The Islamic definition of an orphan is a child, whether male or female, whose father passes away before the child reaches puberty. Generally speaking, such children can face hardships in life and they would be in a vulnerable situation. Therefore, they require care, nurturing, protection and guidance for their growth and development.
As I have discussed earlier, the primary objective of the Islamic Law is mercy and the betterment of the society. Therefore, the Holy Quran has laid down guidelines for the protection of orphans so that they can also be able to lead a normal life, instead of getting sidelined from the society.
Prophet Mohammad (saw) has also championed the cause of the oppressed sections of the society such as the poor, orphans and widows.
Allah (swt) says in the Quran:
“Have you seen the one who rejects (the true spirit) of religion? That is he who repels the orphan. They do not encourage the feeding of the poor. Woe to you worshippers! Those who pray yet are heedless. Who only pray to be seen (by men). But neglect even neighborly deeds. (TMS, 107:1-7)
This verse shows that the one who does not show mercy towards orphans is not following the true spirit of Islam.
Allah (swt) says in verse 17:34.
“Come not nigh to an orphan’s property except to improve it, until he attains the age of maturity. And fulfill (every) commitment. Indeed every commitment is ever (that about which one will be) questioned.
In this verse Quran strictly prohibits the dastardly act of usurping the wealth of an orphan. If a person tries to get involved with an orphan’s property it should be with an honest intention and not to seize it.
Despite being warned by Allah (swt) in verse 17:34 if a person still commits the sin of usurping an orphan’s property, then they should get prepared to face a severe punishment which has been described in verse 4:10 as follows:
“Those who unjustly usurp the property of orphans, eat up a fire into their own bodies. They will soon be enduring a blazing fire.”
Thus, in a nutshell we find that the Holy Quran encourages the Muslims to adopt an attitude of mercy towards the orphans. The Quran warns us against seizing the property which rightfully belongs to the orphans and warns the Muslims of a severe punishment if they do so out of greed. The guardian of an orphan is supposed to manage and preserve the orphan’s wealth till the orphan comes of age. The wealth should be invested in such trades in which it can multiply. The guardian is not supposed to squander the orphan’s wealth.
In my next post I shall discuss about the ahadith which further elaborate the Islamic law on the issue regarding orphans.
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