Etiquette of Sickness

and Visiting Sick People

When the Prophet (s.a.w) would see a pimple on his body he would seek refuge in and humble himself to Allah. He would be asked: ‘Does it matter, O Messenger of Allah?’ He would say that ‘If God wanted to turn a minor concern into a major one, He could; and if He wanted to turn a major concern into a minor one, He could’.

[Reference: Makarim al-Akhlaq]

Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) said: Truly, there no ache, misfortune, headache or malady but because of a misdeed (sin); and that is
(found) in Allah’s saying: “Whatever affliction may visit you is for what your hands have earned; and He pardons much.” And what Allah pardons is more than what He punishes for.”

[Reference: Makarim al-Akhlaq]

He (a.s) said: “When the believer experiences a single episode of fever, his sins would fall off as tree leaves would; and if he becomes bed-ridden, his moaning is counted as tasbeeh (glorifying God)”.

[Reference: Makarim al-Akhlaq]

Imam al-Sajjad (a.s) said: “ What a perfect ailment fever is! It gives each organ its fair share of the affliction; and there is no good in someone who is not afflicted.”

[Reference: Makarim al-Akhlaq]

Zorarah quoted either Imam al-Baqir or Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) as saying: “Having a single sleepless night from an ailment is superior to, and greater in reward than a year’s worship.”

[Reference: Makarim al-Akhlaq]

Imam al-Baqir (a.s): “One night’s fever equals two years of worship; two nights’ fever equals two years of worship; and three nights’ fever equals seventy years of worship”. Abu-Hamza (Althumaly) said; “What if he does not attain Seventy?’’ I asked (the Imam). He said: “Then (it will be reckoned) to his parents”. “What if they do not attain (Seventy)?” I asked. He said: “Then it will be reckoned to his relatives.” And what if the do not attain Seventy” I said.

He said: “Then it will be reckoned to his neighbours”.

[Reference: Makarim al-Akhlaq]

Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) said: “If Allah favours a servant, He would look at him; and if He does, He would present him with one of three things: Fever, eye-ache or headache.”

[Reference: Makarim al-Akhlaq]

The sick person has four peculiarities: His misdeeds are off the record, Allah commands an angel to record every kindness he used to do in his health, his illness goes after every organ in his body and removes its sins from it so that he will end up being forgiven whether he dies (from the illness) or survives it.

[Reference: Makarim al-Akhlaq]

The Prophet (s.a.w) said: “The perfect visitation of the sick person is when you put your hand on him and ask him how he is feeling. And the handshake is the perfect greeting.”

[Reference: Makarim al-Akhlaq]

A companion of Jafer son of Mohammad (a.s) (Imam al-Sadiq) related: “One of the Imam’s friends became ill and we-a group of the Imam’s friends- went to visit him. The Imam -a.s- stopped us on the way and said: ‘Where are you heading for?’ We said: ‘To visit so-and-so in his sickness.’ ‘Do any of you have on him an apple, a quince, a citron, a little perfume or an incense rod?’ He asked.

‘Nothing of that!’ We replied. He said: ‘Didn’t you know that the sick person is pleased with anything that is presented to him?’

[Reference: Makarim al-Akhlaq]

Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) said: “You put your hand on the painful spot and repeat the following three times; ‘O, Allah! I ask you by the Glorious Koran-which the Faithful Spirit (Gabriel) brought down and with you, in the Essence of The Book, it is sublime and wise-to please cure me with Your Remedy and spare me Your Malady.’

Then pray and ask for blessings for the Prophet (s.a.w).

[Reference: al-Kafee vol.2, p. 568]

The sick are usually broken-hearted and depressed persons who most of all need kindness and mental support, because they feel useless and disabled and lose hope completely. It happens that in such circumstances, visits by family, friends and brothers-in-faith give great encouragement for them and give them comfort and mental satisfaction.

In view of this Islam recommends very strongly that the sick should be visited and asking about their health should not be ignored.

The holy Prophet of Islam (SAW) says "Every Muslim who visits a sick person is absorbed in Allah's blessings and during the time he is seated by him he sits in the middle of Divine mercy. If he visits the sick man in the morning, seventy thousand angels pray for him till evening and if he visits him in the evening, seventy thousand angels pray for him till morning."

Behaar al-Anwar, Vol. 18, pp.146

Islam orders that when you visit the sick you should ask about their health and pray for them because it is possible that by this their hearts may be comforted.

The Holy Prophet (SAW) says, "Visit the sick and attend the funerals of the dead so that you may remember the next world. Pray for the sick person and say: "O Allah! Cure him with your cure and treat him with your medicine and keep him safe from your calamity."

When you visit a sick person take with you a present for him, although it may be very small. The holy Prophet (SAW) says, "Whoever will feed a sick person Allah will give him the fruit of Paradise."

Behaar al-Anwar, Vol. 18, pp. 145

Once when some friends of Imam al-Sadiq (AS) were going to visit a sick person, he met them on the way and asked them to stop. When they stopped, he asked them, "Are you carrying with you an apple or fruit or some perfume or a piece of aloes-wood?" They replied in the negative. After that the Holy Imam (AS) said, "Don't you know that such things give a peace of mind to a sick person?"

Al-Wasail al-Shiah, Vol. 1, pp. 22

One who visits a sick person should not expect greeting or food from him. So much so that the Holy Prophet (SAW) has said that one should not eat anything while sitting with a sick person, or else he should lose the spiritual reward accompanying the visit."

Behaar al-Anwar, Vol. 18, pp. 146

Islam tells that one should not trouble a sick person for three days (during which period the nature of his illness is not usually clear). Imam Ali (AS) said "A sick person should be visited after three days"

Behaar al-Anwar, Vol. 18, pp. 146

It is also necessary that the visit should not be a source of trouble and worry for the patient. It is proper that one should not sit with him for a long time.

Imam Ali (AS) says, "Among those who visit the sick, that person is rewarded more who stays with the patient for a short time unless he knows that he wants him to stay."

Al-Furu al-Kafi, Vol. 1, pp.33

Islam orders the Muslims to help the sick persons in doing their daily work.

The Holy Prophet (SAW) says, "One who helps a sick person in meeting his needs is forgiven of his sins - whether he succeeds in this work or not."

Behaar al-Anwar, Vol. 18, pp. 144