UAE Friday sermon: lessons to learn from the elderly

Young people have much to learn from the wisdom and experiences of senior citizens, the sermon will tell worshippers

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“Blessing comes with your elders,” Prophet Mohammed once said. On Friday, worshippers will be told that older people are attributed with a special status in Islam and the Quran often reminds Muslims to treasure and respect them.

Young people have much to learn from the wisdom and experiences of senior citizens. They are seniors in status and in their giving towards others, the sermon will say.

Islamic history is filled with examples of influential and important figures who contributed greatly to humanity and continued to give until the end of their lives.

Prophet Noah is one such example.

He is said to have lived for “a thousand minus fifty years.” (Al Ankaboot: 414). After such a long life of giving, God told Noah to build a ship and “put into the ship from each creature, two mates.” (Al Muminoon: 27).

Upon receiving his commands from Allah, Noah loaded the ship with animals so that life would continue after the world was flooded.

Despite his old age, Noah is said to have sailed the ship through raging waves. His feat was described as sailing though the waves “like mountains.” (Hood: 42). With this act, Prophet Noah set an example on diligence and hard work.

Another example is Prophet Ibrahim, known as the Father of the Prophets because from him descended all the prophets who came later, including Prophet Mohammed. The angels told Ibrahim that he would be blessed with a child, though he had grown old. He would go on to build Al Bait Al Haram, “the first House [of worship] established for mankind” (Al Hijr: 54) in Makkah with the help of his son.

Prophet Mohammed is another clear example but as are his companions. At the age of 60, Abu Bakr As-Siddique united his people and restored safety and stability to his homeland. He also helped compile the Quran.

The roster of great figures in the history of Islam is not limited to men.

There were many women who made immense contributions to humanity, the sermon will say. Zainab Bint Yahia, a scholar, was said to be pious, kind and had a love for narration. Many hadith were read to her on her last day, when she was about 90.

Shahda Bint Abu Nasr, a notable Fiqh (jurisprudence) writer continued to seek knowledge and write books until she reached the age of 90.

Prophet Mohammed said, “It is part of reverence to Allah to show respect to a grey-haired Muslim.” And when asked who among people was the best, he replied: “He whose life is long and his deeds are good.”

The sermon will invoke worshippers to pray to God that they will be among those who show reverence to their elders, draw from their lessons and benefit from their wisdom.