In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
There is no god but He, Praise and glory to Him; Far is He from having the partners they associate unto Him. (Tauba 9:31)
LAST year, an old mate emailed an interesting article on how to stay 'safe' at old age: it reminded that "only you can save yourself safely at old age." It was a long article; here I extract some points raised by the writer.
The articles gave ten tips; that are: (1) do not retire; (2) live in your own place to enjoy independence, privacy and a solo life; (3) hold on to your nest egg, bank deposits and assets; (4) don't believe your children's promise to care for you when you grow old priorities change; and (5) expand your circle of friends.
Next; (6) is be well groomed and smelling fresh of spring water all the time; (7) do not meddle in the life of your children; (8) do not use old age as your shield and justification for turning grumpy; (9) listen to what others may say; and lastly; (10) most important of all have MONEY - your last power in old age!
Regarding money, the writer emphasized: "If you are broke at old age, nobody, not even your children will come close to you. If you are broke at old age, not even your wife will respect you. If you are broke at old age, you become a parasite. Money buys you power when you need it most at old age. Remember: No money...no talk.
"Sorry, but this is true! No money means: no "honey", no holidays, no wine, no friends, no social life, no phone calls, no email, Nothing!"
Seeing the word WINE, I guessed this article was written by a person with 'a secular mind', perhaps we could only give a thought about his recommendations but think carefully and wisely before implementating them!
Well, I too was scared of becoming old. But can we stop it? The answer is no; there is no cure for old age. The Prophet s.a.w. (peace be upon him) said: "Allah has not created a disease except that He has created a cure for it; except for a single disease; old age (At-Tirmidhi)
In a few days we would celebrate the new Hijra year of 1443. Another year has gone; we are getting a year older. It also means that we are one step closer to our graves; as for me, perhaps I should start counting my balance years in life for example the Prophet s.a.w. dies at 60 (if we use the Hijra calendar), thus if I were to 'follow the Prophet's footsteps', then my years of existence in this world would diminish from 9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1...and into my own grave!
Regarding loss of time time, Niyazi-i-Misri, one of the sufi scholars, put into these words: "Every day another stone has broken off from my life. My life is getting ruined! But why am I so heedless?"
In Surah Al-Asr; Allah SWT says (translation): 1. By the essence of all time. 2. Verily, all humankind is in deep loss. 3. Except those who believed (in the oneness of Allah) and performed good work and reminded each other of the truth and reminded each other to be patient.
In a hadith, `Abdullah bin Busr Al-Aslami (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah s.a.w. said, "The best of people is one whose life is long and his conduct is good." (At-Tirmidhi)
Longevity of life is a blessing, provided it is accompanied by Faith and good deeds; otherwise, the longer life one has, the greater will be the number of sins. Such a long life is disastrous.
A long life is associated with old age. And then it is death. Nobody could escape it. Perhaps, this lesson (tazkirah) which I followed from an 'ustaz' (religious teacher) and had a great impact on me, can 'spark' readers lives.
The 'ustaz' asked why in our life we are crazy and busy heaping material wealth including money which we would not be using them but we would leave them sooner or later.
But men are men, they are greedy for material wealth; in a hadith narrated by Anas bin Malik, the Prophet s.a.w. said: "If Adam's son had a valley full of gold, he would like to have two valleys, for nothing fills his mouth except dust. And Allah forgives him who repents to him." (Bukhary)
Perhaps you have money at old age; but that would not help you to lead a peaceful, tranquil, happy and blessing life. One of the most wisest person in the world, Sayidina Ali bin Abi Talib said: "Learned men live after death; ignorant men are dead although alive." He also said that you need to guard your property and wealth but if you have knowledge it would protect you.
If money and power could protect or of any help when we are at old age, then how come many world top leaders from Pharoahs and Hamman in ancient times to Ferdinand Marcos in modern times lead miserable lives at the end?
Abu Hurairah narrates that once the Holy Prophet s.a.w. said: "Let us show you the reality of this world." I requested him to do that. He took me to a place of refuse outside Madinah. There I saw human skulls and bones sunk in filth with dirty rags scattered all around.
Adressing me he said: "These are the human skulls that embodied brains filled with greed. These people were like many amongst you who live today. Like all of you they pinned their hopes on things worldly. These skulls are lying without skins and after a few days they will become part of the earth.
"They struggled hard to eat the spicy dishes only to swallow this filth today. The state in which they exist now cannot be tolerably seen by those who have eyes to see. The very sight of those who enjoyed the fragnance of tasty food makes you hate them.
"These dirty rags are the worn-outs of the gaudy dresses that made men proud. Now they are at the mercy of winds which move them the way they like. And these are the bones of those animals that carried human beings only to make them feel proud. Anyone can shed a tear or two at the tragic end." Abu Hurairah stated that the tears welled up in his eyes and he wept bitterly.
We should, therefore, consider the passing life of this world as a means towards our ultimate goal. Yes, this material world is not the main object of our life but a means towards a higher goal. The purpose of man's life is 'service to Allah' and nothing else. - Pearls of the Prophet (Islamic Outreach-ABIM)
This life is a preparation of what Allah has in store for us. The life of the Hereafter is eternal, and it is that which the believer should strive for. Hence let us not be deceived by the glamour and spendour around us. This life should never be wasted by merely seeking comfortable and rich life of worldly happiness (including having a lot of money at old age) because Allah tells us: "And surely the Hereafter is indeed better than this world."
In conclusion, 'have Allah SWT (and not material wealth including money) in your heart' especially during old age, 'insa-Allah' (God willing) you would be sound and save in this world and Hereafter!