Monday, December 31, 2012

Blessings of Orphan

The orphan brings many spiritual, material and emotional blessings (baraka) to whoever cares for them. The story of Halima, a wet-nurse from the clan of Sa’d, illustrates this perfectly.
It was an Arab custom to place new-born babies in the care of a wet-nurse from a desert tribe. The idea was that the child would grow up in the natural environment of the desert, learning the ways of the Arabs and the purest form of Arabic before settling in the city with its parents. Halima was from one such Bedouin clan, and it became her destiny that she was to care for the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace). 

The Story of Halima Sa’diyyah
In the year in which Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) was born, the Bedouin clan of Sa’d arrived in Makkah. Among their women was Halima, who was accompanied by her husband and baby son. They had always suffered great poverty, but this year had been particularly difficult because of famine. The donkey that carried her to Makkah was so weak from hunger that it often stumbled. Halima's baby cried all the time because she could not feed him properly, and their old she-camel failed to produce milk.
All the women of the clan of Sa’d found a child to take back with them, but not Halima. There was one baby left in Makkah, the orphaned Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace). As it was customary for the baby’s father to pay the wet-nurses, none of the women would take the orphan. Halimah said to her husband, “I don’t like that I should be the only woman of our clan to return without a baby, I want to take that orphan”. Her husband agreed, adding, “Perhaps it will be that Allah will bless us because of him.” She said, "When I went to get him he was wearing a woolen dress, whiter than milk. A fragrance of musk spread from him. He lay on his back in sleep, underneath him a piece of green silk. I did not like to wake him because of his beauty and grace, but I came close to him and put my hand on his chest. He smiled and opened his eyes. I kissed him between his eyes and put him to my right breast which gave him all the milk he wanted. Then I placed him on the left, but he refused. That was the way he always was. After he was satisfied, I gave my son his fill. As soon as I brought him to my camp, both my breasts began pouring milk. By Allah's grace, Muhammad drank until he was satisfied (Allah bless him and give him peace), as did his brother. My husband went to our old camel for milk, and lo, it was full. He milked enough for both of us to drink our fill and we had a wonderful night. Later my husband said, “Oh Halima, it looks like you have picked a blessed soul. We spent the first night in blessings and bounties, and Allah continues to give us more and more ever since we chose him.” (Allah bless him and give him peace).

Famous Orphans

Imam al-Shafi'i (d. 204 AH) - He was orphaned at two years of age, but went on to become one of the four great imams and founded the Shafi’i school of Islamic law. He was a pioneer of Islamic scholarship and laid down the principles of Islamic law. He was known for his piety and command of the Arabic language.
Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d.240 AH) - He was orphaned in infancy and brought up by his mother. He was one of the four great imams and founder of the Hanbali school of Islamic law.
Imam al-Awza’i (d.158 AH) - An orphan who became a brilliant scholar whose fame spread throughout the Islamic world. He was also noted for his bravery and his willingness to risk his life speaking out against the injustices of the rulers.
Imam al-Bukhari (d.265 AH) - Born in Bukhara, in present day Uzbekistan, his father died in his infancy, but he became one of the greatest collectors of Hadith in history. He was renowned for his photographic memory, sharp intellect, and generosity.
Al-Hafiz Jalal al-Din Suyuti (d. 911 AH) - He was brought up as an orphan in Cairo and went on to become one of the greatest scholars of Islam. His works include one of the most widely read commentaries of the Qur’an.
Rabia al-Adawiyya (d.184 AH) - She was orphaned at an early age, but became well known for her intense spirituality. She was a poet and devoted herself to Allah. She also taught many of the major religious figures of her time. All she owned was a reed mat, a screen, a pottery jug, and a bed of felt which doubled up as her prayer-rug on which she prayed all night.

Islam: Religion of the Orphan

"Treat not the orphan with harshness" (Qur’an 93:9)
Orphan welfare is a recurring theme in the Qur’an. Verses encouraging good treatment of orphans are found throughout it. Creating a sense of responsibility towards orphans, the Qur’an says:
"They ask you, (O Muhammad), what they shall spend. Say: that which you spend for good (must go) to parents and near kindred and orphans and the needy and the wayfarer. And whatsoever good you do, lo! Allah is Aware of it." (Qur’an 2:215)
Orphans have a unique place in Islam and share an affinity with Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) who lost both his parents by the age of six. His orphaned childhood is the subject of some of the earliest verses of the Qur’an:
"Did He not find you an orphan and give you shelter?" (Qur’an 93:6)
This affinity between the orphan and the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is expressed with great clarity in the sacred tradition (hadith) There is a promise of Paradise for anyone who looks after an orphan:
"I, and the one who looks after an orphan, will be together like this in the next world", then he raised his index and middle fingers together. (Hadith Muslim)
The important lesson Muslims have taken from this well-known hadith is that to choose the companionship of an orphan is to choose the companionship of the Prophet himself (Allah bless him and give him peace).

