‘Orphan’ is a single word that carries many shades of meanings. No sooner does one utter it, than one’s heart is deeply moved. The word orphan is an adjective that is rarely mentioned by us in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. We rarely pay attention to those helpless orphans lost in oblivion, and thrust aside from our memories, and always dropped from our ever-busy schedules.

In this age of globalization, we are almost unconscious when it comes to social solidarity. We lend a deaf ear when it comes to social giving and social sharing. The purpose behind writing this short article is how to attract our attention to the young people with no parents, with no food, with no water, and with no sanitation. Different disasters in the world today and across the globe have left hundreds of parentless children who are now forced to lead a very harsh life. It is our role to socially adapt them and to re-draw an innocent smile on their pale faces that never experienced anything except crying since the death of their loved ones.

Once, a man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) complaining about his harsh heart. The Prophet addressed the man saying, “Do you want something that makes your heart lenient and your needs fulfilled? Be merciful to the orphans, touch their hair gently, and feed them from your own food. If you do these things, I guarantee that your heart will become soft, and your needs will be fulfilled.”

We are in dire need to brainstorm with ourselves, our families, our young people, our kids, and our smaller communities about the basic rights of orphans. When you go to sleep with your little baby on your cozy bed, don’t forget the hundreds of orphaned babies who die from bad weather conditions. The issue at hand can’t be solved if we continue to ignore our responsibility towards them. It is a stain on the face of human dignity to forget the helpless orphans or even to highlight their plight occasionally whenever human tragedies occur.

As Muslims, we are ordered to ease the plight of all those who suffer. It is a collective responsibility that can’t be taken lightly. Muslims are directly ordered to take care of the orphans. Allah Almighty says, “And serve Allah. Ascribe no thing as partner unto Him. (Show) kindness unto parents, and unto near kindred, and orphans, and the needy…” (An-Nisaa’ 4: 36)
Even when it comes to charity, a Muslim should allocate a portion of it for social purposes atop of which comes catering for the needs of orphans, especially at times of disasters. Allah Almighty says, “And feed with food the needy wretch, the orphan and the prisoner, for love of Him.”

Enough to say that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) promised those who take care of the orphans with paradise. He is reported to have said, “The best house is the one where orphans are cared for and treated most honorably and kindly.”

He also said, “I and the one who cares for the orphans excellently will be as close in Paradise as these two fingers of mine!”

Thus, those who care for the orphans will obtain the highest rank of paradise along with Prophets and Messengers. Allah says, “Whoso obeyeth Allah and the messenger, they are with those unto whom Allah hath shown favor, of the Prophets and the saints and the martyrs and the righteous. The best of company are they!” (An-Nisaa’ 4: 69)

With all this in mind, it is our role to start championing the rights of the weak and no body is weaker than a helpless orphan sleeping on the ground shivering from cold with any empty stomach!

By El-Sayed M. Amin*