The Book of Patients

The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari

by Imam Bukhari
Translated by: Ustadha Aisha Bewley

Chapter 78. The Book of Patients

I. What has come about illness being an expiation

The words of Allah Almighty, "Anyone who does evil will be repaid for it.." (4:123)

5317. It is related from 'Urwa ibn az-Zubayr that 'A'isha, the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'There is no affliction which befalls a Muslim but that Allah expiates some of his wrong actions by it, even the a thorn which pricks him.'"

5318. 'Ata' ibn Yasar related from Abu Sa'id al-Khudri and Abu Hurayra that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "No fatigue, illness, anxiety, sorrow, harm or sadness afflicts any Muslim, even to the extent of a thorn pricking him, without Allah wiping out his mistakes by it."

5319. It is related from Ka'b that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The metaphor of the believer is like a tender young plant which the wind sometimes bends and sometimes makes upright. The example of the hypocrite is like a cedar tree which remains upright until it is uprooted all at once.

It is related from Ka'b from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

5320. 'Ata' ibn Yasar related from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The metaphor of a believer is like a tender young plant which bends from whichever direction the wind comes to it. When it is still, then it is upright. A believer bends with affliction while the impious one is like the cedar tree, rigid until Allah breaks it whenever He wishes."

5321. Abu'l-Hubab Sa'id ibn Yasar said, "I heard Abu Hurayra say that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'When Allah desires good for someone, He afflicts him.'"

II. Severe illness

5322. It is related by Masruq that 'A'isha said, "I did not see anyone more severely ill than the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace."

5323. Al-Harith ibn Suwayd related that 'Abdullah [ibn Mas'ud] said, "I visited the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, when he was ill and he was suffering from a very high fever. I observed, 'You have a very high fever,' I added, 'Is that because you will have two rewards?' He said, 'Yes, there is no Muslim who is afflicted by harm but that Allah will make his errors fall away from him as the leaves of a tree fall down.'"

III. The people with the strongest affliction are the Prophets, then the next best people and then the next best

5324. Al-Harith ibn Suwayd related that 'Abdullah said, "I visited the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, when he had a fever. I observed, 'Messenger of Allah, you have a very high fever!' He answered, 'Yes, I have the fever of two of your men.' I asked, 'Is that because you will have two rewards?' He said, 'Yes, it is like that. No Muslim is afflicted by harm, whether it is a thorn or something worse, without Allah expiating his evil deeds on that account and his sins fall away from him like leaves fall from a tree.'"

IV. It is mandatory to visit the sick

5325. It is related that Abu Musa al-Ash'ari that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Feed the hungry, visit the sick and set captives free."

5326. It is related from Suwayd ibn Muqarrin that al-Bara' ibn 'Azib said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, instructed us to do seven things and forbade us seven. He forbade us to wear gold rings, to wear silk, silk brocade, istibraq silk, qissi (a silk/cotton mixture), and silk saddle cloths. He commanded us to follow funerals, visit the sick and return the greeting."

V. Visiting someone who is unconscious

5327. It is related that Ibn al-Munkadir heard Jabir ibn 'Abdullah say, "I fell ill and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and Abu Bakr came on foot to visit me. They found me unconscious. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did wudu' and then poured his wudu' water on me. I regained consciousness and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was there. I said, 'Messenger of Allah, what shall I do with my property? How should I settle my property?' He did give not an answer until the Ayat of Inheritance was revealed."

VI. The excellence of someone who has fits

5328. 'Ata ibn Abi Rabah reported: "Ibn 'Abbas said to me, 'Shall I show a woman who is one of the people of the Garden?' 'Please do,' I answered. He said, 'This black woman came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, 'I have fits during which I expose myself. Pray to Allah for me.' He said, 'If you wish, you can show fortitude and you will receive the Garden, and if you wish, I will pray to Allah to heal you.' She said, 'I will show fortitude.' She added, 'I expose myself, so pray to Allah that I do not expose myself' and he made supplication for her.'"

It is related from Ibn Jurayj that 'Ata' told him that he saw that Umm Zafar, a tall black woman, at the curtain of the Ka'ba.

VII. The excellence of someone who has lost his sight

5329. 'Amr, the client of al-Muttalib, related that Anas ibn Malik said, "I heard the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, 'Allah says, "When I test My slave regarding the two things he loves and he shows fortitude, I repay him for them with the Garden.' He meant his eyes."

