Pay Attention to this, Especially if You Have Reached The Age of Forty

Allaah (The Most High) said:

وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ إِحْسَانًا ۖ حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ كُرْهًا وَوَضَعَتْهُ كُرْهًا ۖ وَحَمْلُهُ وَفِصَالُهُ ثَلَاثُونَ شَهْرًا ۚ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا بَلَغَ أَشُدَّهُ وَبَلَغَ أَرْبَعِينَ سَنَةً قَالَ رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِي أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيَّ وَعَلَىٰ وَالِدَيَّ وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَالِحًا تَرْضَاهُ وَأَصْلِحْ لِي فِي ذُرِّيَّتِي ۖ إِنِّي تُبْتُ إِلَيْكَ وَإِنِّي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

”And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful and kind to his parents. His mother bears him with hardship and she brings him forth with hardship, and the bearing of him, and the weaning of him is thirty (30) months, till when he attains full strength and reaches forty years, he says: “My Lord! Grant me the power and ability that I may be grateful for Your Favour which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds, such as please You, and make my off-spring good. Truly, I have turned to You in repentance, and truly, I am one of the Muslims (submitting to Your Will).” [46:15]

This is part of Allaah’s kindness to His slaves and also that parents deserve to be thanked, so Allaah commanded the off-spring to be dutiful and kind to their two parents- (to speak to them) with kind words; soft speech; spend on them and by other ways of kind treatment. Then Allaah (The Most High) stated the reason (behind this command) and mentioned what the mother endured due to her child and the severe difficulties she faced during pregnancy; then (after this period of pregnancy came) the great difficulty of child birth; the difficulty of breast feeding and baby-sitting.  These (difficulties) are not just for a short period—an hour or two—rather its time period is lengthy [ثَلَاثُونَ شَهْرًا- Thirty months]. And in most cases the period of pregnancy is nine months or (a bit less or more), then breast feeding during the remaining months (after child birth).

Then Allaah said: [حَتَّىٰ إِذَا بَلَغَ أَشُدَّهُ وَبَلَغَ أَرْبَعِينَ سَنَةً – Till when he (i.e. the person) attains full strength and reaches forty years]- the period in which he leaves his youth and attains complete (discernment, maturity etc.); [وَبَلَغَ أَرْبَعِينَ سَنَةً قَالَ رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِي – And reaches forty years, he says: My Lord! Grant me the power and ability], meaning: Grant me the ability (through speech and deeds); [أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيَّ وَعَلَىٰ وَالِدَيَّ – that I may be grateful for Your Favour which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents], meaning: (To be grateful due to) the blessings of Islaam and the things You have given me in the worldly life; and to be grateful to (You O Allaah) for (granting me the ability to utilise these worldly blessings) in acts of obedience to You, for You are the One Who guided (me) towards them and the One Who preserve them. Therefore, a person should acknowledge the favours of Allaah, (declare his) inability to thank Allaah the way Allaah deserves and praises Allaah (The Most High) for such favours.

Likewise, the blessings that are bestowed upon the parents are blessings for their offspring because their children will receive some of those blessings (through their parents), especially the blessing of the Religion of Islaam, for indeed the righteousness of parents – through knowledge and deeds- is the greatest means for the offspring to be righteous.

Then Allaah said (i.e. that this person who has reached the age of forty says) [وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَالِحًا تَرْضَاهُ – And that I may do righteous good deeds, such as please You]; so that such deeds are based on everything that will make them upright and safe from corruption. This is the deed Allaah is pleased with.

Then Allaah said (i.e. that this person who has reached the age of forty says): [وَأَصْلِحْ لِي فِي ذُرِّيَّتِي – And make my off-spring good], meaning: (Just) as I ask for goodness for myself, I also ask Allaah to make the affairs of my off-spring good.  [إِنِّي تُبْتُ إِلَيْكَ – Truly, I have turned to You (Allaah) in repentance] from sins and disobedience, and I return to obeying You; [وَإِنِّي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ – And truly, I am one of the Muslims (submitting to Your Will)] [Ref 1]

Imaam Ash-Shawkaani (rahimahullaah) said:

وفي هذه الآية دليل على أنه ينبغي لمن بلغ عمره أربعين سنة أن يستكثر من هذه الدعوات

And in this Ayah is evidence that indeed it is befitting for the one who has reached the age of forty to increase in making these supplications.

رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِي أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيَّ وَعَلَىٰ وَالِدَيَّ وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَالِحًا تَرْضَاهُ وَأَصْلِحْ لِي فِي ذُرِّيَّتِي ۖ إِنِّي تُبْتُ إِلَيْكَ وَإِنِّي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

My Lord! Grant me the power and ability that I may be grateful for Your Favour which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds, such as please You, and make my off-spring good. Truly, I have turned to You in repentance, and truly, I am one of the Muslims (submitting to Your Will).” [Ref 2]


[Ref 1: Abridged and slightly paraphrased. Source: for further details, see: ‘Tayseer Ar-Kareem Ar-Rahmaan Fee Tafseer Kalaam Al-Mannaan’ of Imaam Sadi (rahimahullaah)]

Ref 2: Source: Fat’hul Qadeer 5/22

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The Quran and Sunnah Upon The Understanding of The Salaf