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 (Ar-Rum, verse 54)
Growing old is not an illness that can be treated but its a phase of life that cannot be avoided
A person getting old is a part of destiny that Allah has written for him. If you notice the sequence of growth as mentioned in the above verse, first come weakness as a new born baby, then grown up strong man and then once again a person becomes a weak old man. An old person turns like a newborn baby as he is totally dependent upon others for his walking and moving. He loses his teeth and like a baby he cannot chew. It is not possible for any person to save himself from old age. Once you are out of the womb of your mother, nothing can stop you from aging. One may hide his age by dying hair and applying cosmetics but can’t stop himself from aging.
Elders are supposed to be honored, respected, helped and given first preferences.
Each one of us should take care of his elders. This is what Islam has commanded all. It falls in the category of ‘Huququl Ibaad’ that we give the due rights to the people.
When long age can be a bounty too
Once the Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked, “Who are the best people among us who are most beloved to Allah ? He replied, “Those who have two qualities, a long age and a lot of good deeds in long age.” A long age blessed with the inspiration to do good deeds is a blessing of Allah.( Tirmidhi , Ahmed)
Sa’ad bin abi Waqqas (Allah be pleased with him) narrated, “ Two brothers came from Yemen and both of them embraced Islam together. In a few days there was an announcement of a war. Both of them applied to be allowed to be participated in the battle. One of them died in the battle and the other died after a year due to sickness. I ( Sa’ad) saw a dream about Qiyamah and i was told to go to Jannah along with both the brothers. We went and waited outside the gate of Jannah and when it was opened, an angel came and picked up the one who died later due to sickness. I thought that the one who was martyred should have gone before the one died a natural death. The door remained closed for a long time. Then it opened again and took the martyred inside. I wanted to go in along with the martyred but I was stopped and told that you are still alive and a living person cannot enter Jannah. ”
So I asked the Prophet ( peace be upon him) about it and he explained, “The second entered first because of his exceeding good deeds than his dead brother. His prayers, his fastings, his charity added lot of reward to his deed book.”
The moral of the story is that if you get a longer life then you must take advantage out of it and do good deeds as much as you can.
If a man gets a long age and he is pious and virtuous then he attains a very high status in the sight of Allah.
Abdullah ibn Amr bin Al-Aas (Allah be pleased with him) said, “The Prophet (peace be upon) him said, “Do not pluck your white hair because each white hair on your body will be compensated with light on the day of Judgement.” The other narration says, “For every hair that grows white, the Believer is rewarded with one good deed and forgiven one sin.” (Musnad, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawood) It is unfortunate that today many of us pluck our white hair and then when entire hair turn white they dye it black.
Having the opportunity to serve old people is a blessing
Abu Musa al Ashri (Allah be pleased with him) said, “Allah has declared that honoring an old person is honoring Allah.” It means whoever does not honor his elders has not honored Allah.
We were in the gathering of the Prophet (peace be upon him) when an old man arrived and tried to go and sit near the Prophet (peace be upon him) in order to hear him properly. He was still standing while the rest of us were totally focused on what the Prophet (peace be upon him) was saying. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) noticed him and said, “Make some space for the elderly man.” He then continued, “He who is not affectionate towards our younger ones and not respectful towards our elders is not from us.”
He has also instructed, “ Honour your elders and sit in their company and learn from them because Allah has placed the blessings in sitting with the elders.”
Etiquette of Respecting Elders
But elders too should show their elderliness
Younger ones always love to have affection and love and kindness from their elders. Elders should not fail them. Their demonstration of elderliness will groom the younger generation to excel in behaviour. It is so easy to develop positive attitude about elderly people. Consider this: If you see an old man and think, this man is around sixty, even if he has done one good deed everyday what a huge amount of good deeds he must be having! Similarly an elder person can think positively about a young man, “If I count number my sins in life it will be more than this young man.”