It is corroborated by Ash'ath ibn Habir and Abu Zilal ibn Hilal from Anas from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

VIII. Women and men visiting the sick

Umm ad-Darda' visited a man of the Ansar who was one of those who lived in the mosque.

5330. It is related that '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 said, 'Father, how are you? Bilal, how are you?' When Abu Bakr's fever got worse, he would say:

'Every man is struck down among his people in the morning.
     Death is nearer than the strap of his sandal.'

When the fever left Bilal, he raised his voice and said,

'Would that I knew whether I would spend a night in the valley of Makka
      with the sweet rushes and panic grass around me!
Will I one day return to the waters of Majinna?
     Will the mountains of Shama and Tafil appear to me?'"

'A'isha said, "I went to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and told him and he said, 'O Allah! Make us love Madina as much as we love Makka or even more so! O Allah, make it healthy for us and bless us in our sa' and in our mudd. Remove its fever and put it in al-Juhfa!'"

IX. Visiting sick children

5331. Abu 'Uthman reported from Usama ibn Zayd £ that a daughter of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, sent for him while he, Sa'd and Ubayy were with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. She said, "We believe that my daughter is near death, please attend us." He sent his greetings to her and said, "What Allah takes is his and what He gives is His. Everything has a fixed term with Him, so she should show fortitude and expect a reward." She sent to him adjuring him to come to her. He said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, got up and we got up as well. The child was placed in the lap of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and its breathing was ragged. Tears fell from the eyes of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Sa'd said, "Messenger of Allah, what is this?" He answered, "This is an aspect of mercy which Allah has put in the hearts of whomever He wishes of His slaves. Allah is only merciful to His slaves who are merciful."

X. Visiting sick bedouins

5332. 'Ikrima related from Ibn 'Abbas £ that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, went to visit a bedouin. He said, "When the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, visited a sick person, he would say, "No harm, it is purification if Allah wills." He said, "You say, 'Purification', you say? No indeed. Rather it is a fever which boils or burns in old man which will lead him to the graves." The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Yes, then may it be so."

XI. Visiting a sick idolator

5333. Thabit reported from Anas that a boy belonging to a Jew used to serve the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. He became ill and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, went to visit him. He said, "Become Muslim," and he became Muslim.

Sa'id ibn al-Musayyab reported from his father, "When Abu Talib was dying, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, went to him."

XII. When someone visits someone who is ill and then leads the people in the prayer when the time for the prayer comes

5334. 'Urwa related that 'A'isha said, "Some people visited the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, while he was ill. He led them in the prayer while sitting down and they started to pray standing. He indicated to them to sit down. When he had finished, he said, 'The Imam is only appointed to be followed. When he goes into ruku', go into ruku', and when he rises, rise. When he prays sitting down, you should pray sitting down.'"

Abu 'Abdullah said that al-Humaydi said, "This hadith was abrogated because in the last that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, prayed, he prayed sitting while the people were standing behind him."

XIII. Placing one's hand on the patient

5335. 'A'isha bint Sa'd related that her father said, "I became gravely ill in Makka and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came to visit me. I said, 'Prophet of Allah, I have property and my only heir is one daughter. Should I will away two-thirds of my property and leave a third?' 'No,' he answered. I said, 'Shall I will away a half and leave a half?' 'No,' he answered. I said, 'Shall I will away a third and leave her two-thirds?' He said, 'A third, but a third is a lot.' Then he placed his hand on my forehead and wiped his hand over my face and abdomen and then said, 'O Prophet! Cure Sa'd and let him complete his hijra.' It seems that I can still feel its coolness even now."

5336. Al-Harith ibn Suwayd related that 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud said, "I visited the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, when he was suffering from a very high fever. I touched him with my hand and said, 'Messenger of Allah, you have a very high fever.' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ''Yes, I have the fever of two of your men.' I asked, 'Is that because you will have two rewards?' He said, 'Yes, it is like that. No Muslim is afflicted by harm, whether it is a thorn or something worse, without Allah expiating his evil deeds on that account and his sins fall away from him like leaves fall from a tree.'"

