Understanding the role of society toward orphans, widows and Destitute

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The Islamic Perspective

By: Shahzad Hussain

As a society, we are aware that we have a substantial number of orphans, widows and destitute in our valley who are so either by birth or due to the ensuing conflict that has had disastrous impacts on the entire population here. The number has drastically increased since 1990’s due to the prevailing conflict in valley.

On a daily basis, we see the killings. Each day families lose their earning ones and their hopes when young boys return dead. Many are injured, many among them fatally, due to pellets, bullets, stones and even torture and are thus rendered helpless and physically handicap. The number of such people and such families continues to grow and as a result we have a constant surge in the number of people who depend on the society.

In such a scenario, one must look for the divine guidelines from the Quran and the Hadith so that we, as a society, contribute to the wellness of all keeping the Islamic fundamentals as the guidelines for ourselves. It is mentioned in the holy Quran in chapter 67 ‘Al-Mulk’, (verse 2) wherein Allah says “We have created life and death in order to test who among you do the best deeds”. So when a child looses his/her parent, a wife loses her husband, and the ones whose lives have been over shadowed by the poverty, they should consider all these things as test by the almighty and should respond to it in an optimistic and patient manner.

What is more important is that the remaining part of the society is in no way exempted from the responsibility and shall be questioned for their role in upholding and helping the destitute and the orphans. Infact, such deeds are very dear to Allah and his messanger as we find that Quran as well as many Hadith’s lay stress on the mercy of Allah on those who take care of the destitute and the orphans. The commandments of almighty direct the well-off people with great responsibilities towards the down trodden.

The holy Quran has unambiguously mentioned how to treat orphans, widows and the poor at a number of places in the holy Quran. Besides, the holy Quran there are a number of Hadiths of Prophet Muhammed ( peace be upon him )in which Rewards for people treating orphans, widows and destitute fairly are mentioned. Apart from giving a fixed share of their property in zakaat, charity and donation they are at the same time enjoined not to make a show-off i,e ( Riya in islamic terminology) of it.

As we know, in Islam, we do have HAQUQ-Allah (Rights of God) and Haqq-ul-ibad ( Rights of his servants), the former includes the prayer ( Salah), the fasts , the pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah etc while the latter one is actually the responsibility of believer towards fellow human beings irrespective of their Religion. If there is any weakness in Haquq-Allah, Almighty may forgive but if there is a weakness in Haqq-ul-ibad, the result would be harsh punishment in the hereafter. The establishment of various Trusts that work for the poor, the destitute and the orphans is a result of Haqq-Ul-Ibad.

There are a number of such Trusts that operate for the wellbeing of the marginalized sections of the society. In fact, the number of such Trusts has gone up during the past decade or so and more and more establishments are coming up keeping in view the ever increasing number of poor and the destitute. Many organizations have set up proper schools for the orphans and the destitute and ensure elementary education for such children. These organizations also ensure that people have are imparted life skill trainings so that they are in a position to earn for themselves and their families.

However, I would like to suggest a few reform in the overall functioning of such trusts and organizations. I feel that the ‘Door to Door’ or street collection for running such organizations and trusts should be avoided as we are living in a digital world that enables us to implement the modern techniques like online banking etc. Also, the staff hired for taking care of young children should comprise of more women than men as women tend to be more patient and caring.

The author is pursuing masters in political science at Central University of Kashmir and can be reached at [email protected]

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