Part 1 of this series covered medical-related advice that is meant to equip patients with the knowledge they need to manage their disease effectively as well as improve their quality of life and maintain good health.
In Part 2, I move on to the spiritual tools, which every Productive Muslim cannot do without during any trial, including severe or sudden illness. Know that in spite of advances in modern medicine, the outcome of any treatment, progression of any disease, and how our entire body functions, lies within Allah’s dominion, not science or a world-renowned surgeon. He is whom we turn to in times of need and supplicate with a sincere heart, expecting good.
1. Make dua’a regularly.
“And if Allah should touch you with adversity, there is no remover of it except Him” [6:17]
Equipped with this belief and keeping in mind that a patient’s supplication is answered, insha’Allah, learn and recite the duas that have been recorded in the Quran and sunnah (Prophet’s tradition), such as Prophet Ayyub’s :
“Indeed, adversity has touched me, and You are the Most Merciful of the merciful” [21:83]
Furthermore, there are beautiful litanies for healing written by the great spiritual masters of the Islamic tradition. If you’re in pain, place your hand at the site of pain and say this du’aa. In general, this is an excellent chance to renew your imaan (faith) and get closer to Allah by making dua, reading Quran, engaging in constant dhikr (remembrance of Allah), and giving charity where possible.
2. Learn the rulings on ritual purification and prayer for the sick.
Prayer, unlike fasting, is an obligatory act of worship that even the sick are not exempt from. However, in certain conditions, the form of prayer might change, as in war or travel. When sick, if you cannot stand up in prayer, sit. If you cannot sit, pray lying down. If you cannot move your limbs, pray with your eyes. No matter how tired you feel, don’t sever this link with your Creator, not at a time when you need Him most! Wudu’ (ablution) can also be replaced with tayammum (dry ablution) if the use of water will harm you. Allah has facilitated worship for us at all times, so stay steadfast on your prayers! For a detailed list of rulings, check out this page.
3. Be patient by contemplating the reality of this world and remembering the rewards attached.
Waiting is not a pleasant state to be in, but as a patient, waiting is inevitable: waiting for test results to come out, waiting for a drug to kick in, waiting to be discharged. So, being patient per se is a must; it’s your state of mind and heart during it that really matter. Do you constantly complain and ask, “Why me?” Are you depressed and feel that your life has lost meaning? Then you have not understood the purpose of worldly life.
During our limited time on earth, every human being will be tested, and illness is a type of test. Simply accept this fact, which Allah establishes at various points in the Quran, such as:
“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient”[2:155].
Next, remind yourself of the numerous rewards promised for those who are patient in times of hardship, especially sickness. You will then feel blessed rather than distressed! Below are some of the words that comfort me the most:
- “No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that” [Bukhari].
- “When a slave falls ill or travels, then he will get reward similar to that he gets for good deeds practiced at home when in good health” [Bukhari].
- “Indeed, the patient will be given their reward without account”[39:10]
- “It became more severe so when its rings entangled me / It was relieved and I thought it [relief] would not come about” [poetry by Imam al-Shafi].
Being sick and weak is humbling; it is a powerful reminder of our powerlessness and constant need for Allah. Remember Allah at all times so that He would remember you in your time of need.
4. Stay positive!
Thinking well and positively of Allah at all times is crucial, for Allah says:
“I am to My servant the way he expects me to be towards him. And I am with him when he remembers Me” [Bukhari and Muslim].
A true believer also knows that there is goodness behind anything that befalls him; if it is delightful he will be thankful and be rewarded and if it is unpleasant he will be patient and be rewarded, as per the famous hadith. Learn to look at the bright side of things, e.g. a prolonged hospital stay means more time off work, while weight gain implies shopping for new clothes. Stay positive and expect good news every morning, and don’t forget to smile—it does wonders and it’s the sunnah!
Alhamdulillah, this is an area I fared well at, which is perhaps why people were always surprised to find out I had a chronic illness, and more recently a kidney transplant; it’s hard to tell! It all boils down to accepting Allah’s decree, doing your part, and not worrying about the future. Allah will reward you with peace of mind, ease after difficulty, and countless blessings. Health is truly a blessing to be appreciated, so make the most of it while it lasts.