Sickness, Expiation of Sins:
There are many hadith which explain that sickness expiates evil deeds and wipes out sins. Of these, some are given below:
Abu Hurairah narrates that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "When Allah wants to be good to someone, He tries him with some hardship."
Abu Hurairah also reports that Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, said: "For every misfortune, illness, anxiety, grief, or hurt that afflicts a Muslim -even the hurt caused by the pricking of a thorn - Allah removes some of his sins." Ibn Mas'ud said: "I visited the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, while he had a fever. I exclaimed: 'O Messenger of Allah! You have a high fever! ' He said: 'My fever is as much as two among you [might have]. ' I asked: 'Is it because you have a double reward?' He replied: 'Yes, that is right. No Muslim is afflicted with any hurt, even if it is no more than the pricking of a thorn, but Allah wipes off his sins because of it and his sins fall away from him as leaves fall from a tree'."
Abu Hurairah said: "The Prophet, peace be upon him, remarked: 'The example of a believer is like a fresh tender plant; from whichever direction the wind blows, it bends the plant. But when the wind dies down, it straightens up again. (Similarly a believer is tested by afflictions to strengthen his faith and heart, and he remains patient and firm). And an evil person is like a pine tree which remains hard and stiff until Allah breaks it whenever He wills."
Patience During Illness:
Anyone suffering from an illness should remain patient, for there is no reward better or more enriching than that reserved for those who endure in patience.
Suhaib ibn Sinan narrated that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "How remarkable is the case of the believer! There is good for him in everything, but this is not the case for anyone except for the believer. When the believer receives any good, he is thankful to Allah, and gets a reward. And when some misfortune befalls him, he endures it patiently, for which he is (also) rewarded."
Anas narrates: "I heard the Prophet, peace be upon him, saying: 'Allah says: "When I afflict a servant of mine with respect to his two most beloved things (meaning his eyes), and he endures it patiently, I grant him paradise in return'."
'Ata ibn Rabah related that he heard Ibn 'Abbas say: "Shall I show you a woman of Paradise?"I said: "Yes, indeed." He said: "A black woman came to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and said: 'I suffer from epileptic fits, and because of these, (at times) my body becomes uncovered. Would you invoke Allah, the Exalted One, to cure me of this disease? ' The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: 'If you wish, you can be patient and you will attain Paradise (for this suffering). But if you prefer, I will pray to Allah, the Exalted, to cure you of it?' The woman said: 'I will be patient,' then added: 'I become uncovered (when I have fits), so invoke Allah for me that I do not become uncovered. ' So the Prophet, peace be upon him, prayed for her."
To Complain of One's Illness:
It is permitted for a patient to complain of his pain and illness to a physician or a friend, provided he does not do so to express his or her anger or impatience. It was mentioned earlier that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "My fever is as severe as that of any two of you." Once 'Aisha complained to the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, about her headache, lamenting: "O my head." He retorted: "Nay, rather (I should say) O my head!" Likewise it is reported that 'Abdullah ibn Al-Zubair asked his ailing mother, Asma bint Abi Bakr, "How are you feeling now?" She replied: "I am in pain."
A patient should thank and praise Allah, before talking about his distress and complaint Ibn Mas'ud said: "If one thanks Allah before complaining about his pain or disease, then it is not considered impatience. Indeed, to refer one's complaint to Allah, is quite lawful." Jacob (the prophet), said: "I complain of my distraction and anguish only to Allah." The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, himself prayed: "O Allah! to You I complain of my weakness."
A Sick Person is Rewarded for All the Good Deeds that He Would (usually) Perform in a State of Health:
Abu Musa al-Ash'ari reports that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "If a servant (of Allah) falls sick or goes on a journey, he (continues to be) rewarded for the good deeds that he used to do when he was healthy or at home."
Visiting the Sick:
It is Islamic etiquette to visit a sick Muslim, to provide him moral support, and to make sure that he or she is well taken care of.
Ibn 'Abbas said: "The first visit to a sick person is sunnah, while any subsequent visit is a voluntary act (a good deed)." Abu Musa reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Feed the hungry, visit the sick, and free the captives."
The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "A Muslim has six obligations to another Muslim." "What are these?" they asked. He replied: "To greet another Muslim when you meet him; to respond when he invites you; to give him your (sincerest) advice when he seeks it; to say 'may Allah have mercy upon you' when he sneezes and says ' may Allah be praised '; to visit him when he falls ill; and when he dies, to attend his funeral."
