Unhappy sick person! Do not be anxious, have patience! Your illness is not a malady for you; it is a sort of cure. For life departs like capital; if it yields no fruits, it is wasted; and if it passes in ease and heedlessness, it passes swiftly. Illness makes that capital of yours yield huge profits. Moreover, it does not allow your life to pass quickly, it restrains it and lengthens it, so that it will depart after yielding its fruits. An indication that your life is lengthened through illness is the following much repeated proverb: “The times of calamity are long, the times of happiness, most brief.”
O ill person who lacks patience! Be patient, indeed, offer thanks! Your illness may transform each of the minutes of your life into the equivalent of an hour’s worship. For worship is of two kinds. One is positive like the well-known worship of supplication and the five daily prayers. The other are negative forms of worship like illness and calamities. By means of these, those afflicted realize their impotence and weakness; they beseech their All-Compassionate Creator and take refuge in Him; they manifest worship which is sincere and without hyprocrisy. Yes, there is a sound narration stating that a life passed in illness is counted as worship for the believer – on condition he does not complain about God.1 It is even established by sound narrations and by those who uncover the realities of creation that one minute’s illness of some people who are completely patient and thankful becomes the equivalent of an hour’s worship and a minute’s illness of certain perfected men the equivalent of a day’s worship. So you should not complain about an illness which as though transforms one minute of your life into a thousand minutes and gains for you long life; you should offer thanks.
Impatient sick person! The fact that those who come to this world continuously depart, and the young grow old, and man perpetually revolves amid death and separation testifies that he did not come to this world to enjoy himself and receive pleasure.
Moreover, while man is the most perfect, the most elevated, of living beings and the best endowed in regard to members and faculties, he dwells on past pleasures and future pains, and so passes a grievous, troublesome
al-Albani, Sahih Jami‘ al-Saghir, 256. See also, al-Suyuti, al-Fath al-Kabir, ii, 148.