Imam Al-Nawawi's Riyad-us-Saliheen
Chapter 33
Benevolent Treatment towards Orphans, Girls, the Weak, the Poor and the Humble Persons

Allah, the Exalted, says:

"And lower your wings for the believers (be courteous to the fellow-believers)". (15:88)

"And keep yourself (O Muhammad (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam)) patiently with those who call on their Rubb (i.e., your companions who remember their Rubb with glorification, praising in prayers, and other righteous deeds) morning and afternoon, seeking His Face, and let not your eyes overlook them, desiring the pomp and glitter of the life of the world.'' (18:28)

"Therefore, treat not the orphan with oppression. And repulse not the beggar.'' (93:9,10)

"Have you seen him who denies the Recompense? That is he who repulses the orphan (harshly). And urges not the feeding of Al-Miskin (the poor)". (107:1-3)

260. Sa`d bin Abu Waqqas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Six of us were with the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) when the infidels said to him: "Drive these ones away, lest they should begin to venture against us". The six were, myself, Ibn Mas`ud, a man of the Hudhail tribe, Bilal and two other men whose names I don't know. Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) thought what Allah wished him to think, and Allah revealed: "And turn not away those who invoke their Rubb, morning and afternoon seeking His Face.'' (6:52)
[Muslim].

Commentary:  This Hadith tells us that those people alone have value in the sight of Allah who are equipped with Faith and good deeds, no matter how humble they are in the eyes of people because of their poverty and indigence. Those who are deprived of Faith and good conduct have absolutely no value in His sight even if they hold a high status in this world.

This Hadith also exhorts the believers that criterion for respect and honour  should also be Faith, not the lineage or wealth.

261. `Aidh bin `Amr Al-Muzani (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Abu Sufyan passed by Salman, Suhaib and Bilal and some other Companions  (May Allah be pleased with them). They said to him: "Did not the swords of Allah exact their due from the foes of Allah?'' Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) said to them: "Do you speak like this to the chief of the Quraish and their master?'' Then he went to the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) and related this to him. He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "Abu Bakr, perhaps you have angered them. If so, you have angered your Rubb''. Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) went back to them  and said: "Brothers, did I offend you?'' They replied: "No. May Allah forgive you, brother".
[Muslim].

Commentary: This Hadith enjoins the Muslims to treat one another with affection and kindness and keep their hearts free from ill-feeling and malice. If someone inadvertently says to another anything that hurts the latter's feelings, he must immediately apologize to him.

262. Sahl bin Sa`d (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "I will be like this in Jannah with the person who takes care of an orphan". Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) raised his forefinger and middle finger by way of  illustration.
[Al-Bukhari].

Commentary: It will be indeed a great honour to be close to the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) in Jannah. This honour will be given to those who are kind to the orphans. The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) has regarded it the `best house' in which an orphan is treated with kindness. He declared the worst home in which an orphan child is not treated with affection.

263. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "He who takes care of an orphan, whether he is his relative or a stranger, will be in Jannah with me like these two". The narrator, Malik bin Anas raised his forefinger and middle finger for illustration.
[Muslim].

Commentary:  The Islamic system of welfare and economic security is not restricted to relatives only. It includes every orphan and needy. If Muslims put this system into practice, there will be no need for insurance - a system which is based on usury. May Allah enable the Muslims to adopt the teachings of Islam so that they will be relieved of the curse of the system of usury.

264. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "A Miskin (needy) is not the one who can be turned away with a date-fruit or two, or a morsel or two. The true Miskin is one who, despite his poverty, abstains from begging".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

 In another narration Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, " A Miskin is not the one who goes round begging from people and who can be turned away with a morsel or two, or a date-fruit or two. A true Miskin is he who does not find enough to suffice him, does not disclose his poverty so that he might be given alms, and does not stand up to beg".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:  This Hadith throws light on a very important problem relating to beggars who go door to door begging. They are, in fact, not poor because they accumulate a lot of wealth through small amounts which they collect every day. The real needy and poor are those who are not well-to-do, but their appearance and dress hide their poverty. Their self-respect does not permit them to make a request for help. The real purport of this Hadith is that it is the latter category of poor people, with a sense of self-respect, who should be given preference in financial help over the professional beggars because it is they who are really poor.

265. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "One who strives to help the widows and the poor is like the one who fights in the way of Allah.'' The narrator said: I think that he (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) added also: "I shall regard him as the one who stands up (for prayer) without rest and as the one who observes fasts continuously".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary: Here the words `widow' and `poor' have been mentioned for example only while they cover the whole range of indigent, invalid and needy people. Efforts for their care, support and welfare has been regarded equivalent to Jihad. Islam has done full justice in supporting the helpless individuals and the entire poor class of the society by elevating the status of those who undertake this noble task to the level of Mujahidun.

It makes it clear that worship is not restricted to prayers and fasting only but also covers every good deed. Thus, those who are always mindful of the weak and the poor and constantly strive for their welfare are engaged in perpetual worship.

266. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "The worst food is the food of the marriage banquet from which those are left out who would like to come; and to which those are invited who refuse to come. He who rejects an invitation disobeys Allah and His Messenger".
[Muslim].

 In another narration Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "The worst food is the food of the marriage banquet to which the rich are invited and from which the poor are left out".
[Muslim].

Commentary:  Our rich class has made Walimah (marriage banquet given by the bridegroom) a highly luxurious affair and a means of displaying wealth and richness. This excessive exaggeration of a simple feast has brought in its wake many religious, moral and social evils. In its present form, it is sheer extravagance and wastage which are satanic acts and those who do it are brothers of Satan. It is such a big loss and serious threat that if our rich class is left with any sense of religion, it should immediately abandon this extravagance which is escalating day by day. Its moral disadvantage is that one invites in this function only men of his own status and not the the poor, whereas the fact is that it is the latter who deserve to be invited because of their need, and not the former. Good manners also warrant that the needy should be given priority over the affluent. Its social disadvantage is that display of wealth on such occasions creates a sense of deprivation in the poor segments of society while what Islam teaches is the uplift, material and moral help, consolation and encouragement and respectable treatment of the poor.

