FRIDAY SERMON: Illness: The Test And Trial From Allah Almighty By Imam Murtadha Gusau

In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
ِAll praises are due to Allah and peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, his family, companions and those who follow him well until Judgement Day.
Dear brothers and sisters, the belief that body and soul belong to Allah and will return to him grounds Muslim recognition of the sanctity of human life and of the need to ensure both physical and spiritual well-being. The Qur’an speaks of Allah’s revelation as healing for the illness of the human heart, and the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is reported to have exhorted treatment of the sick. His statement that for every illness Allah gives a cure has inspired Muslims through the centuries to pursue medical knowledge. Notwithstanding a minority view that true faith requires total reliance on Allah, recourse to medical treatment is not viewed as a weakness of belief, even if illness can also be seen as a trial by Allah meant for atonement and spiritual progress. During much of the Middle Ages, Islamic medicine was more advanced than in the West. In more recent centuries, Muslims have sought to harmonise advances in medical science and technology emanating from the West with religious values around issues including the beginning and end of life, such as abortion and artificial life support.
Respected servants of Allah, of the blessings of those who fall sick is that sickness is one of the strongest and most powerful antidotes to the sins that we commit. There is hardly anything that will expiate our sins that is more powerful than tests, trials and afflictions that befall us. Allah the Most High says:
“And whatever strikes you of disaster – it is for what your hands have earned; but He pardons much.” [Qur’an, 42:30]
Every sickness and calamity that happens: a death of a loved one, a loss of a relative, financial/economic problems, distress, physical hardship, a fever, any type of pain and suffering.
• Sickness – A Blessing in Disguise
Once the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) visited a sick person who was suffering from fever, he said:
“I have good news for you. For verily My Lord has told me that fever is my punishment that I inflict upon my believers so that they don’t have to be punished in the hell.”
This is a punishment that Allah inflicts so that you are saved from the punishment of the next life. so in fact, it is a blessing in disguise.
And once the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) visited a female companion, Umm Sa’ib. She was also suffering from fever; she was tossing and turning. When Prophet Muhammad asked her:
“What is the matter? She said: “I have a severe fever, may Allah curse it!” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “Do not curse the fever, for verily it forgives sins like a furnace gets rid of the impurities in iron.” [Muslim]
When you put an iron into the furnace, it is full of impurities; when you take it out, it is 100% pure. So, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) compared the fever to a furnace, and this is a very good comparison because both are burning. And in another Hadith he said:
“It will get rid of your sins like a tree in the fall. When you shake it all, the leaves come down. So too will the sickness get rid of your sins.”
• Every calamity is for your good
This is something that applies to every single calamity and misfortune. So much so that, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“Even if a thorn pricks one of you, it will expiate some of your sins.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
And in a famous Hadith, he (Peace be upon him) said:
“Amazing are the affairs of the believers, because everything that happens to him happens for his good. If some good happens and he’s happy, he thanks Allah, and so that’s good for him. And if some bad happens, then he is patient, and Allah rewards him for that patience.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
The believer is always a winner, he is never a loser. No matter what calamity befalls the believer, he will always come out on the upper hand having won over because he has Allah on his side. And when you have Allah on your side, you don’t care what is happening in the rest of humanity.
We don’t wish to be sick, we don’t wish for a calamity, but every one of us will fall sick and will face tests, trials and calamities. When it happens, then we rise up to the challenge, we renew our Iman (faith) in Allah, and we humble and submit ourselves to Him. And through all of this, we appreciate the blessings even in falling sick and in having the calamity that we have had.
Dear brothers and sisters, ever wondered why a Muslim is allowed by Allah Almighty, to get sick? Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri (RA) said:
“I visited Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) while he was suffering from a highly fever. I touched him with my hand and said, “O Allah’s Messenger! You have a high fever.” He said “Yes, I have as much fever as two men of you have.” I said, “Is it because you will get a double reward?” Allah’s Messenger said, “Yes, no Muslim is afflicted with harm because of sickness or some other inconvenience, but that Allah will remove his sins for him as a tree sheds its leaves.” [Al-Bukhari]
Also Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri (RA) reported that the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“Whenever a Muslim is afflicted with a hardship, sickness, sadness, worry, harm, or depression — even a thorn’s prick, Allah expiates his sins because of it.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“Expect good, because Allah Almighty makes a believer’s sickness an expiation (for his sins) and a period of repose. As for a disbeliever falling sick, he is like a camel whose owner ties it and then lets it loose — it does not understand why it was tied, nor why it was freed.” [Recorded by Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, Verified and authenticated by Sheikh Al-Albani]
• The cure…
Narrated Jabir Ibn Abdullahi, Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:
“There is a remedy for every malady, and when the remedy is applied to the disease it is cured with the permission of Allah, the Exalted and Glorious.” [Al-Bukhari]
Yahya related to me from Malik from Zaid Ibn Aslam that a man received a wound in the time of the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). The blood clotted in the wound and the man called two men from the Banu Ammar tribe. They looked at it and claimed that the Messenger of Allah said to them, “Which of you is the better doctor?” They said, “Is there any good in medicine, Messenger of Allah?” Zaid claimed that the Messenger of Allah said, “The one who sent down the disease sent down the remedy.” [Muwattah of Imam Malik]
The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“Servants of Allah, use medical treatments.” [Imam Ahmad]
Narrated AbdulMalik Ibn Umair Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him said:
“Fatihat al-Kitab contains healing for every disease.” [Al-Tirmidhi]
Also he (Peace be upon him) said:
“Severe trials for those firm in their religion.” [Darimi and Baihaqi transmitted it]
Narrated Sa’ad, when the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was asked which people suffered the greatest affliction, he replied:
“The Prophets, then those who come next to them, then those who come next to them. A man is afflicted in keeping his religion. If he is firm in his religion his trial is severe, but if there is weakness in his religion it is made light for him, and it continues like that till he walks on the earth having no sin.” [Al-Tirmidhi]
• Rewards for those afflicted with illness
Narrated Jabir Ibn Abdullah, Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:
“On the Day of Resurrection, when people who have suffered affliction are given their reward, those who are healthy will wish their skins had been cut to pieces with scissors when they were in the world.” [Al-Tirmidhi]
Dear brothers and sisters, the ailment is intensified for the righteous. Whenever a believer is afflicted with a hardship, be it a thorn or more, a sin is taken off him because of it, and he is elevated on level (in Jannah [Paradise]). And a traveller’s or sick person’s deeds are recorded in accordance with what he used to do when he was resident or well.
