Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
Responding to your question, Dr. Khalid Muhammad `Abdul-Qader, Professor of Shari`ah, Lebanon universities, states:
Paying visits to patients is of great merits to the extent that Allah regards one who pays a visit to a patient as if he is paying a visit to Him, Most High.
This fact is referred to in a Divine Hadith (Hadith Qudsi) narrated on the authority of Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him), who quoted Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him), as saying, “Allah, Most High, will say on the Day of Resurrection: ‘O son of Adam, I fell ill and you visited Me not.’ He will say: ‘O Lord, and how should I visit You when You are the Lord of the worlds?’ Allah will say: ‘Did you not know that My servant so-and-so felt ill and you visited him not? Did you not know that had you visited him you would have found Me with him?’…” (Muslim)
Visiting non-Muslim patients is permissible especially when it aims at accruing benefit to Islam or Muslims.
This goes back to the hadith narrated by Al-Bukhari in which he mentioned that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) once paid a visit to his Jewish servant who felt ill.
In his commentary on this Hadith, Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani says that the Hadith serves as an evidence for permissibility of paying visit to a sick polytheist.
Drawing analogy from this, Al-Mawardi says that it’s permissible to pay visit to a dhimmi (non-Muslim citizen of an Islamic state).
Likewise, it is quoted that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) paid a visit to his uncle Abu Talib when the latter was on his deathbed, and he invited him to embrace Islam.
The above-mentioned narrations prove that visiting a non-Muslim patient is permissible, for it’s a sign of courtesy and righteousness, and as we know, this is part of what Islam calls for.
Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, in replying to the question on the permissibility of visiting disbelievers when sick, said: “Didn’t the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) visit his Jewish servant when sick and call him to Islam?”
However, some Muslim scholars maintain that visiting non-Muslim patients is permissible on the condition that the visit itself aims at inviting them to Islam; otherwise it’s not permissible.
In the light of the above, it’s clear that the issue depends on aims and objectives. No doubt, displaying such courteous gesture can add substantial benefit to the course of dawah.”
Almighty Allah knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.