Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Visiting the sick - Riyadu s-Salhin

Visiting the sick

From the Riyadu s-Salhin of Imam Nawawi, including commentaries by al-Hafidh ibn Hajr

Lecture by Sh Ahmad Hendricks May 31 2011

Documented by Muhammad Allie Khalfe

And there are two opinions within the Shafi’i madhab regarding visiting the sick. Some say it is a Sunnah Kifaya (if a group goes then the rest are free from it and may carry on with their duties) and some say it is Fard Kifaya.

عن البَرَاءِ بن عازِبٍ رضي الله عنهما ، قَالَ : أمَرَنَا رسولُ الله بعِيَادَةِ الْمَريضِ ، وَاتِّبَاعِ الجَنَازَةِ ، وَتَشْمِيتِ العَاطِسِ ، وَإبْرَارِ الْمُقْسِمِ ، وَنَصْرِ المَظْلُومِ ، وَإجَابَةِ الدَّاعِي ، وَإفْشَاءِ السَّلاَمِ . متفقٌ عَلَيْهِ . عيادة المريض سنة مؤكدة . ومن آدابها أن لا يطيل الجلوس عنده ، وينفس له في أجله ، ويذكر له فضل الصبر ، ويدعو له .

Al-Bara' bin 'Azib (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) has ordered us to visit the sick, to follow the funeral (of a dead believer), respond to the sneezer (i.e., by saying to him: Yarhamuk-Allah after he says: Al-hamdu lillah), to help those who vow to fulfill it, to help the oppressed, to accept the invitation extended by the inviter; and to promote greetings (i.e., saying As-Salamu 'Alaikum).

The following addition is added to a different authentic narration, ‘to respond to the sneezer [i.e., to say: 'Yarhamuk-Allah (may Allah bestow His Mercy on you),' when the sneezer praises Allah]."

Hafidh ibn Hajar mentions the following Sunnah’s to be observed when visiting the sick person:

1. When visiting the sick person, do not sit too long (else you will tire him out).

2. To treat the sick person properly by sitting close to him. If the sickness/disease is contiguous then it is better to keep the distance.

3. To place your hand on the sick persons body to show compassion. Example: place your hand on his head.

4. To ask the sick person how he is feeling.

5. To say words of good cheer and not mention negative things which will bring the sick person down.

Dalil: The Prophet (saw) said, "When you go in to visit an invalid, express a hope that he will live long. That will not avert anything, but it will comfort him."

When the Prophet, peace be upon him, visited a sick person he used to say to him: "Do not worry! It is a means of cleansing (you) of sins, Allah willing."

6. To give the sick person a Wasiya of Sabr.

Regarding giving good words and reminding the sick person to have Sabr, it is narrated in a hadith that the Prophet (saw) said, ‘Whenever a Muslim is afflicted with a hardship, sickness, sadness, worry, harm, or depression --even a thorn's prick, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala expiates his sins because of it.’

The Prophet (saw) said, in a hadith (there is khilaf on the authenticity of this hadith),’ there is no Khayr for one who does not encounter sickness’.

The ‘Ulama say that sickness is a sign of Allah’s Mercy and it is part of Allah’s Decree.

Ibn 'Abbas said to one of the Sahaba, "Shall I show you a woman of the people of Paradise?" I said, "Yes." He said, "This black lady came to the Prophet and said, 'I get attacks of epilepsy and my body becomes uncovered; please invoke Allah for me.' The Prophet (saw) said (to her), 'If you wish, be patient and you will have (enter) Paradise; and if you wish, I will invoke Allah to cure you.' She said, 'I will remain patient,' and added, 'but I become uncovered, so please invoke Allah for me that I may not become uncovered.' So he (saw) invoked Allah for her."

The above hadith is proof that one sabr and acceptance during sickness are signs of one’s acceptance into paradise.

7. Ask the sick person to make dua for you

Dalil: Ibn Majah narrates on the authority of Umar that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: "When you visit a sick person, ask him to pray for you. Indeed, the prayer of a sick person is like the prayer of angels."

8. Make dua for the sick person

The Prophet (saw) also said, ‘"Surat Fatiha contains healing for every disease."

It is recommended to recite Surat Fatiha in water and give it to the sick person to drink.


The following is recorded as the Sunnah of the Prophet (saw):

If one is sick then recite the following:

« بِسمِ اللهِ ، تُرْبَةُ أرْضِنَا ، بِرِيقَةِ بَعْضِنَا ، يُشْفَى بِهِ سَقِيمُنَا ، بإذْنِ رَبِّنَا »

1. Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim,

Bi-turbati Ardina (by the dust or earth), while putting the index finger on the ground (another riwaya says to place the thumb on the floor). Imam Nawawi says to use the index finger. Turbati comes from the word Turab which means sand. Riq means the saliva. (Sufyan bin 'Uyainah, the narrator, demonstrated this with his forefinger)

Wa bi-Riqati ba’dina (and by the water in the mouth), put the tip of the index finger on the tongue so that the earth is mixed with the water

Yushfa’ bihi saqimuna (heal this person), while pointing to the sick person and blowing a bit (so that the earth, water and wind are combined as natural elements)

Bi idhni Rabbina (only by the permission of Creator, Giver and Owner)

Ibn Hajar comments, ‘firstly, spittle and dust are simply external means and the curative effect in them comes from Allah Alone. Secondly, we may turn to the pious people to seek their blessings and prayers for the removal of our ailments and troubles’.

2. The Prophet (saw) recited the following to the sick person

اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّ النَّاسِ ، أذْهِب البَأسَ ، اشْفِ أنْتَ الشَّافِي لا شِفَاءَ إِلا شِفاؤكَ ، شِفَاءً لا يُغَادِرُ سَقماً

'O Allah, Lord of mankind, remove harm and heal. You are the Healer and there is no healing but Your healing, a healing which does not leave behind any illness at all.'"

3. The Prophet (saw) said, ‘

ضَعْ يَدَكَ عَلَى الَّذِي تَألَّمَ مِنْ جَسَدِكَ وَقُلْ : بسم اللهِ ثَلاثاً ، وَقُلْ سَبْعَ مَرَّاتٍ : أعُوذُ بِعِزَّةِ الله وَقُدْرَتِهِ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا أجِدُ وَأُحَاذِرُ

"Anyone who visits a sick person whose time has not yet come and says seven times in his presence, 'I ask Allah the Immense, the Lord of the Immense Throne, to heal you,' Allah will heal him of that illness." [Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi]

Healing for the self:

4. Abu 'Abdullah 'Uthman ibn Abi Abi'l-'As reported that he complained to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, of a pain he felt in his body. The Messenger of Allah said to him, "Place your hand on the part of your body which is hurting you and say, 'Bismillahi ‘In the name of Allah' three times and say seven times, 'As alullahil ‘Adhim Rabbul ‘Arshil ‘Adhim’ ‘I seek refuge with the might of Allah and His power from the evil of what I find and that I might be on my guard.'" [Muslim]

I added the following:

The reward for visiting the sick although I am not too sure of the authenticity of this one, ‘ Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: "A caller from heaven calls out to the person who visits a sick person, 'You are good and your path is good. May you enter your residence in Paradise'."

No comments: