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A Visit to the Old Age Home
A Visit to the Old Age Home- Care for the old
Letters To The Editor
Gulf News, 13th January 1998
From Ms H. Mohammed, Abu Dhabi.
I was on my way to visit a home for the aged during a school trip, wondering how I would feel when I saw them and how they live away from their families. I have heard and read a lot about the good care of old people on TV and magazines but this painted a much nicer picture than the reality I found.

We spoke to the patients and heard about the food they are given and the place they live in and I found their plight tragic. One old man cried as he told us how he used to sacrifice everything for his children and his children's gift to him in return was to throw him in the old-age home, never to visit him. They all long to return to their homes and live with their family. They feel cheated after all the years of love and care they had given to their children, but their children seems to have left them to their fate.

Allah has instructed man on the treatment of his parents in the Holy Qur'an many times, and respect for parents is one of the good deeds to enter paradise. Our parents sacrificed everything for our happiness and future. So it is improper to act as if they deserve no respect and love. Every person who puts a parent in a home for the aged should ask: How will I feel if my children did the same to me when I am old?

From Ms H.A. Al Ktheery, Abu Dhabi.
Old age is a time when we need the love and care of our loved ones most. However, in our country some old people are put in homes for the aged and are conveniently forgotten by their children. While the government has built special homes for the elderly and provide them the care they need, it is no substitute for one's own home.

These homes are for those who are childless and do not have anyone to look after them. Surprisingly, in the homes for the aged, there are many inmates who are put there as their children find them a burden. I remember a photograph published in a newspaper about some of these old people and reading about an old woman who said she was thrown out of the house by her son just to please his wife! While an old handicapped man was put in one of the homes by his son to get rid of the burden of looking after him. I am shocked at these happenings.


Rights due to the Parents in Old Age
None can deny the parents favor upon their children. The parents are the underlying reason for the existence of the child. They have reared him in his babyhood and experienced painstaking efforts to provide full comfort and sound well-being. Your mother had you in her womb while you were a parasite there sharing her food and whole being for nine months. In this context,
Allah says:

"And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship..." (31:14)
It is a preliminary stage followed by incubation and breast feeding for two years marked by peculiar fatigue and hardships. The father, on his part, is meanwhile also fully engaged catering for his child and bringing him up, not sparing any sort of instructions or guidance he could provide his child with; the child, meanwhile, a helpless creature neither harmful nor useful to himself.

Allah has always enjoined that children should be good and thankful to their parents and He says:

"And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years ; give thanks to Me and to your parents, unto Me is the final destination."(31:14)

"... And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honor. And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: "My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was small."(17:23,24)

The right of parents upon you is to do good with them. You should be good to them physically as well as monetarily, and also with your words and your actions. You should be obedient to them unless in it there is disobedience to Allah or there is some harm to you. Be kindhearted to them and serve them as they need your help. In their old age, in case of any ailment or weakness, never consider them a burden on you neither speak to them harshly, because one day you will also become as old as they are. You will be a father as they are your parents and, if life permits, soon you will be an old man before your children just like your parents became old before you. So you will be needing the help of your children as your parents need you today. If you are doing good to your parents then you must have the good news of a great reward and a better showing from your children, because whoever remained good to his parents, his children will also be good to him; and whoever annoyed his parents, will also be annoyed by his children. It is the process of recompense that deeds provide the results accordingly " as you sow, so will you reap. Allah has ranked the rights due to the parents high next only to His and the Prophet"s, Allah says:

"Worship Allah and join none with Him in worship, and do good to parents..." (4:36)
And Allah also says:
"...give thanks to Me and to your parents... (31:14)

Being dutiful to one"s parents assumes priority even over Jihad (fight in the cause of Allah) as is narrated in the tradition of Ibn Mas"ud(R.A.) when he asked the Prophet (peace be upon Him) :
"Which deed is most beloved by Allah" "He said, "Observing prayer in time." And next to that" He said: "Being dutiful to one's parents." And next to that" He answered: "Jihad (fight in the cause of Allah)."

This Hadith (Prophetic saying) reported by Bukhari and Muslim points directly to the significance of the rights due to one's parents. Unfortunately, most people have forgotten these rights, instead disobedience and severance of ties have risen to harden the hearts, and even they contempt and detest their parents;especially in old age. Some people have even deemed themselves superior to those two old good creatures. A recompense is sure in store for those disobedient children, sooner or later. Definitely, our aged parents, now that they cannot look after themselves, need all our attention at home, the home they reared us in; and definitely NOT AN OLD AGE HOME !
Source: iad.org
Courtesy: www.everymuslim.com

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