Islamic Religious Council of Singapore
13 September 2019 / 13 Muharram 1441H
Barakah In Old Age
Blessed Friday congregants,
Let us ask Allah to strengthen our taqwa. Let us implore Him to put barakah in our lives by making it easy for us to obey His commands and avoid His prohibitions. We ask Allah to fill our lives with goodness and virtue. Amin.
Allah s.w.t. says in verse 54 of Surah Ar-Rum:
Meaning: “Allah is the one who created you from weakness, then made after weakness strength, then made after strength weakness and white hair. He creates what He wills, and He is the Knowing, the Competent.”
This verse reminds us that each and every one of us is bound by the natural laws of time which Allah has created. We traverse various stages in our lives; beginning in infancy and childhood where we depend upon our parents, then adolescence and adulthood. We finally, in our declining years, return to our initial state of dependency where we require assistance from time to time. Nevertheless, we can all draw inspiration from this verse to occupy what is left of our age with good deeds that please Allah s.w.t.
My dear brothers,
Today, we refer to an elderly person as being in their ‘golden years’. This phrase aptly describes their knowledge and vast life experiences. Their valuable experience holds immense potential in helping their children, grandchildren and even their community recognise the pitfalls in life that they should avoid, as well as teaching them the methods that brought them success. These golden years are not meant to be filled with depression, sadness and solitude. It is a meaningful stage of life that should be filled with tranquillity and joy. In order to achieve this, allow me to share three points that one should bear in mind.
Firstly: Maintaining our relationship with Allah and His Prophet s.a.w.
Brothers, there is no question that drawing ourselves near to Allah s.w.t. is a lifelong effort. That being said, having gone through the phases of having to work hard to raise our children, it is highly encouraged for us to dedicate our golden age towards showing our gratitude to Allah, the One who has been extending His blessings to us all this while. As we strive to increase our good deeds, let us not forget to broaden and deepen our knowledge of the religion. If we did not have much time to pursue religious knowledge while we were pursuing our careers, perhaps we would have more time do so after we retire and after our children have all grown up. This knowledge we have attained is not only beneficial to us – even our children and even grandchildren can benefit from it if shared with them.
We can also bring ourselves closer to Allah s.w.t. through charity and community works, be it at the mosque or welfare organisations. The Prophet s.a.w. advised us:
Meaning: “The best of people are those who live longest and excel in their deeds, whereas the worst of people are those who live longest and corrupt their deeds.” [Hadith reported by Imam Ahmad, Al-Tirmidzi dan Al-Hakim]
Secondly: Sharing experiences
Having years of experience in raising a family, senior members of society play a vital role in advising, teaching and guiding their families and communities. Some devote their time to helping ex-offenders get back on their feet. Others take on advisory positions in the community. They no longer hold leadership roles, in order to give younger members a chance to lead. However they remain a source of guidance in building the community.
Their advice and guidance continue to be relevant, but must be delivered with wisdom and tact, without forcing it upon the younger generation of leaders, nor belittling their efforts. When such respect and trust is given, it is more likely that their advice will be well-received and given due consideration. This will further cultivate mutual respect between them, insya Allah.
Thirdly: Maintaining an active lifestyle
An active lifestyle must be maintained, even in old age. Today we are thankful to Allah s.w.t. that more and more of our senior citizens keep themselves active with various activities such as exercise, volunteering at charity and community events and so on.
As children, on the other hand, we are also responsible for encouraging our parents to stay active. Let us make time to ensure that they have activities outside of the home. Should we be too busy, we should at least contact them frequently given the technology we have today. We must encourage our older generation to exercise and meet up with friends. Hopefully, by keeping them active, it will prevent them from feeling lonely, which in turn can cause stress and depression.
Dearest brothers in faith,
Taking care of our health is also extremely important in our old age. Among the many ways we can maintain our health is exercising adequately, according to our age. As a result of keeping the body healthy and the mind sharp, we ensure a more peaceful life not only for ourselves but also our families.
Singapore’s ageing population can benefit from many subsidised health screenings. Programmes such as Screen For Life by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) allow us to go for basic health screenings at a cost as low as $5. In addition, there are many other health screening procedures which can be paid via Medisave.
It is highly encouraged to go for regular check-ups so that we can detect illnesses early and find the suitable treatment for them. Should an illness be detected at a later stage, it may already have severe implications on our health and well-being, not to mention the impact that it may have on the people around us.
May our time on this earth be given barakah and rahmah. We ask Allah to fortify our faith, absolve our sins and strengthen the ties of kinship between us. We also ask Allah to grant us the best of health in our mind, body and soul, and place us among the best of His servants in the hereafter. Amin Ya Rabbal ‘Alamin.