;
Poor Caretakers are Allowed to Wisely Spend from the Money of the Orphan Under Their Care, to Compensate for Their Work

Allah said,

﴿ وَلَا تَأۡكُلُوهَآ إِسۡرَافً۬ا وَبِدَارًا أَن يَكۡبَرُواْ‌ۚ

(But consume it not wastefully and hastily, fearing that they should grow up.) Allah commands that the money of the orphan should not be spent unnecessarily,

﴿ إِسۡرَافً۬ا وَبِدَارًا

(Wastefully and hastily) for fear they might grow up. Allah also commands,

﴿ وَمَن كَانَ غَنِيًّ۬ا فَلۡيَسۡتَعۡفِفۡ‌ۖ

(And whoever among guardians is rich, he should take no wages,) Hence, the guardian who is rich and does not need the orphan's money, should not take any of it as wages.

﴿ وَمَن كَانَ فَقِيرً۬ا فَلۡيَأۡكُلۡ بِٱلۡمَعۡرُوفِ‌ۚ

(but if he is poor, let him have for himself what is just and reasonable.) Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `A'ishah said, "This Ayah,

﴿ وَمَن كَانَ غَنِيًّ۬ا فَلۡيَسۡتَعۡفِفۡ‌ۖ وَمَن كَانَ فَقِيرً۬ا فَلۡيَأۡكُلۡ بِٱلۡمَعۡرُوفِ‌ۚ

(And whoever among guardians is rich, he should take no wages, but if he is poor, let him have for himself what is just and reasonable.) was revealed about the guardian of the orphan and pertains to whatever work he does for the orphan's estate. '' Al-Bukhari also collected this Hadith. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Amr bin Shu`ayb said that his father said that his father told him that a man asked the Messenger of Allah , "I do not have money, but I have an orphan under my care.'' The Messenger said,

« كُلْ مِنْ مَالِ يَتِيمِكَ غَيْرَ مُسْرِفٍ وَلَا مُبَذِّرٍ وَلَا مُتَأَثِّلٍ مَالًا، وَمِنْ غَيْرِ أَنْ تَقِيَ مَالَكَ أَوْ قَالَ تَفْدِيَ مَالَكَ بِمَالِه »

(Eat from your orphan's wealth without extravagance or wastefulness, or mixing it, and without saving your money by spending his.)'' Allah said,

﴿ فَإِذَا دَفَعۡتُمۡ إِلَيۡہِمۡ أَمۡوَٲلَهُمۡ

(And when you release their property to them.) after they become adults, and you see that they are wise, then,

﴿ فَأَشۡہِدُواْ عَلَيۡہِمۡ‌ۚ

(take a witness in their presence;) Allah commands the guardians of orphans to surrender the property of the orphans who become consenting adults, in the presence of witnesses, so that none of them denies the fact that he received his money. Allah said next,

﴿ وَكَفَىٰ بِٱللَّهِ حَسِيبً۬ا

(and Allah is All-Sufficient in taking account.) meaning, Allah is sufficient as Witness, Reckoner and Watcher over their work for orphans, and when they surrender their money to them, whether their property was complete and whole, or deficient and less. Indeed, Allah knows all of that. In his Sahih, Muslim recorded that the Messenger of Allah said,

« يَا أَبَا ذَرَ إِنِّي أَرَاكَ ضَعِيفًا، وَإِنِّي أُحِبُّ لَكَ مَا أُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِي، لَا تَأَمَّرَنَّ عَلَى اثْنَيْنِ، وَلَا تَلِيَنَّ مَالَ يَتِيم »

(O Abu Dharr! Verily, you are weak, and I love for you what I love for myself. Do not become a leader of two nor assume guardianship of an orphan's property.)

﴿ لِّلرِّجَالِ نَصِيبٌ۬ مِّمَّا تَرَكَ ٱلۡوَٲلِدَانِ وَٱلۡأَقۡرَبُونَ وَلِلنِّسَآءِ نَصِيبٌ۬ مِّمَّا تَرَكَ ٱلۡوَٲلِدَانِ وَٱلۡأَقۡرَبُونَ مِمَّا قَلَّ مِنۡهُ أَوۡ كَثُرَ‌ۚ نَصِيبً۬ا مَّفۡرُوضً۬ا وَإِذَا حَضَرَ ٱلۡقِسۡمَةَ أُوْلُواْ ٱلۡقُرۡبَىٰ وَٱلۡيَتَـٰمَىٰ وَٱلۡمَسَـٰڪِينُ فَٱرۡزُقُوهُم مِّنۡهُ وَقُولُواْ لَهُمۡ قَوۡلاً۬ مَّعۡرُوفً۬ا وَلۡيَخۡشَ ٱلَّذِينَ لَوۡ تَرَكُواْ مِنۡ خَلۡفِهِمۡ ذُرِّيَّةً۬ ضِعَـٰفًا خَافُواْ عَلَيۡهِمۡ فَلۡيَتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَلۡيَقُولُواْ قَوۡلاً۬ سَدِيدًا إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَأۡڪُلُونَ أَمۡوَٲلَ ٱلۡيَتَـٰمَىٰ ظُلۡمًا إِنَّمَا يَأۡڪُلُونَ فِى بُطُونِهِمۡ نَارً۬ا‌ۖ وَسَيَصۡلَوۡنَ سَعِيرً۬ا