Who is an orphan?

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 177:

177   It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces toward East or West; but it is righteousness to believe in Allah and the Last Day and the Angels and the Book and the Messengers; to spend of your substance out of love for Him for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer and practice regular charity; to fulfil the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient in pain (or suffering) and adversity and throughout all periods of panic.  Such are the people of truth, the Allah-fearing.
Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 215:
215    They ask thee what they should spend (in charity).  Say: “Whatever ye spend that is good is for parents, and kindred, and orphans, and those in want, and for wayfarers.  And whatever ye do that is good Allah knoweth it well.
Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 220:

220    …..They ask thee (O Prophet (saws)) concerning orphans.  Say: "The best thing to do is what is for their good.”
Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 4974        Narrated by Abu Umamah
Allah's Messenger (saws) said, "If anyone strokes an orphan's head, doing so only for Allah's Sake, he will have blessings for every hair over which his hand passes; and if anyone treats well an orphan girl or boy under his care, he and I (Prophet Mohamed (saws)) shall be like these two in Paradise," putting two of his fingers together!
Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 4973        Narrated by Abu Hurayrah
Allah's Messenger (saws) said, "The best house among the Muslims is one which contains an orphan who is well treated, and the worst house among the Muslims is one which contains an orphan who is badly treated."
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 8.34 Narrated by Sahl bin Sad
The Prophet (saws) said, "I and the person who looks after an orphan and provides for him, will be in Paradise like this," putting his index and middle fingers together.”

Who is orphan?
Any child (male or female) whose has no father or whose father has died and the child has not reached the age of understanding or marriage (+/- 16 years) will be classified as a ‘yateem’ or an orphan in Islamic Jurisprudence. 

Question: … what extent or age we can consider it as we have to be polite with them
Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 4 Surah Nisaa verse 6:
6     Make trial of orphans until they reach the age of marriage; if then ye find sound judgment in them release their property to them; but consume it not wastefully nor in haste against their growing up.  If the guardian is well-off let him claim no remuneration but if he is poor let him have for himself what is just and reasonable.  When ye release their property to them take witnesses in their presence: but all-sufficient is Allah in taking account.
An orphan will be considered an orphan until they reach the age of understanding and marriage, which in the opinion of most scholars is +/- 16 years. And Allah Alone Knows Best.

Friday, December 28, 2012


1.      Who is eligible to be a recipient of zakat?
In Holy Qur’an, Allah said: "As-sadaqaat (here means zakat) are only for the fuqara (poor), and al-masaakin (the needy) and those employed to collect (the funds) and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (toward Islam), and (to free) captives, and for those in debt, and for Allah's cause (i.e. for those fighting in a holy battle) and for the wayfarer (a traveler who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allah. " (Taubah; 9/60)
It is possible to explain the eight categories of people mentioned in the verse as:
  • The poor (Faqir/Fuqara): Those without sufficient means of livelihood to meet their basic necessities. For instance, those who, although may have a job, a house and a car, but whose income is below the minimum requirement (nisab).
  • The needy (Miskeen): Those without any means of livelihood and material possessions and dependent on others to meet their most basic needs such as food and shelter.
  • Employees of the zakat, even if they are rich, they are allowed to take from the zakat money limited to an amount to take care of themselves and their family.
  • Sympathizers are people whose hearts are expected to inclined to Islam or whose believe to Islam is expected to increase can be given gifts from the Zakat money.
  • Slaves and captives: In the days that the system of slavery existed, this meant that a person who wants to free himself from the shackles of slavery should be given Zakat so that he may release his neck from bondage by giving money to his master.
  • Debtor is person who is in debt and does not have financial capital or property exceeding the nisab amount. Such persons should hold priority status when giving Zakat money compared to the poor without any debts.
  • Those who work for Allah’s cause, either to spread the truth or to defend their country for Allah’s sake but also in need for meeting their basic needs deserve zakat.
  • Travelers are people who travels to another country or a foreign place for noble purposes such as pilgrimage or study and have difficulty in meeting their needs. They might have living means, but they can still receive zakat if they have trouble in accessing their means during travelling.
2.      What is the designated minimum amount of wealth for a Muslim to be liable for paying zakat?
Every Muslim adult possessing the designated minimal amount of wealth (called nisab) for a full cycle of a lunar year after meeting his/her basic needs and paying off any debt must, as a matter of worship, satisfy the duty of the zakat. The basic needs include: a house, household furniture, means of transportation/a car, clothing, tools, equipment, books etc. necessary to make his/her livelihood, food expenses for one year. Should a person’s extra income or possessions except for his/her debts, if there is any, reaches the nisab amount and remains that way for one full year, that person must pay zakat.

