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THE ELDERLY: THEIR OBLIGATIONS, STATUS & RIGHTS IN A MUSLIM SOCIETY PRESENTATION BY PROFESSOR ABUL FADL MOHSIN EBRAHIM.

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Presentation on theme: "THE ELDERLY: THEIR OBLIGATIONS, STATUS & RIGHTS IN A MUSLIM SOCIETY PRESENTATION BY PROFESSOR ABUL FADL MOHSIN EBRAHIM."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE ELDERLY: THEIR OBLIGATIONS, STATUS & RIGHTS IN A MUSLIM SOCIETY PRESENTATION BY PROFESSOR ABUL FADL MOHSIN EBRAHIM

2 Introduction  Old age is indefinable  It does not have the same meaning in every society Manifestation of changes in one’s activities or social roles Upon becoming a grandparent When one physically slows down and engages in a less strenuous work situation By United Nations’ definition, an ‘older person’ is an individual aged 60 years and over Statutory retirement age is the age at which a person is eligible to receive a state pension In Indonesia it is 55, but may be changed to 60

3 Scope of Presentation The Glorious Qur’an on human frailty Sayyiduna Muhammad (SAAS) on what ought to be valued Obligations of the elderly In regard to the fara’id Religious concessions given to the elderly No compromise on moral rectitude Status of the elderly Rights of the elderly Place of Muslim Old Age Homes in a Muslim Society Conclusion

4 The Glorious Qur’an on Human Frailty “It is Allah Who created you (all in a state) of weakness, and then after weakness ordains strength (for you). Then after a period of strength, ordains (old age), weakness and grey hair. He creates whatever He wills; and He alone is All- Knowing and Infinite in His Power” (Al-Rum, 30:54)

5 Unpacking the ayah Infancy “Weakness” - total dependence on mother or nurse Powers of mind and body underdeveloped Stage of youth Embodiment of strength and certain moral qualities unfold Courage, love for adventure, and the will to conquer Old age A universal phenomenon, but affects different people at different times Biological ageing leads to manifestation of “weakness” Second childhood which may necessitate nursing care

6 What ought to be valued Sayyiduna Muhammad (SAAS) “Know the value of five things before they disappear: your youth before old age comes,; your health before sickness comes; your wealth before poverty comes; your free time before being occupied; and you life before death.”(Hadith)

7 Obligations of the Elderly Fara’id to be observed at all times Concessions in regard to Salah “And celebrate the Allah’s praises, standing, sitting and lying on your sides” (Al `Imran, 3:191) Concessions in regard to Fasting “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed to those before you that you may (learn) self-restraint. (Fasting) for a fixed number of days; but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the prescribed number (should be made up) from days later. For those who can do it (with hardship) is a ransom – the feeing of one that is indigent…..” (Al-Baqarah, 2: )

8 Moral Rectitude – An Obligation Exemplary character to be displayed by all Muslims in all facets of life An elderly person guilty of gross immoral behaviour is not above law Punishment in this life Dire consequences in life hereafter “Three persons whom Allah will not speak to, nor purify them (their sins), nor look at them on the Day of Resurrection, and they will be afflicted with a painful torment: an aged person who is an adulterer, a king who is a liar and a beggar who is proud” (Hadith) 50 years and over – adultery at this age is most abominable/disgusting and is an indication of his perverted nature and weakness of faith (Imam al-Nawawi)

9 Status of the Elderly To be honoured and respected Sayyiduna Muhammad (SAAS) said, "He is not of us who does not have mercy on young children, nor honor the elderly’’(Sunan al-Tirmidhi) Sayyiduna Muhammad (SAAS) said: “Those who do not show mercy to our young ones and do not realize the right of our elders are not from us” (Sunan Abi Dawud). Sayyiduna Muhammad (SAAS) said: “does not belong to us who does not show mercy to our young ones and respect to our old ones, who does not recommend what is reputable and prohibit what is disreputable” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi).

10 Preference to be given to the elderly to lead the Salah Sayyiduna Muhammad (SAAS) addressing a particular group who had come to visit him Madinah and advised them saying: “Go back to your families, live with them, teach them Islam and tell them of the good deeds. At the times of prayer, let one of you call the Azan, and have your eldest lead the prayer. the Azan, and have your eldest lead the prayer”

11 Some Rights of the Elderly The elderly have rights that should be recognized by their communities Right to enjoy family life among their children Alternative arrangements to be made for them if they have no family members Right not to be abused – emotionally and physically No word of contempt must be uttered to them They are to be treated decently and held in high esteem Right to be assisted whenever the need arises To be provided with food, shelter and clothing To be provided with necessary medical care

12 cont./ Rights of the Elderly Right to have access to permissible source of income To be allowed to work beyond retirement age if they are able to do so Right to be in a position to preserve their dignity and psychological heath To be reassured that they are useful members of their society (Source: IOMS - Kuwait Declaration on the Rights of Elderly – An Islamic Perspective)

13 Muslim Old Age Homes? Old age is the time when one needs the love and care of their beloved ones Global trend to abandon the elderly and place them in Old Age Homes Contrary to the teachings of Glorious Qur’an and Sunnah of Sayyiduna Muhammad (SAAS) Is there a place for Old Age Home in a Muslim society ? To provide solace, comfort and care to: Childless elderly Muslims Elderly reverts to Islam who have been ostracized by the families

14 Our Duty to the Elderly in an Old Age Home “The Believers in their love and sympathy for one another are like one body; when one part of it is affected, the whole of it responds in terms of wakefulness and fever” (Sahih al-Bukhari) Our duty to visit these homes Old Age Home To spend quality time with them To chat with them and cheer them up Young Muslims may even inculcate wisdom if they find time to be in their midst

15 Conclusion The elderly an important component in a Muslim society Compassion shown to them by Allah (SWT) Concessions given to them in respect of the fara’id The elderly are not above the Law They are to be honored and respected and not abused Old Age Home In certain instances it may have a place Not to be used as dumping grounds for the elderly Our debts to the elderly can never be repaid


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