13933: Ruling on visiting a sick kaafir
It sometimes happens that one of the Christians with us at work or school gets sick. Is it permissible to visit him, and what is the ruling on visiting a sick kaafir?
Praise be to Allaah.
It is permissible to visit him with the intention of calling him to Islam and telling about Islam.
This is the moderate approach to the matter, because it is not right to disallow that altogether, as there is no evidence to that effect. In fact, that goes against the saheeh evidence.
Saying that it is permissible in absolute terms is subject to further discussion. The only option is to say that it is permissible to visit him in order to tell him about Islam or if there is the hope that he will embrace Islam.
It was narrated in Saheeh al-Bukhaari via Hammaad ibn Zayd from Thaabit from Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said, “There was a Jewish boy who used to serve the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He fell sick, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came to visit him. He sat at his head and said to him, ‘Embrace Islam.’ (The boy) looked towards his father, who was with him. (His father) said, ‘Obey Abu’l-Qaasim (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).’ So he embraced Islam, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) went out saying, ‘Praise be to Allaah Who has saved him from the Fire.’”
We learn a number of things from this hadeeth:
1. The good attitude of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
2. His eagerness to guide people.
3. That if a Jew dies following Judaism he is a kaafir who will abide forever in Hell. There is no dispute on this point from any of the scholars. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, no one of this nation, Jew or Christian, hears of me then dies not believing in that with which I have been sent, but he will be one of the people of Hell.” (Narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh from the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah).
4. It is OK to visit a Jew if there is the hope of achieving some interest thereby. Abu Dawood (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “I heard Imaam Ahmad being asked about visiting a Jew or a Christian (if he fell sick). He said, if he wants to call him to Islam, then yes (he should do that).
It was narrated in al-Saheehayn and elsewhere via Ibn Shihaab who said: Sa’eed ibn al-Musayyib told me that his father told him, when Abu Taalib was on his deathbed, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came to him and found Abu Jahl ibn Hishaam and ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Abi Umayyah ibn al-Mugheerah with him. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “O my uncle, say Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah, a word for which I will bear witness for you before Allaah.” Abu Jahl and ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Abi Umayyah said, “O Abu Taalib, are you turning away from the religion of ‘Abd al-Muttalib?” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) kept urging him to embrace Islam and they kept repeating the same thing to him, until the last thing that Abu Taalib said to them was, “On the path of ‘Abd al-Muttalib”, and he refused to say Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I shall certainly keep asking Allaah to forgive you until I am told not to do that.”
Then Allaah revealed the words (interpretation of the meaning):
“It is not (proper) for the Prophet and those who believe to ask Allaah’s forgiveness for the Mushrikoon, even though they be of kin…”
This hadeeth indicates that one may visit a sick kaafir relative, if there is the hope that he may embrace Islam. Al-Fadl ibn Ziyaad said: I heard Ahmad ibn Hanbal being asked about a Muslim man visiting one of the mushrikeen who was sick. He said: If he thinks that if he visits him whilst he is sick and tells him about Islam, that he may accept it, then let him visit him, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) visited the Jewish boy who was sick and told him about Islam.