In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Etiquettes of Visiting the Sick
By Asma bint Shameem
Every now and then, someone we know gets sick. So it is important to know the rulings and etiquettes of visiting the sick from an Islamic point of view.
Ruling on visiting the sick
Visiting the sick is a fard kifaayah or a communal obligation. (i.e. when someone in the community falls sick, some of the Muslims must go and visit him. Otherwise, the whole community will be sinful).(al-Ikhtiyaaraat by Ibn Taymiyyah)
This is based on the order of the Prophet (pbuh) :
“Feed the hungry, visit the sick and free the captives.” (Bukhaari)
The rewards for visiting the sick
The Messenger of Allaah (pbuh) said:
1) “When the Muslim visits his (sick) Muslim brother, he is harvesting the fruits of Paradise until he returns.” (Muslim)
2) “Whoever visits a sick person or visits a brother in Islam, a caller cries out to him: ‘May you be happy, may your walking be blessed, and may you occupy a dignified position in Paradise ’.” (Tirmidhi- hasan by al-Albaani)
3) “Whoever visits a sick person is plunging into mercy until he sits down, and when he sits down he is submerged in it.” (Ahmad-- Saheeh by al-Albaani)
4) “There is no Muslim who visits a (sick) Muslim early in the morning but seventy thousand angels send blessings upon him until evening comes, and if he visits him in the evening, seventy thousand angels send blessings upon him until morning comes, and he will have a garden in Paradise.” (Saheeh al-Tirmidhi. )
Who to visit
Visit those whom you know, as well as those whom you do not know. (Muslim).
The scholars say that you may visit non-mahrams as long as there is proper covering, no risk of fitnah, and no Khalwa (being alone together). (Islam-qa)
You may visit non-Muslims as well since the Prophet (pbuh) visited a Jewish boy and called him to Islam, and he became Muslim. (Bukhaari).
Who is considered a sick person
If the sickness is preventing the person from seeing people, going out, etc., then the scholars say he is considered a sick person and one should try and visit him. However, if he is sick but he is still going about his work, seeing people, etc., then it is not obligatory to visit him. (Al-Sharh al-Mumti’)
Principles to be followed when visiting
Ask the person how he is, how he is feeling, etc. following the perfect example of the Prophet (pbuh). (Tirmidhi --hasan by al-Albaani).
Try to cheer the patient up and talk positive. Give him glad tidings of healing insha Allah, because this will comfort the sick person.
The patient and his feelings and condition should be the topmost and only concern at all times.
Generally speaking, one should make his visit short and not sit for too long with the patient, as it may be hard on the patient and his family.
Consider the time of your visit ( Not to visit too late at night or at the time of the patient’s nap, etc.)
Do not keep visiting him every day as it may be burdensome for the sick person. However, if it is someone close and you know that they feel pleased and comforted to see you, then you may visit continuously.
Do NOT sit on the patient’s bed even if you do have to stand, as this might shake the bed and cause him pain and he may be too polite to say anything.
Do not be loud or make excessive noise.
Do not overcrowd the patient with too many visitors at the same time. If you happen to visit him at a time when he already has other visitors, it may be better to politely leave and come back at a later time.
Make Dua for the sick person
The Prophet (pbuh) said this dua three times when visiting the sick:
“La ba’s, tuhûr in sha Allâh"
(No worry, it is a purification, if Allah wills).” (Bukhaari.)
The Prophet (pbuh) used to place his right hand on the sick person and say:
“Adhhib al-ba’s Rabb an-nâs, wa’shfi anta al-Shâfi, lâ shifâ’a illa shifâ’uka shifâ’an lâ yughâdir saqaman "
(Take away the pain, O Lord of mankind, and grant healing, for You are the Healer, and there is no healing but Your healing that leaves no trace of sickness).” (Muslim)
The Prophet (pbuh) said:
“Whoever visits a sick person who is not yet dying, and says seven times in his presence:
‘As’alu Allâha rabb al-‘arsh il-‘azîm an yashfiyaka
(I ask Allaah, Lord of the mighty Throne, to heal you), Allaah will heal him of that sickness.) (Saheeh Abi Dawûd.)
May Allah enable us to understand and appreciate the Sunnah and apply it, not just in this matter, but in each and every walk of our life. Ameen.