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Guidelines for the Ill

Illness is a blessing and a means of forgiveness of sins

Just as Nabi(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)has taught us that death is not the end of life but rather the beginning of a new existence which will be happy and blissful for the faithful servants of Allah and is thus a wonderful gift for him, in the same way Nabi(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)has also informed us that illness is not entirely suffering and misery but a blessing as well and a means of cleansing from sins. The following Ahadith further elucidate this:

1. Hazrat Abu Sa'eed Khudri (R) narrates that Nabi(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)said: “When a Muslim is afflicted by fatigue, disease, sorrow, grief, hurt or distress, to such an extent that even if a thorn pricks him, Allah Ta'ala forgives his (minor) sins by means of that.” (Bukhari and Muslim – from Mishkaat 1/134)

2. Hazrat Abdullah ibn Masood (R) narrates that on one occasion I visited Nabi(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)when he had a fever. I felt him with my hand and said “O Rasul of Allah! You have a severe fever.” Nabi(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)replied, “Yes indeed! I am afflicted with the fever of two people from amongst you.” I then then asked, “Is this because you will gain a double reward for this?” Nabi(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)then replied, “Yes.” Nabi(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)further stated, “When a Mu'min is afflicted by any suffering, in the form of a sickness or anything else, Allah Ta'ala allows his (minor) sins to fall off in the same way as a tree sheds its leaves in autumn.” (Bukhari and Muslim – from Mishkaat 1/134)

3. Hazrat Abu Hurairah (R) narrates that Nabi(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)said: “Misfortunes and afflictions will continue descending on some Mu'mineen (male and female), sometimes on their bodies, sometimes on their possessions and sometimes on their children (and as a result of it), their (minor) sins are forgiven to such an extent that after death they meet Allah Ta'ala in such a state that not a single sin is left.” (Tirmizi – from Mishkaat 1/136)

4. Nabi(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)said: “Sometimes for a Mu'min Allah Ta'ala has ordained a high rank (in Jannat) which he cannot attain through his own efforts, so Allah Ta'ala afflicts them with a physical distress or grief from the side of his children and then grants him the good fortune to be patient till (in return for these troubles and calamities and his patience and forbearance) Allah Ta'ala makes him attain the high rank ordained for him beforehand.” (Musnad Ahmad and Abu Dawood from Mishkaat 1/137)

5. Hazrat Abu Moosa Ashari (R) narrates that Nabi(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)said: “When a servant of Allah is sick or on a journey (and cannot carry out the daily routine of his worship etc.) his deeds are recorded in the same way with Allah as when he was healthy or staying at home.” (Bukhari – from Mishkaat 1/135)

6. Hazrat Jaabir (R) narrates that Nabi(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)said: “On the Day of Qiyaamah, when people will be rewarded in compensation for their suffering and difficulties in the world, then those people who had always lived a life of ease and comfort will (regretfully) wish that their skins were cut with scissors in the world.” (Tirmizi – from Mishkaat 1/137)

There are also Masaail related to the cleanliness and Salaah of a sick person wherein he is granted certain concessions to make it easier for him to carry out his Ibadah.

Masaail related to Tahaarat (Cleanliness)

A paralysed person or someone who is so sick that he cannot use water for Istinjaa should use toilet paper or something similarly absorbent like lumps of dry clay to clean himself. If he cannot do even this he should perform his Salaah without making Istinjaa.

If it is feared that by using water to make Wudhu, or to wash or make Istinjaa the sickness might worsen, then he should wipe his body with a cloth and make Tayammum. If he cannot make Tayammum by himself, then he could take the help of another person.

However, if he does not have the courage to even wipe himself, then he should perform his Salaah (before it's time expires) after making Tayammum only.

If a man is sick and is unable to make Wudhu, and he doesn't have a wife but he has a son or brother to assist him, the son will assist him with Wudhu but will not make Istinjaa for him if he is unable to make Istinjaa. The Istinjaa will fall off. The same will apply to a lady who does not have a husband (Shaami v.1 p.341 – H.M Saeed)

Masaail related to Salaah

If the sick person's bedding is impure (Najis or Naapaak) and changing it would cause him much inconvenience, then it will be permissible and correct for him to perform Salaah on the same bedding. (Ad-Durrul Mukhtar v.2 p.103 – H.M Saeed)

If a person is so sick that he cannot even move his head, or he faints for full day and night or more, then the Salaah for such time will be waived off. Even when he recovers, it will not be compulsory to make up for the missed Salaahs

However, if he faints for less than a full day and night and then regains strength to move his head, he must make Qadhaa of the five or less Salaahs missed

Generally when a person is sick and has the strength to stand, he should perform the Salaah standing. If he does not have the ability to stand, or if it is difficult or painful to stand or it is feared that standing might worsen his sickness, he can perform his Salaah sitting

If a person has the ability to perform Salaah sitting, but cannot perform Ruku' or Sajdah sitting, then Ruku' or Sajdah should be performed by Ishaarah (indication of the head). For Sajdah he should bow the head lower than Ruku’

If a person cannot even sit up, then lie down with a pillow etc. behind his back, with his head slightly raised and his legs towards the Qiblah. However, if possible he should not stretch his legs towards Qiblah but bend his knees and perform his Salaah by Ishaarah.

If he is unable to move his head then the Salaah will fall off. Salaah cannot be made by indication of the eyes, eyebrows or the heart.

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