• Endurance
Narrated Abu Umamah, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) stated that:
“Allah, who is Blessed and Exalted, said “Son of Adam, if you show endurance and seek your reward from me in the first affliction, I shall be pleased with no lesser reward than Paradise for you.” [Al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah transmitted it]
Narrated Aisha (RA), the Prophet of Allah, upon him be peace, said:
“Do not say, ‘I feel rotten.’ Instead, say, ‘I do not feel well.” [Al-Bukhari, Muslim and Nasa’i]
• Epilepsy
Narrated Ata Bin Abi Rabah, Ibn Abbas said to me:
“Shall I show you a woman of the people of Paradise?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “This black lady came to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and said, ‘I get attacks of epilepsy and my body becomes uncovered; please invoke Allah for me.’ The Prophet said (to her), ‘If you wish, be patient and you will have (enter) Paradise; and if you wish, I will invoke Allah to cure you.’ She said, ‘I will remain patient,’ and added, ‘but I become uncovered, so please invoke Allah for me that I may not become uncovered.’ So he invoked Allah for her.” [Al-Bukhari]
• Kindness to the sick
Narrated Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri (RA), Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:
“When you go in to visit a sick person, express a hope that he will live long. That will not avert anything, but it will comfort him.” [Mishkat Al-Masabih]
Narrated An-Nu’man Bin Bashir (RA), Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:
“You see the believers as regards their being merciful among themselves and showing love among themselves and being kind, resembling one body, so that, if any part of the body is not well then the whole body shares the sleeplessness (insomnia) and fever with it.” [Al-Bukhari]
• Visiting the sick
Allah Almighty said in Hadith Qudsi:
“O son of Adam, I fell ill and you visited Me not. He will say: O Lord, and how should I visit You when You are the Lord of the worlds? He will say: Did you not know that My servant So-and-so had fallen ill and you visited him not? Did you not know that had you visited him you would have found Me with him? O son of Adam, I asked you for food and you fed Me not. He will say: O Lord, and how should I feed You when You are the Lord of the worlds? He will say: Did you not know that My servant So-and-so asked you for food and you fed him not? Did you not know that had you fed him you would surely have found that (the reward for doing so) with Me? O son of Adam, I asked you to give Me to drink and you gave Me not to drink. He will say: O Lord, how should I give You to drink when You are the Lord of the worlds? He will say: My servant So-and-so asked you to give him to drink and you gave him not to drink. Had you given him to drink you would have surely found that with Me.”
• Supplication of the sick person
Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:
“When you visit a sick person tell him to make supplication for you, for his supplication is like that of the angels.” [Ibn Majah transmitted it]
• Taking the Medicine
Narrated Jabir Bin Abdullah, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“Every disease has a medication: If the medication for a particular disease is found, it will be cured with Allah’s Almighty permission.” [Muslim]
Narrated Ibn Abbas and Aisha (RA), Abu Bakr kissed (the forehead of) the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) when he was dead. Aisha added: We put medicine in one side of his mouth but he started waving us not to insert the medicine into his mouth. We said, “He dislikes the medicine as a patient usually does.” But when he came to his senses he said, “Did I not forbid you to put medicine (by force) in the side of my mouth?” We said, “We thought it was just because a patient usually dislikes medicine.” He said, “None of those who are in the house but will be forced to take medicine in the side of his mouth while I am watching, except Al-Abbas, for he had not witnessed your deed.”
• Read Qur’an when Sick
Allah Almighty said:
“And We send down from the Qur’an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe, and it increases the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers) nothing but loss.” [Qur’an, 17:82]
• Ruqyah
Ruqyah (plural: Ruqah) is Du’a or Zikr used for protection or cure.
Narrated Auf Bin Malik Al-Ashja’i. Auf Bin Malik Al-Ashja’i said to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him):
“O Allah’s Messenger! We used to apply ruqah during Jahliyyah. What do you think of that?” He replied: “Present your ruqah to me. There is nothing wrong with them as long as they do not involve shirk.” [Muslim]
And Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri (RA) reported that Jibril came to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and said:
“O Muhammad, are you sick?” He replied, “Yes.” He said: “Bismillahi arqik, min kulli shai’in yu’zik, min sharri kulli nafsin au ainin hasid — meaning: “With Allah’s Name I shelter you (give you ruqyah), from all that ails you, from the evil of every soul, or that of the envious eyes. May Allah cure you; with Allah’s Name I shelter you.” [Muslim and others]
Dear brothers and sisters, I thank you so much for the out pour of love, concern, prayers, visit and phone calls to check on me. This is just to confirm to you that I am now getting better In Shaa Allah, Alhamdulillah. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“Whoever does not thank people (for their favour) has not thanked Allah (properly), Mighty and Glorious is He!” [Musnad of Imam Ahmad and Sunan At-Tirmidhi]
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true and sincere followers.
Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: [email protected] or +2348038289761.
This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Safar 7, 1442 AH (September 25, 2020).

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