Fruits for the Week

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22 July 2011

The Prophet (saw): “The one who visits the sick is in orchard of Paradise (or harvesting the fruits of Paradise) until he returns.” (Muslim)

 The above hadith tells us that visiting the sick, whether they are our family or friends, are very important to be done. It is because the visitors could relieve the suffering of the sick and is as an effective medicine healing their sickness. 

 

Sick people are some of the most vulnerable people because of the test and trial of illness that Allah (saw) has placed upon them. As such they need constant encouragement and reassurance that whatever that may be going through, however painful it may seem, is only temporary and is bound to pass, and is hoped to be followed by good health and ease, as Allah (swt) said: “ So, verily, with every difficulty there is relief. Verily, with every difficulty there is relief.” (Al-Inshirah: 5-6) 

Moreover, Allah (swt) never tests or burdens a soul more than it can bear. This is the understanding of illness that we should give to sick people when we visit them. Allah (swt) said: “Allah does not burden a soul except with that which it can bear. It will have (the consequences of) what (evil) it has earned.” (Al-Baqarah: 286). He (swt) said further: “But those who believed and did righteous deeds, We charge no soul except (within) its capacity. Those are the companions of Paradise. They will abide therein eternally.” (Al-A’raf: 42) 

Taking time from our very busy schedules to go and visit the sick, whether in the hospital or in their homes, is a great moral virtue that deserves great rewards as indicated by the Prophet in the above hadith. The reward is as if we are walking in the orchards of Paradise until we return home. 

This is very true, because even visiting healthy fellow Muslims and friends for the sake of Allah causes a person to deserve to love of Allah (swt), so how about going to visit one who is sick and very vulnerable? Certainly by visiting the sick with the intention of seeking Allah’s pleasure, we deserve the love of Allah even more. Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet (saw) said: “Whoever visits the sick or his brother in (faith in) Allah, a caller calls out to him,’ May you have goodness and your livelihood be good, and certainly you have gotten for yourself a palace in paradise.’” (Tirmidhi). The Prophet (saw) instructed us saying: “Feed the hungry, visit the sick, and set captives free.” (Bukhari) 

When we go to the sick we must purify our intentions so that we are doing it for the sake of Allah. If that is the case, it is encouraged to carry some fruits or some other token gift for the sick person to show our concern for his or her health and well-being. Furthermore, our Prophet (saw) taught us to give warm and welcoming greetings to the sick person with a face full of hope and reassurance, while saying to the sick person: “La ba’sa tuhurun insha Allah” which means “it is not bad. May Allah make (the illness only) a purification (for you) if He wills.” (Bukhari). For indeed, the Prophet (saw) is reported to have said: “If a Muslim who is afflicted with sickness or anything else (is patient with it), Allah will cause the person’s bad deeds to fall away, like leaves fall from a tree.” (Muslim) 

We should also not forget to supplicate for Allah to give good health and a quick recovery to the sick person whom we have gone to visit, as was taught by the Prophet (saw). Aishah narrated that when the Prophet (saw) visited a sick person, he would pray for him and say: “Take away the pain, O Lord of humankind, and grant healing, for you are the Healer, and there is no healing but Your healing, a healing that leaves no trace of sickness.” 

Similarly, we should also request that the sick person pray and supplicate for us since a sick person is very close to Allah (swt) in the sense that he or she is always remembering and glorifying Allah and supplicating to Him because of the pain the person feels and most, if not all, of person’s sins are forgiven. 

Abu Hurairah (ra) narrated that the Prophet (saw) said: “Allah, Glorified and Exalted is He, will say on the Day of Resurrection: O son of Adam, I fell sick and you did not visit Me. It will be asked: O Lord, how could we visit You when You are the Lord of the Worlds? He will say: Did you know that My slave so-and-so was sick, but you did not visit him? Do you know that had you visited him you would have found Me with him?....” (Muslim) 

This does not mean that Allah (swt) is physically present with the sick person. It means that the sick person is so close to Allah (swt) in the sense that Allah (swt) covers the sick person with His gracious mercy and sends angels of mercy to bless the person and ask forgiveness for the person and thus purify his sins. 

Therefore, visiting our sick brothers and sisters in faith or in humanity is a moral virtue that should not be taken lightly. We ask Allah (swt) to grant us merciful hearts that are concerned about other people’s suffering.

(Prepared by Abdul Muhaemin Karim)