The majority of the elderly in a society of ignorance know well the helplessness and difficulty that old age brings but, in spite of their recognition of the fact, they do not take the lesson from it, and do not temper their attachment to the life of this world. Even though they have come so near to their death, they keep the thought far from their minds. They see their friends dying one after the other, but still act as if death will not come upon them. Rather, they save to secure their future. They fear some day having none to take care of them, or of running out of money, and therefore store food, clothing and funds. But, though they are afraid of finding themselves in dire circumstances, they never think about the Afterlife. They do not consider there to be any need to prepare for the world to come. However, a human being’s true existence is in the next world. That is the one he should prepare for. Allah relates us the following in the Qur’an:
The life of this world is nothing but a game and a diversion. The Hereafter is better for those who fear Allah. So will you not use your intellect? (Surat al-An‘am, 32)
Believers, who believe this truth with certainty, will experience old age in a very different way. They have already lived their lives in the hope of gaining Allah’s favor. The further time passes, the more eager they are to meet the Hereafter and, by the will of Allah, to live their lives in the eternity of Paradise. Due to their hopeful expectation, they are joyful, contented and morally upright. They do not cause problems for those around them; on the contrary, they help to solve those problems, telling others about the moral teachings of the Qur’an, and helping them attain the kind of character that will be pleasing to Allah. Even if they become physically feeble, they remain mentally active, and try to be of benefit to their community.
This moral uprightness gains for them great love and respect from their community. Because they teach moral rectitude to those around them, and are morally upright themselves, they are always treated with respect. In the Qur’an believers are enjoined to be respectful towards those who are advanced in years. In the Qur’an, Allah says:
Your Lord has decreed that you should worship none but Him, and that you should show kindness to your parents. Whether one or both of them reach old age with you, do not say “Ugh!” to them out of irritation and do not be harsh with them but speak to them with gentleness and generosity. Take them under your wing, out of mercy, with due humility and say: “Lord, show mercy to them as they did in looking after me when I was small.” (Surat al-Isra’, 23-34)
We have instructed man to honor his parents … (Surat al-‘Ankabut, 8)
We have instructed man concerning his parents. Bearing him caused his mother great debility and the period of his weaning was two years: “Give thanks to Me and to your parents. I am your final destination.” (Surah Luqman, 14)
Worship Allah and do not associate anything with Him. Be good to your parents and relatives and to orphans and the very poor, and to neighbors who are related to you and neighbors who are not related to you, and to companions and travelers and your slaves. Allah does not love anyone vain or boastful. (Surat an-Nisa’, 36)2012-01-21 02:25:11