Looking after parents in their old age

Asalaam Alaikum/Hi all
There is a lady I know through work who I really feel sorry for and it has prompted this blog post. Some of you may not agree with some of the comments that are about to follow, but they are my opinion and everyone is entitled to an opinion are they not?
This lady’s benefits are a complete and utter mess. She is originally from Pakistan and her spoken English is very bad. Yes I know some of you will be thinking that if she is in the country she should have learnt how to speak English. However, this lady does not have much of an education as it is so how on earth is she going to learn a new language at her age?? It is easy for us to sit here and say well it is their fault for not learning English. No offence but how many British born people cannot read/write and their English is beyond understandable with all the slang that seems to have cropped up. My mind boggles sometimes when I read comments on facebook and twitter and I sit there trying to decipher the meaning. (Or is that my old age showing?)
Anyway, this lady was widowed at a relatively young age and since then she has been struggling to manage and was almost evicted from her home.
I have managed to sort out her benefit problems for now but my heart went out to her when she complained about her 3 sons. One is currently in custody for assaulting someone and she is very stressed about it; stressed about a son who appears not to care for her. At the end of the day, no matter what, he is her son.
She has got into this mess as her sons did not assist her. She says that they are aggressive to her and she was in tears because she has had hospital appointments to check her health as she gets chest pains and all 3 have refused to take her.
This led me to think generally about looking after our parents in their old age. A lot of people will look down on the Pakistani community. I have seen many a blog post against them and have seen people make ignorant comments on forums. One thing I will say in favour of the Pakistani is the fact that they (or rather used to) ensure the elderly were cared for. There was never this nonsense of sending them to old peoples homes. They took the opinion that they cared for us as babies so it is our responsibility to care for them in their old age.
Unfortunately things are changing and old peoples homes are common there now too. In Pakistani culture the sons look after their parents which means their wives do. Nowadays there is a lot of  ‘This is not Islam, this is culture’ or ‘where in Islam does it say that I have to look after your parents?’ Or ‘In Islam I have the right to have my own home’.
So what if it doesn’t say specifically in the Quran that you have to live with your parents in law and look after them? So what if it is classed as culture? It is not as though you are being asked to do something that goes against Islam, infact you are taught to look after your parents. You would cook and clean in your parents home so whats the difference in your in-laws home?
I have the utmost respect for my mother in law. She hasn’t spoken to her husband since my hubby was born. However she looked after HER mother in law as if she was her own mother right up until her death which was only 2 years ago. Cleaning her when she couldn’t go to the toilet. Hand washing her soiled clothes and never complaining about it. May Allah subhana wa taala reward her greatly for it. Ameen.
I currently do not live with my mother in law so you may think it is easy for me to say this. But if tomorrow I got a phone call to say she is not coping then I will do everything in my power to get her to the UK to look after her. If that was not possible I would move to Pakistan to look after her. After all she is my husbands mother and as a result MY mother. I would never dream of letting my own mother suffer and struggle when I could help her so why would I let my husbands mother suffer?

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  • I agree.
    I always wonder how do we want the world to care for us and people to care for each others, when inside our families, this simple act is missing.

    Even if in western countries it is common to put your parents in special need care houses, in other countries it might be different.
    For my husband who is Egyptian, it is impossible to imagine. He would move to France if my parents where in need, as I know I would leave for Egypt to look after my mother-in-law, if she could not be on her own any more. It seems natural but lots of people I know won't agree.

  • Exactly, it seems natural to do it. But I often see comments saying its all culture and they insist it is not their job to look after their in laws.

    As far as I am concerned, looking after my MIL and FIL is part of my job description as a wife. In my case it is more important as my husband is the only child.

  • Salam Alaikum

    I find these guys behaviour disgusting! SubhanAllah i'm speechless, this is so sad! I absolutely hate seeing/hearing elderly suffer like this..
    Regardless of what background you have, you have to look after your relatives, like they looked after you when you grew up. Even in my culture it has only become recent that you put your elders in nursing homes, but that's only when they are ill and need constant supervision end medical help.
    My mother in law is like my mum and i would do anything for her, just like my own mum..