(7. There is a share for men and a share for women from what is left by parents and those nearest in relation, whether the property be small or large -- a legal share.) (8. And when the relatives, and the orphans, and the poor are present at the time of division, give them from the property, and speak to them words of kindness and justice.) (9. And let those (executors and guardians) have the same fear in their minds as they would have for their own, if they had left weak offspring behind. So, let them have Taqwa of Allah and speak truthfully.) (10. Verily, those who unjustly eat up the property of orphans, they eat up only a fire into their bellies, and they will be burnt in the blazing Fire!)

The Necessity of Surrendering the Inheritance According to the Portions that Allah Ordained

Sa`id bin Jubayr and Qatadah said, "The idolators used to give adult men a share of inheritance and deprive women and children of it. Allah revealed;

﴿ لِّلرِّجَالِ نَصِيبٌ۬ مِّمَّا تَرَكَ ٱلۡوَٲلِدَانِ وَٱلۡأَقۡرَبُونَ

(There is a share for men from what is left by parents and those nearest in relation).'' Therefore, everyone is equal in Allah's decision to inherit, even though their shares vary according to the degree of their relationship to the deceased, whether being a relative, spouse, etc. Ibn Marduwyah reported that Jabir said, "Umm Kujjah came to the Messenger of Allah and said to him, `O Messenger of Allah! I have two daughters whose father died, and they do not own anything.' So Allah revealed;

﴿ لِّلرِّجَالِ نَصِيبٌ۬ مِّمَّا تَرَكَ ٱلۡوَٲلِدَانِ وَٱلۡأَقۡرَبُونَ

(There is a share for men from what is left by parents and those nearest in relation.)'' We will mention this Hadith when explaining the two Ayat about inheritance. Allah knows best. Allah said,

﴿ وَإِذَا حَضَرَ ٱلۡقِسۡمَةَ

(are present at the time of division,) those who do not have a share in the inheritance,

﴿ وَٱلۡيَتَـٰمَىٰ وَٱلۡمَسَـٰڪِينُ

(and the orphans and the poor), are also present upon dividing the inheritance, give them a share of the inheritance. Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Abbas said that the Ayah,

﴿ وَإِذَا حَضَرَ ٱلۡقِسۡمَةَ أُوْلُواْ ٱلۡقُرۡبَىٰ وَٱلۡيَتَـٰمَىٰ وَٱلۡمَسَـٰڪِينُ

(And when the relatives and the orphans and the poor are present at the time of division), was not abrogated. Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn `Abbas said that this Ayah still applies and should be implemented. Ath-Thawri said that Ibn Abi Najih narrated from Mujahid that implementing this Ayah, "Is required from those who have anything to inherit, paid from whatever portions their hearts are satisfied with giving away.'' Similar explanation was reported from Ibn Mas`ud, Abu Musa, `Abdur-Rahman bin Abi Bakr, Abu Al-`Aliyah, Ash-Sha`bi and Al-Hasan. Ibn Sirin, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Makhul, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, `Ata' bin Abi Rabah, Az-Zuhri and Yahya bin Ya`mar said this payment is obligatory. Others say that this refers to the bequeathal at the time of death. And others say that it was abrogated. Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas said that this Ayah,

﴿ وَإِذَا حَضَرَ ٱلۡقِسۡمَةَ

(And when are present at the time of division), refers to divisions of inheritance. So, when poor relatives, who are ineligible for inheritance, orphans, and the poor attend the division of the inheritance, which is sometimes substantial, their hearts will feel eager to have a share, seeing each eligible person assuming his share; while they are desperate, yet are not given anything. Allah the Most Kind, Most Compassionate, commands that they should have a share in the inheritance as an act of kindness, charity, compassion and mercy for them.

Observing Fairness in the Will

Allah said,

﴿ وَلۡيَخۡشَ ٱلَّذِينَ لَوۡ تَرَكُواْ مِنۡ خَلۡفِهِمۡ

(And let those have the same fear in their minds as they would have for their own, if they had left behind...) `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said that this part of the Ayah, "Refers to a man who is near death and he dictates a will and testament that harms some of the rightful inheritors. Allah commands whoever hears such will to fear Allah, and direct the dying man to do what is right and to be fair, being as eager to protect the inheritors of the dying man as he would be with his own.'' Similar was reported from Mujahid and several others. The Two Sahihs record that when the Messenger of Allah visited Sa`d bin Abi Waqqas during an illness he suffered from, Sa`d said to the Messenger, "O Messenger of Allah! I am wealthy and have no inheritors except a daughter. Should I give two-thirds of my property in charity'' He said, "No.'' Sa`d asked, "Half'' He said, "No.'' Sa`d said, "One-third'' The Prophet said;

« الثُّلُثُ، وَالثُّلُثُ كَثِير »

(One-third, and even one-third is too much.) The Messenger of Allah then said,

« إِنَّكَ أَنْ تَذَرَ وَرَثَتَكَ أَغْنِيَاءَ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَنْ تَذَرَهُمْ عَالَةً يَتَكَفَّفُونَ النَّاس »

(You'd better leave your inheritors wealthy rather than leaving them poor, begging from others.)

