Zikr-e-Habib: Attending to the sick and treating the ailing

M Adam Ahmad, Al Hakam
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Life of the Promised Messiahas is one of the earliest eyewitness accounts on Huzoor’sas life. It was first published in the form of a short series in Al Hakam by Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karimra.

The messengers of Allah the Almighty are the greatest healers and caregivers of their time. They manifest God’s mercy through their words and actions, as Allah the Almighty says:

فَبِمَا رَحۡمَةٍ مِّنَ اللّٰہِ لِنۡتَ لَہُمۡ

“And it is by the great mercy of Allah that thou art kind towards them.” (Surah Aal-e-Imran, Ch.3: V.160)

Highlighting a Hadith-e-Qudsi, i.e., saying of the Holy Prophetsa as revealed to him by God Almighty, the Promised Messiahas said:

“In one of sahih ahadith, it is narrated that on the Day of Judgement, God Almighty will say, ‘I was hungry and you did not feed Me; I was thirsty and you did not give Me water; and I was sick and you did not enquire about Me.’ Upon this, those being addressed will ask, ‘O our Lord, when was it that You were hungry and we did not feed You? When was it that You were thirsty and we did not quench Your thirst? And when was it that You were sick and we did not enquire about You?’ In reply, God Almighty will say, ‘A person dear to Me was in need of these things, but you did not show any compassion to him. Treating him kindly would have been similar to showing kindness to Me.’

“Likewise, to another group of people, Allah the Almighty will say, ‘You have done well, as you showed kindness towards Me. When I was hungry, you gave Me food, and when I was thirsty, you quenched My thirst.’ Those people will ask, ‘O our Lord, when did we serve You in this way? We do not know 6 ourselves.’ In response, Allah will say, ‘When you showed compassion to a person dear to Me, you were actually manifesting kindness to Me.’

“Thus, treating servants of God Almighty with kindness and compassion is a very significant act, and it pleases Allah the Almighty so much so that He considers it as if a person is showing kindness to Him.” (Malfuzat [1988], Vol. 4, p. 215)

Prophets of God Almighty not only provide spiritual guidance but also help the sick and ailing by attending to them personally and comforting them with divine mercy.

Looking after orphans

An orphan child used to live in the house of the paternal cousin of the Promised Messiahas, Mirza Nizamuddin Sahib. After facing some hardships there, he came to the Promised Messiahas. Due to a lack of proper guardianship and edification in his childhood, he was very uncivilised and ill-mannered. Once he got burnt owing to his mischievous nature and boiling water fell all over his entire body. Prophet Ahmadas was deeply shocked by this, and he got busy treating him. Every day, fresh cotton dressing was applied to his body, and great care was taken.

In the treatment of this orphan child, the Promised Messiahas did not care about his time, nor did he care about the expenses. He did not tolerate any kind of negligence in his treatment or deficiency in his food. Prophet Ahmadas would get everything arranged for that child in front of himself and also comfort him. Referring to the care and kindness of the Promised Messiahas during the illness of this orphan child, Hazrat Maulvi Yaqub Ali Irfanira says:

“This child had a very slovenly appearance at the time and had spent the early days of his life in an unfortunate state. In simple words, he did not belong to any distinguished family or nation. In such circumstances, when a person even gets exhausted looking after their own relatives and loved ones, the Promised Messiahas remained occupied in his treatment for a long time. Not only himself, but all the family members had special instructions regarding him that there should be no negligence in his comfort and treatment. This is a remarkable example of caring for the orphans and looking after the sick.” (Sirat Hazrat Masih-e-Maudas [2016], by Hazrat Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfanirapp. 278-279)

Praying and tending to companions

In the year 1904, Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra became very ill in Qadian. His mother was also in Qadian at the time, so she went to the Promised Messiahas and requested him to pray for her son’s health. Upon hearing this request, Prophet Ahmadas said:

“We pray for him very frequently. You must have thought you loved Sadiq [more than anyone else] because he is your son, but I assure you that I love him more than his mother.” (Zikr-e-Habib by Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra, p. 257)

A very sincere and devoted companion of the Promised Messiahas, Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karimra Sialkoti, fell seriously ill as a result of carbuncle. Prophet Ahmadas became anxious about his health and prayed fervently before God Almighty. One day, the Promised Messiahas said:

“I have prayed significantly. I have prayed so much that if it is not taqdir-e-mubram [irrevocable divine decree], it will be very beneficial, insha-Allah.”

