SUN RISE AND SUNSET OF LIFE WITNESSED
(S. Ameenul Hasan )
Today I happened to witness two sides of human life ; one with vigor, love hope and expectations and the other side rendered with grief , gloom , hopelessness and a feeling of emptiness.
On my return from site visit , while crossing Primus Eden from Mantri developers on Kankapura road, thought to enter and see what it is ? I thought it would be a villa project. But that was not so. In our vocabulary, with a tinge of contempt, it was an “Old Age Home”. We have a tendency to look down at this with a negative connotation. My understanding of this issue is that sometimes we simplify the complex realities of life and arrive at conclusion by ignoring the other aspect of human life.
The high end and purely commercial venture to look after aged people too seems to be a need of a section of society. Really the campus and the services provided reminds the occupants of an “Eden” as for as human mind can perceive. Vast campus with beautiful landscape, lawns, patios, planters, water bodies, stream of water flowing over white and multi coloured pebbles and an ambience of composure. An atmosphere evoking a temperament of self possession. They call it a “luxury senior living”.
It was around 12 noon. It was time for recreation. In a well designed luxurious hall called as movie theatre, a DJ was singing with track running in back ground. This was to provide happiness, but melancholy was evident from elderly faces. They have many activities in a week to cater to the need of different likes of elderly people. Gym, swimming pool, clinic, billiards, walkways and a lot more. A library with books like Diabetes, Divorce, Heart health, Empty nest, Older & wiser, like mother like daughter, Cancer etc apt for the age group of inmates.
Rooms were of two types one was studio of 15 X 15 size , the other was suite of around 400sft, with finest upholstery and elegant crockeries.
Now hold on ! Don’t get shocked. It’s a contact for 10 years. You have to deposit 35 lakhs out of which 25 L is refundable. Apart from this, one has to cough out Rs 35, 000 per head per month towards meals, hospitality etc.
One may tend to ask the question that what is Islam’s stand point on this. At the outset let it be clear to us that we can’t dump our parents saying that not only they have become non productive but also a thorn in our happy family life with me, my wife and my kids. Absolutely this is ridiculous and utter thanklessness. But what if they want to lead a life of their own? If they want their independence with no encroachments from others? What if they are unattended? If they are lone? If they have persuaded their children and consented with them to climb high in carrier even if it means to go abroad ? I feel , in all above circumstances we need to respect their decision and go along with them. If you look at the below verses little deeply it would convey what I have understood
Surah Al-Isra, Verse 23:
وَقَضَىٰ رَبُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا إِمَّا يَبْلُغَنَّ عِندَكَ الْكِبَرَ أَحَدُهُمَا أَوْ كِلَاهُمَا فَلَا تَقُل لَّهُمَا أُفٍّ وَلَا تَنْهَرْهُمَا وَقُل لَّهُمَا قَوْلًا كَرِيمًا
And your Lord has commanded that you shall not serve (any) but Him, and goodness to your parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, say not to (so much as) “Ugh” nor chide them, and speak to them a generous word.
I have copied Shakir’s translation . Moududi RA translates ” If either or both of them live with you in their old age “. This translation provides a better understanding of the above verse. What really the verse conveys is that if they reach you and decide to stay with you , accept them and their decision. The corollary is evident that if they decide otherwise it’s their choice.
There is an indication that if both of your parents or one among them decide to live with you and come to your home , you are advised by Almighty not to consider them as burden and to respect their decision by being humble, soft , and be tender in your behaviour. If they want to enjoy their life you are not supposed to coerce them to be with you. Hence it matches with over all concept of “middle path “. That is neither you can drive them away nor force them to be with you. Ultimately their decision would prevail upon to lead a life if they prefer to be away from children .
The other side of the life story is that I went to pick up daughters from a “Nurturing skills” programme. Kids were asked to write a story, sing a song, deliver a public speech etc. Parents too were there. I saw happiness on their face, happiness knowing no bounds, a glow in their eyes, sparkling faces, a sense of pride that their beloved kid is coming up.
Their exclamation of “oh nice”, a woman asking her husband to video graph the speech of their son. To them a great feet their kid has achieved. Subconsciously parents feel about their kids as “support of old age” and “a hope for their hay days”.
Surah Al-Hadid, Verse 20:
اعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا لَعِبٌ وَلَهْوٌ وَزِينَةٌ وَتَفَاخُرٌ بَيْنَكُمْ وَتَكَاثُرٌ فِي الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَوْلَادِ ۖ كَمَثَلِ غَيْثٍ أَعْجَبَ الْكُفَّارَ نَبَاتُهُ ثُمَّ يَهِيجُ فَتَرَاهُ مُصْفَرًّا ثُمَّ يَكُونُ حُطَامًا ۖ وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانٌ ۚ وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَتَاعُ الْغُرُورِ
Know that this world’s life is only sport and play and gaiety and boasting among yourselves, and a vying in the multiplication of wealth and children, like the rain, whose causing the vegetation to grow, pleases the husbandmen, then it withers away so that you will see it become yellow, then it becomes dried up and broken down; and in the hereafter is a severe and (also) forgiveness from Allah and (His) pleasure; and this world’s life is naught but means of deception.
Let’s enjoy as it comes . When it’s time to give let’s give our children what best we can and be selfless. When it comes to receiving , do not expect anything from anyone except from Allah.