By: MUHAMMAD SIRAJUDDIN
Many of our well-to-do people do not realise how cruel and inhuman it is to settle our retired or aged people, single or wife and husband, in separate colonies or homes meant exclusively for them away from their members of the family. Organisers of such homes collecting donations through various means apart from what they may be charging from the relatives of the inmates are hundred per cent imitating their western counterparts. This is another example of an attack on our native culture by blind followers of westerners who themselves experienced its ill effects in their society, recklessly tearing apart the very fabric of institution of family once valued precious everywhere.
The Qur’ān says: ‘Your Lord has commanded that you worship no one but Him and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them reaches old age in your life-time, do not say a single word of hurt to them, nor push them away. Rather speak to them in honourable words’ (17:33). Allah also says: ‘Show gratitude to Me and to your parents’ (31:14). Thus Allah mentioned gratitude to parents with gratitude to Himself.
Prophet Sulaiman also, as per the Qur’ān, expressed his gratitude when overwhelmed by the blessings of Allah, saying: ‘O Lord! So order me that I may be grateful for Your favours, which you have bestowed on me and on my parents....’ So as per the Qur’ān it is both His command for all His slaves and blessed among the later to ever remember and serve one’s parents. Our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) also advised serving of parents well over migrating and striving in the cause of Allah. He also stressed the special position of mother out of all (the first three ranks being of mother and the fourth being of father). Both these sayings of the Prophet are authenticated as per Bukhari and Muslim.
When a flower blooms, its colour and scent first touches the garden near it and spreads further. Likewise, one’s acts of human kindness however small should first touch those nearest to him, his family and neighbours. In the family our parents deserve our love first. We should obey, respect and treat them well. Even if they do something wrong, we should overlook and try to lighten their cares and worries. Whatever we own is a result of their prayers for us. The blessed Prophet said that when an obedient child looks with love at his parents, he gets a reward equal to that of going on a pilgrimage. The blessed Prophet also said: ‘No one is more unfortunate than the person who has parents to serve, but cannot gain entry to heaven through doing so.’
All creeds have similar injunctions on the subject. So no society neglecting the rights of parents and the elders can claim to be honouring the human rights or its ethical obligations. Therefore, all donors as well as collectors of funds or donations for charitable old age homes should think twice before concluding that they are serving the cause of a civilized society.