The age of helplessness
And Allah created you, and will then remove your souls. And amongst you is the one who is turned towards the worst part of age (i.e. old age); that he does not know (remember) after having had knowledge. Indeed Allah knows everything, He is Able to do all things. [Kanz-ul-Iman (Translation of Quran)} (Part 14, An-Nahl, Ayah 70)
There is no specific age for this condition . It is evident from
historical data that some people reach this age of helplessness at the age of about sixty years and some people do not even reach this state in the age of hundred years. In this context, there is saying of Imam Qatadah that at the age of ninety, all of the body organs and wisdom become defective to perform normal and do not remain able to earn or perform Hajj, Jihad etc. This age and its miseries are such that a person should seek refuge with Allah . It has been mentioned in Hadees that the Beloved and Blessed Rasool used to supplicate in the court of Allah for deliverance from seven things in this manner:
O Allah ! I seek Your refuge from miserliness, idleness, the age of helplessness, torment of grave, turmoil ofDajjaal, turmoil of life and death.
(Sahih Bukhari, vol. 3, pp. 257, Hadees 4707; with some minor changes)
Therefore, it is narrated that the famous saint and authentic Islamic scholar, Muhammad Bin ‘Ali Waasiti used to supplicate specially for his own self that:
Translation: 0 Allah ! Do not let me live to an age when I become burden for any one. Help me before the time when I have to ask the people for help whilst getting up.
It is mentioned in a Hadees and some people have mentioned it as the statement of Sayyiduna ‘Ikramah that: ‘The one who keeps reciting the Glorious Quran will not reach to the age of helplessness. Similarly, the one who keeps contemplating in the Holy Quran and practising according to Quranic injunctions will also be saved from the age of helplessness.
(I’afseer Ruh-ul-Bayan, vol. 5, pp. 54-55, summarized; part 14, Surah An-Nahl, Ayah 70)
Life or death, less age or more age, are all under the power and control of Allah . Whomsoever He wishes to bless with a less age, He grants him a less age; and whomsoever He wishes to bless with a long age, He grants him a long age. No human being can have any sort of interference in this regard. Human beings should always be grateful and patient upon the will of Allah . However, one should keep supplicating that may Allah give me the ability to spend my life in righteous deeds
and save me from all sorts of sins because there is no greater reward than having a short span of life and spending it in righteous deeds.
On the contrary, having a long life span but not spending it in righteous deeds, then that long life is a big loss. However, one should not disrespect the old people. On the contrary, one should always treat them courteously because it is mentioned in a Hadees that a person complained about his poverty and starvation in the court of the Holy Rasool .
In reply, the Beloved Rasool said: i.e.
perhaps you walked ahead of some old man. This affliction is due to that.
(Tafseer Ruh-ul-Bayan, vol. 5, pp. 86; part 14, Surah An-Nahl, Ayah 70)