An orphan in Islam is defined as a child who has lost his father or both of his parents. In Arabic, an orphan is called a yateem.
Of the many members of society, orphans are among the most vulnerable. This is particularly true in countries where there is little social support and where services are largely inadequate. The noble values which Islam has laid out can be summarily understood by looking at the importance the religion has given to looking after orphans.
‘I and the person who looks after an orphan and provides for him will be in Paradise like this,’ (putting his index and middle fingers together). – Saheeh al-Bukhari.
There are an estimated 200 million children worldwide that have experienced this loss. Many of these children will come from already disadvantaged backgrounds.
So losing a parent can mean that access to education, the protection of shelter, the sustenance of nutritious meals and the chance for a secure future all become an impossible dream. This is why the responsibility of care for the orphan falls on all of us.
Who could be more deserving of our help than the child who has no one?