Sickness and other difficulties that we undergo in this worldly life should not only be seen as a misfortune or as an expression of the displeasure of Allah Ta’ala. For those servants of Allah who enjoy a very special relationship with Him, it is a means of great blessing and a mercy. Is there anyone in this world who is free from sins and mistakes?
If every soul were to be fully recompensed for its every action, then apart from the sinless Prophets of Allah, the Ambiyaa (Alaihimus salaam), nobody else would be worthy of entering into Jannah. Man commits minor and major sins all the time, but the difficulties and hardships that he undergoes in this world like illness, grief and sorrow, etc. become the atonement for his sins and in this way he is cleansed of his sins in this very world.
Allah Ta’ala is so relenting and lenient with the Ummah of His beloved Nabi Muhammad (sallalaahu alaihi wasallam). However, it has been observed that because of a lack of proper Deeni knowledge, very often even when a Muslim becomes ill, many incorrect statements are uttered by the sick person as well as those who treat and take care of him.
To seek a cure for one’s illness and to take treatment for it is certainly not forbidden in Islam. In fact it is a Sunnah.
There is also no harm if a person complains about pain in the body. However, when a person becomes sick and then complains bitterly and objects to Allah Ta’ala, showing disrespect and ingratitude to Him, this amounts to destroying his own rewards. Whether we are healthy or sick, we should be thankful to Allah Ta’ala in all conditions. Life and death are in the hands of Allah Ta’ala alone.
A person who is sick should regard his sickness as a gift and a special sign of mercy from Allah. When he realises this, then at every moment he will be thankful to Allah Ta’ala. Furthermore, thosewho take care of the sick, like doctors and nurses, should understand firstly, that the service they are rendering will certainly earn them great sawaab (reward from Allah Ta’ala) and secondly, that they are fulfilling a part of huqooqul ibaad (i.e. the rights of Allah’s creation).
Every Muslim doctor, nurse and sick person should learn what our Beloved Nabi, Muhammad (Sallallaahu alayhi wassallam) has said regarding illness and disease. Our Nabi Muhammad (Sallallaahu alaiyhi wassallam) has taught us that a person is tested according to the level of Deen present in his life. If he is firm on his Deen then the test is correspondingly severe, and if he is weak on his Deen then the hardship is made easy upon him. (Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah)
Aa’isha (Radiyalaahu anha) says, ‘I have never seen anybody suffering from sickness as much as Allah’s Messenger (Sallallaahu alaiyhi wassallam).’ (Sahih Bukhari)
Hadrat Aa’isha (Radiyallahu anha) also narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alaiyhi wassallam) said,
‘When the sins of a person become so much that his good deeds are unable to wipe them out, then Allah Ta’ala lets grief overcome him in order to forgive his sins.’ (Musnad-Ahmad)
Similarly, Hadrat Abu Hurairah (Radiyallaahu anhu) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alaiyhi wassallam) said,
‘When Allah Ta’ala wishes good for a person, thenhebecomes afflicted with sickness (or hardship).’ (Sahih Bukhaari)
Sickness Compensates for our Sins
Hadrat Abdullah bin Mas’ood (Radhiyallahu Anhu) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alaihi wassallam) said, ‘Whenever a Muslim experiences any hardship like sickness (etc.), Allah Ta’ala wipes away his sins just as a tree sheds its leaves during autumn.’ (Bukhaari and Muslim)
Hadrat Abu Hurairah (Radhiyallahu Anhu) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, ‘Afflictions continuously fall upon the lives, wealth and children of those men and women who have Imaan as a result of which, their sins keep falling off from them until such time that they (die and) meet Allah in the state that none of their sins remain.’ (Tirmidhi, Maalik)
Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alaiyhi wassallam) has also said, ‘(Sometimes) a very high rank (in Allah’s sight) is decreed for a Mu’min which he could never have attained by virtue of his deeds, so Allah Ta’ala lets him experience some hardship, whether it be physical, material (financial, etc.) or concerning his children. Then, He makes him patient and lets him attain the position decreed for him.’ (Ahmad, Abu Dawood)
Therefore, although it is bitter to bear calamities and misfortunes with patience, we should consider it sweet in view of the great bounty attainable through it. The difficulty and hardship of only a few days will be followed by a life of eternal happiness, Insha-Allah.
