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How to Treat Servants (Hadith No. 2422)

Bismillah.

Volume 4, Book 51, Number 29 :
Narrated by Anas (radiallaahu `anhu)
When Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) came to Medina; he did not have any servant. Abu Talha (radiallaahu `anhu) (Anas’ step-father) took me to Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Anas is a wise boy, so let him serve you.” So, I served him at home and on journeys. If I did anything, he never asked me why I did it, and if I refrained from doing anything, he never asked me why I refrained from doing it.

This hadith gives evidence for employment of an orphan and showing kindness to servants. We treat our servants as if they owe us their lives, belittling them and scolding them for every little thing. Look at the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam), he wouldn’t even ask him questions like ‘Why didn’t you do this?’, or ‘Why did you do it?’. I’m sure there must have been incidents where he fell short, he was just a ten-year-old boy when he started and spent all his teen years with the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam). There must have been times when he didn’t complete a task or committed mistakes etc. But he was never rebuked by the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam).

And isn’t it amazing how he mentions this specific trait of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) when narrating this hadith? He could’ve said something more general, like “He was extremely nice to me”, or “He never scolded me”, or “He was the best”. You get the point. But when he recalls his time with the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam), he remembers specifically what we could call “forgiveness”. Imagine what our servants would recall their time with us ten, twenty years down the line. Would they remember our pleasantness or the constant insults we throw at them?

Interesting fact about Anas (radiallaahu `anhu):

His mother once asked the Prophet, upon him be peace, to supplicate for Anas. He, upon him be peace, said,
‘O Allah, increase him in wealth and sons, give him long life and forgive him his sins.’
Anas would recollect that he had 125 offspring in his lifetime and only two of them were girls, his garden gave fruit twice a year and had basil which smelt like musk and he had lived long and had even survived poison and he hoped for the fourth part of the supplication. He was the last companion to die in Basra in the year 93H aged 103 years old. [Abdul Aziz Ahmed]

Read more on his life here.

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Adoption in Islam (Hadith No. 2171)

Bismillah.

Volume 3, Book 44, Number 674:
Narrated ‘Urwa bin Az-Zubair:
That he had asked ‘Aisha (radiallaahu `anhaa) about the meaning of the Statement of Allah: “If you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry (other) women of your choice two or three or four.” (4.3)
She said, “O my nephew! This is about the orphan girl who lives with her guardian and shares his property. Her wealth and beauty may tempt him to marry her without giving her an adequate Mahr (bridal-money) which might have been given by another suitor. So, such guardians were forbidden to marry such orphan girls unless they treated them justly and gave them the most suitable Mahr; otherwise they were ordered to marry any other woman.” ‘Aisha (radiallaahu `anhaa) further said, “After that verse the people again asked the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) (about the marriage with orphan ‘girls), so Allah revealed the following verses:– ‘They ask your instruction concerning the women. Say: Allah Instructs you about them and about what is recited unto you In the Book, concerning the orphan girls to whom you give not the prescribed portions and yet whom you desire to marry…” (4.127)
What is meant by Allah’s Saying:- ‘And about what is recited unto you is the former verse which goes:- ‘If you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry (other) women of your choice.’ (4.3) ‘Aisha (radiallaahu `anhaa) said, “Allah’s saying in the other verse:- ‘Yet whom you desire to marry’ (4.127) means the desire of the guardian to marry an orphan girl under his supervision when she has not much property or beauty (in which case he should treat her justly). The guardians were forbidden to marry their orphan girls possessing property and beauty without being just to them, as they generally refrain from marrying them (when they are neither beautiful nor wealthy).”

A common reader might find this weird – how can a guardian marry the orphan girl he’s upbringing? Incest? No. Because this is a case of sponsoring the orphan, that’s allowed in Islam, unlike adoption.

There is a difference between adoption and sponsoring orphans. 

