Interpretation of Sura Cow - Verse 220
220. " (Ponder) over this world and the Hereafter. And they ask you concerning orphans. Say: ' To set right for them (their affairs) is best; and if you become co-partner with them, they are your brethren. Allah knows well the mischief-maker from the peace-maker; and had He willed, He would have surely made, it hard for you. Verily Allah is the Mighty, the Wise."
The initial phrase of the verse: 'over this world and the Hereafter' refers either to the subject of charity, which was mentioned at the end of the previous verse, meaning that your charity is for your happiness in this world and the next. This act of spending should, of course, be neither in a manner that you donate your whole wealth so that you fall into trouble in your life, nor in a form of stinginess that causes your deprivation of the divine rewards in Hereafter. 106
Or, it refers to pondering over that which was mentioned in the former verse. If so, it means that everybody should think about the affairs of this world and the next, because we have to obtain the spiritual rewards of the next world only in this very world. This pondering can simply be contemplating over the problems such as Unity of Allah, Resurrection, the secrets of creation, and the dominating laws of nature in order to understand them and to accept them, although the acceptance of the creed is not conditioned to the recognition of all secrets perfectly. So, the verse says:
" (Ponder) over this world and the Hereafter. ..." Concerning the question about orphans, the commentary books denote that: when the tenth verse of Sura An-Nisa' No. 4, was revealed announcing that those who swallow the property of the orphans unjustly, swallow fire into their bellies, the families who had orphans in their houses felt anxious so that some of them even exiled the orphans from their houses and some others separated the dishes of the orphans' food from those of theirs. In that situation both the orphans and the householders encountered several annexing difficulties.
Therefore, they went to the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and asked him about the quality of their manner towards the orphans. The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) replied to them that if they tried to improve the affairs of orphans it would be better for them. They should not dismiss the orphans and shirk the responsibility of managing them for that their wealth could be mixed with that of theirs while the orphans are religiously their brethren. So, it did not matter that they might mix their properties with each other in the case that their intention in living with orphans was not to swallow their wealth.
"...And they ask you concerning orphans. Say: ' To set right for them (their affairs) is best; and if you become co-partner with them, they are your brethren. ..." They should also be aware that Allah recognizes good doers from evil doers; and His Will is not to ordain hardship for the believers; and He is, of course, Almighty and All-Wise.
"...Allah knows well the mischief-maker from the peace-maker; and had He willed, He would have surely made, it hard for you. Verily Allah is the Mighty, the Wise."
1- Orphans are neither our sons nor our servants, but they are our younger brothers and are counted with us in number: " They are your brethren "; so, they must live with us and be inside our lives. 2- To shirk the affairs of orphans is not right, but public interest is that we, as a custom, endeavour justly for them with a good intention and brotherly.
3- It is not important that some individuals claim for improvement, because Allah knows who is a peace-maker and who is a mischief- maker. So, beware not to swallow the wealth of orphans under the pretext of improvement, nor to evade it for the fear of mischief.
4- There is no unbearable duty in Islam, (considering the occasion of revelation of the verse cited in the above) .
5- Any improvement given in the life of orphans is valuable. The term ' improvement ', mentioned in the verse, has come in an absolute form to encompass all sorts of improvement including: scientific, financial, practical, educational and theological aspects.
106. 'Ilahi-Qumshih-'ie, translation of the Qur'an, Persian version
Adapted from the book: "The Light of The Quran - Interpretation of Sura Al-Baqarah (The Cow)" by: "Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani and A Group of Muslim Scholars"
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