.بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the words of Ibrahīm (AS)…
وَإِذَا مَرِضْتُ فَهُوَ يَشْفِينِ
“And when I am ill, it is He who cures me.”
— Qur’an, (26:80).
Sometimes, we get… sick. Whether it be… intense anxiety, or Ghaybi-related [Ghayb: the Unseen. Jinn and so forth], or depression, or cancer. Diabetes, or Covid, or paralysis.
States of illness, weakness, suffering, disease:
These can leave us feeling… heavy. A physical loss, and an undermining, in many such situations, in a ‘sense of self’, a sense of security. The unravelling of certain thoughts.
Maybe: you had been known as having been… a (relatively) independent person; perhaps someone who, in Dunya terms, ‘had it all‘.
In Dunya terms, you’ll likely find that you won’t always be ‘up’. This world is not Jannah, and that is the truth.
It might just be: from one day of relative ease and health, into… the next: days of illness, fatigue, un-wellness.
And you might feel embarrassed, at times. Some may begin to behave… dismissively towards you, but… you’re still you. Or: with that uncomfortable sort of ‘pity’ that makes it feel like… they’re looking down on you. “Poor you”.
The unfortunate possibility that some will turn and run whenever you shift from states of being wealthy and healthy and fit, to being touched by poverty, financially, and being sick. Some may begin to show a blatant disregard towards you; some subject the sick, unashamedly, to… abuse.
Some are, essentially, blamed by some others for the experiences of sickness that they go through. Some may resort to expressing bold statements of a ‘religious‘ nature. You’re being made to go through this as punishment for…
Being blessed by angels.
A beautiful part of Islam is that: if one goes to visit someone who is sick in the morning, according to a Hadīth (from Tirmidhi,) 70,000 angels bless him/her until the evening. And if you were to visit an unwell person in the evening, then 70,000 angels would bless you until the morning.
And, presumably, not in a mechanical, mere ‘ticking-off-religious-obligations’ way. And not in a ‘I-have-the-upper-hand-over-you‘ sort of way, but:
In recognition of the fact that they are human, and so are you.
How would you like to be cared for, if you had been going through the same thing? With dignity and respect, presumably.
How a person treats the sick, and the needy, and the incapacitated. How a person behaves when he/she is in a position of relative power. When there is nothing to ‘lose’, or ‘gain’. Those things are defining.
In following the footsteps of our Prophet (SAW), empathy and emotional intelligence are hallmark signs of being a believer.
A story relating to the Qur’an that comes to mind, here, is that of the reason behind the revelation of Surah ‘Abasa:
Muhammad (SAW) had been speaking to a high-ranking, ‘elite’, (idolatrous) member of the Quraysh, addressing them. When a man who had been blind (Abdul-Llah Ibn Umm Maktum) had interrupted the Prophet (SAW) with the words:
“O Messenger of Allah, guide me.”
Muhammad (SAW) had been interrupted, and so he had frowned and turned away, returning to his conversation with the man of ‘elite’ standing.
In response to this, Allah had revealed a whole Qur’anic Surah… Surah ‘Abasa.
Allah tells Muhammad (SAW) that he should have, instead, been attentive to the man who had been eager to learn about Islam; this man, Ibn Umm Maktum, had actual fear and humility in his heart. Whereas the ‘elite’ Meccan pagan had been… arrogant, considering himself ‘self-sufficient’.
Surah ‘Abasa begins:
“He frowned and turned ˹his attention˺ away,
˹simply˺ because the blind man came to him ˹interrupting˺.”
— Qur’an, (80:1—2).
In this Surah, Allah talks about… giving men like him — though blind, though ‘lesser’ in social ranking and so on, in Dunya terms — a real chance. Valuing them. Giving them attention, and favouring them in this way, above those who, though perhaps ‘wealthy’ and ‘powerful’, might be… indifferent, and ultimately arrogant.
Sometimes, we may feel inclined to give healthy, wealthy, members of the ‘elite’ such undivided attention, ‘honour’, ‘respect’. But what about those whom Allah Himself values the most?
The ones who fear, and love, and are in awe of… Allah.
In this Surah, Allah reminds us of how Noble the Reminder (the Qur’an) is. When we accept the Message in our hearts, aspects of erstwhile ignorance are meant to be washed away (e.g. determining our treatment of different people on account of ‘class’ and so on. Although we’re meant to respect differentiations in terms of authority, the holistic value of one person isn’t diminished by their relative ‘lack of wealth or health’ or anything).
In this Surah, Allah reminds us of what we all, in material terms, originated from. A drop of semen: a lowly fluid. Every human being upon this Earth: be you a cleaner, or be you a king.
And then, we all die; return to dust. And we are not self-sufficient, ever.
And to Allah we all do return.
[Following the revelation of this Surah, Muhammad (SAW) would greet his companion, the blind man, with the words:
“Welcome unto him on whose account my Sustainer has rebuked me!”
And he (the blind man) had been given a position of rank, leadership, and responsibility, among the Muslims.]
If you’d like to listen to this Surah: https://www.quranclick.com/surah-abasa-recitation-sheikh-sudais.
Finally, Allah does not test the believer through any illness/discomfort, even if it’s like the prick of a thorn, except that some of our sins are mercifully Forgiven, as a result of these things…
Narrated Abdullah ibn Masoud (may Allah be pleased with him):
‘I visited Allah’s Messenger (SAW) while he was suffering from a high fever. I said: “O Allah’s Messenger (SAW)! You have a high fever”.
He said: “Yes. I have as much fever as two men of you.”
I said: “Is it because you will have a double reward?”
He said: “Yes. It is so. No Muslim is afflicted with any harm, even if it were the prick of a thorn, but that Allah expiates his sins because of it, as a tree sheds its leaves.”‘ (Bukhari)