Praise be to Allaah.
Sponsoring the elderly and
relieving them of harm is a communal obligation (fard kifaayah). They should
be provided with a life of dignity and they must be given all human rights
in full. Undoubtedly there is much good in doing that to seek the pleasure
of Allaah, and whatever you spend on their care will be recorded with
multiple reward, in sha Allaah. Allaah says (interpretation of the
“The likeness of those
who spend their wealth in the way of Allaah, is as the likeness of a grain
(of corn); it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. Allaah
gives manifold increase to whom He wills. And Allaah is All-Sufficient for
His creatures’ needs, All-Knower”
Moreover, by doing this you
are relieving distress and hardship, and helping a Muslim brother, and the
Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
encouraged that when he said: “Whoever removes a worldly hardship from a
believer, Allaah will remove one of the hardships of the Day of Resurrection
from him. Whoever grants respite to (a debtor) who is in difficulty, Allaah
will grant him relief in this world and in the Hereafter. Whoever conceals
(the fault of) a Muslim in this world, Allaah will conceal him (his faults)
in this world and in the Hereafter. Allaah will help a person so long as he
is helping his brother.”
Narrated by Muslim (4867).
Undoubtedly the reward for
sponsoring an orphan is great, but a person should nevertheless give
priority in charitable giving to those whose poverty and need are greater.
An orphan may have wealth from which he may spend, or he may have a rich
person who spends on him, so someone else, who has no wealth and no one to
spend on him, may be more deserving of charity and help, and that may bring
more reward, in sha Allaah, than spending on an orphan.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may
Allaah have mercy on him) said, after mentioning the eight types of people
who are entitled to zakaah:
If it is said: who is most
deserving of zakaah funds out of these eight categories?
We say: The one who is most
deserving is the one whose need is greatest, because all of them meet that
description, so the one whose need is greatest is most entitled to it. In
most cases the ones who are in greatest need are the poor and needy, hence
Allaah started with them when He said (interpretation of the meaning):
“As-Sadaqaat (here it means Zakaah) are only for the Fuqaraa’ (poor), and
Al‑Masaakeen (the poor)” [al-Tawbah 9:60]. End quote.
Majmoo’ Fataawa Ibn
And Allaah knows best.