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Prophet Muhammad's dealings with the elderly


Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) with the elderly

The elderly have special needs due to being weak at such an age. For this reason, Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) gave them special attention. This was clear in both his words and actions. Such examples of the care which Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) gave them include:

Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) respecting the elderly and holding them in high esteem

Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) gave a great degree of respect for the elderly, even mentioning respecting them as being a way of glorifying Allah (Glorified is He). Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) said,

«A way of glorifying Allah is to respect the white-haired Muslims» [related by Abu Dawood].

One way in which Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) respected the elderly and held them in high esteem was to let them speak first. It has been reported that when a group of people went to see Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) and the youngest of them started to speak, Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) said,

«The eldest will speak first» [related by Muslim].

Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) ordered the people to be good to their parents and the elderly, and to respect them and hold them in high esteem. How did this affect the Muslim society? Compare this with what happens in the West.

Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) being merciful to the elderly and advising his followers to be good to them

There is nothing more wonderful than what Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) said to a man who had come to swear allegiance to him. The man said to Prophet Muhammed,

«’I have come to swear allegiance to you that I will immigrate, although I left my parents crying.’ Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) did not say anything to him but the following words, ‘Return to them and make them laugh just as you made them cry!!’» [related by Abu Dawood].

Another example of Prophet Muhammed’s mercy to the elderly was clear when he became angry after a man told him he went to the Fajr [Dawn] prayer late as Mu’adh (may Allah be pleased with him) used to prolong the prayer when he led them. Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) was angry with Mu’adh for doing this, and said,

«The people are being deterred from the prayer! Whenever you lead people in prayer, make the prayer short, as among them are the weak, elderly and those who have needs to attend to» [related by Al-Bukhari].

This was only due to Prophet Muhammed’s mercy towards the weak, elderly and others who have special needs.

Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) also said,

«Those who are not merciful to our young and do not give our elderly their rights are not from us» [related by Ahmed].

In Prophet Muhammed’s advice to his followers to be good to the elderly, he mentioned the mercy towards the young along with respect towards the elderly, as Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) said,

«Those who are not merciful to our young and do not respect our elderly are not from us» [related by At-Tirmdhi].

Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) put righteousness to the elderly parents before leaving with him to fight in Allah’s cause. What is the proof for this?

Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) mentioned being merciful to the young along with respecting the elderly. How does this affect the society?

To what extent did Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) take into consideration the needs of specific people, including the elderly? Explain your answer referring to Prophet Muhammed’s biography.

What matters should a person take into consideration with regards to the elderly? And what do you think are the most important needs of seniors?

How can you take Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) as an example to follow?

1.Deal with the elderly in a respectful way and hold them in high esteem, following Prophet Muhammed’s example.

2.Be merciful to your weak parents in their old age and deal with them gently and in a respectful way, fulfilling their needs and considering their feelings, and cover them with a wing of mercy.

3.Look after the elderly; respect their age, even with regards to acts of worship. If you are leading the congregation in prayer, do not cause difficulties for them by prolonging the prayer, thereby being merciful to them, as Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) ordered us to be.

4.Look after the elderly on public transport by giving them your seat. This is a form of mercy and respect which Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) encouraged us to have.

5.Help the elderly cross the road, carry their bags and fulfill any need they may have.

6.Respect those who have grey hair and remember that respecting Muslims who have grey hair is a way of exalting Allah (Glorified is He).