Sahl ibn Sa’d reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The one who cares for an orphan and myself will be together in Paradise like this,” and he held his two fingers together to illustrate. Source: Sahih Bukhari 5659
All children have the right to be treated well by their parents and caregivers. Being clothed, fed and loved are some of the necessities of every person. Treating every child equally creates and loving and caring environment.
In unfortunate cases when children are orphaned, they still have to be cared for in the proper manner and the correct values need to be instilled in them. Treat the orphans with kindness. They have not only lost their parents but also the main caregivers and the people they would turn to in times of need.
The Quran outlines: "Treat not the orphan with harshness" (Quran 93:9)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) was an orphan himself and found love and support from his family. At a young age proper guidance and motivation can steer the child to the right direction and make better decisions in the future.
Here is a short story of how the Prophet (peace be upon him) was cared for during his early years:
In the year in which Prophet Muhammad (SAW) 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 (SAW). 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, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) drank until he was satisfied , 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.” (SAW).
If the orphan was left some wealth by his parents, it is the duty of the guardian to take care of his wealth until the child is able to take care of his affairs. Keeping the orphans wealth separate from your own wealth will ensure fair dealing when handing over the orphan’s wealth.
"Give orphans their property, and do not substitute bad things for good. Do not assimilate their property into your own. Doing that is a serious crime." (Quran 4:2)
Consuming an orphan’s wealth or giving them only a portion of what is wealth has serious consequences as outlined in the verse: "People who consume the property of orphans wrongfully consume nothing in their bellies except fire. They will roast in a Searing Blaze." (Quran 4:10)
Guardians should ensure the adopted children maintain their other family ties and keep their names to continue their relations. Close family should be the first to step in and take responsibility of an orphan. This will make the orphan feel safe and secure knowing their family will look out for their best interests while they adjust to their new lifestyle.
Abu Hurairah (RA) reported Allah's Messenger (SAW) as saying, "The best house among the Muslims is one where an orphan is well treated, and the worst house among the Muslims is one where an orphan is badly treated."
If there is an orphan living with you, treat them the best way you can while teaching them their obligations.
"He who holds on firmly to my Sunnah at a time when my Ummah are (grovelling) in corruption will receive a reward of a hundred martyrs."
Abu Hurayrah rahimahullah reported that Allah’s messenger sallalaahu ‘alayhi was sallam said: “When a human being dies, all of his deeds are terminated except for three types: an ongoing sadaqah, a knowledge(of Islaam) from which others benefit, and a righteous child who makes du’aa for him.” (Muslim and others)