as you learn of His name of Provider through hunger, so come to know His name of Healer through your illness. Since suffering and calamities show the decrees of some of His names, many instances of good are to be found within those flashes of wisdom and rays of mercy. If the veil of illness, which you fear and loathe, were to be lifted, behind it you would find many agreeable and beautiful meanings.
O you who is afflicted with illness! Through experience, I have formed the opinion at this time that for some people sickness is a divine bounty, a gift of the Most Merciful. Although I was not worthy of it, over the past eight or nine years a number of young people have come to me in connection with their illnesses, to request my prayers. I have noticed that all of them have begun to think of the hereafter more than other young people. They lack the drunkenness of youth, and have renounced to an extent animal desires and heedlessness. So I consider them and then remind them that their illnesses are a divine bounty within bearable limits. I tell them: “Brother! I am not opposed to this illness of yours. I don’t feel sorry for you because of it that I should pray for you. Try to be patient until the illness awakens you completely, and once it has performed its duty, the Compassionate Creator will restore you to health, God willing.”
I also tell them: “Owing to the calamity of good health, some of your fellows become neglectful, give up the five daily prayers, do not think of the grave, and forget God Almighty. The superficial pleasure of a brief hour’s worldly life causes them to shake and damage eternal life, and even to destroy it. Whereas because of your illness, you see the grave, which you will in any event enter, and the dwellings of the hereafter beyond it, and you act accordingly. So for you, illness is good health, while for some of your peers good health is a sickness.”
O sick person who complains about his suffering! I say to you: think of your past life and remember the pleasurable, happy days and the distressing, troublesome times, and you will surely exclaim either “Oh!” or “Ah!” That is, your heart and tongue will either say “All praise and thanks be to God!”, or “Alas and alack!” Note carefully, what makes you exclaim “Praise and thanks be to God!” is thinking of the pains and calamities that have befallen you; they induce a sort of pleasure so that your heart offers thanks, for the passing of pain is a pleasure. With the passing of pains and calamities, a legacy of pleasure is left in the spirit, which on being aroused by thinking, pours forth from the spirit in thanks.