Enormities: Wrongfully Consuming an Orphan’s Property

This is another article in the chapter Enormities from the classical manual on Sharia called Reliance of the Traveller. The articles are posted one by one in the order they are given in the book.

pS.1 Allah Most High says:

(1) “Verily, those who wrongfully eat the property of orphans but fill their bellies with fire, and shall roast in a blaze” (Koran 4:10).

(2) “Approach not the orphan’s property, save in exchange for that which is better” (Koran 6:152).

p8.2 If the orphan’s guardian is poor and consumes some of his charge’s property without exceeding what is permissible, there is no harm in it (A: no harm (1a ba’s) being a technical term in Sacred Law meaning that it is better not to). What is in excess of the permissible is absolutely unlawful.

(N: Scholars say that the guardian may lawfully only take whichever is less: the amount he needs, or else the wage typically received for work comparable to that performed for the orphan.)

The criterion of the permissible is what is customary among people who are true believers free from base, ulterior motives.


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