When visiting is not possible
If visitation is not possible then calling the sick on the telephone or writing to them can also have a very positive effect. However, the actual visitation has a stronger result and gives the patient a feeling of warmth that no telephone call or letter could ever accomplish.
The visitation causes truthful emotions and noble feelings to shine through. It allocates time to have heartfelt discussions and share memories of times gone past. It is also one of the social rights of a Muslim upon his brother. This Islamically given right is for a good purpose, as someone who suffers with an illness is usually in great need for others to be with him, to console him, to care for and to talk to him. This social behavior is related to the value of charity and giving in Islam.
Visiting the sick is a truthful expression of benevolence, empathy and brotherhood amongst Muslims. It strengthens our relationships and increases the ties of love and affection for others in our hearts. This is especially true when we think of the sick and their mental and emotional state. When an ailing person feels the affection and compassion from their fellow Muslim and the Islamic community, he in turn will show the same feelings towards them. It creates a snowball effect in the community and amongst our families.
Words can make a world of difference
A relative, friend or a physician of the sick can go beyond the barrier of the ailment to not only help the ailing person feel valued and loved, but also he can help to reinforce his religion and his trust in Allah.
This can be achieved through a few sincere words and advice where Allah’s Countenance is sought. Heartfelt and thoughtful words can help those in poor health focus on what is important, and help them to see their life in this world more clearly without the burdensome worries of fear, despair or anxiety.
Our words of remembrance can even change their outlook and give them hope for their future. People can have soaring ambition and determination with high self-esteem, even when ill.
A good attitude creates a good feeling and can distract them from their pain; affliction and hardship may also be reduced in their eyes. No one can deny how the psychological state and environment of the sick can have a great impact in a positive direction for their well-being and recovery.
Also, when visiting a sick person, do not forget the guidance of our Prophet, sallalahu alayhi wa sallam, and his teachings on the manner in which he used to talk to the sick, as well as the manner of his prayers for them.
Ibn Majah narrated that Allah’s Messenger, sallalahu alayhi wa sallam, used to visit his companions when they were ill. He would come close to the sick and sit beside their heads and then ask them about their condition. He, sallalahu alayhi wa sallam, would say: “How do you see yourself?” It was also reported that he would ask the sick if they would like anything specific by saying: “Do you like anything?” If the sick wanted anything and the Prophet, sallalahu alayhi wa sallam, knew that it would not harm him, then he would ask for it. He, sallalahu alayhi wa sallam, used to wipe the body of the sick with his right hand and then say: “O Allah, Lord of the people, remove the hardship and give the cure. You are the One who cures, and there no cure except from You, a cure that will not leave any sickness behind.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
The Prophet, sallalahu alayhi wa sallam, would repeat his prayer for the sick three times as he clearly demonstrated once by saying to Sa’ad: “O Allah cure Sa’ad O Allah cure Sa’ad, O Allah cure Sa’ad.”[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]. He would sometimes say to the sick whom he visited: "No harm (may befall you), may this (sickness) be a purifier (of your sins) with Allah’s Will."[Al-Bukhari] Or he, sallalahu alayhi wa sallam, would say: "(May this be) an expiation and purification (from sins)."[Ahmad]
Muslim brotherhood is a bond between us all that is strengthened or diminished by our own actions, If we as a society neglect our community — it will also neglect us when we are in need. Taking a little time out of our busy schedule every month to visit those in our community that are ill is something that we can all do and is something that we are obligated to do. We don’t have to be the best of friends with the ailing person to visit them — they can even be perfect strangers. We can go in groups and our visit can be brief.
The benefit to each of our communities is so tremendous and will aid to unify us as an Ummah and also bring us tranquility as individuals. When we pray, we stand together foot to foot and when we are ill we should be together hand in hand. The reward is worth our time.
For those suffering with an illness
Many of us suffer with pain and have had life that show us a side we were previously unfamiliar with. There are others that suffer today and wait for a cure.
We can all ponder over the question of whether or not our experience of sickness has taught us patience and contentment with our life. We may also wonder if it has taught us to submit to Allah’s will, so our deeds may be weighty on the scale? It can be a tough lesson for us to face the harsh reality of illness and then additionally have to comprehend who was really there for us when we needed them and who wasn’t. Indeed, there are few who choose to share our pain and sadness that accompany illness. But it can be a great eye opener — allowing us to see things we otherwise would not have and then we can truly come to the understanding of what is, and what isn’t important.
We can also be closer to Allah when we are sick. When we’re ill, we tend to appreciate the gifts that Allah has given us much more in depth. Accepting fully that it is only He who can help us and can cure us, and without that — there is nothing. Still, as so often happens — it is human nature when our health is restored, so is our denial and egos. We can all easily forget the gifts of Allah and His care. We can forget that it is Allah who is the Grantor of our health once we recover, yet once again we easily remember when it is lost and out of our control.
We must begin to view our trials as gifts from Allah aid in reminding us of Him. He is the One who has given us every gift and bounty we have. If it was not for these trials, it is very possible that we could spend our entire life without remembering the infinite number of Allah’s favors upon us. Allah’s gifts and favors are many, but they do not last forever. Our lives are like roller coasters of trials and happiness. We must work hard to patiently endure our trials on the down slopes while still giving thanks, and enjoy our lives not forgetting to give thanks to Allah for our blessings while on the way up. There are countless ways that we may be afflicted with trials: within our self, our wealth and our faith. However, a believer faces trials with patience. He praises Allah at all times and deals with his trials in the proper manner to the best of his capability.