Home Quranet Chapter 5 Is the orphan entitled to study?
Is the orphan entitled to study?
Chapter 5

وَآتُواْ الْيَتَامَى أَمْوَالَهُمْ وَلاَ تَتَبَدَّلُواْ الْخَبِيثَ بِالطَّيِّبِ وَلاَ تَأْكُلُواْ أَمْوَالَهُمْ إِلَى أَمْوَالِكُمْ إِنَّهُ كَانَ حُوبًا كَبِيرًا(سورۃ النساء, آيۃ 2)

To orphans restore their property (when they reach their age), nor substitute (your) worthless things for (their) good ones; and devour not their substance (by mixing it up) with your own. For this is indeed a great sin. (Surah 4, Verse 2)

Rim, who is in the twelfth grade, is an orphan. When she was ten her mother died and her father remarried. The second wife is an unkind woman who nags her husband for loving and pampering his daughter. Since the remarriage, Rim has changed. From a happy lively girl she has become melancholy and withdrawn. Her teacher, on coming into the classroom one day, found her shouting and crying: "Why did Mummy leave me? Why? Why do I deserve it? Why me?" She tried to calm the girl but without success. Then she sent her to the school counselor.

Counselor: Rim, what brings you to me?
Rim: My teacher sent me. I didn't want to come.
Counselor: Why? What happened?
Rim: I'm very angry and I don't feel like talking. I shouted in class so my teacher sent me to you (angrily).
Counselor: You don't have to tell me if you don't want to but I'm here to help you. You can trust me that anything you tell me will be kept secret and will never reach the ears of anyone who shouldn't know.
Rim: (painfully): I'm an orphan. I miss my mother. My father used to be good to me but since he married everything has changed. My stepmother rules the household and he does what she says. I feel alone, lost without my mother (crying).
Counselor: Has anything happened recently to make you feel so bad?
Rim: I asked for money for a preparatory course for the university entrance exams but my father refused to give it.
Counselor: Perhaps he has no money?
Rim: My father is quite rich because he received a lot of money from my mother. She came from a well-to-do family and she gave my father all her money. Now he buys his new wife expensive clothes and jewelry. But it's
my money and he gives me nothing.
Counselor: Rim, have you spoken to your father directly and asked him for money?
Rim: Yes, I talked to him and asked but he said he didn't have the money.
Counselor: Rim, I want to visit your home when your father is there with his wife and I'll try to talk to him indirectly.

Rim agreed and the counselor scheduled a meeting.

Counselor: I've come because we try to visit the twelfth grade pupils' homes to talk to the parents and encourage them to enroll their children at university for further studies.
Rim: I'm waiting for my father to pay for the preparatory course.
Counselor: When do you intend to enroll her?
The father is silent and looks at his wife who is surprised and flushes.
Counselor: There is a Quran verse which has always impressed me: "To orphans restore their property (when they reach their age), nor substitute (your) worthless things for (their) good ones; and devour not their substance (by mixing it up) with your own. For this is indeed a great sin". Really, it is very good of you to encourage Rim to continue her studies and to give her the opportunity to learn. Well done! (Turning to Rim). Do you want to go to university?
Rim: Yes, I'm dying to study. I want to be an engineer. It's what my mother and I always wanted for me. But first I must register for the preparatory course.
Counselor: Then hurry because there is not much time left.

Explanation: the counselor chose this way of persuading the parents to send Rim to university without hurting their feelings. She thinks it is very important for girls to study and make progress because she believes that children need a clever mother and not one who knows nothing about the world and never leaves the home. "A strong mother produces strong children," she always says to parents. She could of course have invited the father for a separate talk and explained to him that it was important for his talented daughter to continue her studies. But it was also important to preserve his dignity in order to achieve the aim - Rim's university studies. The counselor made wise use of the Quran, where many verses relate to the need to protect the weak. After hearing this verse, what was left for the father to say? In future talks the counselor can discuss with Rim her pain at being an orphan, and try to ease her suffering.