A 2021 report by Unicef concluded over 4 million orphaned children in Pakistan.
Ranking 48th on the world GDP table as of 2022, Pakistan is also in the midst of recovering from the horrific two months of flooding that occurred in 2022, affecting the population deeply with millions being displaced and at least $30 billion needed for losses and rebuilding.
Natural disasters are unfortunately relatively common, with different occasions of flooding affecting the country 14 times in the past 30 years. This means that over the past 30 years, there has been an unprecedented amount of displacement, suffering, rebuilding and orphans.
The suffering of the most vulnerable in societies worldwide is sometimes challenging to comprehend as sometimes we just don’t see it. This can be a result of media or our own choice of where we turn our attention to.
The reality is, the future generation of Pakistan is suffering, and we at The Zohra Foundation believe it is our responsibility to help. With the generous donations offered by you, we help to provide free medical treatment, food and shelter to the most vulnerable (and their caregivers) in Pakistan.
As a charity that operates with our Islamic faith in mind, we always remind ourselves and our donators that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
“Give sadaqah without delay for it stands in the way of calamity” (Tirmidhi)
Orphans are mentioned 23 times in 22 different verses in the Qur’an. Allah (SWT) has repeatedly reinforced how we as people should help those who are the most vulnerable. Compiled by Muhammad Ziyad Batha, he collated the mention of orphans and what the themes were, and are as follows.
- Rebuking and warning against oppressing orphans by usurping their wealth or rights.
- Enjoining general good treatment.
- Encouraging spending charitably on them.
- Being recipients of a portion of the spoils of war (ghanīmah) and peaceful conquering gains (fay’).
- Part of a historical account.
- Reminding the Prophet of his orphan roots.
As our Prophet (ﷺ) was born an orphan, it is worth understanding the status of an orphan before the introduction of Islam.
In 16th-century Arabia, lineage meant everything and status came from belonging to a tribe. In a society where everybody was nicknamed ‘the son of so and so’, orphans – who had no lineage – were viewed as the lowest of the low.
In choosing an orphan as His Messenger, Allah (SWT) (SWT) raised the status of orphans everywhere. The Qur’an revolutionized their treatment and made caring for orphans a compulsory part of the religion.
Here are three examples of the rights afforded to orphans through Islam:
Orphans have the right to financial support
“They ask you, [O Muhammad], what they should spend [in charity]. Say, “Whatever you spend of good is [to be] for parents and relatives and orphans and the needy and the traveller. And whatever you do of good – indeed, Allah (SWT) is Knowing of it.”
– Surah Al Baqarah: 215
This verse directly tells us that orphans have the right to financial support, the Qur’an places this right as the responsibility of a Muslim. This is exemplified through one of the five pillars of Islam, Zakat.
At a public level, rulers have to make sure orphans are being given their share of charity and Zakat. As far as Islam is concerned, this money belongs to them.
Orphans have the right to dignity
“No! But you do not honour the orphan…”
– Surah Al-Fajr: 17
By rebuking the Quraysh tribe for dishonouring orphans, Allah (SWT) (swt) is simultaneously telling us that orphans must be honoured and respected.
Not only are they entitled to receiving support; but they also deserve to have dignity, just like all people do. This dignity comes in the form of not exploiting them and not insulting or treating them differently due to their circumstances.
Taking care of an orphan is an example of being true to the Islamic faith
In one verse, Allah (SWT) (SWT) suggests that a person who ignores orphans can not be considered a believer.
“Have you seen the one who denies the Recompense [the religion]? For that is the one who drives away the orphan.”
– Surah Al Ma’un: 1-2
In another, Allah (SWT) (SWT) describes the righteous in Paradise as being those who took care of orphans during their worldly life.
“And they [the righteous] give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive…”
– Surah Al Insan: 8
Allah (SWT) (SWT) and Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) repeated this promise of Jannah across the Quran and Sunnah, which makes you realise the importance of taking care of orphans and children.
The status of orphans within Islam is sacred as Islam obligates Muslims to take care of the orphans and provide them with the safety, care and love that has been absent from their lives. Islam provides a method for this care to be taken through one of the five pillars of Islam, known as Zakat.
Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam (and therefore an obligation of the faith) in which an individual has to donate a certain percentage of their wealth each year to charitable causes. Zakat is mandatory for all Muslims in most Islamic countries.
The common minimum amount for those who qualify is 2.5% or 1/40 of a Muslim’s total savings and wealth. No zakat is required when someone’s personal wealth falls below the threshold during a lunar year.
There are eight categories of people who can receive donated wealth. These are:
- Fakir – The poor and needy
- Miskin – Those who are hungry and have nothing to eat
- Amil – A zakat collector who distributes it on behalf of others
- Riqab – Enslaved people or captives
- Gharmin – People in debt
- Fisabilillah – Individuals who work towards the cause of Allah (SWT)
- Ibnus Sabil – Stranded travellers
- Muallaf – New members or converts
Charity in the name of Allah (SWT) has many impacts and benefits for the individual doing it and the society they live in/the society they donate to. Some of these are:
- Unification in the cause of Allah (SWT): As mentioned in a hadith, an Angel prays to Allah (SWT) to provide for the person who donates to the divine cause. A donation makes the two ends meet which is a path led by an individual and the one shown by Allah (SWT).
- Protection from hellfire: Allah (SWT) loves those who are righteous and obey him with complete faith. Islamic scholars suggest that a person remains safe from hellfire, and Allah (SWT) provides a home on Judgment day for those who donate wealth on time.
- Promoting belongingness in a society: Donation lays the foundation for balanced wealth distribution and uplifts the poor and needy. Hence, it removes the social difference between rich and poor and makes every individual, as Allah (SWT) made them, equal to each other.
Orphaned children in Pakistan and many more need your help
With all we have mentioned before, it is completely understandable why Muslims have an obligation to help the less fortunate. However, it may be difficult to know where to donate your money too.
Pakistan needs your help now more than ever. With millions still affected by the recent flooding, with so many people losing homes, families, friends and livelihoods it can not be underestimated how much your donations can change the lives of the displaced, as well as the orphans who are now in further destitution.
We provide care for extremely poor children and particularly orphans. Our aim is to provide care and financial assistance to as many of these children as we can.
For just £25 a month you can provide free medical treatment, food and shelter to an orphaned child and support to their caregivers. Give these vulnerable children an opportunity to have a better life with the dignity that they deserve.
Help us help another person today
The Zohra Foundation is a UK-registered charity that aims to improve the lives of millions of orphans, widows and the elderly throughout Pakistan and respond to emergencies in other parts of the world.
Through our Adopt a Grandparent scheme, Orphan Sponsorship scheme, medical camps, social support and food aid we focus on ensuring that the poor and vulnerable population get the vital services they need to survive.
In the last five years, we have built long-term partnerships with networks of paid specialists, volunteer doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals. These relationships mean that we understand and meet the needs of the local population to deliver emergency relief across Pakistan.
By supporting the Zohra Foundation with your Zakat and Sadaqah, you can restore hope to the orphans and elderly in Pakistan.
You will give the elderly the final days they deserve; one with respect and dignity and the orphans, a better start to life.
In this article, we hope to have informed you of the plight of orphaned children in Pakistan, as well as offer insight into the obligations Islam presents to us in regard to charitable causes.
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