Visiting the sick, an act of merit

With the commencement of Prophet Muhammad's call to submission before the One True God, his own people - the Arabs - became his bitterest enemies so much so that no effort was spared to even kill him. The acts of hatred perpetrated against him - and his own responses to them - makes for interesting reading.

There was once, in Makkah, an old woman who made it a habit to throw garbage on  Prophet Muhammad whenever he passed by her house - and he did have to pass her house on a daily basis when he made his way to the place of worship.

But even in the face of this vile act, the Prophet would pass silently, exhibiting neither anger nor annoyance.

One day, however, when the Prophet was passing by the woman's house, he noticed that she was nowhere to be found.

Prophet Muhammad was pleased not to have garbage thrown over him at least for that day.

But when he could not find her the next day as well, he stopped and enquired with her neighbour about her well-being. He was informed that the woman was, in fact, sick in bed.

Politely seeking permission, Prophet Muhammad entered her house when allowed to do so. The woman could only assume that he had come to take revenge at a time when she was unable to defend herself.

But the Prophet assured her that he had come to her not for revenge, but to visit her and to look after her needs.

Deeply moved by this act of love and kindness on the part of the Prophet, the old woman then understood the reality of his lofty station as a Prophet of God and soon accepted Islam.

The Prophet's compassion for humanity was of such a degree that even acts of enmity from his bitterest foes could not decrease the measure in which this quality resided in him.

God had blessed him with an exalted standard of character and made him a model for all humanity.

The Qur’an says: "Indeed, in the Messenger of Allah (ie, Muhammad) you have an excellent example, for anyone who hopes for (the meeting with) Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah much." (Qur'an 33: 21)

The act of visiting the sick - one of great merit in Islam - is to be carried out by the Muslim amongst friend and foe alike.

Prophet Muhammad himself was only living out the commandment of the Qur'an which said: "Keep to forgiveness (O Muhammad), and enjoin kindness, and turn away from the ignorant." (Qur'an 7: 199)

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