In This Civilization of Old-age Homes… Qassim, Saudi Arabia, Strange but true, in this civilization of old age

homes, two brothers fighting over custody of their poor, aged and invalid mother? It looks strange but it is true. This case which was recently decided by a religious court of Qassim in Saudi Arabia is true and unique in the court history of Saudi Arabia. Cases where parents complain about ill treatment received at the hands of children, parents abandoning their children, people devouring inheritance of orphans , disputes between relatives over inheritance and cases of domestic violence are common in family courts of every country and Saudi Arabian courts are no exceptions to this. But recently a case of totally different nature was brought before it and when the decision went against one party, he started weeping bitterly in the court. Tears which drenched his short beard brought tears in the eyes of all present in the courtroom including the judge who ruled against him. Since then, this case has been widely reported by all major newspapers of Saudi Arabia and by imams during Friday sermons. The case relates to one named Heizan Al Faheidi al Harbi, who resides in a small village names Asiah, Approx. 90 KM from Buraidah, capital of Qaseem region of Saudi Arabia. Heizan is the eldest son of his mother and he was living with his mother devoting most of his time in the care and service of his poor, old and invalid mother. She has no worldly belongings, so there is no monetary advantage or inheritance issue at stake. Everything was going normally when a few months ago, his younger brother who lives in another nearby village came and asked that he wants to take his mother with him. Heizan firmly denied this request, saying that he is fully capable of taking care of her mother and his mother has never complained against him. When arguments got hotter, younger brother lodged complaint with the religious court of Qassim against his brother. The judge was at a loss as to how to decide this strange case, he kept on postponing hearing of the case, hoping that they would settle the dispute between themselves.

However when there was no sign of any settlement, he asked them to produce their mother in the court as the judge wants to hear her preferences. The frail and invalid mother was presented to court in a wooden carton and when judge asked her, as to which of her two sons, she wants to live with? The mother replied in her weak voice and broken Arabic, that “My two sons are like my two eyes, how I can decide which one is dearer to me?” The judge was perplexed now….but seeing the better economic condition of younger brother, he decided the case in his favor, hoping that mother will be better looked after in that house. On hearing this judgment, the elder brother went into hysteria and wept in such a way as to affect all those who were present in the court room. He was weeping because he was denied the good fortune of serving and looking after the needs of his mother. A deed which would earn him a place in Paradise as Prophet Mohammad (peace be on him) said “Paradise is under the feet of your mother”. Don’t you think that this is a strange case, in our civilized society filled with Old Age Homes, where children think that they have done more than enough for their parents if they sent them flowers on Father’s day or Mother’s day or visit them once or twice a year? Who is more civilized? The people in suits and ties, driving latest cars or the poor and old man living happily in a remote village and serving his mother? You be the judge!!

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