Illness in Islam

Our religion teaches us that if a cure is applied to a disease, it is relieved only by the permission of Allah. Indeed, we know that nothing happens except by the will of Allah. We read in a hadith:

Jabir reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Every disease has a cure. If a cure is applied to the disease, it is relieved by the permission of Allah Almighty.” (Sahih Muslim)

In another hadith we learn that when the Prophet (SAW) was struggling with a fever, he said that any pain, no matter whether it is minor or major, is a means of expiating sins. We read:

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: I entered the home of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, while he was suffering from fever. I said, “O Messenger of Allah, you are suffering from a strong fever.” The Prophet said, “Yes, for I am afflicted with fever like two men among you.” I said, “Is it that you have a double reward?” The Prophet said, “Yes, it is so. Likewise, there is no Muslim who is afflicted with pain as much as the prick of a thorn, or more, but that Allah will expiate his sins, just as leaves fall from a tree.” (Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)

When we reflect on this, it makes us realise that even though we may perceive illnesses as negative in this Dunya, indeed they are opportunities to seek expiation of sins so that we become closer to achieving success in the Aakhirah.

The Prophet (SAW) said that people should seek treatment for illnesses, as Allah did create treatments and cures for all illnesses. We read:

Usamah ibn Sharik reported: A bedouin said, “O Messenger of Allah, shall we not seek treatment?” The Prophet said, “Yes, O servants of Allah, seek treatment. Verily, Allah did not place a disease but that he also placed its treatment or cure, except for one ailment.” They said, “O Messenger of Allah, what is it?” The Prophet said, “Old age.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi)

This also reminds us that we certainly cannot turn back time to alter our deeds or to use our time more productively.

We also learn about seven particular types of martyrdom. Jabir ibn ‘Atik reported:

“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, ‘There are seven martyrs besides one who is killed in the way of Allah: the victim of plague is a martyr, the one who drowns is a martyr, the one who dies of chest pain is a martyr, the one who dies of stomach infection is a martyr, the one who burns to death is a martyr, the one who is crushed under something is a martyr, and the pregnant woman who dies giving labour is a martyr.’” (Sunan Abi Dawud)

May Allah grant Shifaa to those who are struggling with any illness and may He make their struggle a means for them to enter Jannah. Aameen.