Increased Life Expectancy

 

At that time... life spans will grow longer.
(Ibn Hajar Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar
fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar, p. 43)

 

Fourteen centuries have passed since the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) said these words. Records clearly show that the average life expectancy is now the highest in history. There was already a great difference between the beginning and the end of the twentieth century. For example, a person born in 1995 can expect to live more than 35 years longer than a person born in 1900.41 Another striking example is that in the past, people rarely lived for a 100 years; today, many people reach that age.

According to the United Nations Department of National Population, over the past few years the world's population has continued on its remarkable transition from high birth and death rates to one of low birth and death rates. As a result, we have seen an increased number and proportion of older people. Such a rapid, large, and pervasive increase is unique to our own time.42

(1) The Way to Youth Opens (Radikal, May 13, 2000)
(2) The Life of Human Beings Will Extend a 100 years (Milliyet, July 21, 2003)
(3) Can Human Beings Live until 500 years old? (Vatan, July 23, 2003)
(4) The Pill that Extends the Life 15 Years (Takvim, August 4, 2003)
(5) Our Life will Become Longer - WOULD YOU LIKE TO LIVE FOR 200 YEARS? (Hurriyet, April 15, 2003)

One cause for this increase in life expectancy has been the development of health services due to the advance of medical technology. In addition, developments in genetics and the rapidly advancing Human Genome Project are on the verge of ushering in a totally new era in the field of health. No one living in the past could have imagined such profound advances. Based on all of these developments, we can say that people living in our time have reached the long and healthy life described in the above hadith. And, this standard apparently will rise even higher in the near future.

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41. "Aging," M. Encarta Encyclopedia 2000.
42. United Nations Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, "The Ageing of the World's Population," 2000. Online at: www.un.org/esa/socdev/ageing/ agewpop.htm.

 

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