Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
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One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
AsalamuAlaikum, I have a question regarding Sahih Muslims hadith, it says, Allah`s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: One who looks after the orphan whether he is his relative or not, I and he would be together in Paradise like this, and Malik (explained it) with the gesture by drawing his index finger and middle finger close together (Sahih Muslim 7108) Can you explain the above hadith? Does it mean to adopt an orphan to take care of him/her? Are their certain criteria like what if the orphan is not poor and lives in a house with all the necessities of life? My question basically is that how can I follow this hadith in the best way. I am in the USA; can I take care of an orphan that is in Pakistan? Does the orphan need to be a certain age? Questions like that. Thank you so much. Allah Hafiz.
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Your Question: Allah`s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: One who looks after the orphan whether he is his relative or not, I and he would be together in Paradise like this, and Malik (explained it) with the gesture by drawing his index finger and middle finger close together (Sahih Muslim 7108) Can you explain the above hadith?
The hadith is actually self-explanatory. The Messenger of Allah (saws) is trying to explain the importance and significance of the virtue and reward one would receive from Allah Subhanah if he/she takes care of an orphan. What would be a bigger honor and success for a believer that he and the Messenger of Allah (saws) would be together and so close to each other in Paradise!!!
Your comment: Does it mean to adopt an orphan or to take care of him/her?
Both are meant in the above hadith. One can adopt an orphan (but the orphan will always keep his own fathers name), in the sense that he takes the orphan to stay with his family in the house and take care of him just like he takes care of his own children. Or, he can sponsor the orphan and pay for his upkeep and expenses, etc.
Your comment: Are their certain criteria like what if the orphan is not poor and lives in a house with all the necessities of life?
An orphan is a child who has not reached the age of puberty, and his father has died. An orphan child, is amongst the most vulnerable in the society, especially if he is poor and has no guardian or protector.
If the orphan child is not poor and lives in a house with all the necessities of life, or has been left enough inheritance from his deceased father; then one must help the orphan in a manner which is in the best interest of the orphan. And the best way to help such an orphan would be to be his guardian and help protect his inheritance from unscrupulous people and save or grow his wealth, until he reaches of age and then hand over his wealth to him.
The criteria in helping or taking care of the orphan is that one should always fear Allah, and do what is in the best interest of the orphan.
Your comment: My question basically is that how can I follow this hadith in the best way. I am in the USA; can I take care of an orphan that is in Pakistan? Does the orphan need to be a certain age?
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 220: They ask thee concerning orphans. Say: "The best thing to do is what is for their good; if you mix their affairs with yours, they are your brethren; but Allah knows the man who means mischief from the man who means good.
Anything that you do that will sincerely benefit the orphan in the best manner, will Insha Allah, earn you the reward as mentioned in the hadith of the Messenger of Allah (saws). If you are in the USA and want to sponsor an orphan in Pakistan or anywhere else in the world; there is no harm. You could take care of his financial needs, etc. until the orphan reaches of age. The age where the orphan is most vulnerable and needs maximum help and support is when he is a child and not yet reached puberty or manhood. After reaching puberty, it is expected that he should be able to take care of himself.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your brother and well wisher in Islam,