A – Adoption means that a man takes an orphan and makes him like one of his own children, calling him after him, so that the orphan is not allowed to marry one of the man’s daughters, and so the sons of the adoptive father are regarded as brothers of the orphan and his daughters are regarded as his sisters, and his (the father’s) sisters are regarded as his paternal aunts, and so on. This was one of the things that were done during the first Jaahiliyyah, and some of the Sahaabah carried the names of their adoptive fathers, as in the case of al-Miqdaad ibn al-Aswad whose real father’s name was ‘Amr, but he was called ibn (son of) al-Aswad, after the man who had adopted him.

This continued into the early days of Islam, until Allaah forbade that, according to a well-known story. Zayd ibn Haarithah was called Zayd ibn Muhammad, and he was the husband of Zaynab bint Jahsh, then Zayd divorced her. 

It was narrated that Anas said: When Zaynab’s ‘iddah came to an end, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to Zayd ibn Haarithah, “Go and tell her about me (that I want to marry her).” So he went to her and found her kneading dough. He said, “O Zaynab, good news. The Messenger of Allaah wants to marry you.” She said, “I will not do anything until I consult with my Lord.” Then she got up and went to her prayer-place, then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came and entered upon her.

 Concerning this, Allaah revealed the words (interpretation of the meaning): 

“And (remember) when you said to him (Zayd bin Haarithah the freed‑slave of the Prophet) on whom Allaah has bestowed grace (by guiding him to Islam) and you (O Muhammad too) have done favour (by manumitting him): ‘Keep your wife to yourself, and fear Allaah.’ But you did hide in yourself (i.e. what Allaah has already made known to you that He will give her to you in marriage) that which Allaah will make manifest, you did fear the people (i.e., their saying that Muhammad married the divorced wife of his manumitted slave) whereas Allaah had a better right that you should fear Him. So when Zayd had accomplished his desire from her (i.e. divorced her), We gave her to you in marriage, so that (in future) there may be no difficulty to the believers in respect of (the marriage of) the wives of their adopted sons when the latter have no desire to keep them (i.e. they have divorced them). And Allaah’s Command must be fulfilled”

[al-Ahzaab 33:37] 

(Narrated by Muslim, 1428) 

B – Allaah has forbidden adoption because it causes knowledge of people’s lineage to be lost, and we have been commanded to preserve people’s lineage. 

It was narrated from Abu Dharr (may Allaah be pleased with him) that he heard the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “There is no man who knowingly calls himself after someone other than his father but he has committed kufr. Whoever claims to belong to people to whom he has no ties of blood, let him take his place in Hell.” 

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3317; Muslim, 61) 

What is meant by “committed kufr” is that he has done an act of kufr, not that he is beyond the pale of Islam.

This may generate hatred and resentment between the adopted son and the children of the adoptive father, because it will cause them to lose out on something that is rightfully theirs, which will go to this orphan unlawfully who they know is not entitled to it as they are. 

Sponsoring an orphan means that a man brings the orphan to live in his house, or he sponsors him somewhere other than his house, without giving him his name or forbidding that which is permitted or permitting that which is forbidden, as is the case with adoption. Rather the one who sponsors an orphan is doing a generous deed. So there can be no comparison between one who sponsors an orphan and one who adopts a child, because of the great difference between them and because sponsoring orphans is something which is encouraged in Islam. 

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“…And they ask you concerning orphans. Say: The best thing is to work honestly in their property, and if you mix your affairs with theirs, then they are your brothers. And Allaah knows him who means mischief (e.g. to swallow their property) from him who means good (e.g. to save their property). And if Allaah had wished, He could have put you into difficulties. Truly, Allaah is All-Mighty, All-Wise”

[al-Baqarah 2:220] 

The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said that sponsoring orphans is a means of being together with him in Paradise. 

It was narrated that Sahl ibn Sa’d said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I and the one who sponsors an orphan will be like this in Paradise” – and he gestured with his index and middle fingers, holding them slightly apart. 

