The Neglected Orphan

The Neglected Orphan

Author: Ustadz Said Yai Ardiansyah, Lc, MA

Orphan; upon hearing this word, we ought to think that, ‘what if I, in my childhood, I was destined to be an orphan, what kind of life would I have now?’. Having both parents to nurture, educate, and shelter is a great pleasure for a human being.

Such pleasure is void from the orphans. Most of them live alone, far from being nurtured and educated, moreover protected. How poor of them, who are being neglected particularly these days.

As a result, they are incapable of taking care of themselves. Many of the orphans looked dirty, filthy, disheveled, and disgusting. Averagely, their education life were stunted; they appeared stupid and delinquent.

Not to mention that in their very young age, they have to struggle to win their own bread. They have swallowed a lot of insults, get abused, even some of them become the object of sexual abuse.

That’s them. Not small amount of them who become desperate or hopeless of their condition, as if this life is nothing but a “living hell” in which they have to fight for themselves. They are very lonely. They always cry silently in their hearts.

The worst part of all is that they do not know Islam properly, let alone worshipping. They tend to hang out with their friends on street, and worse yet, indulge in immorality, evildoing, and corrupt behavior that could lead to infidelity. We seek protection from Allah from those things

Islam is a noble religion that ennobles sons of Adam above all of Allah’s creations. Islam also elevates the dignity of the orphans. Allah orders us to respect all human being. Allah the Glorified and Exalted decreed, :

{وَلَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِي آَدَمَ وَحَمَلْنَاهُمْ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ وَرَزَقْنَاهُمْ مِنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَفَضَّلْنَاهُمْ عَلَى كَثِيرٍ مِمَّنْ خَلَقْنَا تَفْضِيلًا}

“Indeed, We honoured the progeny of Adam, and bore them across land and sea and provided them with good things for their sustenance, and exalted them above many of Our creatures.” (Chapter Al Isra’/The Night Journey: 70)
Islam has given the answer of all kinds of social problem that human faced. Allah has given great virtues to those who bear the living of the orphans. Those virtues are even with the hardships they undergo upon educating the orphans.

The Messenger of Allah – Peace and prayer of Allah be upon him – had mentioned in about one of the virtues in raising and looking after the orphans,

عن سَهْلَ بْنَ سَعْدٍ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: ((أَنَا وَكَافِلُ الْيَتِيمِ فِي الْجَنَّةِ هَكَذَا )) وَقَالَ بِإِصْبَعَيْهِ السَّبَّابَةِ وَالْوُسْطَى.

Sahl ibn Sa’d reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “I and the guardian of the orphan will be in the Garden like that,” indicating his forefinger and middle finger. [1]

Guardian of the orphan will be with the Prophet –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- in Paradise. This is a reward that many people neglect.

It is narrated from Abu Huraira likewise, with an addition,

(( كَافِلُ الْيَتِيمِ لَهُ أَوْ لِغَيْرِهِ ))

Guardian of the orphans, from his kins or from others. [2]

In this addition, we could infer that providing for orphans are not specific for the kith and kins, but also from other people’s descendant as well.

Definition of Orphan

What is the meaning of orphan in Arabic?

It is mentioned in “Al-Mu’jam Al-Washith” that, :

( اليَتِيْم ) الصَغِيْر الفَاقِدُ الأَب مِنَ الْإنْسَانِ وَالْأُمّ مِنَ الْحَيْوَان .

(Orphan) is a kid of human race who looses his father. Whereas in animal, it means a cub which looses its mother.[3]

The scholars stated that a kid who is coming to age (reaching puberty) is not labelled orphan anymore, based on a hadith narrated by ‘Ali Ibn Abi Thalib – may Allah be pleased with him-, that the Messenger of Allah –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said,

(( لاَ يُتْمَ بَعْدَ احْتِلاَمٍ ، وَلاَ صُمَاتَ يَوْمٍ إِلَى اللَّيْلِ.))

There is no orphanhood after puberty, and there is no silence for the whole day till the night.[4]

However, it doesn’t mean that when the orphan we’ve taken care of since a small child reaches puberty, we may neglect him. As long as they don’t have ability to work and earn their own living, we are still ordered to provide him. Moreover in this time, when children are required to finish their education, at least until they finished high school or whatever equals it. If we’re able to provide him with higher education it is even better for both parties.

The virtues of Providing the Orphans

There are plenty of virtues of providing for the orphans, and I’ll mention some of those below:

عن أَبِى هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ-: (( أَفْضَلُ الْأَعْمَالِ أَنْ تُدْخِلَ عَلَى أَخِيْكَ الْمُؤْمِنِ سُرُوْرًا أَوْ تَقْضِيَ عَنْهُ دَيْنًا أَوْ تُطْعِمَهٌ خُبْزًا.))

It is reported from Abu Huraira –may Allah be pleased with him- that the Messenger o Allah –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said, “The best of deed is you insert happiness in the heart of a believer, you pay for his debt, or you feed him a bread. “ [5]

‘Insert happiness in the heart of a believer ’. Isn’t looking after an orphan is included in it? May we become those who are eager to look after the orphans.

