The First is contemplation of death. Thinking that both the world is transiory, and they themselves are temporary guests charged with duties, they work for eternal life in this way.
The Second: Through fasting, religious exercises and asceticism, they try to kill the evil-commanding soul and so be saved from its dangers and from the blind emotions.
And you, my brother who has lost the health of half his body! Without choosing it, you have been given these two principles, which are short and easy and the cause of happiness. Thus, the state of your being perpetually warns you of the fleeting nature of the world and that man is transient. The world can no longer drown you, nor heedlessness close your eyes. And for sure, the evil-commanding soul cannot deceive with lowly lust and animal appetites someone in the state of half a man; he is quickly saved from the trials of the soul.
Thus, through the mystery of belief in God and submission to Him and reliance on Him, a believer can benefit in a brief time from a severe illness like apoplexy, resembling the severe trials of the saints. A severe illness such as that thus becomes exceedingly cheap.
Unhappy ill person who is alone and a stranger! Even if your aloneness and exile together with your illness were to arouse sympathy towards you in the hardest hearts and attract kindness and compassion, could it be a substitute for your All-Compassionate Creator? For He presents Himself to us at the start of all the Qur’an’s Suras with the attributes of “the Merciful and the Compassionate,” and with one flash of His compassion makes all mothers nurture their young with that wonderful tenderness, and with one manifestation of His mercy every spring fills the face of the earth with bounties. Eternal life in Paradise together with all its wonders is but a single manifestation of His mercy. Then surely your relation to Him through belief, your recognizing Him and beseeching Him through the tongue of impotence, arising from your illness and the affliction of your loneliness in exile, will attract the glance of His mercy towards you, which takes the place of everything. Since He exists and He looks to you, everything exists for you. Those who are truly alone and in exile are those who are not connected with Him through belief and submission, or attach no importance to that relation.