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Take Benefit of Your Health Before Your Sickness

Sickness is one of the toughest trials one could face as it not only causes discomfort and pain but it moreover impairs one physically and at times even mentally.

So, wise Muslim do not procrastinate performing good deeds and reflect upon the words of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him):

“Take benefit of five before five: your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you are preoccupied, and your life before your death” (Al-Bukhari, 40)

However, keep in mind that the reward of sickness is bountiful:

“Ata’ ibn Yasar related from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri and Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

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“No fatigue, sickness, anxiety, sorrow, harm or sadness afflicts any Muslim, even to the extent of a thorn pricking him, without Allah wiping out his mistakes by it.” (Bukhari, 5641)

Patience in Sickness

We hear the story over and over again: A close family member or friend, in good health and all of a sudden, becomes afflicted with sickness or a life-threatening disease.

Patience is indeed a keyword in this connotation as the afflictions are numerous in this situation: disruption in his/her daily activities and in case of a critical condition or admittance to hospital urgent help will be needed for any family member of minor or elder age in his/her guardianship. At times also finance becomes an issue with an extended hospital stay and/or surgery, or if expensive medications are required.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) presents us with an excellent example of patience and perseverance for guidance: It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas that a black woman came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said:

“I suffer from epilepsy and I become uncovered. Pray to Allah for me.” He said: (peace be upon him) “If you wish, you can be patient and Paradise will be yours, or if you wish I will pray to Allah to heal you.” She said:

“I will be patient.” Then she said: “But I become uncovered. Pray to Allah that I will not become uncovered.” So he prayed for her. (Al-Bukhari, 5652; Muslim, 2576)

Masha’ Allah, what a role model; she chose to bear her sickness with patience, enduring the pain and discomfort, as she preferred the hereafter over dunya. While exemplifying too the modesty of a Muslim by praying to be covered while under the influence of an epileptic seizure.

In another hadith, Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) teaches us how we can reap the fruits of Paradise with the affliction of blindness, if we bear it with patience: Narrated Anas ibn Malik:

“I heard Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) saying:

“Allah said, ‘If I deprive my slave of his two beloved things (i.e. his eyes) and he remains patient, I will let him enter Paradise in compensation for them.” (Al-Bukhari, 5653)

Gratitude in Sickness

It goes without saying that it requires both strong faith and contentment to pass with the affliction of sickness from the stage of patience to the higher level of gratitude.

As Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) teaches us:

“The greatest reward comes with the greatest trial. When Allah loves a people He tests them. Whoever accepts that wins His pleasure but whoever is discontent with that earns His wrath.” (At-Tirmidhi, 43)

He (peace be upon him) exemplifies this condition, as Abdullah (may Allah reward him) narrates:

“I visited the Prophet (peace be upon him) during his ailments and he was suffering from high fever.

I said, “You have a high fever. Is it because you will have a double reward for it?”

He said, “Yes, for no Muslim is afflicted with any harm but that Allah removes his/her sins as the leaves of a tree fall down.” (Al-Bukhari, 5647)

Islamic Etiquettes in Sickness

1-Prayers (Dua’):

As Muslims we should always turn to Allah with prayer, both in times of blessings and afflictions. Allah Almighty gives us the example of Prophet Ayub (Job) in his trial:

{And [mention] Job, when he called to his Lord, “Indeed, adversity has touched me, and you are the Most Merciful of the merciful.” So We responded to him and removed what afflicted him of adversity. And We gave him [back] his family and the like thereof with them as mercy from Us and a reminder for the worshippers [of Allah].} (21:834)

Start off by uttering the Prophetic “get well wishes”: La ba’sa tahoorun inshaa-Allah. No need to worry. It (this sickness) is a means of cleansing from sins…

Followed by Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) prayers for the sick: 

Allahuma rabbi-nas adhhibal ba’sa, eshfi wa entashafi, la shifa’ illa shifa’uka shifa’ la yughadiru saqama. (Oh Allah! The Sustainer of Mankind! Remove the illness, cure the disease. You are the One Who cures. There is no cure except Your cure. Grant us a cure that leaves no illness. (Recommended to touch the area of pain with the right hand while reciting this supplication.)

‘As’alu Allah al ‘azim rabbil ‘arshil azim an yashifika. (I ask Allah, the Mighty, the Lord of the Mighty Throne, to cure you. (Recommended to repeat seven times.)

Rabbana ‘atinaa fid dunyaa hasanah wafil aakhirati hasanah wa qinaa azaaban naar. (Oh Allah! Our Lord and Sustainer! Grant us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and save us from the Fire of Jahannam (Hell).

A’oozu bi’izzatillaahi wa qudratihi min sharri maa ajidu wa uhaaziru. (I seek protection in the might of Allah and His power from the evil of what I am experiencing and of what I fear. (Recommended for the sick person to place right hand on area of pain, say Bismillah three times, then recite this supplication seven times.)

2- Give Sadaqah (Charity):

Abu Umamah (may Allah reward him) said: the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:

“Treat your sick by giving Sadaqah (charity).” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)

3- Visit the Sick: Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) teaches us the beautiful empathetic Sunnah of visiting the sick. Narrated Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Feed the hungry, visit the sick and set free the captives.” (Al-Bukhari, 5649)

Alternative Medicine from the Sunnah:

It is neither an Islamic stance to refuse any suitable treatment nor to solely rely on it for cure; as it is only Allah who cures us, and therapy is but a means.

Usamah ibn Sharik said, “Some Bedouins asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him), shall we treat (our illness)?”

He said,

“Yes, O worshippers of Allah! Use remedies. For indeed Allah did not make a disease but made a cure for it, except for one disease.” They said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) what is it?’ He said, ‘Old age.” (At-Tirmidhi, 2038)

There are numerous “alternative medicines” that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) teaches us to use as a means for therapy. For example:

Narrated Ibn Abbas (may Allah reward him): The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Healing is in three things: cupping, a gulp of honey or cauterizing, but I forbid my followers to use cauterization.” (Al-Bukhari, 5680)

Abu Hurairah (may Allah reward him) narrated that he heard Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) say:

“In the black seed there is healing for every disease except death.” (Al-Bukhari, 5688 & Muslim, 2215)

Narrated Nafi: Abdullah ibn Umar said:

“The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Fever is from the heat of Hell, so abate fever with water.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim, 50)

About Suzana Nabil Saad, MA
Suzana Nabil Saad is the former Ask About Islam Editor. She has many years of experience in dawah work.She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the Faculty of Languages, Ain Shams University, Egypt. She obtained her Master’s Degree of Arts in English Literature from Gothenburg University, Sweden.She currently resides in Texas, USA with her husband, and three kids. When she is not editing or writing, she enjoys reading, ideally followed by nature excursions.