XIV. What is said to a sick person and how he should answer

5337. Al-Harith ibn Suwayd related that 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud said, "I visited the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, when he was suffering from a very high fever. I touched him with my hand and said, 'You have a very high fever. Is that because you will have two rewards?' He said, 'Yes, there is no Muslim who is afflicted by harm but that his errors will fall from him as the leaves fall from a tree.'"

5338. 'Ikrima related from Ibn 'Abbas that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, visited a man who was ill and said, "No harm, it is purification if Allah wills." He said, "No, it is a fever which boils or burns in old man which will lead him to the graves." The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Yes, then may it be so."

XV. Visiting a sick person riding, walking or riding with someone else on a donkey

5339. It is related from 'Urwa that Usama ibn Zayd told him that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, rode a donkey with a cloth made in Fadak and Usama ibn Zayd was riding behind him. He went to visit Sa'd ibn 'Ubada before the Battle of Badr. He proceeded until he passed by a gathering which contained 'Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul, and that was before 'Abdullah ibn Ubayy became Muslim. The gathering contained a mixture of Muslims, idolaters, pagans, and Jews. 'Abdullah ibn Rawaha was in the gathering. When the dust from the donkey reached the gathering, 'Abdullah ibn Ubayy covered his nose with his cloak and then said, "Don't cover us with dust!" The Messenger of Allah* greeted them and then stopped, He dismounted and invited them to Allah and recited the Qur'an to them. 'Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul said, "O man! There is nothing better than what you say if it is the truth. So do not annoy us with it in our gatherings. Return to your mount and recount to whoever comes to you." 'Abdullah ibn Rawaha said, "Indeed, Messenger of Allah! Bring it to us in our gatherings. We like that!" So the Muslims, idolaters and Jews abused one another until they were practically fighting. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, kept on calming them down until they were quiet. Then the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, mounted his animals and went until he visited Sa'd ibn 'Ubada. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to him, "Sa'd, did you not hear what Abu Hubab (meaning 'Abdullah ibn Ubayy) said?" Sa'd said, "O Messenger of Allah, pardon him and overlook it. Allah has given you what He has given you. The people of this little town had agreed to crown him and bind his head with a (royal) turban. When Allah refused that by the truth which Allah gave you, he was vexed on that account. That is why he did what you saw."

5340. Muhammad ibn al-Munkadir related that Jabir said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came to visit me and he did not ride a mule nor a horse."

XVI. It is allowed for someone ill to say, "I am suffering" or "O my head" or "My illness is severe."

The words of Ayyub, peace be upon him, "Great harm has afflicted me and You are the Most Merciful of the merciful." (21:83)

5341. 'Abdu'r-Rahman ibn Abi Layla reported that Ka'b ibn 'Ujra said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, passed by me while I was lighting a fire under a pot. He asked, 'Are the lice on your head causing you trouble?' 'Yes,' I answered. He called for a barber to shave my head and then ordered me to do expiation for that."

5342. Al-Qasim ibn Muhammad said that 'A'isha said, "O my head!" The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "If that had been while I was alive, I would have asked Allah to forgive you and make supplication for you." 'A'isha said, "O my loss! By Allah, I think that you want for me to die. If that were to happen, you would spend the rest of your day sleeping with one of your wives!" The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Rather I should say, 'O my head!' I should (or I wanted) to send for Abu Bakr and his son and appoint him lest some people say [that the khalifate is for a certain person] or some people wish for it Then I said, 'Allah would refuse it to someone not entitled and the believers would prevent it, (or Allah would prevent it and the believers refuse it).'"

5343. Al-Harith ibn Suwayd related that 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud said, "I visited the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, when he was suffering from a very high fever. I touched him with my hand and said, 'You have a very high fever.' He said, 'Yes, like that of two men.' I asked, 'Is that because you will have two rewards?' He said, 'Yes, there is no Muslim who is afflicted by any harm by illness or something else but that Allah will remove his evil deeds from him as a tree sheds its leaves.'"

5344. 'Amir ibn Sa'd related that his father said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came to visit me when I was very ill at the time of the Farewell Hajj. I said, 'You see how severe my illness it. I have property and my only heir is my daughter. Can I give away two-thirds of it as sadaqa?' 'No,' he answered. I said, 'A half?' 'No,' he answered. I said, 'A third.' He said, 'A third is a lot. It is better to leave your heirs wealthy than to leave them poor, begging from people. You will be rewarded for whatever you spend for the sake of Allah, even what you put in your wife's mouth.'"

