The Age of 40 in Islam

“Verily Allah, with Him (Alone) is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain, and know that which is in the wombs. No person knows what he will earn tomorrow, and no person knows in what land he will die. Verily, Allah is All-Knower, All-Aware.”

(Aayah No. 34, Surah Luqman, Chapter No. 31, Holy Qur’an).

The time and place of death of every human is appointed, no one knows about it except Allah. No one knows how many years he (she) is going to live.

Lifespan of this Ummah

The average age of this Ummah is sixty to seventy; have a look at following narration:

Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said, “The lifespan of my Ummah is from sixty to seventy (years).”

(Hadith No. 2331, Chapters on Zuhd, Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, Vol. 4).

According to following hadith, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) lived up to 63 years of age:

Narrated Aishah (RA): Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) died when he was sixty-three years of age.

(Hadith No. 4466, Book of Al-Maghazi, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 5).

Some narrations tell us that Abu Bakr (RA), Umar (RA) and Ali (RA) all died at the age of sixty to seventy.

The average lifespan is told to be 60-70, but some die at an age much younger than that, while some remain alive up to many years more than that. It is all up to Allah, only He knows how much lifespan He has appointed for whom.

Significance of reaching 40 years of age

40 years of age is a very important milestone in the life of a man (woman). Keeping in mind the average lifespan of sixty-seventy years, one who reaches 40 years of age completes about two-thirds of his (her) average lifespan; thereby meaning that he (she) enters into the last third of his (her) life.

Apart from achieving this percentage of lifespan, a man becomes strong (both mentally and physically), he reaches to a stage of maturity, and is able to understand and tackle the highs and lows of all spheres of the life in a reasonable and wise manner. We know that Allah started sending the revelations to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) when he reached 40.

Allah has emphasized this stage of human life very clearly in Qur’an. Please go through following verse of Holy Qur’an:

وَوَصَّيْنَا الإِنسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ إِحْسَاناً حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ كُرْهاً وَوَضَعَتْهُ كُرْهاً وَحَمْلُهُ وَفِصَالُهُ ثَلاثُونَ شَهْراً حَتَّى إِذَا بَلَغَ أَشُدَّهُ وَبَلَغَ أَرْبَعِينَ سَنَةً قَالَ رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِي أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ قَالَ رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِي أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيَّ وَعَلَى وَالِدَيَّ وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَالِحاً تَرْضَاهُ وَأَصْلِحْ لِي فِي ذُرِّيَّتِي إِنِّي تُبْتُ إِلَيْكَ وَإِنِّي مِنْ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

“And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful & 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 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.”

(Aayah No. 15, Surah Al-Ahqaf, Chapter No. 46, Holy Qur’an).

The verse above confirms that a man attains full strength at the age of 40. Moreover, this glorious verse tells about some of the responsibilities of a man when he reaches the age of forty.

The most important thing to be done when one reaches the age of forty is that he/she should make a re-assessment of his own personality, thank Allah for His favours and pray for parents & off-springs. The repentance to Allah should be renewed. One should recite the supplication mentioned in the verse above and abandon all his (her) wrong acts (if any) from that point onwards.

Thus, one should ask Allah to forgive all his/her previous sins and a renewed effort should be made by every individual to ensure that he/she leads his/her remaining life as per Qur’an and Sunnah.

This is a great responsibility for each of us. In fact, it is like a last opportunity for everyone to get his sins forgiven and start anew towards the ultimate goal of entering the Paradise. Do not be shocked when I say it is like a last opportunity. The verse that follows the above mentioned verse explains this statement:

أُوْلَئِكَ الَّذِينَ نَتَقَبَّلُ عَنْهُمْ أَحْسَنَ مَا عَمِلُوا وَنَتَجاوَزُ عَنْ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ فِي أَصْحَابِ الْجَنَّةِ وَعْدَ الصِّدْقِ الَّذِي كَانُوا يُوعَدُونَ

“They are those from whom We shall accept the best of their deeds and overlook their evil deeds. (They shall be) among the dwellers of Paradise – a promise of truth, which they have been promised.”

(Aayah No. 16, Surah Al-Ahqaf, Chapter No. 46, Holy Qur’an).

It is very clear from this verse that whoever is good with his/her parents, and whoever after reaching the age of 40 supplicates to Allah (as mentioned in Aayah No. 15 earlier), renews his repentance and make efforts to ensure that he leads a righteous life (as per Qur’an and Sunnah), then such are the only people from whom Allah accepts their repentance. Allah forgives the sins of such people and takes in to account only the good deeds of such people. And above all, Allah promises Paradise for such people.

Now give a thought to how important this milestone is. And at the same time those who have already crossed this age should ask themselves: did they act accordingly?

We should be thankful to Allah that he has given us an opportunity of forgiveness at this stage of our lives. Whoever ignores this and keeps himself busy in his usual wrong-doings then there is a chance that it might get too late for such a person, and he may reach a stage in his life where Allah will no longer accept his repentance. Inspiration should be drawn from following narration:

Narrated Abu Hurairah (RA): The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Allah will not accept the excuse of any person whose instant of death is delayed till he is sixty years of age.”

(Hadith No. 6419, Book of Ar-Riqaq, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 8).

Concluding remarks

Sadly, we all are living in false hopes; busy trying to fulfill our worldly ambitions. While doing so, we ignore our primary duties ordained by Allah. We forget that all these worldly plans at the cost of our duties as a Muslim (ordained by Allah) shall come to an abrupt end when death strikes. This is beautifully explained in following hadith as well:

Narrated Anas bin Malik (RA): The Prophet (PBUH) drew a few lines and said, “This is (man’s) hope, and this is the instant of his death, and while he is in this state (of hope), the nearer line (death) comes to him.”

(Hadith No. 6418, Book of Ar-Riqaq, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 8).

Then we shall move to a never ending world, the Hereafter, with our actions of this world to decide our fate: Heaven or Hell! May Allah keep all of us away from Hell!

But for that we need to act. So, whoever has reached the age of 40 should get his (her) act together and utilize this opportunity given by Allah. Those who shall be reaching that stage in days to come (Insha’Allah), be prepared.

And Allah knows best.

May Allah forgive me if I am wrong and guide us to the right path…Ameen.

سُبْحَانَ رَبِّكَ رَبِّ الْعِزَّةِ عَمَّا يَصِفُون َ ; وَسَلامٌ عَلَى الْمُرْسَلِينَ ; وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ.


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