Illness, however, dispels the heedlessness; it makes a person think of the hereafter; it recalls death, so he may prepare himself. Some illnesses are so profitable as to gain for a person in twenty days a rank they could not otherwise have risen to in twenty years.
For instance, among my friends were two youths, may God have mercy on them. One was Sabri from the village of ‹lema, the other Vezirzâde Mustafa from ‹slâmköy. I used to note with amazement that although these two could not write they were among the foremost in regard to sincerity and the service of belief. I did not know the reason for this. After their deaths I understood that each had suffered from a serious illness. Due to the guidance of the illness, they had considerable fear of God, performed highly valuable service, and attained a state beneficial to the hereafter, unlike other youths who heedlessly gave up obligatory worship. God willing, the distress of two years’ illness allowed them to attain the happiness of millions of years of eternal life. I understand now that the prayers I sometimes offered for their health were maledictions in respect of this world. God willing, they were accepted for their well-being in the hereafter.
Thus, according to my belief, the two gained profit equal to that which may be gained through ten years’ fear of God. If like some young people, they had relied on their youth and good health and thrown themselves into heedlessness and vice, and stalking them, death had grabbed them right in the midst of the filth of their sins, they would have made their graves into nests of scorpions and snakes, instead of that treasury of lights.
Since illnesses contain such benefits, they should be not complained about but borne with patience, relying on God, indeed, thanking God and having confidence in His mercy.
O sick person whose eyes have developed cataracts! If you knew what a light and spiritual eye is to be found beneath the cataract that may cover a believer’s eyes, you would exclaim: “A hundred thousand thanks to my Compassionate Sustainer!” I shall recount an incident to explain this salve. It is as follows:
One time, the aunt of Süleyman from Barla, who served me for eight years with complete loyalty and willingness, became blind. Owing to her good opinion of me, which was a hundred times better than I deserved, the righteous woman caught me by the door of the mosque and asked me to pray for her sight to be restored. So I made the blessed woman’s righteousness the intercessor for my supplication, and beseeching Almighty God, I