Reward for Visiting the Sick:
Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: "A caller from heaven calls out to the person who visits a sick person, 'You are good and your path is good. May you enter your residence in Paradise'."
Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: "Verily, Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, will say on the Day of Judgement: 'O Son of Adam! I fell ill, but you did not visit Me.' The human will ask, 'O my Sustainer! How could I visit You when You are the Sustainer of the Worlds? And how can You fall sick?' He, the Almighty, will say, 'Did you not know that such and such a servant of Mine was sick. But you did not visit him. Did you not know that, had you visited him, you would have found Me by his side? O Son of Adam! I asked you for food, but you fed Me not?' The man will say, 'O my Sustainer! How could I feed You when You are the Sustainer of the Worlds? And You are free from hunger?' He, the Almighty, will say: 'Such and such a servant of Mine asked you for food, but you refused to give him any. Did you not know that, had you fed him, you would have found it recorded here with Me? O Son of Adam! I asked you for a drink, but you did not give Me any.' The man will say, 'O my Sustainer! How could I give You a drink while You are the Sustainer of the Worlds and are free from thirst?' He, the Almighty will say, ' Such and such a servant of Mine asked you for a drink, but you did not give him any. Had you given him a drink, you would have surely found that recorded with Me."' Thawban reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Verily, when a Muslim visits his sick Muslim brother, he is, as it were, in one of the gardens of Paradise (enjoying its ripe fruits) until he returns to his home."
Ali said: "I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, saying: 'When a Muslim visits a sick Muslim in the morning, seventy thousand angels pray for him, and they continue praying for him until that evening. When one visits the sick in the evening, the angels pray for him and continue praying for him until the next morning. Moreover, he will be rewarded with the choicest fruits of Paradise."
Etiquette of Visiting the Sick:
It is recommended that the visitor pray for the recovery and health of the patient and that he should urge him to endure his trouble patiently. He should say nice words to cheer him up and keep his spirits high. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "When you visit a sick person, give him hope for a long life. This will not avert anything, but will please the patient and give him comfort." When the Prophet, peace be upon him, visited a sick person he used to say to him: "Do not worry! It is a means of cleansing (you) of sins, Allah willing."
It is preferred to shorten the visits and to make them less frequent as far as possible, lest they should become burdensome for the patient, except when the patient himself desires longer and more frequent visits.
Women Visiting (Sick) Men:
Bukhari reports: "Umm ad-Darda went to visit one of the Ansar who used to come to the mosque.'' It is narrated from 'Aishah that she said: "When the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, migrated to Madinah, both Abu Bakr and Bilal fell sick. So I went to see them, and I said: 'O dear father! How are you (now)?' And, 'O Bilal! How are you now?' She (further) said: 'When Abu Bakr had high fever he would recite:
Every man is amongst his family, yet death is nearer to him than his shoe laces. And when Bilal recovered from fever, he would recite: Would that I could stay overnight in a valley wherein I should be surrounded by idhkhir and jalil (kinds of fragrant grass). Would that one day I could drink of the water of Majinna, and would that (the two mountains) Shama and Tafil would appear to me. 'Aishah added: "Then I went to Allah's Messenger and told him about it, whereupon the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: 'O Allah! Bestow on us the love of Madinah as we love Makkah, or even more than that. O Allah ! Make it healthy and bless its sa' and mudd (measures of food) for us, and divert its fever to (the place called) al-Juhfah."
Muslim Visiting a Non-Muslim Patient:
It is permissible for a Muslim to visit a sick non-Muslim person. In the chapter, "Visiting a Sick Polytheist," Bukhari says: It is narrated on the authority of Anas that "a Jewish boy, who used to serve the Prophet, peace be upon him, once fell ill. The Prophet, peace be upon him, visited him and invited him to Islam, saying: 'Submit to Allah's will.' So he accepted Islam." Similarly Bukhari narrates from Sa'id ibn al-Musayyab that he reported from his father that "when Abu Talib (the Prophet's uncle and an idolater) was on his deathbed, the Prophet, peace be upon him, visited him."
Visiting an Eye Patient:
Abu Daw'ud narrates that Zaid bin al-Arqam said: "I suffered from an eye disease and the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, came to visit me."
Asking the Sick for a Prayer:
Ibn Majah narrates on the authority of Umar that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: "When you visit a sick person, ask him to pray for you. Indeed, the prayer of a sick person is like the prayer of angels." According to the author of Az-Zawa' id, the chain of narrators of this hadith is broken, yet it is sound and trustworthy, because otherwise it is authentic and narrators are trustworthy.
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