Imam Al-Nawawi's Riyad-us-Saliheen
Chapter 12
Urging towards increasing Good Actions in later part of Life

Allah, the Exalted, says:

"Did We not give you lives long enough, so that whosoever would receive admonition, - could receive it? And the warner came to you.'' (35:37)

Ibn `Abbas and others said that "long enough'' in the Verse means sixty years. The Hadith which follows supports this. Others said it means eighteen years; Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Al-Kalbi and Masruq said it means forty years, it has also been reported by Ibn Abbas and others that whenever the people of Al-Madinah turned forty years of age, they would devote themselves completely to worship. "Long enough'' in the Verse has also been interpreted to mean the age of puberty. Ibn `Abbas and the majority of Muslim scholars said that the "warner'' in the Verse refers to the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam). `Ikrimah bin `Umaiyyah and others interpreted this word as the grayness or whiteness of hair". Allah knows better.

112.  Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "Allah excuses and grants forgiveness to a person until he attains the age of sixty years".
[Al-Bukhari].

Commentary:
1. This Hadith makes it evident that Allah does not punish any individual or nation without warning them first.

2.  The second point is that a person who is given sixty years of life and yet he neglects the obligations of Faith, will have no excuse.

3.  After the age of sixty years, one must not neglect his religious obligations because then one is closer to death. Although one may die even at a young age, in youth one is still hopeful of life. After crossing the age of sixty, to hope for longer age, while leading a sinful life and defying Divine injunctions constitute a disastrous conduct. May Allah save us from doing so.

113. Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) said: `Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) used to make me sit with the noble elderly men who had participated in the battle of Badr. Some of them disliked it and said to `Umar: "Why do you bring in this boy to sit with us when we have sons like him?'' `Umar replied: "Because of the status he has, which you already know about (i.e., belongs to the source of knowledge and the house of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam)).'' One day, `Umar called me and seated me in the gathering of those people; and I think that he called me just to show them (of my religious knowledge). `Umar then questioned them (in my presence). "How do you interpret the ayah of Allah: `When there comes the Help of Allah (to you, O Muhammad (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) against your enemies) and the Conquest (of Makkah).''' Someone said that when Allah's Help and the Conquest (of Makkah) came to us, we were called upon to celebrate the Praise of Allah and ask for His forgiveness. Some others remained silent and did not utter a word. Thereupon `Umar asked me: "Ibn `Abbas! Do you say the same.'' I replied: "No". He said: "What do you say then?'' I replied: "That is the sign of the Prophet's death about which he had been informed. Allah, the Exalted, says:

'When there comes the help of Allah (to you, O Muhammad (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) against your enemies) and the Conquest (of Makkah)'.

So declare the remoteness of your Rubb from every imperfection, and ask for His forgiveness. Verily, He is the One Who accepts the repentance and Who forgives".

On that `Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) said: "I do not know anything about it other than what you have said".
[Al-Bukhari]

Commentary:
1. This value of man does not go with the length of age but with that of intellect, intelligence, knowledge and consciousness. For this reason, a young boy can have precedence and preference over the elders due to his clear understanding and vast knowledge.

2. When a person gets closer to death, he must devote himself more and more to the praise and glorification of Allah and beg pardon from Him.

114.  ' Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) said: After the revelation of (the Surah) "When the Help of Allah comes (to you, O Muhammad (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) against your enemies) and the Conquest (of Makkah)'' (110:1), Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) used to recite in every prayer: "Subhanaka Rabbana wa bihamdika, Allahum-maghfir li (Far removed You are from every imperfection, our Rubb, and all praise is for You, forgive me, O Allah)".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Another narration is: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) recited frequently in bowing and prostration: "Subhanaka Rabbana wa bihamdika, Allahum-maghfir li. (Far removed You are from every imperfection, our Rubb, and all praise is for You, forgive me, O Allah)". He elucidated that it has been commanded in the Noble Qur'an to recite: "So glorify the Praises of your Rubb, and ask for His forgiveness. Verily, He is the One Who accepts the repentance and Who forgives". (V.110:1) And he (the Messenger of Allah) acted upon it.

According to the narration in Muslim, Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) frequently recited these words just before he passed away: "Subhanaka Rabbana wa bihamdika. Astaghfiruka wa atubu ilaika.'' I (`Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) asked him: "O Messenger of Allah! What are these new words which I hear from you repeatedly.'' He replied, "A sign has been appointed for me relating to my people that I should repeat these words at the sight of that sign". Then he recited Surat An-Nasr.

Another narration in Muslim related from `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) is: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) often recited, "Glory be to Allah and praise be to Him; I seek forgiveness of Allah and turn to Him in repentance.'' I said to him: "O Messenger of Allah, I hear you recite frequently: `O Allah, You are free from every imperfection our Rubb and all praise is for You; I seek forgiveness of Allah and turn to Him in repentance.''' He replied, "My Rubb has informed me that I would soon see a sign regarding my people, whenever I see it, I repeat this statement more often (of His Glorification and Praise and beg pardon of Him and turn to Him). Now I have witnessed the sign. The revelation of Surat An-Nasr and the victory is the conquest of Makkah.''

"When there comes the Help of Allah (to you, O Muhammad (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) against your enemies) and the Conquest (of Makkah). And you see that the people enter Allah's religion (Islam) in crowds. So glorify the Praises of your Rubb, and ask His forgiveness. Verily, He is the One Who accepts the repentance and Who forgives.'' (110:1-3)

Commentary:
1. Acceptance and approval of reciting the words `Subhanaka Rabbana wa bihamdika, Allahum-maghfirli' in Ruku
` and Sujud respectively, instead of the words `Subhana Rabbiyal-Azim' and `Subhana Rabbiyal-A`la'.

2.  One must express his gratitude to Allah whenever he receives a blessing from Him.

115.  Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) said: Allah the Rubb of honour and glory sent Revelation to His Messenger (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) more frequently before his death than at any other time.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:  During the last days of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) the abundance of Wahy (Revelation) was an indication that he was about to leave this world.

116.  Jabir (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "Every one will be raised in the condition in which he dies".
[Muslim].

Commentary:  This Hadith has a meaning similar to the one quoted at another place which signifies that if a person dies performing good deeds, he will have a good end; and the one who dies in misdeeds, he will come to a bad end. It is, therefore, necessary that one should always avoid disobedience of Divine injunctions, especially in old age and illness because one may fall in the clutches of death at any time .