Prophet Ahmadas then said:

“I swear by Allah Almighty that I have never felt this kind of concern and worry, even for my own children.”

The Promised Messiahas continuously prayed for Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karimra during his illness and provided the best treatment and food for him. Hazrat Maulvi Nuruddin Sahib and two other doctors were always present, and when needed, other doctors were called from outside of Qadian for consultation. Dr Mirza Yaqub Beg Sahib states:

“Hazrat Mirza Sahibas did not spare a moment in treating this beloved [Hazrat Abdul Karimra]. If Maulvi [Abdul Karimra] Sahib would express his desire to eat something, Hazrat Sahibas would immediately send a man to bring it from Lahore or Amritsar. […]

“Hazrat Mirza Sahibas spent a lot of money on the treatment of Maulvi Abdul Karimra] Sahib and there was nothing left that could be thought of as being useful for the treatment of Maulvi Sahib, and it was not used for him. How fortunate was Maulvi Sahib that Allah the Almighty provided all the necessary means for his treatment, and the extent of efforts made for him could only be observed in the case of a king or a nawab; otherwise, it is impossible for even the most common affluent people to have such kind of treatment. All this was made possible with the grace and kindness of the Promised Messiahas.” (Sirat Hazrat Masih-e-Maudas [2016], by Hazrat Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfanira, pp. 180-190)

Hazrat Mufti Fazl-ur-Rahmanra, another sincere companion of the Promised Messiahas fell seriously ill with typhoid in 1897. The Promised Messiahas used to visit him every day at his house, and he himself treated him and also asked Hazrat Hakeem Maulvi Noor-ud-Dinra to look after him. (Ibid., 194)

Caring for opponents

Even the people who opposed the Promised Messiahas got their fair share of his kindness and mercy in times of distress. The Promised Messiahas said:

“As far as showing compassion and kindness towards mankind is concerned, it is part of my faith that one’s heart is not completely purified unless one prays for their opponents as well. […]

“In fact, it is part of my faith that praying for the enemy is also a sunnah of the Holy Prophetsa. […]

“I am grateful [to Allah the Almighty] that I do not find any opponent of mine for whom I have not prayed at least two to three times. Surely, [I have prayed for] every single enemy.” (Malfuzat [1988], Vol. 2, pp. 68-69)

Hazrat Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfanira narrates that Lala Sharampat Rai, a member of the Arya Community and a fierce opponent of the Promised Messiahas, once developed a malignant abscess in his stomach, which troubled him immensely and led him to lose hope in life. When Prophet Ahmadas learned of his illness, he frequently visited him to enquire about his health and comforted him with the words, “Don’t worry at all; I will appoint Dr Abdullah and he will carry out your treatment in the best possible way.”

Though he was a strong opponent, Lala Sharampat Rai was so moved by the compassion and kindness of the Promised Messiahas that he would request Huzooras to pray for him. The Promised Messiahas not only prayed for him but constantly consoled him. Prophet Ahmadas continued to visit Lala Sharampat until he regained full health. (Sirat Hazrat Masih-e-Maudas, pp. 161-162)

Likewise, Lala Malawa Mal, an Arya from Qadian who, in his youth, used to visit the Promised Messiahas despite harbouring strong religious prejudice, received the same caring treatment. Mirza Mubarak Ahmad Sahib states:

“Several times the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, asked him to bear public witness to Divine signs to which he was an eyewitness. But he always evaded doing so. It so happened that Malawa Mal began to suffer from tuberculosis and his condition became hopeless. In that situation, he came to the Promised Messiah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, described his miserable plight, wept bitterly and humbly besought him to pray for his recovery. This shows how deeply Lala Malawa Mal had been impressed with the Promised Messiah’sas piety.

“The Promised Messiahas took pity on him and prayed earnestly for his recovery. His prayers were answered in the following Arabic revelation:

قُلْنَا يَا نَارُ کُوْنِىْ بَـرْدًا وَّسَلَامًا

‘O fire, cool down for this youth, and turn into a means of protection and security for him.’

“Soon Lala Malawa Mal recovered from his terrible affliction, which was considered fatal in those days. He lived to be a hundred years, surviving the Promised Messiahas by many years.” (The Promised Messiahas by Mirza Mubarak Ahmad, pp. 30-31)

Referring to the above incident, the Promised Messiahas said:

“Malawa Mal was afflicted with tuberculosis and when his condition became dangerous, I supplicated on his behalf and received the revelation:

قُلْنَا يَا نَارُ کُوْنِىْ بَـرْدًا وَّسَلَامًا

“That is [Arabic] ‘O fire of fever, cool down.’

“Then I saw in a dream that I had pulled him out of the grave. He was informed both of the revelations and of the dream before the events occurred. (Tadhkirah [English], pp. 51-52; Shahna-e-Haqq, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 2, p. 381)

Treating patients day and night

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A medicine chest belonging to the Promised Messiahas “It so happened that I also came over and I was astonished to see that His Holiness, [Prophet Ahmadas] was standing active and alert in the likeness of an Englishman standing on duty, ready and vigilant, and he had five or six medicine chests open. He was dispensing various medicines from small glass vials and bottles to some and giving essences to others. This dispensary remained open for some three hours. The clinic continued serving its patients.” (Life of the Promised Messiahas, pp. 57-56)

Once, a well-known religious leader fell seriously ill and appeared to be at the point of death. At midnight, a companion went to the Promised Messiah’sas house. As it was completely dark, he gently requested Prophet Ahmadas from outside his room. When the companion told him how ill the religious leader was, the Promised Messiahas prayed for him and then mixed some medicine for him and said, “Make him drink this. God will save him.”

When the cleric began to recover on the very next day, the Promised Messiahas said:

“Prayer is the real weapon in the armoury of a believer,” and he also told his companion, ‘The medicine was only a palliative.” (Ahmad[as], The Guided One, p. 230)

Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karimra Sialkoti relates:

“On certain occasions, village ladies will come to ask for medicine, and they will knock on the door loudly and say in their simple, village tongue, ‘Mirza Ji! Open the door, will you?’ The Promised Messiahas will stand up as one obeys the call of an honourable master, and will speak to them and advise them with a cheerful face.” (Life of the Promised Messiahas, pp. 56-57)

Mirza Mubarak Ahmad Sahib narrates that Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Bashir Ahmadra said:

“Amtullah Bibi of Khost, Afghanistan, reported to me that when she came to Qadian with her father, she was of tender age, and suffered from bad eye trouble so seriously that sometimes, on account of extreme pain caused by inflammation, she could not even open her eyes. She had undergone much treatment, but to no effect.  The trouble continued to increase.

“One day, when her mother tried to apply medicine to her eyes, she became frightened and ran away, saying, ‘I shall have my eyes blown into by Hazrat [Ahmadas].’ With great difficulty, she went to the Promised Messiahas, and said, weeping, ‘I have severe trouble in my eyes, and I am agitated by severe pain caused by inflammation. I cannot even open my eyes; please blow into my eyes.’ Seeing that my eyes were swollen and I was in an agony of pain, he moistened his finger with his saliva, paused for a while (he was, perhaps, praying) and then very gently and affectionately passed his finger gently over my eyes. Then, placing his hand on my head, he said, ‘Go, my child, now, by the Grace of Allah, you will never have this trouble again.’ Since then, I have never had sore and inflamed eyes, although I am now an old woman of seventy. 

