THE RETIREMENT: Taking care of old age people in Islam
The old man, a Christian by religion, had worked all his life; but had not been able to save anything for his old age. Lately he had also become blind. Old age, poverty and blindness had joined hands and he had no other way except begging. He used to stand at the corner of a lane for begging. People had compassion for him and gave him some alms from which he ate every day, and so he continued his sad life.
One day Ameer-ul-Momineen (Commander of the Faithful) Imam Ali (A.S.), passed through the lane and saw the beggar in that condition. Imam Ali (A.S.), out of his concern for others, enquired about the old man. He wanted to know the factors which led him to that condition. "Has he no son to support him? Or, is there no other way for him to live a respectable life in his old age?"
The people who knew the old man came forward and informed Imam Ali (A.S.) that he was a Christian and had worked hard so long as he had his eyes, and when young and strong. Now that he had lost his youth as well as his eyes, he was unable to do any work; also he had no savings, so it was natural for him to beg. Imam Ali (A.S.) said, "Strange! Till he had strength, you extracted work from him and now you have left him on his own?"
His story shows that he had worked when he had the strength. Therefore, it is the duty of the Government and the society to support him till he is alive. "Go, and give him a life-pension from the State-treasury."