بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
News & Comment
Without Islamic Values, the Older Generation are no more than Useless Products to be Thrown Away
On the 22 of January 2020, the BBC reported on an anthropological study of how old people are treated in different countries. The practice of killing the elderly in an area known as Aché in Paraguay, South America and other regions of the globe were exposed. Designated persons who have this as their role in the tribe customarily do killing the elderly. The people in that community decide it when someone becomes too old or infirm to be useful anymore, as a result they are deemed a burden on the community’s resources. In Ache, elderly women were traditionally axed to death and old men expelled to never return.
This inhumane treatment of the old and weak cannot be seen to be a unique phenomenon confined to isolated tribe far from civilization. The fact that millions of elderly are expelled from family homes and left to die in elderly institutions is a common practice in the West. Discussions about legalized euthanasia are also entertained by various democratic governments. All of these horrific measures are considered normal and are justified based on the rights of the others to live their own best quality of life. The idea that someone is no longer useful or are a burden to the family if they are old is a Capitalistic way of evaluating something. When a car is old, you upgrade or scrap it, when a woman loses her looks, she is not desirable and men upgrade their partners. This low grade, animalistic practice is commonplace globally and companies make billions of dollars helping with the need to “get rid” of the problem of looking after older people. In Islam, the elderly are more respected and they have immense respect and greater rights than the younger adults do. Their effort to look after and raise the previous generation is highly praised and recognized as a great achievement. Allah (swt) makes the abuse of the elderly or their neglect a categorical social crime as in mentioned in Surah Al-Isra;
[وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا إِمَّا يَبْلُغَنَّ عِندَكَ الْكِبَرَ أَحَدُهُمَا أَوْ كِلاَهُمَا فَلاَ تَقُل لَّهُمَآ أُفٍّ وَلاَ تَنْهَرْهُمَا وَقُل لَّهُمَا قَوْلاً كَرِيمًا]
“... and that you be kind to parents. Where one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor.” [17:23]
From this and many other evidences including the Prophet’s (saw) sayings, we can understand without any doubt that the older generation cannot be tossed to the rubbish heap in their time of need. Furthermore the sanctity of life means that concepts such as legalized murder via euthanasia would be unimaginable. The individualistic and selfish aspect of material benefit over morals is a feature of both these barbaric tribes and modern democratic nations that put money before humanity as well as the secular systems running the world. With the return of the Khilafah, the older generation can live out their lives in the best of care that would be granted as a human right. Children who fail their parents out of laziness or brutality will be held to account and punished. It is these high values that the world needs to be a safer and more tranquil place for all.
Written for the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir by