Illness and visiting those who are ill

Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari

by Imam Bukhari
Translated by: Ustadha Aisha Bewley

XXVIII. Illness and visiting those who are ill

226. The expiation of someone who is ill

491. Ghatif ibn al-Harith said that a man came to Abu 'Ubayda ibn al-Jarrah while he was in pain and asked, "What is the reward of the amir?" Abu 'Ubayda said, "Do you know that for which you will be rewarded?" The man replied, "We will be rewarded for things which happen to us which we dislike." Abu 'Ubayda said, "Rather you will be rewarded for what you spend in the Cause of Allah and what is spent on you. Then there is a reckoning for all parts of the saddle, even the horse's bridle. Allah will remove your errors from you for the sake of this fatigue which has afflicted your bodies."

492. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, 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."

493. 'Abdu'r-Rahman ibn Sa'id reported that his father said, "I was with Salman when he visited a sick person in Kinda. When he went in, he said, 'Good news! Allah makes the illness of the believer an expiation for him and a restoration, whereas the illness of the corrupt person is like a camel whose people hobble it and the let it go. It doe sot know why it was hobbled or released.'"

494. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Affliction will continue to trouble the believers, men and women, in their bodies, their families, and their property until they meet Allah Almighty purified of every wrong action."

Another transmission adds, "and in their children."

495. Abu Hurayra said, "A bedouin came and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, asked, 'Has Umm Mildam (fever) got hold of you?' 'What is Umm Mildam?' he asked. He said, 'The heat between the skin and the flesh.' The bedouin said, 'No.' He asked, 'Have you got a headache?' 'What is headache?' the man asked. He replied, 'A wind which appears in the head and beats the veins.' 'No,' he said, When he stood up, he 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.'"

229. Is it a complaint when a sick person says, "I am in pain"?

509. Hisham reported that his father ('Urwa ibn az-Zubayr) said, "'Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr and I went to visit Asma' ten nights before 'Abdullah was killed. Asma' was in pain and 'Abdullah asked her, 'How are you feeling?' 'In pain,' she replied. He said, 'I am near death.' She said, 'Perhaps you desire my death and that is the reason you desire it? Do not do that. By Allah, I do not want to die until I reach one of the two ends: either you will be killed and I will leave you to Allah or you will win and I will be content. Beware of having your portion presented to you and then you do not agree with it. Accept it, even though you dislike death."

Ibn az-Zubayr meant that he would be killed and that would grieve her.

510. Abu Sa'id al-Khudri reported that he came to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, while he had a fever. He had a covering over him. He placed his hand on him and discovered that it was hot above the covering. Abu Sa'id exclaimed, 'How hot your fever is, Messenger of Allah!' He said, 'We are like that. The affliction is hard on us, but the reward is doubled for us.' He said, 'Messenger of Allah, which people have the greatest affliction?' He replied, 'The Prophets, and then the righteous. One of them was tested by poverty to such an extent that he could only find a robe to cover himself with and he wore it. Another was tested by fleas until they killed him. They have greater joy in affliction than one of you has in gifts."

230. Visiting someone who has fainted

511. Jabir ibn 'Abdullah said, "I was ill, and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came with Abu Bakr to visit me. They came on foot. They found that I had fainted, so the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did wudu' and then poured his wudu' water on me. I came to and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was there. I asked, 'Messenger of Allah, what should I do with my property? Give me a judgement regarding my property.' He did not give me any answer until the ayat of inheritance was revealed."

231. Visiting children who are ill

512. Usama ibn Zayd reported that a child of one of the daughters of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was very ill. His mother sent word to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, to say that her child was dying. He told the messenger, "Go and tell her that to Allah belongs what He takes and what He gives. Everything is with Him until a stated term. She should be patient and leave him to Allah." The messenger went back and told her. She sent to him again to plead with him to come. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, got up with a group of his Companions, including Sa'd ibn 'Ubada. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, took the child and put him on his breast. The child was shaking like a leaf against his chest. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, wept and Sa'd said, "Do you weep, Messenger of Allah?" He replied, "I weep out of compassion for the child. Allah only shows mercy to those of His slaves who are merciful."

232. Chapter

513. Ibrahim ibn Abi 'Abla said, "My wife was ill and I used to go to Umm ad-Darda'. She asked me, 'How's your family?' 'Ill,' I replied. She called for some food for me and I ate. Then I went back and she did the same thing again. I visited her yet again and she asked, 'How are they?' 'They are almost well,' I replied. She said, 'I called for good for you when you told me that your family were ill. Since they are almost well know, we will not call for anything for you.'"

233. Visiting Bedouins

514. Ibn 'Abbas reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, went to visit a bedouin when he was ill and said, "Do not worry. It is a purification if Allah so wills." He said that the bedouin said, "It is a fever which boils in an old man and will cause him to visit the graves." "It is a blessing then," he concluded.

234. Visiting the sick

515. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, asked, "Which of you is fasting today?" Abu Bakr said, "I am." He asked, "Which of you has visited a sick person today? "I have," Abu Bakr stated. Then he asked, "Who has attended a funeral today?" "I have," Abu Bakr said. He asked, "Who has fed a poor person today?" Abu Bakr said, "I have."

Marwan, the transmitter, said, "I heard that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, observed, "These qualities are not brought together in one man on a single day but that he will enter the Garden."

516. Jabir said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, visited Umm as-Sa'ib while she was sighing. He asked, 'What is wrong with you?' 'The fever,' she replied, "May Allah debase it!' The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Gently! Do not curse it. It removes the errors of the believer as the bellows remove the dross of iron.'"

517. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Allah says: 'I asked you for food and you did not feed Me. He (His slave) will say, 'Lord, how could I feed You when You did not ask me for food and You are the Lord of the universe?' He will say, 'Do you not know that My slave so-and-so asked you for food and you did not feed him? Do you not know that if you had fed him, you would have found that action with Me? Son of Adam, I asked you for water and you did not give Me water.' The slave will reply, 'O Lord, how could I give you water when You are the Lord of the universe?' He will say, 'My slave so-and-so asked you for water and you did not give him water. Do you not know that if you had given him water, you would have found that action with Me? Son of Adam, I was ill and you did not visit Me.' He will say, 'O Lord, how could I visit You when You are the Lord of the universe?' He will say, 'Do you not know that My slave so-and-so was ill. If you had visited him you would have found that action with Me (or you would have found Me with him)."

518. Sa'id reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Visit the sick. Follow funeral processions. Remind yourselves of the Next World."

519. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "There are three things which are all a duty for every Muslim: to visit the sick, to attend funerals, and to say, 'may Allah have mercy on you' when someone sneezes if he praises Allah Almighty."

235. Someone who visits a sick person making supplication that he will get well

520. Three of the Banu Sa'd related from their father that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, visited Sa'd (ibn Abi Waqqas) in Makka and Sa'd wept. He asked, "Why are your weeping?" Sa'd replied, "I fear that I will die in the land from which I have emigrated as Sa'd (ibn Khawla) died." The Prophet said, "O Allah, heal Sa'd!" three times. Sa'd said, "I have a lot of property which my daughter will inherit. Shall I will all of it away?" "No," he replied. Sa'd asked, "Two-thirds?" "No," he replied. "A half then?" Sa'd asked. "No," he answered. Sa'd asked, "A third?" "A third," he said, "but a third is a lot. What you give as sadaqa from your property is sadaqa. What you spend on your family is sadaqa. What your wife eats of your food is sadaqa for you. It is better for you to leave your family in a state of plenty (or he said "livelihood") than to leave them where they have to importune people."

236. The excellence of visiting someone who is ill

521. Abu Qilaba reported from Abu'l-Ash'ath as-San'ani that Abu Asma' said, "Whoever visits his brother is in a tent of the Garden." I (the transmitter) asked Abu Qilaba, "What is the tent of the Garden?" "Its fruits," he replied. I said to Abu Qilaba, "From whom did Asma' transmit?" "From Thawban from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace," he replied.

237. The hadith about the person who is ill and the person who visits him

522. Abu Bakr ibn Juz' and Muhammad ibn al-Munkadir were some people from the mosque who visited 'Umar ibn al-Hakam ibn Rafi' al-Ansari. They said, "Abu Hafs! Relate to us!" He said, "I heard 'Abdullah say that he heard the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, "When someone visits a sick person, he dives into mercy to such an extent that when he sits with him, he settles in it."

238. Someone who prays in the presence of a sick person

523. 'Ata' said, "Ibn 'Umar visited Ibn Safwan and the time came for the prayer. So Ibn 'Umar prayed two rak'ats with them and then observed, 'I am travelling.'"