A Stern Warning Against Those Who Use Up the Orphan's Wealth

It was also said that the Ayah

﴿ وَلَا تَأۡكُلُوهَآ إِسۡرَافً۬ا وَبِدَارًا أَن يَكۡبَرُواْ‌ۚ

(consume it not wastefully and hastily, fearing that they should grow up,) means, let them have Taqwa of Allah when taking care of the orphan's wealth, as Ibn Jarir recorded from Al-`Awfi who reported this explanation from Ibn `Abbas. This is a sound opinion that is supported by the warning that follows against consuming the orphan's wealth unjustly. In this case, the meaning becomes: Just as you would want your offspring to be treated fairly after you, then treat other people's offspring fairly when you are given the responsibility of caring for them. Allah proclaims that those who unjustly consume the wealth of orphans, will be eating fire into their stomach, this is why Allah said,

﴿ إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَأۡڪُلُونَ أَمۡوَٲلَ ٱلۡيَتَـٰمَىٰ ظُلۡمًا إِنَّمَا يَأۡڪُلُونَ فِى بُطُونِهِمۡ نَارً۬ا‌ۖ وَسَيَصۡلَوۡنَ سَعِيرً۬ا

(Verily, those who unjustly eat up the property of orphans, they eat up only a fire into their bellies, and they will be burnt in the blazing Fire!) meaning, when you consume the orphan's wealth without a right, then you are only consuming fire, which will kindle in your stomach on the Day of Resurrection. It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

« اجْتَنِبُوا السَّبْعَ الْمُوبِقَات »

(Avoid the seven great destructive sins. ) The people asked, "O Allah's Messenger! What are they'' He said,

« الشِّرْكُ بِاللهِ، وَالسِّحْرُ، وَقَتْلُ النَّفْسِ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللهُ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ، وَأَكْلُ الرِّبَا، وَأَكْلُ مَالِ الْيَتِيمِ، وَالتَّوَلِّي يَوْمَ الزَّحْفِ، وَقَذْفُ الْمُحْصَنَاتِ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ الْغَافِلَات »

(To join others in worship along with Allah, magic, to kill the life which Allah has forbidden except for a just cause, to consume interest, to consume an orphan's property, to turn your back to the enemy and flee from the battlefield at the time of fighting, and to accuse chaste women who never even think of anything harmful to their chastity being good believers.)

﴿ يُوصِيكُمُ ٱللَّهُ فِىٓ أَوۡلَـٰدِڪُمۡ‌ۖ لِلذَّكَرِ مِثۡلُ حَظِّ ٱلۡأُنثَيَيۡنِ‌ۚ فَإِن كُنَّ نِسَآءً۬ فَوۡقَ ٱثۡنَتَيۡنِ فَلَهُنَّ ثُلُثَا مَا تَرَكَ‌ۖ وَإِن كَانَتۡ وَٲحِدَةً۬ فَلَهَا ٱلنِّصۡفُ‌ۚ وَلِأَبَوَيۡهِ لِكُلِّ وَٲحِدٍ۬ مِّنۡہُمَا ٱلسُّدُسُ مِمَّا تَرَكَ إِن كَانَ لَهُ ۥ وَلَدٌ۬‌ۚ فَإِن لَّمۡ يَكُن لَّهُ ۥ وَلَدٌ۬ وَوَرِثَهُ ۥۤ أَبَوَاهُ فَلِأُمِّهِ ٱلثُّلُثُ‌ۚ فَإِن كَانَ لَهُ ۥۤ إِخۡوَةٌ۬ فَلِأُمِّهِ ٱلسُّدُسُ‌ۚ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ وَصِيَّةٍ۬ يُوصِى بِہَآ أَوۡ دَيۡنٍ‌ۗ ءَابَآؤُكُمۡ وَأَبۡنَآؤُكُمۡ لَا تَدۡرُونَ أَيُّهُمۡ أَقۡرَبُ لَكُمۡ نَفۡعً۬ا‌ۚ فَرِيضَةً۬ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ‌ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمً۬ا

(11. Allah commands you for your children's (inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two - females; if only daughters, two or more, their share is two thirds of the inheritance; if only one, her share is half. For parents, a sixth share of inheritance to each if the deceased left children; if no children, and the parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third; if the deceased left brothers or (sisters), the mother has a sixth. (The distribution in all cases is) after the payment of legacies he may have bequeathed or debts. You know not which of them, whether your parents or your children, are nearest to you in benefit, (these fixed shares) are ordained by Allah. And Allah is Ever All-Knower, All-Wise.)