Taking care of your orphan niece

Q: Saudi Relief in Pakistan is one of the committees of the General Organization for receiving donations for the Afghany Mujahidin (those striving/fighting in the Cause of Allah) and they have undertaken several successful projects, praise be to Allah. Apart from this, they also help the Mujahidin in different ways, and provide relief for emigrants. They also have projects for orphan guardianship and this includes accommodating the orphan, educating him as well as raising him on the `Aqidah (creed) by choosing teachers that are known for their sound `Aqidah. They also provide the orphans with foodstuff, clothing (Part No. 14; Page No. 235) and medication in boarding schools that protect them from homelessness and loss. If any of them want to visit their relatives, they can go out on Friday night and return on Saturday night. Allah (Exalted be He) has benefited many orphans and their families through this project, for the committee pays a monthly pension for the family of each orphan to help it maintain their living and to connect them to the school at which the orphan stays. Since the amount designated for the family is being paid on a monthly basis from the school, we have made applications for these orphans including the name of every orphan and the relevant information about each, like the name of the school where they stay, and the required sum necessary for sponsoring the orphan's family. The necessary amount to take on the role of guardianship of an orphan is specified as three thousand Riyals per year. This offer was presented to benefactors and they have hastened to help. His Royal Highness Prince Salman (may Allah keep him safe) has issued his directions to open a separate account for the specified sums needed for orphans so as to be independent from other accounts and to protect them from being mixed with other money. This has been accomplished, praise be to Allah. Until now, eleven schools have been inaugurated, and we are preparing to inaugurate three more. The committee is also planning to expand in this regard to achieve more benefits. In order to act in accordance with Shar` (Islamic Law), we would like to know your Eminence's opinion on the following: 1- Will the person who assumes the guardianship of an orphan who is fifteen years old or more be included in the Prophet's Hadith (peace be upon him): I and the one who sponsors an orphan will be close to each other in Paradise like this, and he (peace be upon him) pointed with his index and middle fingers ? (Part No. 14; Page No. 236) 2- If the answer is no, should the committee dismiss these elder students from the school that is funded by orphans' money, or should they be kept in the school to receive an education and be maintained while having the same treatment like other orphans, but without their data being presented to the benefactors? The commitment of the benefactors - may Allah accept their deeds - forms a fixed resource for the school so that orphans can continue to be sponsored, educated and raised. On the other hand, if the fifteen-year-old orphans are dismissed from school, they will be forbidden from having an education, especially that there is no other resources or sponsors for them, and this will influence them psychologically. Moreover, their families will be deprived of the monthly allowance on which they depend for a living by Allah's Grace at first, then by the virtue of the existence of their children at such schools. Please advise us with your opinion so we can have a clear idea, and be able to clarify this issue for the benefactors who are sponsoring orphans who have reached the age of fifteen or above. May Allah bless your lifetime and keep you sound and safe for Islam and Muslims.

A: Duty necessitates the continuation of educating orphans and treating them with kindness even if they exceed fifteen years of age till they are able to manage their lives without help to find a job, another school or another benefactor. Doing so is observing the meaning intended by the Prophet (peace be upon him) when he encouraged sponsoring orphans and treating them kindly. (Part No. 14; Page No. 237) May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.