The elderly: A hidden blessing

By Abdellatif Sharaa

The Arab tradition has always respected the elderly, and more precisely, the young always respected those older than them. In fact, many societies around the world have a special respect for seniors. Islam insists on respecting the elderly in several chapters in the Holy Quran and gave special attention to parents, as in the verse: And We have enjoined upon man [care] for his parents. His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination”. (31:14).

So, it is a must that we give the elderly their due respect and treat them well regardless of who they are, be they relatives, neighbors or even strangers, because one day we will be in their shoes and we will be seeking the same, and if we do not give respect now, we will not get it later. A message on social media spoke about the elderly and it was titled “the elderly – the hidden blessing”, and I would like to share some of it because it is true and touching:

The elderly have lost much of their youth, vitality and physical health, as well as life’s fusses. They have lost their parents and many of their friends and companions; their hearts are aching and they are hiding much sadness. The elderly are no longer the focus of family and homes, as they were earlier, so we must be careful with them.

It is true that the elderly may seem asleep, but in truth they are just laying down. They may eat but do not digest. You see them laughing, but they are not happy and may hide their tears behind a smile. They can be in pain if you stay away from them, and even if you are preoccupied with other things while being with them.

The elderly need those who listen to them and seem to be happy with their presence. Their needs are much more than just food, drinks, clothes and medicine! They need to see you smiling to them, hear comforting words and a mind that is happy to see them. You should remember that the elderly swing back to memories of the past, which is behind them, and to a future that may not come, and here we must remember that they have an emptiness that needs wise people to fill.

The elderly include the father, mother, grandfather, grandmother and other relatives whose hairs have turned grey and their feelings have become rigid. Make them live happy days and bright nights, and let them turn the last page of the book in the comfort of being respected and in happiness, and this in turn will not make you regret your actions after they are gone.

They are the elderly now, and they will go, and soon enough you will be elderly, so look at what you may plant, because you will harvest it later. Please, take care of the elderly, because simply, they deserve it!

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