Life Difficulties Are Rewarding (15 Hadiths)

Rewards for Sickness

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 acquire rewards, as was explained above, as is further emphasized below.

Removal of Sins

7. Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

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“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” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

8. Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) 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”(Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

9. Sa`id said, “I was with Salman (may Allah be pleased with him) when he visited a sick man in Kindah (in Persia), and he said to him,

“Expect good because Allah makes a believer’s sickness an expiation (for his sins) and a period of rest. However, when a disbeliever falls sick, he is like a camel whose owner ties it then lets it loose—it does not understand why it was tied nor why it was freed.” (Al-Bukhari)

Elevation in Ranks

10. `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that once some pain afflicted the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) causing him to suffer and turn about in his bed. She said, “Had one of us done this, you would have blamed him.” He (peace and blessings be upon him) 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 Paradise).” (Ahmad)

Continuous Reward

Usually, when a believer falls sick, he would not be able to do the same amount of good deeds (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.

11. Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) 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.” (Al-Bukhari)

12. `Abdullah ibn `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.” (Al-Bukhari)

13. Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“No Muslim body is afflicted by Allah, but He will record (his deeds) for him in accordance with what he used to do when he was well—as long as he is sick. Thus, if He takes his life, He forgives him; and if He cures him, He washes him (from sins).”(Al-Bukhari)

Patience Leads to Paradise

14. `Atta ibn Rabaah reported that Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) told him, “Do you want to see a woman from the people of Paradise?”

He said, “Yes.”

He said, “It is this black woman. She came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) saying, ‘I have (epileptic) seizures, and I get exposed, so supplicate to Allah for me.’

He (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ‘If you wish, be patient and you will attain Paradise; 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 (peace and blessings be upon him) did.” (Al-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-`Asqalani’s words:

“The authentic hadiths 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.”

15. `Abdullah ibn `Amr reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) 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 Judgment.” (Al-Bukhari)


Taken from ‘The Inevitable Journey: Sickness, Death, and the Grave’, Sheikh Salim Al-Hilali, Quran and Sunnah Society of North America.

Sheikh Salim Al-Hilali is a Scholar of Hadith. He studied under the prominent Hadith Scholar Al-Albani.

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