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Giving hope to the patient

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Q: If a person has cancer, is it right for the doctor to address him in such a manner that indicates to him that he will soon die? Certain doctors feel that they need to tell the patient the hard reality, not realising the depressing effects on the family.



A: Life and death are in the complete control of Allah Ta’ala. The life span of each person is predestined. It can neither be extended nor can it be shortened. No person can predict his own future or the future of the next person. The Hadith teaches us to give encouragement to the patient and create hope within him. We are prohibited from speaking such things which will create despondency in the patient. If it is destined that he will recover from the illness, then by informing him that he has few days to live, we will be putting him through unnecessary agony and pain. If death is written for him, it will come to him at its appointed time. Why should we then cause additional pain to the patient by frightening him of death before its time?

It is permissible for the doctor, based on his medical understanding and experience, to inform the patient of his physical condition. However, it is impermissible for him to create despondency in the patient by telling him that he will not recover or that he only has a few days to live. Many a time, the estimations of the doctors turn out to be incorrect. Apart from this, this method does not conform to the Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). Whenever Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) visited the sick, he would speak words of encouragement and create hope of recovery. Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) used to address the sick person with the following words:

لا بأس طهور إن شاء الله

There is absolutely no need for you to worry or fear. You are just going through a cleansing process. If Allah Ta'ala wishes.

In other words, there is absolutely no need for you to worry. You are being spiritually cleansed from your sins, and physically, your body is being rid of the toxins and the harmful effects. In this Hadith, Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) had taught us to give hope to the patient and console him by telling him that the mercy of Allah Ta’ala is raining upon him and there is no need for him to grieve and worry.

And Allah Ta'ala (الله تعالى) knows best.

قُل لَّكُم مِّيعَادُ يَوْمٍ لَّا تَسْتَأْخِرُونَ عَنْهُ سَاعَةً وَلَا تَسْتَقْدِمُونَ (سورة سبا:30)

عن ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم دخل على رجل يعوده فقال لا بأس طهور إن شاء الله فقال كلا بل هي حمى تفور على شيخ كبير كيما تزيره القبور قال النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم فنعم إذا (صحيح البخاري، الرقم: 5338)

عن أبي سعيد الخدري قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم  إذا دخلتم على المريض فنفسوا له في الأجل فإن ذلك لا يرد شيئا وهو يطيب بنفس المريض (سنن ابن ماجة، الرقم: 1438)

Answered by:

Mufti Zakaria Makada

Checked & Approved:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)


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