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4998) 

But we must point out that when these orphans reach adolescence, they must be separated from the wives and daughters of the sponsor. We should not do good with one hand and do evil with the other. We should also note that the one who is sponsored may be an orphaned girl and she may be beautiful and may become attractive before adolescence, so the sponsor must watch his sons lest they fall into doing haraam things with the orphans, because this could happen and be a means of causing mischief which it will be difficult to put right. 

Taken from IslamQA

Guardian Taking from Orphan’s Wealth (Hadith No. 1909)

Bismillah.

Volume 3, Book 34, Number 414 :
Narrated by Hisham bin ‘Urwa from his father
Who heard Aisha (radiallaahu `anhaa) saying, “The Holy Verse; ‘Whoever amongst the guardians is rich, he should take no wages (from the property of the orphans) but if he is poor, let him have for himself what is just and reasonable (according to his labors)’ (4.6), was revealed concerning the guardian of the orphans who looks after them and manages favorably their financial affairs; if the guardian is poor, he could have from it what is just and reasonable, (according to his labors).”

Islam regards taking an orphan’s wealth unlawfully as one of the seven sins that doom one to Hell – as it was narrated by al-Bukhaari (2615) and Muslim (89) from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), because it is a great trust which many are unable to fulfil. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to Abu Dharr, when advising him: “And do not take care of the property of an orphan.” Narrated by Muslim (1826).

Islam commands the one who has orphans under his care to look after them properly and raise them well, and if they have wealth he is to guard it and invest it, and pay zakaah on it. If he is rich then it is better for him to refrain from touching their wealth at all, and if he is poor he may consume some on a reasonable basis; if he invests their money he may take payment equal to that of anyone else doing a similar job. These are the rulings of sharee’ah, and they are most wise and just.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And give not unto the foolish your property which Allaah has made a means of support for you, but feed and clothe them therewith, and speak to them words of kindness and justice. And try orphans (as regards their intelligence) until they reach the age of marriage; if then you find sound judgement in them, release their property to them, but consume it not wastefully and hastily fearing that they should grow up, and whoever (amongst guardians) is rich, he should take no wages, but if he is poor, let him have for himself what is just and reasonable (according to his labour). And when you release their property to them, take witness in their presence; and Allaah is All‑Sufficient in taking account.” [al-Nisa’ 4:5, 6]

Ibn Katheer said:

In the words, “consume it not wastefully and hastily fearing that they should grow up”, Allaah forbids consuming orphans’ wealth unnecessarily. “wastefully and hastily” means hastening before they reach puberty. Then Allaah says: “and whoever (amongst guardians) is rich, he should take no wages” meaning, he should not consume anything from it. Al-Sha’bi said: For him it is like dead meat and blood [i.e., forbidden]. “but if he is poor, let him have for himself what is just and reasonable (according to his labour)”. This was revealed concerning the guardian of an orphan who looks after him and takes care of him, if he needs to take from it. It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah said: This verse was revealed concerning the guardian of an orphan: “and whoever (amongst guardians) is rich, he should take no wages, but if he is poor, let him have for himself what is just and reasonable (according to his labour)”.

The fuqaha’ said: He may take whichever is the lesser amount – the equivalent wages for his work or as much as he needs. They differed as to whether he should repay it if he becomes well off. There are two views, one of which is that he should not, because he took it in return for his work when he was poor. This is the correct view according to the companions of al-Shaafa’i, because the verse allows taking without replacing it later on.

The other view is that yes, he should repay it, because the orphan’s wealth is forbidden, and it was only permitted because of need, so he should repay it just as if he took wealth from someone else when he was in need.

and whoever (amongst guardians) is rich, he should take no wages” means, whoever among guardians. “but if he is poor” also refers to guardians. “let him have for himself what is just and reasonable” means, in the way that is better, just as it says in another verse, “And come not near to the orphan’s property, except to improve it, until he (or she) attains the age of full strength” [al-An’aam 6:152], i.e., do not come near it except with the intention of disposing of it in the best way, and if you need it then use it in a way that is just and reasonable.

Tafseer Ibn Katheer (1/454, 455).

More on it here.

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