Much of what Islam teaches relates to the nurturing of the community as a whole. Visiting the sick, taking care of the traveller and being hospitable and generous to your neighbour are just a few examples of how each Muslims should take a degree of responsibility for the maintenance of the community. The beloved Prophet (SAW) reported:
“The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever.” [Bukhari and Muslim].
With this in mind, Islam gives the utmost respect to the orphan community. A result of their lack of protection and guidance, demands that they are taken care of in the kindest of ways. In the Quran, their mentioning takes place over twenty times and this is also highlighted in the Hadith and Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW) countlessly.
“And they feed, for the love of Allah, the poor, the orphan, and the captive…” [The Holy Quran, 76: 8]
It is important to remember, our Prophet Mohammed (SAW) the best of all human beings, was an orphan from childhood and was only so successful in his early years due to the compassion and nurturing of his caretakers; Grandfather Abdul Muttalib, and then Uncle Abu Talib. He grew so close to Abu Talib that the year he passed away was known in the Seerah as the ‘Year of Sadness.’
People who assist in the raising of orphans have great value in the sight of Allah (SWT) and are promised great rewards on the Day of Judgement. In another hadith, the Beloved Prophet (SAW) said:
“I and the caretaker of the orphan will enter Paradise together like this, raising (by way of illustration) his forefinger and middle finger jointly, leaving no space in between.” [Bukhari]
Furthermore, the Quran guides us towards the orphan whilst mentioning those who are most worthy of our charitable actions and donations:
“They ask you, O Prophet, what ways they should spend charitably. Say to them: Whatever good offering you spend is to be for your parents, and nearest relatives, and orphans, and the indigent, and the needy wayfarers. And whatever good you do, God is, indeed, all-knowing of it.” (The Holy Quran 2:215)