of deprivation,
An orphan of kin,
Or a poor man, cleaving to the dust.

Surah 107 Al-Ma'un, Verses 1-7
Have you seen him who denies the Requital?
It is he who pushes away the orphan,
And does not urge the feeding of the poor.
So woe be to such performers of prayers,
As are heedless of their prayers -
They who would be seen;
And who withhold even the common necessaries from others.

The number of Verses in Al-Qur'an which deal with orphans reveals the supreme importance attaching to them, and how they have been given priority in terms of provision of sustenance, protection and preservation of their overall well-being. At some stage or other, most people lose their parents and become orphaned. The experience, however, in adulthood, cannot and should not be compared to that of children who have never known the love of one or both parents.

As the world continues to engage in futile conflicts based upon race, creed and nationality - the number of refugees and orphans manifestly increases: they become face-less and nameless additions to the desperate plight of the weak and vulnerable. As wealthy as the Community of Believers are, in the collective sense, it is a terrible indictment upon them all that most of those orphaned through sectarian and nationalistic warfare are, in fact, Muslim.

Trivial, frivolous, vain and mundane issues pre-occupy the minds of many who describe themselves as "believers" - verbal intellectual, spiritual and mental battles rage on (often descending into physical violence) about nothing in particular: history; about topics or subjects not mentioned in Al-Qur'an. These are great distractions from matters of huge significance: and undoubtedly, orphans are hugely significant members of communities and societies, and an integral part of humankind. They - as well as all minorities - constitute the real test for believers.

Allah SWT Exalted an orphan to be HIS Last Messenger (pbuh), the carrier and conveyer of HIS Final Book. How orphans are treated by his followers surely determines whether or not they truly comprehend his Mission and understand his Message: and whether Allah SWT HIMSELF would confer upon them the honourary title of "Muslim".

Allahu 'Alam

Translations from:
"The Glorious Qur'an" by 'Abdul Majid Daryabadi

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