Social Affairs gives an allowance for orphan care to the one who cares for an orphan, 2000 riyals per month, and a lump sum at the end of the period, 20,000 riyals. My question is: what is the ruling on this money? Can I take from it as much as is needed? If there is anything left of this allowance, what should I do with it? Please note that it is possible that the allowance may be greater than the necessary expenses of the child.
Praise be to Allah
Sponsoring or caring for orphans is a beneficial righteous deed. Concerning the virtues of this action, the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “I and the one who sponsors an orphan will be like this in Paradise” – and he gestured with his forefinger and middle finger, holding them apart slightly. Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5304) and Muslim (2983).
An-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said in Sharh Muslim: “The one who sponsors an orphan” is the one who takes care of his affairs, spending on him, clothing him, disciplining him, educating him and so on. This virtue is attained by the one who sponsors him from his own wealth or from the orphan’s wealth on the basis of shar‘i guardianship. End quote.
After examining the system followed by the Ministry of Social Affairs, in which it says:
“2. Assistance for families who sponsor orphans: this assistance is granted to the families who undertake to sponsor and care for orphans on behalf of the Ministry, based on Article 14 of the by-law on children needing care, issued under Statement no. 612 on 13/5/1395 AH, which says: ‘The ministry will grant monthly assistance to the party caring for the child, starting from the date the child was handed over to them, provided that said party wants this assistance.’ This assistance will be disbursed in the following manner:
2,000 riyals per month for a child under the age of six years
3,000 riyals per month for a child over the age of six years.
3.. Assistance at the end of the sponsorship period: Statement no. 1430, dated 13/10/1395 AH, determined that financial assistance will be granted to every family at the end of the period of caring for children with unknown parents, to the tune of 20,000 riyals.
End quote from the Ministry’s website.
It appears from this statement that this allowance is given to the family and is not to be spent on the orphan, based on the fact that it is paid after the sponsorship period ends.
Based on that, this allowance belongs to the family, so there is no blame on the family for benefitting from it or from whatever is surplus to the orphan’s needs.
And Allah knows best.