Nisab amount: Zakat is due on certain types of wealth. There is a different nisab rate for every type. Some of the zakat-due types of wealth, their nisab rates and zakat calculated accordingly are as follows:

Gold: If the amount of gold possessed exceeds 85 grams, one-fortieth of such wealth must be given away as zakat.
Silver: If the amount of silver exceeds 595 grams, again one-fortieth of it must be given as zakat.
Nisab on cash funds is also calculated as gold and/or silver. Since silver has lost its value significantly in today’s market, it would be reasonable to calculate them based on gold-value  

3.      Is paying one’s taxes regarded as zakat?
Zakat must not be confused with taxes. It is unacceptable for a person regarded as wealthy according to religious terms to avoid paying zakat by thinking “I am paying my taxes”. There are essential differences between zakat and taxes in terms of legal source, amount, purpose and means of utilization.

4.      If a person possesses the nisab amount of money or wealth, but his/her basic needs have not been met yet, does s/he need to pay zakat?
When the cost of basic needs are deducted from the money or wealth possessed, if the remaining wealth does not reach the nisab amount, then that person does not need to pay zakat.

5.      Is money saved for debt payment subjected to zakat?
There is no zakat due for the savings dedicated to the payment of an existing debt. A person who has zakat payments due from previous years is also regarded as a debtor. If s/he has less than nisab amount of money/wealth left after paying the zakat due for previous years, then s/he is not liable for zakat payment in current year.

6.      Should a person who leases his/her own house to someone else and rents another place for himself/herself pay zakat for the house s/he owns?
If the rental income of his/her own house exceeds the rent s/he pays and the excess amount of income reaches the nisab amount and remains so for one lunar year, then yes, s/he is liable for paying zakat on this.

7.      Does a wife with no other income need to pay zakat for her jewelry?
Thus, if a woman or man has in her/his ownership gold or silver in the form of decorative items, household items or personal jewelry the value of which reaches the appointed Nisab amount on its own or together with other wealth possessed, then s/he will be required to pay Zakat.

8.      Which one of the spouses is required to satisfy the duty of zakat (almsgiving) and qurban (sacrifice)?
If both spouses have personal incomes and their wealth exceeds the nisab amount, then each of them is required to satisfy the duty of zakat and qurban individually.

9.      We are paying some of our zakat to our employees who are in need of financial aid, is this alright?
It is completely acceptable to pay zakat to one’s employees.
People who are not eligible for receiving zakat are: Those who possess more than the nisab amount of wealth after their basic needs are met (explained in article 2 above), non-Muslims (except for those who are included to the group of “sympathizers”), one’s parents, grandparents…etc. and his/her offspring, their children…etc., one’s own spouse and descendants of Prophet Mohammad (p.b.u.h).
People except for those stated above are eligible for receiving zakat. The most acceptable way to pay zakat is to give alms first to one’s siblings, then to their children, then uncles and aunts and their children on one’s father’s side, after that, aunts and uncles on one’s mother’s side and their children and then to the rest of one’s relatives. A person’s neighbors, colleagues and other acquaintances follow on the list of priority.

10.     Can zakat be sent to poor people in far-away places via aid organizations?
When it comes to paying one’s zakat what matters is “tamlik” (transfer of ownership), that is, to transfer the wealth to one of the 8 categories of recipients listed in the Quran verse. However, in certain situations, a person may be unable to reach the beneficiaries who need the zakat the most. In such situations, it is possible and permissible to send one’s zakat to beneficiaries in far-away places through a system of agency (wakeel). Should one want to transfer his/her zakat to the poor and the needy in a far-away place, s/he submits his/her zakat to a person or institution by assigning that person or institution as an agent (wakeel). The agent transfers the alms to a poor and needy person in the designated place. Thus, the duty of zakat becomes satisfied by meeting the “tamlik” requirement.    

11.  We calculate out zakat in the beginning of each year and try to pay it in installments to appropriate people as we go throughout the year, is this method alright?
Yes, it is. Zakat can be paid at once or in installments to the poor who is in serious need of assistance, such as having to pay a debt.

