Honouring the Grey-Haired


The Prophet said, ‘Part of glorifying Allah is honouring the grey-haired muslim.’ (Abu Dawud, classed as Hasan by Sh Al-Albaani in Sahih Abi Dawud)

Islam. Our complete way of life, and system of living has granted each individual dignity. Respect and reverence are never in short supply in our deen. Perhaps however, its followers fall short, and thus I bring you, a quick reminder on caring for ‘the grey-haired muslim.’

“And We have certainly honoured the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference.” (Al-Israa 17:70)

Allah has preferred us, and granted us abundant blessings, and amongst these, is the blessing of having the elderly.

The elderly have a special station in Islam, they have lived through the various stages of life, they have experienced things the youth have yet to come to across, and have come through the thick and thin of the daily struggle of life. They were the forefront of our deen, the flag bearers and upholders in their youth, and some continue this task even in their old age.

But even if they missed such a golden opportunity to be an ambassador for our deen, they still deserve the respect that Allah has decreed for them.

Some would describe the elderly as a burden, and would gladly dump them in a ‘home’ so that the encumbrance of their care is lifted of their shoulders. Yet, little do we realise the blessings in the elderly.

  • They are the means of us existing on earth. Without the elder generation, there wouldn’t be a younger one.
  • They are wise and provide great advice and support. They can be a source of comfort in times of difficulty and an eye-opener in times of confusion. Their hindsight and experience is always useful.
  • Serving them is an opportunity to earn ample rewards from Allah. So stock up on your hereafter by helping the elderly, because not an atom’s weight of good goes to waste.
  • Upholding the ties of kinship with them, may increase your sustenance and your life. The Prophet taught us, “he who desires that he be granted more rizq and his life be prolonged should maintain good ties with his kinship.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
  • Caring for them is an opportunity to get their duaa. Making someone happy doesn’t just warrant rewards from Allah. Rather the receiver of good often reciprocates with a favour, and sometimes it may something as simple as a small duaa of theirs that opens the doors in your life.
  • And something that everyone enjoys: the elderly are great story tellers! They weave such intricate webs that even fidgety children get caught up.

These are just a few of the many blessings that are found in the elderly.

They may be better than you, and as such you should wish to emulate them. The Prophet said, ‘“The best of you are those who live the longest and do the best deeds.” (Classed as saheeh by Al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3263)

Let’s not forget the saying of our beloved Prophet peace be upon him, “He is not one of us who does not show mercy to our young ones and respect our old ones.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 1919; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh At-Tirmidhi, 1565)

And he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The Most Merciful has mercy on those who are merciful. Be merciful to those who are on earth so that the One Who is in heaven will have mercy on you.” (Narrated by Tirmidhi (1924); classed as Saheeh by Al-Albaani in Saheeh At-Tirmidhi, 1569)

May Allah soften our hearts to towards the elderly, and enable us to serve them. Ameen

Let us endeavour to change our attitude towards the elderly, show them some love, attention and the respect that they deserve.

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