In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
Kaf. Ha. Ya. ‘Ain. Sad. * [This is] a recital of the mercy of your Sustainer to His servant Zakariya. * Behold! he cried to His Sustainer in secret, * Praying: “O my Sustainer! Infirm indeed are my bones, and the hair of my head glistens with grey; but I am never unblest, O my Sustainer, in my prayer to you.”(19:1-4)
Respected elderly brothers and sisters who have reached maturity! Like you, I am elderly. I am going to write the ‘hopes’ I have found in my old age and some of the things that have befallen me, out of the desire to share with you the lights of consolation they contain. Of course the lights I have seen and the doors of hope I have encountered have been seen and opened in accordance with my defective and confused abilities. God willing, your pure, sincere dispositions will make those lights shine more brightly and strengthen the hopes I have found.
Thus, the spring, source and fount of the following hopes and lights is belief in God.
One day as I was entering upon old age, in the autumn at the time of the afternoon prayer, I was gazing on the world from a high mountain. Suddenly I was overwhelmed by a plaintive, sorrowful and in one respect dark state of mind. I saw that I had become old. The day too had grown old, and so had the year; so too had the world become old. As the time of departure from the world and separation from those I loved was drawing close within these instances of old age, my own old age shook me severely. Suddenly divine mercy unfolded in such a way that it transformed that plaintive sadness and separation into a powerful hope and shining light of solace. Yes, you who are elderly like myself! The All-Compassionate Creator presents himself to us in a hundred places in the All-Wise Qur’an as the Most Merciful of the Merciful, and always sends His mercy to the assistance of living creatures on the face of the earth who seek it, and every year fills the spring with innumerable bounties and gifts from the Unseen, sending them to us who are needy for sustenance, and manifests His mercy in greater abundance relatively to our weakness and impotence. For us in our old age, therefore, His mercy is our greatest hope and most powerful light. It may be obtained by forming a relation with the Most Merciful One through belief, and performing the five daily prayers, by being obedient to Him.