Old age brings with it changes:
- Wrinkles and liver spots on the skin
- Change of hair colour to gray or white
- Hair loss
- Reduced lung capacity
- Changes in the vocal chords that produce the typical “old person” voice
- Lessened hearing
- Diminished eyesight
- Slower reaction times and agility
- Reduced ability to think clearly
- Difficulty recalling memories
- Depressed mood
- Greater susceptibility to bone diseases such as osteoarthritis
These are just a few of the physical changes taking place in old age.
But there are also the socio-psychological changes that affect elderly people.
To name just a few: Feelings of worthlessness, loneliness, isolation, abandonment.
Yes all of the above and even more.
They might have lost their life partner, maybe iill health prevents them from being able to go out and they could be on days on end left alone to look after themselves or even totally unable to do so.
We have all heard of real life tragic stories,when elderly people were found dead in their homes maybe days, weeks, or even years after the event.
Ah! What about the children?
Well from the Islamic perspective none of the above situations should exist.
Allah(subhanahu wa ta’Ala) says in the Noble Qur’an:
(And that you be dutiful to your parents.)
Here Allah (subhanahu wa ta’Ala) commands good treatment of parents, as He says elsewhere:
﴿أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِى وَلِوَلِدَيْكَ إِلَىَّ الْمَصِيرُ﴾
(give thanks to Me and to your parents. Unto Me is the final destination) ﴿31:14﴾
﴿إِمَّا يَبْلُغَنَّ عِندَكَ الْكِبَرَ أَحَدُهُمَا أَوْ كِلاَهُمَا فَلاَ تَقُل لَّهُمَآ أُفٍّ﴾
(If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect,) means, do not let them hear anything offensive from you, not even say “Uff!” which is the mildest word of disrespect,
(and do not reprimand them) means, do not do anything horrible to them.
(and do not reprimand them) `Ata’ bin Rabah said that it meant, “Do not raise your hand against them.” When Allah forbids speaking and behaving in an obnoxious manner, He commands speaking and behaving in a good manner, so He says:
﴿وَقُل لَّهُمَا قَوْلاً كَرِيمًا﴾
(but address them in terms of honor.) meaning gently, kindly, politely, and with respect and appreciation.
﴿وَاخْفِضْ لَهُمَا جَنَاحَ الذُّلِّ مِنَ الرَّحْمَةِ﴾
(And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy,) means, be humble towards them in your actions.
﴿وَقُل رَّبِّ ارْحَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِى صَغِيرًا﴾
(and say: “My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was young.”) means, say this when they grow old and when they die.
”Lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy”
Please do so…
Ref: Tafseer Ibn Kathir