Rewards for Sickness and Etiquettes of visiting the sick
Every one of us becomes ill, now and then. Most go through the normal sickness, such as; flu, cold, fever etc. Others may go through specific illnesses for short term, whereas others will go through long term sickness and even terminal sicknesses such as; cancer which will be the cause of their death
One should not look to sickness as a gloomy episode, but should remember the great good in it. It is one form of affliction with which Allah tests His servants, giving them a chance to strengthen their eeman, return back to him, acquire rewards, as is further emphasized below.
Removal of Sins and Elevation in Ranks
Abu Hurayrah (RA) reported that the Prophet (SAW) said: “Whenever a Muslim is afflicted by harm from sickness or other matters, Allah will drop his sins because of that, like a tree drops its leaves.”
[Bukhari and Muslim]
Abu Saeed al-Khudree (RA) reported that the Prophet (SAW) said: “A Muslim is not afflicted by hardship, sickness, sadness, worry, harm, or depression – even if pricked by a thorn, but Allah expiates his sins because of that.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
Aishah (RA) narrated that once some pain afflicted the Prophet (SAW) causing him to suffer and turn about in his bed. she said: “Had one of us done this, you would have blamed him.” He (SAW) replied: ” An ailment is intensified for the righteous. whenever a believer is afflicted by a hardship, whether it is a thorn or more, a sin is taken off from him because of it, and he is elevated by one rank (in Jannah). ” [Ahmad]
Retaining Rewards for Deeds Before Sickness
Usually, when a believer falls sick, he would not be able to do the same amount of good (prayer, fasting, helping Muslims etc) that he used to do when he was well. But Allah out of His great mercy, continues to record for him the good deeds that he was forced to stop because of his sickness.
Abu Moosa Al-Asharee narrated that the Prophet (SAW) said: “For a traveling or sick person, his deeds will be recorded in accordance with what he used to do when he was resident or well.” [Bukhari]
Abdullah Bin Amr reported that the Prophet said: “No (believing) person gets sick, but (his deeds) will be recorded for him in accordance with what he used to do when he was well.” [Bukhari]
Uqbah Bin Aamir reported that the Prophet (SAW) said: “Each days deeds are sealed with it. thus, when a believer gets sick, the angels say, ” Our lord! Your servant such and such, You have restrained him (from doing good this day).” And the lord replies, ” Seal his day in accordance with his (usual) deeds, until he is cured or dies”. [Ahmad]
Reason for the Reward
Atta Bin Rabaah reported that Ibn Abbaas (RA) told him, “Do you want to see a woman from the people of Jannah (paradise)?”
He said “Yes”.
He said: ” It is this black woman.
She had came to the Prophet (SAW) saying, ” I have (epileptic) seizures, and I get exposed, so supplicate to Allah for me.”
He (SAW) said: ” If you wish, be patient and you will attain Jannah; or if you wish, I will ask Allah to cure you.”
She replied, ” I will be patient ! But my body gets exposed (because of the fall), so supplicate to Allah for me that I do not become exposed.” and he (SAW) did.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
The scholars have differed in opinion as to whether a sick person will be rewarded for the sickness itself or for being patient during it. the correct opinion is that if he is patient and submits to Allah’s will, as in the above hadith, he would be rewarded for both the submission and the sickness, otherwise, he would not be rewarded at all; because he resented Allah’s decree. This is what should be understood from Ibn hajar al-Asqalaanees words: “The authentic hadeeths are clear in that the rewards are recorded once affliction strikes a Muslim. As for patience and acceptance, they are virtues for which a person may get additional rewards over those for the affliction.” ‘Abdullah Bin ‘Amr reported that the Prophet (SAW) said: “If a Muslim is pricked by (as little as) a thorn in the worldly life, and he seeks its reward from Allah, some of his sins will be removed, because of it, on the Day of Judgement.”[ Bukhari ]
“True believers are only those whose hearts are filled with awe whenever God is mentioned, and whose faith is strengthened whenever His revelations are recited to them. In their Lord do they place their trust.” (Chapter 8: Verse 2)
Etiquettes of Visiting the Sick
Every now and then, someone we know gets sick. So it is important to know the rulings and etiquettes of visiting the sick from an Islamic point of view.
