Caring for orphans is a significant part of Islam. Orphans are mentioned 22 times in the Qur'an; their mistreatment is a serious sin, while nurturing and sponsoring them is an immensely valuable good deed.
Here's how this good deed is beneficial in this life and the next:
One: You will be close to the Prophet Muhammad (saw)
Sponsoring orphans is a cause particularly dear to the Prophet Muhammad's (saw) heart. He (saw) was also an orphan - his father passed away before he was even born, and his mother passed away when he was a young child.
'The Prophet (saw) said, "The one who cares for an orphan and myself will be together in Paradise like this,"and he (saw) held his two fingers together to illustrate'. [Bukhari]
SubhanAllah, to be close to the Prophet (saw) you don't have to be one of the Sahabah (Companions), stand in prayer all night or give away all your wealth. You only have to sponsor one orphan to attain this incredibly high status.
Two: You will have 'the best house'
The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, 'The best house among the Muslims is the house in which orphans are well-treated. The worst house among the Muslims is the house in which orphans are ill-treated'. [Bukhari]
Ultimately, the status of 'best house' is not achieved by anything material such as property value, a beautiful garden or an expensive refurbishing - the best home is one which shows care and concern for orphans.
Especially during self-isolation, when we are spending all our time at home, we should strive to make our homes blessed places where angels gather, the Name of Allah is remembered and the Sunnah is lived.
Three: You will be among the righteous people
In his Last Sermon given on Hajj, the Prophet Muhammad (saw) taught us that all human beings are completely equal in status 'except in piety and good deeds'.
Our status in the eyes of Allah is dependent upon our righteous actions - and one of the ways we can achieve righteousness is by giving to orphans:
In this ayah, immediately after stating the basic beliefs required of all Muslims, Allah says spending wealth for His sake is a righteous quality! He (swt) specifically mentions orphans as people deserving of our wealth.
Thus, sponsoring an orphan is a righteous deed which has been given a truly high status by Allah.
Four: Your wealth will be blessed
During a crisis, we may - consciously or unconsciously - give a little less charity, feeling that we can't afford to be generous in an unstable situation. However, the power of charity is that it never decreases your wealth.
'Blessed is the wealth of the Muslim, from which he gives to the poor, the orphan and the wayfarer'. [Muslim]
Giving charity blesses our wealth and increases it, for only Allah can control our rizq (provision). Thus, giving during a crisis is a beautiful way to express your trust in Allah and reaffirm to yourself that you are dependent on Him alone.
Five: It's an excellent way to pay Zakat monthly!
Some people find it easier to give their annual Zakat in smaller monthly payments instead of in one lump sum. Orphan sponsorship is the ideal way to spread your Zakat over the year!
Six: You will earn the food of Jannah
When mentioning certain good deeds in the Qur'an, Allah also describes in detail the beautiful things in Jannah we will earn by doing these good deeds. In Surah Insan, Allah describes people who give their food to orphans and the needy, purely for His sake:
‘And they give food, in spite of love for it, to the needy, the orphan, and the captive. [Saying], “We feed you only for the countenance of Allah. We don’t want from you either reward or gratitude. Indeed, we fear from our Lord a Day austere and distressful”’. (The Noble Qur’an, 76:8-10)
As a direct reward for this good deed, Allah promises:
SubhanAllah, Allah is truly the Most Generous! Simply by giving some food to the orphans and needy in this world, Allah will reward us with the luxuries and delicious food of Jannah, multiplying what we gave many times over.
Seven: It is a Sadaqah Jariyah unlike any other!
Long after you have stopped sponsoring your orphan, you will continue to gain reward for your compassion. Every time they use something they learned at school, you will be rewarded. Every time they make du'a for you, you will benefit.
Because you transformed an orphan’s life and helped them fulfil their potential, you will gain the reward for their actions as well. The extent of these rewards is immeasurable. Who knows what your orphan will go on to build, teach and create; who knows how many lives they will change?
The rewards of Sadaqah Jariyah will last even after you have passed away, and it all begins with a single donation.
Eight: There is so much barakah in orphan sponsorship!
Our orphan sponsorship programme puts us in regular contact with the child’s guardian, who can let us know about any issues the family or the community face. Often, we can help solve these problems.
For example, we can provide widows with a sustainable livelihood, or we can construct a water well in the community. In this way, a single orphan sponsorship sets off a chain reaction of Sadaqah Jariyah goodness!
SubhanAllah, a single orphan sponsorship - just 97p a day! - contains so much barakah! If you make the intention to be a part of this, you will gain countless rewards.
Nine: You will enter Jannah through the gate of Joy
It is so beautiful that Allah recognises not only the practical help we give to orphans - such as food and medical check-ups - but also the fact that we have brought them happiness through our support. Just knowing that someone out there cares about them and their future is a beautiful gift that every child deserves.
We pray we can bring so much joy to children - especially orphans - that we are someday called through the gate of Joy into Jannah.
Ten: You will be saving lives
Sponsoring an orphan goes beyond simply improving an orphan’s life. Your donation can be a lifeline for a child in need.
The orphans we help are from poor families who can’t afford basic nutritious food. Every year, around 3.1 million children are dying due to hunger. This is a completely preventable tragedy and it is unacceptable.
By sponsoring a needy orphan, you can protect them from the devastating effects of hunger and malnutrition; you could potentially be saving their life.
Quick summary: sponsoring an orphan brings you closer to the Prophet (saw), gives you 'the best house', and is a righteous action; it also blesses your wealth and is a great way to pay Zakat monthly; furthermore, you will be called through the gate of Joy into Jannah and enjoy the (literally) heavenly luxuries; in addition, it is a Sadaqah Jariyah which contains incredible barakah; on top of all this, it saves lives!
(Take a breath - that was a lot of amazing benefits in one sentence!)
We hope this article was helpful to you! You can sponsor an orphan for just £29.50 a month (or £354 a year), providing them with food, education and health care.