Every community has people who fall ill.
In Islam, we are encouraged to visit such people and not to neglect them.
The extent of the importance of this can be gauged from the five authentic Hadiths below:
Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah (radiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said:
“Whomsoever visits a sick person or visits his brother for the sake of Allah Ta’ala, a caller calls out, ‘You have done good, your footsteps are blessed and you have prepared an abode in Jannah”
(Sunan Tirmidhi, Hadith: 2008, Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith: 1443 and Sahih Ibn Hibban; Al Ihsan, Hadith: 2961 with slight variation in the words)
Imam Tirmidhi has graded the Hadith sound (hasan).
Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu ‘anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said:
“When a Muslim visits a sick Muslim at dawn, seventy thousand angels make du’a of forgiveness for him till dusk. If he visits him in the evening, seventy thousand Angels make du’a of forgiveness for him till the morning, and he will be granted a garden in Jannah”
(Sunan Tirmidhi, Hadith: 969, Sunan Abi Dawud, Hadith: 3091. Declared authentic by Imam Ibn Hibban; Al Ihsan, Hadith: 2958, Imam Hakim and ‘Allamah Dhahabi, Mustadrak Hakim, vol. 1 pg. 341/2 and pg. 349)
Sayyiduna Anas (radiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said:
‘Whoever makes a proper wudu, and sets out to visit his sick Muslim brother with the expectation of reward, will be distanced seventy years [journey] away from Jahannam.’
This Hadith is recorded by Imam Abu Dawud (rahimahullah) with a slightly weak chain, which may be tolerated in Hadiths that discuss virtues of deeds, like this one.
It is further supported by a good chain in Tabarani.
This Hadith can therefore be quoted and may even be declared as sound (hasan).
Hafiz Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) has not commented on it in Hidayatur Ruwat.
(Sunan Abi Dawud, Hadith: 3090, Al-Mu’jamul Awsat, Hadith: 9437, Targhib, Hadith: 5091, Hidayatur Ruwat, Hadith: 1497, Fathul Ilah, Hadith: 1552 and Mirqat, Hadith: 1552)
Sayyiduna Jabir and Sayyiduna Ka’b (radiyallahu ‘anhuma) report that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said:
When one sets out to visit the sick, he enters into Allah’s mercy. When he sits beside the sick person, he is totally immersed in mercy.
(Muwatta Imam Malik, Musnad Ahmad, vol. 3 pg. 304 and pg. 460 and Sahih Ibn Hibban)
Also see Targhib, Hadith: 5096, 5097 and Majma’uz zawaid, vol.2 pg.297.
One who visits the sick will find Allah Ta’ala. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said:
‘Allah Ta’ala will say to man [on the day of Qiyamah]: O my slave, I was sick and you refused to visit me.
Man will exclaim: O Allah, how could that be possible whereas You are the Lord of the Worlds?
Allah Ta’ala will reply: A certain slave of mine was sick, had you visited him, you would have found Me by him.’
(Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 6501)