Today, while visiting people for Eid, we went to neighbors of my grandmother’s. There on the bed, supported by pillows and her head lolling on one side, sat the aunty who we once knew to be quite active and cheerful. Bedridden for ten years, she had a dark shadow on her face. She looked at us as if she was seeing someone distant and hardly spoke while we sat there. Her family told us that she scarcely says or eats anything now. How would she eat with her food devoid of salt (on account of blood pressure) and sugar (on account of diabetes)?
My mind went back a few years and I remembered the time when I was a little child and when the world’s greatest superheroes are one’s parents and grandparents. They’re big and they can do everything. I remember that aunty chatting merrily with my grandmother over the terrace wall, sending us dishes of food, greeting us on Eid with delicacies. But what was her Eid like today? How would it feel to be dependent on others for things as little as having to sit up or turn your head on the pillow? The only thing she said clearly was when my mother bade her goodbye, she took her hand and said, ‘I don’t feel well’…
We all have someone ill, weak or old in our family or acquaintances. Yet do they serve as a reminder to us that we’re heading the same way? In our youth and health, we think we’re the masters of our life, but are we? Can anyone stop this ageing and weakening process? Or reverse it? Do we have any power over ourselves? What guarantee do we have that we’re going to live or be young and cool and healthy forever?
Allah says in the Quran,
“O People, if you should be in doubt about the Resurrection, then [consider that] indeed, We created you from dust, then from a sperm-drop, then from a clinging clot, and then from a lump of flesh, formed and unformed – that We may show you. And We settle in the wombs whom We will for a specified term, then We bring you out as a child, and then [We develop you] that you may reach your [time of] maturity. And among you is he who is taken in [early] death, and among you is he who is returned to the most decrepit [old] age so that he knows, after [once having] knowledge, nothing…” [Al-Hajj 5]
Allah shows us these signs yet we’re heedless of them. We think we’re here forever. The time to act is definitely now. Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alaihi wassalam said, “Take benefit of five before five: your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you are preoccupied, and your life before your death”. (Narrated by Ibn Abbas and reported by Al Hakim)
May Allah give us the taufeeq to make best use of our time and to engage ourselves productively and may He have mercy on all old, weak and ill people, ease their difficulties and give them the best in both worlds.
We should try to take care of such people, visit them, help ease their pain and depression and supplicate for them. After all, we face the same some day!
“and mankind was created weak.”