Part of the social reform that Islam came with, many years ago, is to stop abusing the elderly. Indeed, the treatement of the elderly has been a common concern between all Abrahamic religions, but a great part of Islamic teachings is dedicated to the respect of parents, namely mothers. In the Sunnah (a branch studying the daily behaviours and teachings) of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), abusing parents is considered as a major sin, which is put on equal status with disobeying God, the Al-Mighty, because disobedience to parents is viewed in Islam as desobedience to God. A man came to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and asked about the major sins, the holy Prophet replied, "To associate someone with Almighty God, to disobey parents, to kill unlawfully, and to give false evidence". This Prophetic saying is the top of justice towards the elderly, because it just saysthat abusing the parents is quite like associating partners with God, or slaughtering, or giving false testimonies. This evokes that abusing parents , in Islam, leads people, despite any of their righteous deeds, to be exposed to the punishement of the hereafter. It was reported by Muslim scolars that a man who has lived at the era of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh), was well known for his righteous deeds, from prayers, fasting, to charity actions; his only defect that he was disobedient to his old mother, and as left her to live alone, while he was enjoying his life with his wife. When this man was dying, people wondered how this 'righteous' man, despite of his prayers and fasting could not utter the last testification of Islam, eventhough he struggled to say it in vain.This incident was reported to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and asked if he could meet this old woman, which she accepted, to ask her about the son's treatement to her during his life.She complained to the Prophet that he neglected her in his life time and how she feels bad about it. The Prophet (pbuh) told her that her son is dying and could not utter Shahada, and asked her if, despite that, she could forgive her son and supply, which did, willingly. Right after news came to the Prophet that the man uttered the testification and died in peace. This is one of the most wonderfull stories, which shows how Islam is on behalf the good treatement of elders, and how their feelings count in the eyes of God.

    It was also reported by Muslim scolars that Asmaa bint Abu Bakr relates that her unbelieving mother had come from Makkah to Madinah to meet her. Her mother was not a Muslim and followed pagan tribal customs and beliefs. Asmaa enquired from the holy Prophet how she was supposed to treat her. The holy Prophet (pbuh) told her to be kind and considerate and to behave towards her as was a mother's due from a daughter. These are one of the numerous Hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) on behalf of elders. The Prophet Muhammd (pbuh) also said:

    "a person is indeed disgraced, who does not earn Paradise by caring for his parents during the life time and old age of his/her parents".

    This is the Sunnah of the Prophet , and what about Qur'an?

    God says in the Holy Qur'an:

    "And We have enjoined upon man, kindness to his parents. His mother carried him with hardship and gave birth to him with hardship, and his bearing and weaning [period] is thirty months. At lenght, when he reaches strenght and reaches [the age of] forty years, he says, "My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to work righteousness of which You will approve and make righteous for me my offspring. Indeed, I have turned to you in repentence, and indeed, I am of the Muslims." (Chapter Ahqaf)

    Your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to your parents.  If one of them or both of them reach old age with you, do not say to them a word of disrespect, or scold them, but say a generous word to them.  And act humbly to them in mercy, and say, “My Lord, have mercy on them, since they cared for me when I was small.”  (Chapter Israa)


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