Instead of holding sumptuous feasts on Walimah, if the Muslims shift to one or two simple food items and invite the poor along with their friends and relatives, they not only save themselves from all the three evils mentioned above, but also prevent themselves from the accountability in the Hereafter; otherwise they will suffer loss in both the worlds.

This Hadith exhorts the Muslims to participate in the Walimah ceremony but it is the kind of feast which is simple and in accordance with the teachings of Islam.

267. Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "Whoever supports two girls till they attain maturity, he and I will come on the Day of Resurrection like this". Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) joined his fingers illustrating this.
[Muslim].

Commentary: In the pre-Islamic era, Arabs were greatly dejected and showed resentment on the birth of a daughter, which in fact reflected the status of women in society, In order to give them their rightful place in the society, Islam taught its followers to recognize their legitimate rights. Among the injunctions which were issued in this behalf, the most important was that their proper upbringing, education and training were made a means to attain Jannah so that people did not only feel joy over the birth of sons but also felt pleasure on the birth of daughters. In this respect, Islam is the first religion which has not only ensured protection of their rights but also made full arrangements for their respect and prestige in society. For instance, they have been prohibited from having close contacts with men and for this purpose restriction of the veil has been imposed on them. Islam has emancipated them from the obligation of earning their own livelihood so that they are safe from the malicious eyes of evil-minded, and secure from the sexual lust of men, the way it is happening with women who are working side by side with men in the West. But it is a curse indeed that due to intellectual immaturity and evil trends, this freedom of women, which has disgraced and robbed them of the virtues of a chaste life, is liked by many people and they are trying that Muslim women should also imitate the style of western women. To the people of such crooked thinking, the Islamic teachings, which ensure the honour and chastity of women, appear to be the yoke of slavery and they want to release women from it.

268. `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: A woman came to me with her two daughters. She asked me (for charity) but she found nothing with me except one date-fruit, so I gave it to her. She accepted it and then divided it between her two daughters and herself ate nothing out of that. She then got up and went out. When Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) came in, and I narrated to him the story, he said, "He who is involved (in the responsibility) of (bringing up) daughters, and he is benevolent towards them, they would become protection for him against Hell-fire".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:  This Hadith also tells us about the great merit and reward of kind treatment with daughters.

269. `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: A poor woman came to me carrying her two daughters. I gave her three date-fruits. She gave a date to each of them and then she took up one date-fruit and brought that to her mouth to eat, but her daughters asked her that also. She then divided between them the date-fruit that she intended to eat. This (kind) treatment of her impressed me and I mentioned that to Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) who said, 'Verily, Allah has assured Jannah for her, because of (this act) of her,'' or said, "He (SWT) has rescued her from Hell-Fire".
[Muslim].

Commentary:  Besides great merit of the upbringing of daughters, this Hadith also tells us that if a wife has secured general permission from her husband about Sadaqah (alms and charity) she can offer Sadaqah, and its reward will be given to both of them. The former will be entitled to it for paying it, while the latter will be eligible to it for giving his consent to it.

270. Abu Shuraih Khuwailid bin `Amr Al-Khuza`i (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "O Allah, I declare inviolable the rights of two weak ones: the orphans and women".
[An-Nasa'i].

Commentary:  The poor are generally treated callously in human society. Women and orphans are regular victims of this cruelty. They are deprived of their share in property to which they are entitled under the Islamic law. In some cases their properties are usurped and they are maltreated at the hands of usurpers. The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) has threatened them with serious consequences to prevent the Muslims from committing such injustice. The attitude of Muslims and the teachings of Islam in this matter are two different things. How can Islam be blamed for the attitude of Muslims? It is time Muslims should understand that Islam is getting a bad name because of their bad conduct. As a result of this they are committing a double crime. On the one hand, they are guilty of usurping others of their legitimate rights and perpetrating cruelties, and on the other, disgracing their religion. In other words, rather than preaching Islam they are creating obstacles in the way of people joining the fold of Islam. May Allah grant us guidance to follow the right path. Amin!

271. Mus`ab bin Sa`d bin Abu Waqqas (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: Sa`d considered himself better than his inferiors, so the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said to him, "You are given help and provision because of your weak ones".
[Al-Bukhari].

Commentary:  This Hadith exhorts the resourceful people not to look down upon the poor and resourceless people of the society and not to consider themselves superior to others. They should learn to respect the weak and co-operate with them because may be Almighty, Allah, is providing them because of the poor.

272. Abud-Darda (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "Seek among your weak ones, for you are given provision and help only because of the weak amongst you.''
[Abu Dawud].

Commentary: This Hadith mentions the reason for the acceptance of the invocations of the weak and poor. Since their hearts are free from the worldly vices and are gifted with greater sincerity and fear of Allah, their prayers are more acceptable to Him. This point has been mentioned more explicitly in Nasa'i which says: "Almighty Allah helps the Ummah because of the prayers, worship and devotion of its weak people". (Aun-ul-Ma`bud, Vol. No. 2, chapter Al-Jihad). The words which occur in most of the manuscripts of Riyad-us-Saliheen are (Abghow fi ad-duafa') and the translation quoted here follows these words. But in the manuscripts of Abu Dawud, the word (fi) does not figure in the text. In one manuscript, however, we find the words (Abghow fi ad-duafa') which means "For me search Muslims who are weak so that I find reason to support you with their prayers".