“She was only ten years old when the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, blew into her eyes and passed over them, his finger moistened with his saliva. In other words, for sixty years, the spiritual amulet of the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, did what no medicine had been able to achieve.” (The Promised Messiahas, by Mirza Mubarak Ahmad, pp. 37-38)

Sparing time for the sick in a hectic routine

Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karimra states:

“In our country, even the educated classes give little value to the importance of time, so villagers are naturally all the more prone to waste time.

“Sometimes a lady will begin rambling about useless things, and some will begin to complain about their own domestic issues – about their mother-in-law and sister-in-law – and this will waste a whole hour, but the Promised Messiahas will sit and listen with patience and dignity. He will not openly say or even indicate slightly that enough is enough; you should go now; you have your medicine; what more do you want? You are wasting my time. Ultimately, the lady will stand up, alarmed at how much time it has been, and then leave.

“Once, quite a few village ladies came to have their children seen, and at the same time, a few of the lady attendants working in the house also came to benefit from this opportunity. At the time, the Promised Messiahas needed to write a very important treatise of a religious nature, and time was of the essence. It so happened that I also came over and I was astonished to see that His Holiness, [Prophet Ahmadas] was standing active and alert in the likeness of an Englishman standing on duty, ready and vigilant, and he had five or six medicine chests open. He was dispensing various medicines from small glass vials and bottles to some and giving essences to others. This dispensary remained open for some three hours. The clinic continued serving its patients.

“Afterwards, I submitted, ‘Your Holiness, this is a great inconvenience to you, and much of your valuable time is wasted.’ Holy is Allah! He responded to me with joy and satisfaction, ‘This too is religious work. These are people in need. There is no hospital nearby. It is for the sake of these people that I order and store all sorts of allopathic and Graeco-Arab medication, which proves beneficial when the time comes.’

“The Promised Messiahas went on to say, ‘This is a task that brings great spiritual reward. A believer must never show indolence and unconcern for such work.’” (Life of the Promised Messiahas, pp. 57-56)

Attending wife and children with compassion

The Promised Messiahas loved his children and cared for his wife in the most affectionate manner. He would give them so much attention in their illness and become so preoccupied with looking after them and providing them medicine that it seemed as though he had no other responsibilities in the world.

Hazrat Umme Nasir, Sayyidah Mahmudah Begum Sahibara said:  

“Once, Hazrat Amma Janra was ill, and the Promised Messiahas was taking care of her. While Huzooras was standing and administering medicine, Hazrat Amma Janra got anxious and exclaimed, ‘Oh, I am going to pass away. What would happen to you? I think my life is about to end.’

“The Promised Messiahas gently whispered to her, ‘If you pass away, what is there for me to live for?’” (Seerat Hazrat Sayyidat-un-Nisa Nusrat Jahan Begum Sahiba, by Hazrat Mahmud Ahmad Irfanira, p. 394)

On the other hand, when the Promised Messiah’sas first daughter, Ismat, became very ill, Huzooras tended to and cared for her day and night. Likewise, Prophet Ahmadas spent many sleepless nights attending to his son, Mirza Mubarak Ahmad, during his illness. However, when they passed away in their childhood, the Promised Messiahas submitted to the decree of Allah the Almighty and did not say a word of discontentment.


The holy personages of prophets serve as a blessed reminder that divine mercy and human kindness are interwoven in a world that is rife with pain and suffering. They inspire us by their profound examples to reach out to the sick and ailing and, eventually, by serving others, become instruments of Allah the Almighty’s limitless mercy, continuing the prophets’ legacy for generations to come, as Prophet Ahmadas said:

“The Prophets are first and foremost in offering sacrifices for the cause of Allah. Everyone strives for himself, but Prophets, peace be upon them, strive for others. People sleep, yet they stay awake for them; people laugh, yet they weep for them. They willingly bear every hardship for the deliverance of mankind. They do all this so that God Almighty may manifest Himself so that it should be proved to people that God exists, and His existence and His Tawhid [Unity of Allah] may be clearly perceived by the eager hearts so that they might attain salvation.” (The Philosophy of Divine Revelation [Haqiqatul Wahi], p. 137)

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