If a person is 20 years old and loses his father, is he considered to be Yateem (an orphan)?

Quran

Hadith

Islamic Text

No, this person would not be.

قَالَ عَلِيُّ بْنُ أَبِي طَالِبٍ: حَفِظْتُ عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لَا يُتْمَ بَعْدَ احْتِلَامٍ

(Sayidina) Ali Ibn Abi Talib said, I memorized from the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, ‘A person is not an orphan after maturity.’ (Abu Dawood 2873, Hasan).

Based on the Hadith above and other similar narrations, the Hanafi scholars concluded that a person is only considered to be Yateem if he or she is not Baligh (mature).

الْيَتِيمُ اسْمٌ لِمَنْ مَاتَ أَبُوهُ قَبْلَ الْحُلُمِ. قَالَ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – «لَا يُتْمَ بَعْدَ الْبُلُوغِ» (رد المحتار على الدر المختار)

Yateem (orphan) is a term used for a person whose father passed away prior to maturity. The Prophet ﷺ said ‘A person is not an orphan after maturity.’ (Imam Ibn Abideen, Radd al-Muhtaar).

وَالْيَتِيمَةُ الصَّغِيرَةُ الَّتِي لَا أَبَ لَهَا

The female orphan is a girl who has no father. (Imam al-Sarakhsi, al-Mabsoot).

الْيَتِيمِ مَتَى يَخْرُجُ مِنْ الْيُتْمِ؟ فَإِذَا احْتَلَمَ يَخْرُجُ مِنْ الْيُتْمِ

When is an orphan (Yateem) no longer considered to be an orphan? When he reaches maturity, then he is no longer an orphan. (Imam al-Sarakhsi, al-Mabsoot).

And Allah (Most High) Knows Best.

– Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen (01.04.2021)

See also:

Hadith defining an orphan

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