Visting the Sick and Disabled
Social & Moral Conduct in Islam: Visiting the Sick and Disabled
The Importance of Visiting the Sick and Disabled
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “The parable of the believers in their mutual love and mercy is like that of a living body; if one part feels pain, the whole body suffers in sleeplessness and fever.” [Muslim]
It is our social and emotional responsibility to visit the sick and disabled and express the light of human emotion and civility. It mends broken hearts, wipes flowing tears, relieves despair and depression, strengthens communal solidarity, establishes mutual ties and encourages hope and faithfulness. Most importantly, it is a means of acquiring great reward from Allah and practicing an established sunnah (way) of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
A companion of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) reports, “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) ordered us to visit the sick, to attend the funeral, to respond with blessings when someone sneezes, to fulfil all oaths, to help the oppressed, to accept invitations, and to promote greetings (salaam).” [Bukhari, Muslim] Similarly, from amongst the “rights of a Muslim over another Muslim”, is to visit the sick. [Ibid]
In visiting a sick person is not only the fulfilment of duty, but it is the appreciation of spiritual happiness and satisfaction. In visiting a sick person is not only the obedience of a godly commandment, but it is to be in the presence of Almighty Allah who witnesses this noble act and then rewards it generously.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) says, “Allah will say on the Day of Resurrection, `O son of Adam, I was ill and you did not visit Me.` The person will reply, `O Lord, how could I visit You when You are the Lord of the Worlds?` Thereupon, Allah will say, `Did you not know that My servant so-and-so was ill, and you did not visit him? Did you not know that had you visited him, you would have found Me with him? `… “[Muslim]
A sick person is not alone at the time of need; the warming visits, the kindly smiles, the compassionate words, the sincere supplications and the selfless empathy of the people around him envelop him and alleviate his suffering.
It must be noted that the term `sick` used here comprises all those who suffer from various illnesses and impairments which negatively affect the health and activities of a person, including mental and physical, short-term and long-term.
The Virtues of Visiting the Sick
“When the Muslim visits his (sick) Muslim brother, he will remain in [picking] the fresh fruits of Paradise until he returns,” the Prophet (peace be upon him) explained. [Muslim]
He (peace be upon him) also gave glad tidings, “No Muslim visits a (sick) Muslim in the morning but seventy thousand angels will pray for him until the evening, and if he visits him in the evening, seventy thousand angels will pray for him until the morning, and there will be for him [his share of] fresh fruits in Paradise.” [Tirmidhi]
“A young Jewish boy used to serve the Prophet. He fell ill, so the Prophet (peace be upon him) went to visit him … [and interacted with him with his overwhelming kindness, affectionate guidance, and gentle manner]” [Bukhari]
The Prayers on Vising the Sick
Furthermore, Islam not only provides us with the importance and virtue of visiting the sick but also certain guidelines and etiquette relating to it. Consider the following Prophetic supplications when visiting the sick:
- “When the Prophet (peace be upon him) visited a sick person, he would sit near his head then say seven times:
أَسْأَلُ اللَّهَ الْعَظِيمَ رَبَّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ أَنْ يَشْفِيَكَ
Translation: `I ask Almighty Allah, the Lord of the Mighty Throne, to heal you. `” [Al-Adab al-Mufrad]
- “The Prophet PBUH used to visit some of his ailing relatives and wipe them with his right hand, supplicating,
اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّ النَّاسِ أَذْهِبِ البَاسَ، اشْفِهِ وَأَنْتَ الشَّافِي، لاَ شِفَاءَ إِلَّا شِفَاؤُكَ، شِفَاءً لاَ يُغَادِرُ سَقَمًا
Translation: `O Allah, Lord of mankind, remove the suffering. Heal, for You are the Healer. There is no healing except for Your healing, the healing which leaves no trace of sickness. `” [Muslim]
- The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever visits a sick person who is not on the point of death, and supplicates seven times in his presence,
أَسْأَلُ اللَّهَ الْعَظِيمَ رَبَّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ أَنْ يَشْفِيَكَ
Translation: `I ask Almighty Allah, Lord of the Mighty Throne, to heal you`,
Allah will certainly heal him from that sickness.” [Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi]
- The Prophet (peace be upon him) went to visit a Bedouin who was sick, and whenever he visited a sick person, he would say,
لَا بَأْسَ طَهُورٌ إِنْ شَاءَ اللهُ
Translation: `No worry, (it is a) purification, God willing. `” [Bukhari]
- A companion once complained about a pain he had in his body. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Place your hand where you feel the pain and recite three times,
Translation: `In the Name of Allah’