Another virtue is,

عن أَبِى هُرَيْرَةَ : أَنَّ رَجُلاً شَكَا إِلَى النَّبِىِّ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- قَسْوَةَ قَلْبِهِ فَقَالَ : (( إِنْ أَرَدْتَ أَنْ يَلِينَ قَلْبُكَ فَأَطْعِمِ الْمَسَاكِينَ وَامْسَحْ رَأْسَ الْيَتِيمِ )).

It is reported from Abu Huraira –may Allah be pleased with him- that there was a man who came to the Prophet –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- and complained about the hardness of his heart, thus the Messenger of Allah –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- told him, “If you wish for your heart to be softened, feed the poor and caress the head of the orphan.” [6]

This hadith explained to us clearly that giving food to the poor and caressing the orphan’s head could soften people’s hearts. Upon Seeing these two deeds, we’ll find that the arrogant, stingy, and insolent one will not be able to carry these deeds. Therefore, the Messenger of Allah –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- suggested to get closer to the poor and the orphan to be able to feel what they feel, so that his heart wont harden anymore. Glorified be He -, this is a guidance that is full of wisdom, taught by our Prophet, Muhammad –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-.

The Prophet –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- strongly prohibited oppression towards the orphans. The Messenger of Allah – peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said,

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أُحَرِّجُ حَقَّ الضَّعِيفَيْنِ : الْيَتِيمِ ، وَالْمَرْأَةِ.

“”O Allah, bear witness that I have issued a warning concerning (failure to fulfill) the rights of the two weak ones: Orphans and women.'”[7]

The companions were people who are the fastest and the most eager in practicing whatever the Prophet –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- taught them. Among the real proof of these attitudes is what abdullah Ibn Umar Ibn Khaththab did, which is eternalized in the book “Al Adan Al Mufrad” as follows,

عن أَبُي بَكْرِ بْنُ حَفْصٍ ، أَنَّ عَبْدَ اللَّهِ كَانَ لاَ يَأْكُلُ طَعَامًا إِلاَّ وَعَلَى خِوَانِهِ يَتِيمٌ.

Abu Bakr ibn Hafs reported that ‘Abdullah would not eat unless an orphan was at his table.[8]

For Those With a Surplus of Wealth

It is appropriate for People with surpluses of wealth to donate it to the orphans. The Messenger of Allah –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said:

وَإِنَّ هَذَا الْمَالَ خَضِرَةٌ حُلْوَةً وَنِعْمَ صَاحِبُ الْمُسْلِمِ هُوَ لِمَنْ أَعْطَى مِنْهُ الْيَتِيمَ وَالْمِسْكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ

“No doubt this wealth is sweet and green. Blessed is the wealth of a Muslim from which he gives to the poor, the orphans and to needy travelers.[9]

After reading this article, what a great thing, if, we are able to be the patron and the guardian of the orphan, and thus, hopefully, we’ll be able to obtain the rewards mentioned in the hadith of the Prophet –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-. Amin.

This is the end of this article, may it benefits us all.


  • Abu Muslim. Mahmud bin Ahmad.Tuhfatul-Yatim wa Al-Laqith.
  • Abu Thayyib Muhammad Syamsul-Haq Al-‘Adzhim Abadi. ‘Aunul-Ma’bud. Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah: Al-Maktabah As-Salafiyah.
  • Al-Bukhari, Muhammad bin Isma’il. 1409 H/1989 M. Al-Adab Al-Mufrad. Bairut: Darul-Basyair Al-Islamiyah.
    Al-Mubarakfuri. Shafiyur-Rahman. 1425 H/2004 M. Ar-Rahiq Al-Makhtum. Riyadh: Dar Al-Muayyad. As-Sadhan, ‘Abdullah bin Nashir. Fadhlu Kafalatil-Yatim.
  • Etc, most of which are mentioned in the footnotes.


[1] Al-Bukhari no. 6005 [2] Muslim no. 7660 [3] See: Al-Mu’jam Al-Washith page 1063. [4] Abu Dawud no. 2873 and classified as sound hadith by Sheikh Al-Albani in Shahih Sunan Abi Dawud. [5] Ibn Abi Dunya in book “ Qadhail-Hawaij “ page 98 and Ad Dailami, book 1 page 123, classified as good hadith by Sheikh Al-Albani in Ash-Shahihah no. 1494 (This comment is quoted from Ash-Shahihah) [6] Al-Baihaqi in As-Sunan Al-kubra no. 7345 and Syu’abul-iman no. 11034, classified as sound hadith by Sheikh Al-Albani in Ash-Shahihah no. 2290. [7] Ibn Maja no. 3678 and classified as sound hadith by Sheikh Al-Albani in Ash-Shahihah no. 1015. [8] Al-Bukhari in Adabul-Mufrad no. 136 , classified as sound hadith by Sheikh Al-Albani in Shahih Adabul-Mufrad no. 102 [9] Ahmad no. 11865. Sheikh Syu’aib Al-Arnauth et al, said, “The narration is valid according to the stipulations of the two sheikhs (Bukhari and Muslim, -ed)”

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