In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Quran: Chapter 4, Lan Tanalu’, Sura: 4 ‘An-Nisa’ ‘The Women’,
Verse 6: And try orphans (as regards their intelligence) until they reach the age of marriage; if then you find sound judgment in them, release their property to them, but consume it not wastefully and hastily fearing that they should grow up, and who ever (amongst guardians) is rich, he should take no wages, but if he is poor, let him have for himself what is just and reasonable (according to his labour). And when you release their property to them, take witness in their presence; and Allah is All-Sufficient in taking account.
Notes by samia2010oct: This Verse is about a situation when parents die leaving young children with some property. In such a situation care has to be taken for both the cases; 1] the children and 2] the property. 1] For children the care-taker must take care of them until the children become adults, intelligent enough, mature enough and responsible enough that they are able to take care of themselves and their property. The age at which their property should be handed over to them is not specified. Whereas guidance is given to reach a time in children’s lives when children’s property can be given back to them and that time is when the children become adults, intelligent enough, mature and responsible enough with good judgment and reasoning to conduct themselves reasonably good way and handle their property the best way possible. According to this guidance the orphans should be observed closely by the care-taker. The orphans should be tested by giving them jobs to accomplish till they become adults showing the signs of mature good reasoning, with good judgment and responsibility in whatever they do. This is the time they should be given back their property. At this stage if the orphans are holding some job, this is a time for their marriage too.
This above criteria is good for normal children too, whose parents are alive. Living parents should use this guidance to check their children as well. If a young man is earning, he is adult, he is showing signs of responsibility- intelligence- maturity with good judgment and reasoning, he should be asked to get married as soon as possible.
2] In case of the property of the orphans if the care taker is rich he should not take any thing as wages from the children’s property. But if the care-taker is poor he can take only that much, from the property of the orphans who are under his care, which is just and reasonable according to his labour i.e. according to the hard work which he is putting in, in bringing up the orphans. And when the property of the orphans is released to them, it should be given in the presence of witnesses along with the presence of the orphans; and Allah is All-Sufficient in taking account.
It is Big Sin, Gunaah e Kabira, to mismanage or destroy or consume or eat up the whole of the property or part of the property of the orphans wastefully and hastily fearing that they should grow up i.e. attain the age, maturity, and reasonability to get back their property from the care-taker. For Big Sins there is the punishment of unbearable Fire.