Rights of a Muslim on another Muslim
If one is sick to visit them, it is one of the five rights Rasool menthioned.
Ruling on visiting the sick
Visiting the sick is a fard kifaayah or a communal obligation. (i.e. when someone in the community falls sick, some of the Muslims must go and visit him. Otherwise, the whole community will be sinful).(al- Ikhtiyaaraat by Ibn Taymiyyah)
This is based on the order of the Prophet (pbuh) : “Feed the hungry, visit the sick and free the captives.” (Bukhaari)
The rewards for visiting the sick
The Messenger of Allaah (pbuh) said:1) “When the Muslim visits his (sick) Muslim brother, he is harvesting the fruits of Paradise until he returns.” (Muslim)
2) “Whoever visits a sick person or visits a brother in Islam, a caller cries out to him: ‘May you be happy, may your walking be blessed, and may you occupy a dignified position in Paradise ’.” (Tirmidhi- hasan by al-Albaani)
3) “Whoever visits a sick person is plunging into mercy until he sits down, and when he sits down he is submerged in it.” (Ahmad– Saheeh by al-Albaani)
4) “There is no Muslim who visits a (sick) Muslim early in the morning but seventy thousand angels send blessings upon him until evening comes, and if he visits him in the evening, seventy thousand angels send blessings upon him until morning comes, and he will have a garden in Paradise.” (Saheeh al-Tirmidhi. )
Who to visit
Visit those whom you know, as well as those whom you do not know. (Muslim).
The scholars say that you may visit non-mahrams as long as there is proper covering, no risk of fitnah, and no Khalwa (being alone together). (Islam-qa)
You may visit non-Muslims as well since the Prophet (pbuh) visited a Jewish boy and called him to Islam, and he became Muslim. (Bukhaari).
Who is considered a sick person
If the sickness is preventing the person from seeing people, going out, etc., then the scholars say he is considered a sick person and one should try and visit him. However, if he is sick but he is still going about his work, seeing people, etc., then it is not obligatory to visit him. (Al-Sharh al-Mumti’)
Principles to be followed when visiting
- Ask the person how he is, how he is feeling, etc. following the perfect example of the Prophet (pbuh). (Tirmidhi –hasan by al-Albaani).
- Try to cheer the patient up and talk positive. Give him glad tidings of healing insha Allah, because this will comfort the sick person.
- The patient and his feelings and condition should be the topmost and only concern at all times.
- Generally speaking, one should make his visit short and not sit for too long with the patient, as it may be hard on the patient and his family.
- Consider the time of your visit ( Not to visit too late at night or at the time of the patient’s nap, etc.)
- Do not keep visiting him every day as it may be burdensome for the sick person. However, if it is someone close and you know that they feel pleased and comforted to see you, then you may visit continuously.
- Do NOT sit on the patient’s bed even if you do have to stand, as this might shake the bed and cause him pain and he may be too polite to say anything.
- Do not be loud or make excessive noise.
- Do not overcrowd the patient with too many visitors at the same time. If you happen to visit him at a time when he already has other visitors, it may be better to politely leave and come back at a later time.
Make Dua for the sick person
- The Prophet (pbuh) said this dua three times when visiting the sick:
“La bas, tuhûr in sha Allâh” (No worry, it is a purification, if Allah wills).” (Bukhaari.)
- The Prophet (pbuh) used to place his right hand on the sick person and say:
“Adhhib al-ba’s Rabb an-nâs, wa’shfi anta al-Shâfi, lâ shifâ’a illa shifâ’uka shifâ’an lâ yughâdir saqaman ”
(Take away the pain, O Lord of mankind, and grant healing, for You are the Healer, and there is no healing but Your healing that leaves no trace of sickness).” (Muslim)
- The Prophet (pbuh) said:
“Whoever visits a sick person who is not yet dying, and says seven times in his presence:
‘As alu Allâha rabb al-arsh il-azîm an yashfiyaka
(I ask Allaah, Lord of the mighty Throne, to heal you), Allaah will heal him of that sickness.) (Saheeh Abi Dawûd.)