By Amina Salau
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
A loved one fell ill a few weeks back and, as expected, the news brought with it some feelings of fear and worry. There was apprehension over the illness and expectations of quick recovery. As we carry on with everyday activities, hoping for the best, I can’t help but reflect over how we deal with illnesses as Muslims.
Have you ever wondered what (if anything) is expected from a Muslim during times of trial like that of an illness? I believe that we should let the principles outlined in the Qur’an and Sunnah guide us during an illness. So, let’s take a look at a few pointers that can help us navigate through a difficult period positively.
Remember that Illness is from Allah (st)
Allah is aware of every leaf that falls. (Qur’an 6:59) So, in the first place, a Muslim should understand that any illness that befalls him or her is from Allah. I have discovered that when we put this thought to the fore of our minds, it becomes easier to be patient and rely upon Him. It is natural to become overwhelmed or feel helpless, but despair does nothing for a Muslim. We should draw strength from the fact that this trial was designed by our Creator.
Seek Medical Attention if Necessary
The Prophet (sa) said: “Allah does not send down any disease without sending down its cure also.” (Sunan Ibn Majah; sound)
Even though illnesses are a form of trial from Allah, it is a Muslim’s duty to get treatment, or assist another person to get treated. Many hadiths report that Prophet Muhammad (sa) encouraged the use of medical treatment while he was alive.
In addition to getting medical help, we can also perform the Sunnah of reciting the Mu’awwidhatayn, as narrated by Aisha (Muslim). The Mu’awwidhatayn refers to the last two chapters of the Qur’an, and the Sunnah of the Prophet (sa) is to recite them on the palms and rub them all over the body. This is not a substitute for proper medical treatment, but it is a very beneficial way to seek relief.
No matter how short the bout of illness is, the fact that you do not feel like your hale and hearty self can make it feel like the world is about to end. If illnesses are a test of our eeman (faith) from Allah, we know that the best way to pass this test is by bearing the illness with patience, while hoping for His reward. It does not behove Muslims to complain and moan about their situation, or see it as a form of suffering or hatred from Allah.
Aisha (rah) narrated that Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “For every calamity that befalls a Muslim, Allah expiates some of his sins because of it, even if it was (only) a prick from a thorn.” (Bukhari)
This should serve as a reminder to us that whenever we are ill and bear it patiently, we will be rewarded for it, Allah willing.
Patience is also important in allowing our bodies to recover from the illness. We should make sure that all medications are used appropriately and completely, not abandoned at the first sign of improved health. We should also give our body as much rest as needed, so that all lost nutrients and fluid can be replaced and the body can perform properly. As Muslims, we have to take care of the body that Allah has given us.
May Allah cure all sick people and restore them to good health.
Amina Salau is a freelance writer who is passionate about women’s issues in Islam.
© IIPH 2015