12.  What types of assets are zakatable?
Gold and silver, trading goods, buried wealth or treasures, oils and minerals, livestock, land produce are zakatable assets. In addition to these, in today’s world, equity and cash are also deemed as zakatable assets. The conditions that should be met are; the person should hold the complete ownership of these, wealth should be equal to or more than the nisab amount after funds needed for basic needs are deducted and should be held in person’s ownership for at least one lunar year.

13.     How do we calculate zakat?
Zakat can simply be calculated like this:
A tradesman  calculates his/her stock (of whatever he may be trading) at the end of each year, adds up the cash and assets he holds. After deducting his debts, if he has an equivalent of more than 85 grams of gold, then he pays 2,5% of that wealth as zakat.

  • Zakat For Islamic Schools and Orphanages
Question.) I used to give zakat to Orphanage and madarasas. Somebody told me that the zakat money cannot be used to construct the orphanage or madarasa building structure, and can only be used for its operating costs, so you should not give zakat to these organizations if the zakat is being used for constructing the orphanage or madarasas buildings. Please explain this. Also, how would one know for what purpose your zakat money was used by these organizations and whether you zakat was properly disbursed. [Sabir]
Answer.) Zakat must be given to the poor and needy. Zakat cannot be used directly for constructing a madrassa or an orphanage.
You should give out your zakat personally to the poor and needy who are eligible to accept zakat. If you choose to give your zakat to an organization make sure that there are competent Ulama there who are well versed in the laws of Zakat. You should not give your zakat to an organization where there are no reliable Ulama and the organization is not well versed in the laws of zakat. If they did not discharge your zakat according to Shariah, your zakat obligation will not be fulfilled. And Allah Ta'ala Knows Best


Life Sketches of Ummahatul Momineen

Every Muslim likes to know (and every muslim must know) about, the members of the family of the Prophet Mohammad (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam). The Muhaddithin and historians all agree that eleven ladies had the honour of being wives of the Prophet Mohammad (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam). A very brief account of their lives is, therefore, given here.

Hadhrat Khadijah (Radhiyallaho anha)
Hadhrat Sauda (Radhiyallaho anha)
Hadhrat Aishah (Radhiyallaho anha)
Hadhrat Hafsah (Radhiyallaho anha)
Hadhrat Zainab bint Khuzaimah (Radhiyallaho anha)
Hadhrat Umme Salamah (Radhiyallaho anha)
Hadhrat Zainab bint Jahsh (Radhiyallaho anha)
Hadhrat Juwairiah bintul Harith (Radhiyallaho anha)
Hadhrat Umme Habibah (Radhiyallaho anha)
Hadhrat Safiyyah (Radhiyallaho anha)
Hadhrat Maimoonah (Radhiyallaho anha)

Hadhrat Khadijah (Radhiyallaho anha)
She was the first among them. At the time of her marriage, she was 40 year old and the Prophet Mohammad (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam) was twenty-five. She begot all his children, except a son, Ibrahim.
She was first to be married to Waraqah bin Naufal, but this marriage could not take place. Her first husband was Atiq bin Aa’iz. She had a daughter from him, whose name was Hind. Hind grew up and embraced Islam, and she was the mother of many children. On the death of Atiq, Khadijah (Radhiyallaho anha) was married to Abu Hala, and got two children from him viz. Hind and Halah. Hind lived up to the time of Ali’s Caliphate. On the death of Abu Halah, the Prophet Mohammad (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam) married her as his first wife.
She died in Ramadan of the 10th year of the mission at the age of sixty-five. He loved her very much and did not marry any other woman during her life time. She was popularly called Tahirah (Clean and pure) even before Islam.
Her children from other husbands are therefore known as Banu Tahirah. Her virtues and privileges have been mentioned extensively (in Hadith). The Prophet Mohammad (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam) laid her in the grave with his own hands. The funeral service had not till then been enjoined.

Hadhrat Sauda bint Zam’ah bin Qais (Radhiyallaho anha)
She was previously married to her cousin Hadrath Sukran bin ‘Amor (Radhiyallaho anho). The couple embraced Islam and emigrated to Abysinnia. Hadhrat Sukran (Radhiyallaho anha) died in Abyssinia. Hadhrat Saudah (Radhiyallaho anha), now a widow, returned to Mecca. The Prophet Mohammad (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam) , on the death of Hadhrat Khadijah (Radhiyallaho anha) in Shawwal of the same year married Hadhrat Saudah (Radhiyallaho anha). We know the devotion of the Prophet Mohammad (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam) in his salaat. Once Hadhrat Saudah (Radhiyallaho anha) stood after him in Tahajjud. The next day she said to him:
“O, Prophet of Allah! Last night you took so long in your Ruk’u that I apprehended bleeding from my nose.”