Hadrat Abdullah bin Umar (Radhiyallahu Anhu) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wassallam) said, ‘When a (righteous) person (who dutifully performs his ibaadah) becomes sick, the angels appointed to record his deeds are instructed by Allah Ta’ala: Continue recording in his Book of Deeds those actions which he used to perform when he was healthy, until he either gets better or I call him unto Me.’ (Sharhus Sunnah)
Hadrat Jaabir (Radhiyallahu Anhu) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, ‘On the Day of Qiyaamah, when people will be rewarded in compensation for their suffering and difficulties in the world, then those people who had always lived a life of ease and comfort will (regretfully) wish that their skins were cut with scissors in the world.’ (Tirmidhi)
Hadrat Aamir (Radhiyallahu Anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wassallam) said, ‘When a believer falls sick and is then cured by Allah Ta’ala, his sickness atones for his sins and serves as an admonition to him for the future. But when a person who is unmindful of Allah Ta’ala gets ill and then recovers, (he does not take a lesson from it and) Ms example is like that of a camel which was tied by its master and then released by hm, yet it has no idea why it was tied or why it was freed.’ A man then asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is illness? By Allah, I have never been ill in my entire life.’ Rasulullah(Sallallaahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, ‘Go away from here! You are not from amongst us!’ (Abu Dawood)
Hadrat Abu Sa’eed Khudri (Radhiyallahu Anhu) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, ‘When a Mu’min experiences any fatigue, disease, sorrow, grief, hurt or distress, even to the extent that if a thorn has to prick him, Allah Ta’ala wipes away some of his sins for that.’ (Sahih Bukhaari)
Firm Faith in the Promises of Allah Ta’ala and His Rasul (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)
Hadrat Ataa bin Abi Rabaah (Radhiyallahu Anhu) relates, “Once Ibn Abbaas said to me, ‘Shall I tell you of a woman from amongst the People of Jannah?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘A certain black lady came to Nabi (Sallallaahu alaiyhi wasallam) and said, ‘I get attacks of epilepsy and my body gets uncovered, so please invoke (i.e. make dua to) Allah for me.’ Nabi (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) told her,. ‘If you wish, you could be patient and you will enter Jannah; or if you wish, I will make dua to Allah to cure you.’ She replied, ‘I will remain patient,’ and added, ‘but I become uncovered, so please make dua to Allah for me that I do not become uncovered.’ So he made dua for her.” (Bukhaari and Muslim)
Glad Tidings for the Blind
Hadhrat Anas bin Malik (Radhiyallahu Anhu) reports that he heard Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wassallam) saying that Allah Ta’ala said, ‘If I deprive My slave of his two beloved possessions (i.e. his eyes) and he bears it patiently, I will let him enter Jannah in compensation for them. (Sahih Bukhaari)
Headaches – a Characteristic of the People of Imaan
Our beloved Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wassallam) suffered very much from severe headaches and migraines. Sometimes, for days on end he would suffer extreme pain and would even deliver the khutbah (sermon) with his head covered in oily bandages.
Once, describing the People of the Fire (Jahannam), Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, ‘They are those who do not suffer from pain in their heads.’ Just then a bedouin entered and he asked him, ‘O Bedouin! Did you ever experience this type of headache?’ He replied, ‘What is a headache?’ Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, ‘It is the throbbing of veins in the head of a person.’ The man replied, ‘I have never experienced this.’ When the bedouin turned to go away, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, ‘Whoever wishes to look at a person from the People of the Fire should look at this Man.’ (Ahmad, Nasa-ee)
Ka’b al- Ahbar says, ‘I have found (the following) in the Tauraah: Had it not been for the fear that My believing servants would become aggrieved, I would have sealed the head of a kaafir (disbeliever) with a bandage of steel so that he would never get a headache. ”
Do not curse sickness
Once Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alaiyhi wassallam) went to the home of Umm Saa’ib (Radiyallahu anha) and asked her, ‘What is the matter? Why are you shivering?’ She replied, ‘I have a fever. May Allah not bless it!’ Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) said, ‘Do not curse fever since it wipes out the sins of the Children of Adam just as a furnace removes dirt from iron.’ (Sahih Muslim)
Hadrat Abu Musa (Radhiyallahu Anhu) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wassallam) said, ‘When a person becomes sick or goes on a journey, then those (good) deeds are written down in his favour which he used to perform when he was at home and in good health.’ (Sahih Bukhari)