Visit the sick, find Allah!
Believers are given manifest rulings on social codes and behaviors. Messenger of Allah (May peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) gave us clear instructions regarding the social responsibilities ordained upon every believer. If we implement those instructions without fail, an exemplary society will be molded there. This is what Prophet(PBUH) had shown us through his life.
We are obliged to perform many social responsibilities – some are smaller while others are bigger. One of such is visiting the sick. Sickness is something which can embrace anyone at any time, from anywhere. This is one of those tests from Allah that we humans dread. It includes both terminal and minor diseases. No matter it is severe or minor, every diseased person deserves consideration. Diseased is the one who desires for comfort. Comforting him is the duty of society. The declaration of Prophet (PBUH) in this regard, as narrated by Al-Bara Bin Azib is that “Prophet (PBUH) has orders us to do 7 things and the first one he mentioned was paying a visit to the sick.” [Sahih Bukhari | Hadith 625 (Volume 3) | Book 43 (English)]. The complete hadith is as follows.
Narrated Muawiya bin Suwald: I heard Al-Bara’ bin ‘Azib saying, “The Pophet orders us to do seven things and prohibited us from doing seven other things.” Then Al-Bara’ mentioned the following: (1) To pay a visit to the sick (inquiring about his health), (2) to follow funeral processions, (3) to say to a sneezer, “May Allah be merciful to you” (if he says, “Praise be to Allah!”), (4) to return greetings, (5) to help the oppressed, (6) to accept invitations, (7) to help others to fulfill their oaths.
Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) as saying: Five are the rights of a Muslim over his brother: responding to salutation, saying Yarhamuk Allah when anybody sneezes and says al-Hamdulillah, visiting the sick following the bier.’ Abd al-Razzaq said that this hadith has been transmitted as mursal hadith from Zuhri and he then substantiated it on the authority of Ibn Musayyib. [Sahih Muslim Book 026 | Hadith Number 5378 | English]. In another Hadith this has been counted as SIX- with the sixth one being mentioned as Offering good advise if someone seeks advice.
Narrated By Abu Muisa Al-Ash’ari : The Prophet said, “Feed the hungry, visit the sick, and set free the captives.” [Sahih Bukhari Volume 007, Book 070, Hadith Number 552]
All Hadiths mentioned above are explicitly referring to the significance of visiting the sick. This is indeed one of our prime societal responsibilities. This may be the reason why, on the Day of judgment when Allah announces His displeasure to those who did not carry out their social responsibilities, the first thing questioned would be this responsibility.
Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) as saying: Verily, Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, would say on the Day of Resurrection: O son of Adam, I was sick but you did not visit Me. He would say: O my Lord; how could I visit Thee whereas Thou art the Lord of the worlds? Thereupon He would say: Didn’t you know that such and such servant of Mine was sick but you did not visit him and were you not aware of this that if you had visited him, you would have found Me by him? [Sahih Muslim | Book 032 | Hadith Number 6232 | English]. Read complete Hadith here.
This is a responsibility which would yield tremendous benefit for us in the Hereafter. Prophet once said..
Thauban reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: He who visits the sick continues to remain in the fruit garden of Paradise until he returns. [Sahih Muslim | Book 032| Hadith Number 6228 | English]
Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “A caller from heaven calls out to the person who visits a sick person, ‘You are good and your path is good. May you enter your residence in Paradise’.” [Fiqh-us-Sunnah Volume 004, Funerals and Dhikr, Fiqh 4.003A]
Ali said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, saying: ‘When a Muslim visits a sick Muslim in the morning, seventy thousand angels pray for him, and they continue praying for him until that evening. When one visits the sick in the evening, the angels pray for him and continue praying for him until the next morning. Moreover, he will be rewarded with the choicest fruits of Paradise.” [Fiqh-us-Sunnah Volume 004, Funerals and Dhikr, Fiqh 4.003A]
Dear bothers and sisters in Islam, we neither have knowledge on when a sickness is going to conquer us, nor we know if we are carriers of any terminal illness, already. Today, you and I may not be sick , All praises due to Allah. Tomorrow, we may fall ill, still praises to Allah, whatever conditions we may be in. There are numerous brothers and sisters around us who are affected by illness. If we can visit them, offer our helping hands, show kindness and share some words of solace, we would find Allah there, In sha Allah. Thereby, Allah will help and reward us. We would be remembered in the supplications of Angels. We would be trotting in the path to Paradise, In Sha Allah!
May Allah transform our hearts as the garden of virtues.. Aameen.