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Moral Duties of Adults Towards their Aging/elderly Parents - Taking Care of old parents in Islam?
Taking Care of Your Ailing Parents
How To deal with your Aging Parents?
Maulana Roomi, a Muslim Sage narrates that a man was fed up of his aging father. So he decided to get rid of him. He lifted his father on his shoulders and told him that he was taking him to a new home. After a little walk the man reached a jungle and thought, "This is the best place for this useless thing". He gave his aging father an old blanket and said, "This is your new home to live your remaining life here". After saying that when he turned his back to leave, to his utter surprise he saw his son in front of him, who reached there chasing his father. The man looked at his son with love and asked him to come with him. But the innocent child demanded his father to give him the half of the blanket, which he had given to his father. The man asked what he would do of that piece of the blanket. The son replied, "My dear father when you would get old I will also leave you in this jangle with the remaining half of the blanket." This reply of the innocent child proved to be an eye opener for that man. He got the point and sought repentance from God on this shameful intention. He took his father back home and gave him due respect, honor and served him till his death.
All religions urge their followers to respect parents, especially in their old age, because parents are the most beneficent to their children after God. Almighty remind the adults that it were the parents who looked after and nourished them when they were very young and weak. They could not walk, talk or even move. They could not take care of themselves. Especially, mothers have had to suffer lot of pains and hardships while giving birth and raising their children.
Parents give their best to their children in the shape of food, education and many worldly things to their children in their early life but yet they have best to give the adults in their old age, and that is "prayers". Prayers of aged parents have great value in the sight of Almighty so don't take your aging parents for granted and try your best 'earn' as much sympathy of your parents as you can.
The parents look after their children at a time when they are not able to do anything. No was no one else, except parents who could love and took care of them. But gradually the parents reach the age when they themselves cannot earn anything and desperately need the help of their loved ones. Hence, it becomes incumbent on the offspring to behave well with the parents and make good their deficiency. Aging parents may be considered a best opportunity to return what they have received from parents in their childhood.
If one finds his parents in old age it is his religious and moral duty to serve them just like the way they serve him in his babyhood. In this context the Holy Quran, commands its followers:
1. If one of them or both of them attain old age with you, say not "Fie" unto them, nor repulse them, but speak unto them a gracious word.
2. And lower unto them the wing of submission through mercy, and say: My Lord! Have mercy on them both as they did care for me when I was little.
3. And we enjoined upon man concerning his parents - His mother beareth him in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Give thanks unto Me and unto your parents.
To help the aging parents it should be kept in mind that so much depends on the attitude of their mind. Many years ago the wise King Solomon noted that "a merry heart doeth good like a medicine." Most aging parents feel loneliness. Hence it is much helpful for the aging parents is to give them company. A son or daughter coming home from office may sit with his parents and listen whatever they say. What they say may be uninteresting for him but it may provide great relief to them and make them cheerful, confident and optimistic. One should not forget his times when he was a little child and parents used to give all ears to the meaningless child like talks.
A cheerful, optimistic outlook is of the greatest importance in helping to face the infirmities of age. How refreshing it is to find some elderly person still managing to live well in spite of some real infirmity. How sad to find another with some minor illness just about to give up and die because of depression and discouragement.
It is common practice in the West that the parents, when they attained old age, are admitted in old age Homes and thereafter children pay visits to their parents after months, years and in some cases on their funerals. However, in the East, where family ties are very strong, it sounds strange. Here in this part of the world most of the people live in a joint family system where aging parents live with their sons. They get the opportunity to enjoy the lively and innocent activities of their grand daughters and grandsons. They also enjoy other pleasures of life together with other family members. In return, they aging parents remember their children in the prayers and also guide them in the light of what they have learnt through their practical experience.