And then supplicate seven times,
أَعُوذُ بِاللهِ وَقُدْرَتِهِ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا أَجِدُ وَأُحَاذِرُ
Translation: `I seek refuge in Allah and in His Power from the evil that afflicts me and that which I apprehend. `”‘ [Muslim]
- There is cure in the recitation of the Holy Qur`an. The patient should be advised to recite, in particular, surah al-fatihah. [Bukhari]
- “When The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) went to bed, he would bring the palms of both hands together, and blow into them while reading,
قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ* اللَّهُ الصَّمَدُ * لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ * وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ
قُلْ أَعُوذُ بِرَبِّ الْفَلَقِ * مِنْ شَرِّ مَا خَلَقَ * وَمِنْ شَرِّ غَاسِقٍ إِذَا وَقَبَ * وَمِنْ شَرِّ النَّفَّاثَاتِ فِي الْعُقَدِ * وَمِنْ شَرِّ حَاسِدٍ إِذَا حَسَدَ
قُلْ أَعُوذُ بِرَبِّ النَّاسِ * مَلِكِ النَّاسِ * إِلَهِ النَّاسِ * مِنْ شَرِّ الْوَسْوَاسِ الْخَنَّاسِ * الَّذِي يُوَسْوِسُ فِي صُدُورِ النَّاسِ * مِنَ الْجِنَّةِ وَالنَّاسِ
He would then rub with them whatever he could reach of his body, starting with his head, face, and the front part of his body. He would do this three times.” Aisha RA states, “When he got very ill, he asked me to do that for him.” [Bukhari, Muslim]
The Etiquette of Visiting the Sick
There is great reward in visiting the sick. Maximise your visit by making several good intentions.
– Choose an appropriate timing and notify the sick person or any close family members of your visit. Avoid timing when the patient may be sleeping, eating, receiving treatment, resting, spending time in privacy with close family members etc.
– Avoid sitting for too long, or visiting too often, or at timings which may cause discomfort to him or his family. Make the visit short and sweet unless the patient requires you to stay for longer or visit more often. [Shu`ab al-Iman]
– Respect the visitation hours set out by the hospital.
– Seek permission before taking any strangers to the patient. Furthermore, consider well before taking individuals who may cause inconvenience or disturbance to the patient or others, such as children.
– Visit the patient on foot, if possible. [Bukhari]
– If it is not possible to visit the patient directly, then enquire the health from family members and relatives. [Bukhari]
– Provide moral support to the family and relatives of the sick person as well providing advice on appropriate issues. [Muslim]
– Sit close to the head of the patient [as appropriate], and ask the patient how he is feeling and how his health is. [Tirmidhi]
– Discuss things which please the sick [as long as it is not against sharia]. [Ibn Majah]
– Do not interrogate the sick; he may not want to reveal everything to you – respect their privacy and choice.
– Offer any help if the sick requires it.
– Be a good listener.
– Choose your words appropriately, and use good words of encouragement.
– Remind the patient of the great reward from Allah. [Abu Dawud]
– Cheer him up. Reassure the patient and give him hope, and not despondency, in the mercy of Allah, in a long life and in healing. [Bukhari, Tirmidhi]. Similarly, your actions speak louder than words. Don’t act uncomfortably.
– Supplicate for the patient. [Bukhari, Muslim]
– Teach them the Prophetic supplications for them to supplicate for themselves with.
– Request them to supplicate for you too. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “When you visit the sick, ask him to pray for you; indeed, his prayer for you is like the prayer of angels.” [Ibn Majah]
– Choose your gift appropriately. However, one must not feel obliged to give or expect any gift. Similarly, no gift should be looked down upon or ridiculed.
– It may be a good idea to prepare a dish for them [appropriate to their dietary requirements] or bring them some food they like [as long as it is not harmful to their health]. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said,“If any sick person among you longs for something, then feed him.” [Ibn Majah]
– Visit all sick persons: young, old, Muslim, non-Muslim, conscious, unconscious, whom you know and whom you do not know. [Bukhari, Muslim]
The Ask Our Imam site hopes to respond to queries relating to Islamic law. It is not an Islamic Law Shari`ah Court. The questions and answers found on this website are for educational purposes. However, many of the rulings rendered here are distinct to the specific scenario and thus should be read in conjunction with the question and not taken as a basis to establish a verdict in another situation or environment. This site bears no responsibility in these responses being used out of their intended context, nor to any party who may or may not follow the responses given and is being hereby exempted from loss or damage howsoever caused. None of the responses rendered may be used as evidence in any Court of Law without prior written consent of Our Imam. Any reference to another website or link provided in our responses or article should not be taken as an endorsement of all the content on that website; in fact, it is restricted to the particular material being cited.
Posted in Uncategorised on 21st Feb 2017 by Our Imam | 1959 Views