Under the patronage and in the presence of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Maktoum Bin Juma Al Maktoum, the Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities in Dubai recently organized a forum for the elderly in collaboration with the HCT Dubai Women’s College, the Society Development Authority, the Elderly People’s Club, and the Manahel al-Kheir Centre.
The event marked the International Day of Older Persons and was held under the theme “We Owe them Respect”. It was part of a series of activities organized by the Department’s Global Islamic Culture Program and subtitled “My Religion Is my Identity”. The program featured various items focusing on the old people and their contribution to the family and society.
In his address on the occasion, H.H. Sheikh Al Maktoum highlighted Islam’s interest in caring and respect for the elderly. Moreover, he referred to the Prophet Mohammed’s saying: “The one who does not show compassion to the youngsters or doesn’t respect the old people does not belong to us (Muslims)”.
“This compassion and respect is not limited to the elderly Muslims. It extends to all people,” Sheikh Al Maktoum said. He held the family and society responsible for appreciating the older people’s role as enjoined by the Holy Quran and the Sunna (the Prophet Mohammed’s traditions).
Bassima Alyah, Coordinator of Students Affairs at Dubai Women’s College, said the College took great care to implant the pure human principles in its students’ characters, through voluntary social works and consolidation of the family relationships. “Thus, the Dubai Women’s College hosted the World Day for the Elderly under the title ‘We Owe them Respect,’” she added.
Dr. Omar Mohammad Al Khatib, Assistant Director General of the Islamic affairs & Charitable Activities Department said the department aims, by virtue of its action plan and directives of its Director General Dr. Hamad Bin Al Sheikh Ahmed, to disseminate the culture of reaching out to the elderly by frequently visiting them and promoting the values of holding them in high regard.
“Interdependence and cooperation are everyone’s responsibility. The Muslim family represents one whole interdependent social unit through children, neighbours, friends, relatives, etc,” he added.
H.E. Khaled Al Kamda, Director General of CDA, said that the Community Development Authority aims to create a robust society in which everyone lives together with dignity and pride, complementing Dubai’s strategic development vision. “Caring for the elderly is an integral part of our mission as the older generations represent our traditions and value systems that hold us together as a strong, cohesive society,” he pointed out.
The event was also addressed by Abdullah Abdel Jabar, the head of the religious guidance division at the department. In his address, he emphasized the importance of the forum in spreading the Islamic culture. Meanwhile, Sheikh Khaled Ismail, a preacher at the department, highlighted the religious aspect of the forum.
On the same occasion, the head of the Elderly People’s Club Ali Al Maheiry elaborated on the services offered by the club. The gathering also featured addresses by some members and residents of the club.
H.H. Sheikh Al Maktoum honoured the elderly guests and participating institutions. In addition, Mohammad Al Kamali, a senior coordinator at the Fatwa Division, organized cultural contests on the sidelines of the forum.