[*Important Note: This article was originally published on the Islamic Online University blog (blog.islamiconlineuniversity.com). I highly recommend this artistic and inspirational blog!]
Most of us can relate to the hardships of being ill. Here are some coping ideas for both the emotional and physical hardships of illness:
1. Be self-aware. Be aware of your negative thoughts and feelings. Remind yourself that Allah loves those who are patient during difficulty.
“…..And Allah loves the patient ones.” (Al-Imran 3:146)
Catch yourself if you start to have negative thoughts like, “Allah doesn’t like me” or “Why is this happening to me?” Remember that the Prophets of Allah (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon all of them) suffered the most of all human beings!
“The most in their suffering among the people are the prophets…” (Hadith recorded in Ahmed, Tirmidthi)
2. Know that being patient during illness will bring you nearer to AllahAllah Subhanahu-wa-Taala.
The Prophet (SAWS) said:
“Whenever a Muslim is afflicted by harm from sickness or other matters, AllahAllah Subhanahu-wa-Taala will drop his sins because of that, like a tree drops its leaves.” (Bukhari, Muslim)
“Expect good because Allah makes a believer’s sickness an expiation (for his sins) and a period of rest. However, when a disbeliever falls sick, he is like a camel whose owner ties it then lets it loose;it does not understand why it was tied nor why it was freed.” (Bukhari)
Being sick also gives you an opportunity to learn compassion and humility–extremely important traits of a believer. Don’t be afraid to seek help from others and to admit your vulnerability. They will get blessings for helping you!
3. Try to find something to be grateful for when you are feeling sick or down.
Be thankful that you are not as ill as you could be. Remember that Allah Allah Subhanahu-wa-Taala rewards thankfulness in His servants:
And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.” (Ibrahim, 14:7)
4. Try to improve your condition (i.e. look for solutions).
When I am sick, I take a lot of Vitamin D3, a proven germ fighter. I also avoid gluten and sugar. I have observed that sugar and gluten (found in bread, flour and pasta) seem to weaken my immune system. It is a good idea to reduce or eliminate sugar and high fructose corn syrup from your diet in general. Most nutritionists agree that sugar is toxic to your body and can cause heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Find what works for you. When you work on ways to improve your condition, you feel more empowered. Remember that becoming sick is a sign that you need to take time off for yourself. Remember to take care of yourself, both emotionally and physically.
5. A specific dua for when you feel pain in your body:
Allah Allah Subhanahu-wa-Taala loves for us to remember Him and make dua to Him in all situations.
When you feel a pain in your body, put your hand on the place where you feel pain and say: “Bismillah” (in the name of Allah) three times. Then say, “Auuthu billahi wa qudratihi min sharri maa ajidu wa uHaathiru -I seek refuge in Allah and in His power from the evil of what I find and of what I guard against.” (Sahih)
Illness is an unfortunate part of this world, but for the believer, illness is a way to grow closer to Allah Allah Subhanahu-wa-Taala. Through self-awareness, a patient attitude, and hope for recovery, we can turn our illnesses into ways to become better Muslims. And remember to visit those who are ill! Remember the blessed hadith:
“When a Muslim visits a sick Muslim at dawn, seventy thousand angels keep on praying for him till dusk. If he visits him in the evening, seventy thousand angels keep on praying for him till the morning; and he will have (his share of) reaped fruits in Jannah.” (Riyad-us-Saliheen, Tirmidhi)