Surviving Sickness

Sickness is an integral part of life and Islam provides guidelines on how Allah, the Creator of sickness, wishes His creation to handle it.
Here are a few benefits of illness to soothe the pain:

*Sickness is a soap. It washes away sin. The Hadith mentions that as ripe fruit fall when their tree is shaken, so the sins of a believer fall away on his shaking with illness. A Muslim’s goal is success in the Hereafter and the lesser the sins the better. Illness is one way of lesseing sin.

*Reward. Allah is so Merciful that sickness borne with patience is rewarded. Furthermore, if a person was habitual in performing acts of worship, in his illness he will still receive its reward despite not being able to do it. As the reward comes from Allah one can hope that it will be for a better performed act than normal in which we, as humans, often falter and carry out imperfectly.

*Divine help. The Qur’aan asks us to seek Allah’s Help through patience and sickness is an ideal occasion for drawing that help. Your Sustainer would not concern Himself with you if it was not for your calling (out to Him) (Qur’aan 25:77). We speak with Allah asking His help when in difficulties like illness. When we call to Him, He takes special interest in us.

* Sainthood. The hadith says that if a person has status in the sight of Allah, and he can’t reach that position through good works and Taqwa, Allah afflicts him with such tribulations as illness until he does attain it.
An example is that of dying of an illness in childbirth. This grants the woman the status of a martyr.

*Companions. Another narration tells us that those afflicted with the severest trials are the Prophets, then the saints and those like them. What illustrious company! To join them a sick person has to do literally nothing: merely observe patience which is far easier than performing Hajj or fasting. Prophet Ayyub alaihis salaam underwent severe sickness despite being a beloved of Allah.

Every twist in life takes on new meaning when seen with the eyes of faith, with the mindset of being a lowly servant of God, ready to go through whatever He sets out for us.

Islamic Focus 45 May 2007

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