Sunday, 9 October 2011

Glad Tidings For The One Who Is Ill

Illness is something which we quite simply have no control over. Depending on the severity of the illness, a person can range from being merely annoyed to utterly distraught. However, let there be glad tidings for that slave who falls ill as Allah Ta’ala uses this illness as an excuse so as to expiate the sins of His slave.

How amazing is it that Allah Ta’ala has given us something positive in something which we dislike. There are many such examples in our Deen where Allah Ta’ala has exalted our status through something which is normally perceived as being disliked and petty. For example, if a person was to prostrate to another man, this would be a complete and utter disgrace. It would show the weakness, frailty and feebleness in a person that he is taking his forehead and placing it at the feet of another person. This idea of lowering one’s head for another can seem quite disgraceful however we prostrate towards Allah Ta’ala by taking the most honoured place of our body (i.e. our forehead from where we thinks and understand) and we place it on the floor by which Allah Ta’ala honours us with Jannah. Allah Ta’ala has made honour for us in something which people would normally perceive as being wrong. In the same way, Allah Ta’ala has favoured us and honoured us even when we are ill. Being ill is something that we obviously do not like but even whilst being ill, our sins are wiped away and our rewards are increased.

Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam said, “A Muslim does not encounter fatigue, tiredness, concern, sorrow, injury or grief, or even a thorn which pricks him without Allah expiating his errors for him by that." Subhanallah! Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam has mentioned several odd problems that could befall a Muslim and in every single one of them there is forgiveness from sins. The general idea here is that anything which displeases a Muslim is a source of mercy for him. Likewise, Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam also said, “Affliction will continue to trouble the believers, men and women, in their bodies, their families and their property until they meet Allah Ta’ala purified of every wrong action."

Furthermore, illness is a sign of a person’s belief in Allah Ta’ala. Once, Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam was discussing illness when a person asked, “What is illness? For I swear by Allah, I have never been ill!” Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam said, “Leave us! For indeed you are not one of us!” This is said because Allah Ta’ala gives illness to a person in order to wipe away his sin. In a narration mentioned in Abu Dawud, it is indicated that when a slave does not have the ability to do good deeds which will enter him into Jannah, Allah Ta’ala afflicts him with some temporary sadness or illness through which his sins will be erased and his good deeds increased. As a result, he is entered into Jannah. Again, Allah Ta’ala is looking excuse to forgive us. Thus, if a person falls ill, he should praise Allah Ta’ala in his heart and be happy that he has some sign of Iman within him.

One a Bedouin came into the company of Rasulullah salalallahu alayhi wasallam; Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam asked, “'Has Umm Mildam (fever) got hold of you?” The Bedouin replied, “What is Umm Mildam?” Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam said, “It is the heat between the skin and the flesh.' The Bedouin said, “No.” Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam said, “Have you got a headache?” “What is headache?” the Bedouin asked. Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam replied, “It is wind which gets into the head and beats the veins.” The Bedouin replied, “No (I have not experienced this). When he stood up, Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam said, “Whoever wants to look at a man who is one of the people of the Fire (i.e. let them look at that man.)”

In fact, on a side note, one hadith related in Tabrani, “Never does a Muslim get a headache except that Allah Ta’ala expiates his sin, writes for him rewards and elevates his rank.”

The bottom line here is that we should always ask Allah Ta’ala for security in our life. We should always make the dua, “O Allah, I ask you for forgiveness and security, in my religion, worldly life and hereafter.” Likewise, “O Allah, I ask you for to safe-keep my ears, my eyes and my body.” We should not hope for illness, rather we should take its coming as a sign of forgiveness from Allah Ta’ala.

Finally, my eyes fell over a nice piece on visiting the sick person written by Sheikh Fadhl ullahi Al-Jeelaani in his commentary Fadhl Allahi As-Samad fi Towdeehi Al-Adab Al Mufrad. If we visit a sick person, we should try to adhere to the following 10 points:

1. He does not face the door directly when asking for permission to enter. (i.e. he is not trying to be nosy and see what is going on inside).

2. He opens and closes the door softly. (i.e. He doesn’t start banging doors and disturbing people.)

3. He does not try to remain anonymous. (i.e. When a person is asked, “Who is it?” he doesn’t respond by saying, “Me!”. This brings no clarity and is a source of annoyance to the sick person as well as those around him).

4. He should not come at an inappropriate time. (i.e. he should not come when it is obvious the sick person needs feeding etc).

5. He should not sit for too long except when it pleases the sick person. (i.e. sometimes, people overstay their visit and this over burdens the sick person but he may feel too shy to say anything. He may need some rest in order to preserve his energy but sometimes, useless chatter diminishes this. However, the case of a person who pleases the heart is different. Generally, when the beloved is near, the heart forgets all of it's sorrows. On a side note, I remember one brief story of Layla & Majnoo. Majnoo was so infatuated on Layla that news of this came to the Qadhi (judge) who immediately stipulated 100 lashes (whipping, pitai) for Majnoo. As a result, Majnoo was hit 100 times but to the amazement of the people, he did not let out a single yell. It was as if he was in a trance; however, when he was hit with the last lash, he let out an almighty yell! The people were amazed and thus asked him, "You received 99 lashes and did not utter even whimper but on the 100th lash, you screamed so loud?! Why is this?!" He replied, "My beloved Layla was watching me from her balcony and I was looking at her. Whilst she was there, I was lost in her and so I did not feel any pain; on the 99th whip, she turned and left as the punishment was to end. When she left, I came back to reality." Thus, it is always nice to have the beloved visit when one is sick.)

6. He should lower his gaze from the sick person (i.e. if the person has some apparent illness on the body, the visitor should not fix his eyes upon it as if to show some shock. :-| <-- like that)

7. He should not question the sick person excessively. (i.e. this can become tiresome).

8. He should show sympathy. (i.e. sympathy shows softness and care).

9. He should make sincere dua.

10. He should give him some words of encouragement so it strengthens the ill person’s resolve. (i.e. many people go and visit the sick people and instead of giving them encouragement, they say, “Oh dear! You look terrible!” This doesn’t do any good to the moral of the ill person; rather it convinces him that he is in a truly poor state. This in effect gives a huge psychological blow to the ill person and at times can break his resolve. Thus we should give words of encouragement to build the resolve of the sick person).

May Allah Ta’ala give us all good health. Ameen.

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