XVII. The words of a sick person, "Leave me!"

5345. It is related that Ibn 'Abbas said, "When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was dying, there were some men in the house which included 'Umar ibn al-Khattab. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Come. Let me write a document for you after which you will never go astray.' 'Umar said, 'The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, is overcome by pain. We have the Qur'an and the Book of Allah is enough for us.' The people in the house disagreed and quarrelled. Some of them said, 'Go near so that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, can write a document for you after which you will never go astray.' Others said what 'Umar said. When there was a lot of noise and disagreement in the presence of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Leave me!'"

'Ubaydullah said, "Ibn 'Abbas used to say, 'It was a disaster, a complete disaster, that prevented the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, from writing down that document for them because of their disagreement and noise."

XVIII. The one who brings a sick child so that supplication can be made for him

5346. Al-Ju'ayd related he heard as-Sa'ib ibn Yazid say, "My aunt took me to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, 'Messenger of Allah, my nephew is ill.' So he stroked my head and prayed for blessing for me. Then he did wudu' and I drank some of his wudu' water. Then I stood behind him and saw the seal of prophethood between his shoulders. It was like a partridge egg."

XIX. Someone who is ill wishing for death

5347. Thabit al-Bunani related from Anas ibn Malik that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "None of you should wish for death because of some harm which has befallen him. If he has got to do something, he should say, 'O Allah, make live if life is best for me and make me die if death is best for me."

5348. It is related that Qays ibn Abi Hazim said, "We went to visit Khabbab when he was ill. He had been cauterised seven times. He said, 'Our companions who went before us have gone and this world did not cause them any decrease. We have acquired so much that the only way to spend it is in constructing buildings. If it were not that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had forbidden us to pray for death, I would have prayed for it.'

"Then we came to him again when he was repairing one of his walls and he said, 'A Muslim is rewarded for everything he spends except for what he invests in buildings.'"

5349. Abu 'Ubayd, the client of 'Abdu'r-Rahman ibn 'Awf, related that Abu Hurayra said, 'I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, 'No one will enter the Garden through his deeds.' They asked, 'Not even you, Messenger of Allah?' He said, 'No, not even me, unless Allah covers me in grace and mercy.' Seek the correct and draw near. None of you should wish for death. If he does good, he may increase in it, and if he does evil, he may turn in repentance.'"

5350. 'Abbad ibn 'Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr said, "I heard 'A'isha say, 'While the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was leaning against me, I heard him say, "O Allah, forgive me and show mercy to me and join me to the (Highest) Companion."'"

XX. A vistor making supplication for the invalid

'A'isha bint Sa'd reported from her father, "O Prophet, heal Sa'd!" The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said that.

5351. It is related from Masruq from 'A'isha that when the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, went to visit someone who was ill or someone who was ill was brought to him, he would say, "Remove the harm, Lord of people! Heal! You are the Healer. There is no healing exept Your healing, a healing which leaves no illness behind."

It is related from Ibrhaim and Abu'd-Duha, "When he was brought a someone who was ill."

It is related from Abu'd-Duha alone, "When he went to a sick person."

XXI. A visitor doing wudu' for someone ill

5352. Muhammad ibn al-Munkadir said, "I heard Jabir ibn 'Abdullah say, 'The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, visited me while I was ill. He did wudu' and poured it over me. Or he said, 'Pour it over him.' I regained my senses and said, 'I have no heirs to inherit from me. What happens with the inheritance?' Then the Ayat of Shares of Inheritance was revealed."

XXII. The one who prayed for the removal of the epidemics and fever

5353. 'Urwa related that '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 said, 'Father, how are you? Bilal, how are you?' When Abu Bakr's fever got worse, he would say:

'Every man is struck down among his people in the morning.
     Death is nearer than the strap of his sandal.'

When the fever left Bilal, he raised his voice and said,

'Would that I knew whether I would spend a night in the valley of Makka
      with the sweet rushes and panic grass around me!
Will I one day return to the waters of Majinna?
      Will the mountains of Shama and Tafil appear to me?'"

'A'isha said, "I went to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and told him and he said, 'O Allah! Make us love Madina as much as we love Makka or even more so! O Allah, make it healthy for us and bless us in our sa' and in our mudd. Remove its fever and put it in al-Juhfa!'"