Donate through bKash

The regular collection of money often poses a problem for both the donor and the collector. Similarly, many supporters who wish to contribute are unable to do so, due to the remote location of the office or banking hassle.

bKash ltd. a pioneer mobile money service platform approved by Bangladesh Bank providing the financial services all over the country, is a medium where customers can send, receive, and even pay money from their own mobile phones. This easy method of payment will go a long way in solving many problems of the orphanage.

To send money from own mobile, you have to register an account. Otherwise, send through any nearer bKash agent. To register a bKash Account, details are here

Cash in:
You need to have money stored in your bKash Account to avail the bKash services from your own mobile. To deposit money to your bKash Account, learn the details here

The 'Payment' Option enables you to pay to anyone's account who accepts bKash, by following the simple steps below:
1. Go to bKash menu by dialing *247# on your GP, Robi or Banglalink number
2. Choose the option ‘Payment’
3. Enter the wallet number of Orphanage’s bKash Account: 01718044078
4. Enter the amount you want to send, i.e. 500
5. Enter a simple word for reference about the transaction, such as 'Donation' or 'Sponsor' for remark
6. Enter the counter number (In case of UMWO, simply skip this level by pressing the number '0')
7. Enter your bKash PIN to confirm the transaction
8. Done!
Both the Sender and the Receiver will get a Confirmation number. To know more about this, visit the video

Friday, December 7, 2012

Orphanage in Bangladesh | Comilla

There are many ways you could help UMWO. As with any non-profit organization, there are always many demands on resources. Children to feed, dress and look after, staff to pay, properties to maintain, and medical bills for over 100 children to cover, along with all the other expenses of running the orphanage and training centre, it’s no surprise that funding can get a little stretched. And then there are big plans – We’ve already started our own handicraft training & computer training center, and the building is now under construction – but that’s just the beginning! We want to expand our existing facilities to provide a better environment for the kids that live here, and more opportunities for training and education. There are plenty more children who need our help. Your support will help us improve the children’s living and learning experiences. If you’re interested in getting involved with UMWO, take a look at the suggestions below…
  • Make a donation- If you would like to give money to support the work of Umaahatul Momineen Women Orphanage Complex, please use the donation link on the Homepage or Donations page, make online international donation via PayPalbKash  or contact with us using the information in the contacts section of the site. We like to make sure our supporters know how their gifts are being spent, so if you want a donation to be used for a specific purpose, such as buying school books for the children, let us know and we’ll make sure it happens.
  • VolunteerUMWO is always looking for people of any age, from any country, to visit us at Comilla, Bangladesh and spend time playing with and getting to know the children. We welcome our visitors like their home to come frequently.
  • Fund raise- Are you involved with a school, university, business club, institution, youth group or other organization? You could help us by raising funds to support the work we are doing in… Hold a coffee morning, a box to drop money, a sponsored walk – It’s up to you! For some ideas, tips and suggestions to help get you started, take a look on internet.
  • Send us some stuff- With over 100 children to keep clothed, cleaned and entertained, we’re always grateful for any donations , particularly second-hand children’s clothes; toys, books and games that the children can play with. Obviously the difficulty is in getting donations in Bangladesh. – so if you are planning to donate, it might be worth contacting us first to see if we can combine your donation with others and save on transport costs. If you want to send something to UMWO, click this link  to go to our address page.
  • Lend us your skills- We’d welcome assistance from anyone with skills or experience which might be useful to us – for example, people with financial or legal expertise, or who have experience of running charities abroad, or anyone with an idea about how we can raise funds or improve what we’re doing. If you think you might be able to help us in any way, please drop us a line – the Email address is on the contacts page and we’d be delighted to hear from you!
  • Sponsor a child- We welcome people who would like to sponsor one or many of the children at UMWO. A sponsorship of 2,000 Taka (approx. $20USD) per month goes a long way to ensuring that they are provided with good food, medical care, shelter and education. This sponsorship money is not only used for the child that you choose to sponsor but also shared with their brothers and sisters at UMWO so that all the children benefit from your valued support. click this link to see children's profiles.
A donation from a sponsor can help us to provide invaluable educational opportunities for these children. Equally, some of our supporters like to sponsor an individual child cared for by Orphanage. If this is something that might interest you, please take a look at our sponsorship page.