The Character of Elderly Men

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No matter what kind of character he adopts, when he becomes older, a man in an ignorant society settles into the standard set for him. But, before addressing this issue, we must first note one important point: The type of elderly man we will discuss in this section reflect the corruption that results from living a life distant from the morality of religion. We will see the corruption brought about in a man’s character by not living a life pleasing to Allah, by refusing to think in his later years about the life of the Hereafter, and by being overly attached to this world.

Of course, there are degrees of these features found in one person or another, and the defective morality that we are about to discuss may be evidenced only partly by some individuals and more entirely by others. Essentially, what is important for our topic is the moral degeneracy caused by being distant to the morality of the Qur’an.

Once a woman in an ignorant society will have married off her children, and acquired grandchildren, she will take on the character of an old woman. Also, when men retire or become too old to work, they will tend to stay at home. Even those men who feel physically and spiritually fit are influenced by the rest of the society to think that they must behave as older men do. Their wives have grown old, as have all their friends. Acquaintances have retired and behave as old men. Their children are married, and then grow farther and farther apart from their parents, because they have to deal with their own problems.

Such individuals often pass their days watching television or napping. For a housewife, of course, such behavior is merely a continuation of much of what she had been used to. Their grumbling and irrationality increase steadily. Although both husband and wife live together under the same conditions, the responsibilities for looking after the house still fall to the woman, which makes her behavior even more contrary. Because the men now have nothing to do, they become bored sitting in the house all day with nothing to occupy themselves.

They do the same things every day, their lives becoming dreadfully monotonous. They hope for their children to break this monotony who are immersed in their own lives. Occasionally, they visit their children on week-ends, but only stay for a few hours, which is not enough to rescue them from the tedium of their lives.

Sometimes, they visit friends, among whom the topic of conversation is usually limited to their children and their illnesses. They talk about the doctors they go to, the new treatments they are receiving and the medicines they take; and they give one another advice about health matters.

In spite of all the weakness and helplessness they encounter because of growing old, they maintain the kind of character and expectations that a society of ignorance has imposed on them and not ponder upon the Hereafter. They have lived in an ignorant society for years, and they see clearly that there is nothing to be gained, and no happiness to be had from it. The fact that they are still firmly attached to the world, even when death is so close, is a typical feature of the character of an elderly person who lives in a society removed from the morality of religion.

Also, these individuals are living in such an error that will cause them great harm. What they must do is turn to Allah, the Creator of all that exists. They may not have done this at an earlier age, but from the moment they realize that they will be called to account before Allah, and that their death is near approaching, they must advance awareness, and try to gain Allah’s pleasure by repenting of their past lives. The lives they have lived until then, apart from the morality of the Qur’an, their anxieties, illnesses and other problems, must become the means for them to take heed.

In general, however, in the kind of ignorant society we have been describing, the aged do not do so; on the contrary, they become more rebellious, and act as if they did not understand what was being said. Now, we will summarize the main features of the character of an older person.

2012-01-21 02:06:19
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