239. Visiting a mushrik

524. Anas reported that a Jewish boy used to serve the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. The boy became ill and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, went to visit him. He sat by his head and said, "Become a Muslim." The boy looked at his father who was also sitting by his head. His father said to him, "Obey Abu'l-Qasim (may Allah bless him and grant him peace)." So the boy became a Muslim. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, left saying, "Praise be to Allah who has saved him from the Fire!"

240. What to say to someone who is ill

525. 'A'isha said, "When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came to Madina, Abu Bakr and Bilal came down with a fever. I visited them and asked, 'Father, how are you? Bilal, how are you?' When Abu Bakr's fever worsened, he said:

'Every man is struck down among his people in the morning,

      when death is closer than the strap of his sandal.'

"When the fever left Bilal, he raised his voice:
'And whether one day I will go the waters of Majinna!

    Will the mountains of Shama and Tafil appear to me?'"

'A'isha continued, "I then went to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and told him what they had said. He said, 'O Allah! Make us love Madina as we love Makka or even more! Make it healthy. Bless us in its sa' and its mudd. Take its fever away and put it in al-Juhfa.'"

526. Ibn 'Abbas reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, went to visit a bedouin who was ill. When the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, visited someone who was ill, he would say, 'There is no harm in it. It is a purification, Allah willing." That man then said, "A purification! No, rather it is a fever which boils (or appears) in an old man and will cause him to visit the graces." The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "All right then."

527. Nafi' reported that when Ibn 'Umar visited someone who was ill, he would ask him how he was. When he left him, he would say, "May Allah choose what is best for you." He did not say more than that.

241. What the sick person answers

528. 'Amr ibn Sa'id said, "Al-Hajjaj visited Ibn 'Umar while I was with him, He asked, 'How are you?' 'Sound,' he replied. He asked, 'What is wrong with you?' He replied, "I have been afflicted by the business of carrying arms on a day when it is not lawful to carry them.' He was referring to al-Hajjaj.*"

* That was when al-Hajjaj was laying siege to 'Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr in the Haram."

242. Visiting someone who is a deviant (fasiq)

529. 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr ibn al-'As said, "Do not visit wine-drinkers when they are ill."

243. Women visiting a man who is ill

530. Al-Harith ibn 'Abdullah al-Ansari said, "I saw Umm ad-Darda' going to visit an Ansari man from the mosque and she was on her mount in an uncovered howdah."

244. Someone who dislikes for visitors to look at other things in his house

531. 'Abdullah ibn Abi'l-Hudhayl said, "'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud went to visit a sick person with some other people. There was a woman in the room and one of the men began to look at her, 'Abdullah said to him, 'It would have been better for you if your eyes had been gouged out.'"

245. Visiting someone with eye trouble

532. Zayd ibn Arqam said, "I had a pain in my eyes and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, visited me and said, 'Zayd, if tour eyes were to go blind because of their illness, what would you do?' He said, 'I would be steadfast and reckon my reward to be with Allah.' He said, 'If that happens to your eyes and you are steadfast and reckon your reward to be with Allah, then your reward will be the Garden.'"

533. Al-Qasim ibn Muhammad reported that one of the Companions of Muhammad lost his eyesight and people visited him. He said, "I used to look at the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, but now that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, has died, by Allah, what has happened to my eyes is as easy for me to bear as one of the gazelles of Tibala (in Yemen)."

534. Anas said, "I heard the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say that Allah Almighty said, 'When I test him in his two precious ones (i.e. his eyes) and he is steadfast, I will repay him with the Garden.'"

535. Abu Umama reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Allah says, 'O son of Adam, when I take what is precious from you and you are steadfast in the face of the blow and reckon that your reward is with Allah, the only reward which I am content for you to have is the Garden."

246. Where does should a person sit when he visits a sick person?

536. Ibn 'Abbas said, "When the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, visited a sick person, he would sit by his head and then say seven times, 'I ask Allah the Immense, the Lord of the Immense Throne, to cure you.' If the time of the invalid had not yet come, he would be cured of his pain."

537. Ar-Rabi' ibn al-Hasan said, "I went with al-Hasan to visit Qatada. He sat by his head and asked after him and made supplication for him. He said, 'O Allah, heal his heart and cure him of his illness!"