An Overnight Orphan A Short Story by

Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. The plane will be landing shortly, so please fasten your seatbelts,” the pilot announced.

After buckling his seatbelt back on, Ahmad resumed gazing out the airplane window into the gray and dreary sky. His thoughts returned once more to that fateful day…

His sister had finally graduated from college and the family had gone out to a local restaurant to celebrate. He didn’t go because he had a final exam the next day and had to finish studying. Tears started welling up in his eyes as he remembered picking up the phone in the study and then hearing from the other side, “Hello, is this Ahmed? Yes, this is the police calling you. We’re very sorry to inform you, but your family was involved in a fatal accident. None of them made it out alive…

That one phone call changed the rest of his life. Instead of studying for his finals, he began dwelling on the final moments with his beloved family…The next few days came in a blur; the bodies (at least what remained of them) were washed and then shrouded. The Janazah took place, and people from all over flew in for the service. His relatives from Europe came and arranged for him to come and live with them. The plane ticket was bought, the few necessary parcels of his clothing were quickly stuffed into a suitcase, and he found himself boarding a plane, leaving his family and homeland, leaving everything that he was familiar to.

“Why me, why not anyone else? What did I do to deserve this calamity?!,” is what he really wanted to scream out to the world. Instead, he continued his mourning in silence, not trusting the world to understand. Once the plane descended upon the runway and the pilot thanked the passengers for boarding with the Airlines, he got up and made his way towards the plane exit. He barely registered the goodbyes and farewells that were being offered to him by the flight attendants and was rather relieved when he finally found himself alone and in front of the airport. He leaned against the railing and watched the cars zoom by as he waited for his ride to come pick him up.

He began to recall how his father used to always recite Surah Duhaa in Isha’, as it is a Sunnah, and reflected upon the meaning of the verses:

“Did He not find you an orphan, so He gave (you) an abode, And He found you erring, so He guided (you), And He found you poor, so He enriched (you)? Therefore, treat not the orphan with oppression, And repulse not the beggar; And as for your Lord’s favor, then discourse about it (i.e. proclaim it)” – (Surah Ad-Dhuha, Ayahs 6-11)

Allah is the best of Providers…SubhanAllah, he now finally understood how the Prophet Muhammad (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam) must have felt. His father died before he was born, and his mother shortly after his birth. Yet he understood and appreciated what most people take for granted. He was the Prophet of Mercy, an orphan who chose to protect society’s neglected orphans and take care of them.

He remembered receiving brochures from Islamic Relief, Helping Hands, and other charity organizations, asking his family to donate for the orphans all over the world. He remembered reading that UNICEF had reported that there are thousands of orphans in the Unites States and millions worldwide, with numbers only increasing because of the high number of war-torn countries and disaster stricken countries. He now regretted tossing these mail appeals in the trash without a care, never once thinking that he may have to join the ranks of these millions of orphans one day.

With a plane flying above him, with cars passing by in front of him, and with an international high-tech airport behind him, he realized that there was great wealth in these countries, but there was still not enough being done to establish orphanages. He saw that the Muslim communities all around him were growing to new and unprecedented heights, but there was still not enough orphanages dedicated to take care of these awaiting orphans and to provide them with an Islamic upbringing. Alhamdulillah, he was blessed with very caring relatives, but not everybody had the same opportunity. It was still hard for him to come to grips that he had no parents, but he now realized that this is the reality that millions have already been facing.

He began to recall other Ayaat and Ahadith that he had learned regarding orphans. As he mulled over the various Ayaat and Ahadith, two of them really struck out to him. One was an Ayah in Surah Baqarah:

“…but Al-Birr (righteousness) is (the quality of) the one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the Angels, the Book, the Prophets and gives his wealth, in spite of love for it, to the kinsfolk, to the orphans, …” (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 177)

The other was an Hadith that his Imam was fond of saying:

It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The one who sponsors an orphan, whether he is related to him or not, he and I will be like these two in Paradise,” and Malik gestured with his index and middle fingers. (Narrated by Muslim, 2983).

SubhanAllah, he reflected, not only would a believer get closer to attaining righteousness by giving wealth to orphans, but they would also be reserved a close place beside the Prophet!

He heard a beep and momentarily came out of his reverie. He glanced up and saw that his young cousins were excitedly waving at him with giant smiles on their faces. He smiled back, picked up his luggage, and took a step forward.

A step forward into a new life, with a new vision.

May Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) help all of the Muslim orphans across the world, and may He make us the recipients of His Pleasure by sponsoring His slaves in need. Ameen…

Ikhlaas H. and Ibn Siddique contributed to this short story.


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  • S.Qazi

    SubhanAllah…its a gripping story! We need to feel the importance of helping our indigent brothers, much more than we think we should.

  • SumaiyahKhan

    wow. its a story that catches your attention, and then teaches u a lesson u will never forget. good writing.

  • http://www.azizooooo.blogspot.com Aziza

    That was a very sweet story MashaAllah. I loved the topic…it’s one that unfortunately tends to slip under the cracks, but is so very important. A great reminder.