Woman with Epilepsy Declines Cure

Ibn ‘Abbas once said to me (’Ata bin Abi Rabah),

“Shall I show you a woman of the people of Paradise?”

I said, “Yes.”

He said, “This black lady came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said, ‘I get attacks of epilepsy and my body becomes uncovered; please invoke Allah for me.’ The Prophet (peace be upon him) said (to her), ‘If you wish, be patient and you will have (enter) Paradise; and if you wish, I will invoke Allah to cure you.’ She said, ‘I will remain patient,’ and added, ‘but I become uncovered, so please invoke Allah for me that I may not become uncovered.’ So he invoked Allah for her.”

Bukhari :: Book 7 :: Volume 70 :: Hadith 555

Imagine you were this black woman and you went to the Prophet sallahu alayhi wasalam asking him for help. He then offered you the same choices as this woman.

Would you jump at the sight of an invocation for a cure? Or would you remain patient and have Paradise? What would you choose?

I wonder what possesses this black woman to choose patience over cure. After some digesting, I realize despite her epilepsy, she is actually very intelligent. I love natural stigma busters. Why does she turn down a prayer of the Prophet sallahu alayhi wasalaam which could have cured her epilepsy as his du’a is always accepted.

She declines the du’a because she has her eyes set on the eternal pot of gold. She knows she can get some pleasure now. But she restrains herself and chooses to have patience so she can work now and play later.

Question: how will we be patient with Depression, Bipolar or Anxiety? How will we using our illness and trails to buy Paradise? Will our tests bring us closer to Allah or closer to Shaytan? It’s one or the other.

Patience is at the time of sickness, at the moment of hardship. We must do our best to stay calm when we’re in the mental storm.

And when you find it challenging to stay calm, here are two tips to add to your tool box:

  1. Prostrate to Allah often. When you want to complain about your illness, do sujood and cry your heart out. Allah is the only one who can really understand you.
  2. When you feel really depressed, replace the word depress with calmer words and notice the changes in your feelings and behavior. For example, replace depressed with ‘out of sorts’, or ‘down.’ Be creative and add your own.

I’ll leave you with some words from Kay Jamison, author of An Unquiet Mind: reflect on being patient and being a patient.

Read the original Article by Saba Malik on her Blog


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14 thoughts on “Woman with Epilepsy Declines Cure

  1. Hmm I am also having this tonic seizures,taking medication….ruining my mystudies,cant able to study well at all things just are so much harder…but alhamdulillah i can say by Allah permission if it wasnt for this i might be as close to Allah than i used to…I only wish my parents could understand that islamic medication should our priority….i wish to be like ibn khattab rahimullah…he went jihad yet he only used prophetic medicine and inisist on it,and ma shaa Allah ,he was always ok even when suffer sever injury…cure is from Allah not from medicine…medicine is just the right thing to do…lahawlawala quwata illa billah..= )

  2. Correction plz. The reference says Book 7, Volume 70 whereas in actuality it’s Volume 7, Book 70. JazakumAllah Khair

  3. Assalamu alaikum,
    Really appreciated the article on Epilepsy, however is should be noted that this is medical Epilepsy and not caused by Jinn etc.
    Also there are many remedies from the Sunnah if you wish to share at http://www.hijamaclinic.net

  4. I don’t have epilepsy or any other serious illness. But I’m reading the comments of other people here who do have some illness and have been tremendously comforted by this hadith, and all of a sudden I realized the huge wisdom of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in what he said to the woman. He could have simply invoked for her and she would have been cured, and then all of us 1,400 years later would read the story and say, “Ma-sha-Allah, another miracle to prove his Prophethood.” But it would have no lasting personal significance. But instead, by asking her to be patient and promising her Jannah, the Prophet (pbuh) has sent a message of hope down through the ages to all the other sufferers in the world.

    Another point of note is that every Prophet was sent with certain types of miracles. “Medical miracles” – curing the sick, even bringing the dead back to life – were the hallmark of the Prophet Isa ibn Maryam (pbuh).

    If the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had made it his habit to cure the sick, the Christians might say about us Muslims, “Oh, you are only taking Biblical stories and applying them to your Prophet.” Instead, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) came with the greatest miracle of all, the Quran, a living proof through the millenia, and a source of eternal guidance.

  5. Thank you for all the comments!

    My bipolar episodes are very similar to seizures so writing about this woman really helped me deal with the embarrassment that follows after being uncovered.

  6. being an epileptic myself… this article has bin a source of comfort… and a source ov me going closer to Allah…
    jazakAllahu kheran

  7. I love the suggestion for anxiety and depression…going into sujood will, insha'Allah, become one of my favorite coping skills. thanks.

  8. very interesting. great comments about handling mental illness. i have worked as a support worker in this field for many years and it is a huge trial for many people to live with a mental illness. patience is definitely a necessity and many of the people i helped to support turned to spiritual faith (of all varieties) which helped them immensely. <3

  9. Salaams:

    My brother has epilepsy and my mother had it, mashallah. What a very inspiring story. Jazakallahu Khairan!

  10. Assalaamu Alaikum!

    I too am an epileptic mashaAllah. When I 1st reverted to Islam over 3 years ago, one of the sisters who witnessed my Shahada wrote this hadith out and gave it to me. It is a HUGE comfort to know this. May Allah ease the trials of all epileptics and those who suffer from any disease and grant us all sabr. Ameen!

  11. There is another hadith about this same woman, that there is no blame on her for becoming uncovered. I need to find it, insha'Allah! It was a comfort to me as an Epileptic when I had a seizure outside of a masjid on the pavement in Philadephia during a busy jumaah afternoon. When I came to, my niqab was removed, my hijab loosened, and my husband a brother were helping the paramedics that had arrived. I felt comfort in spite of being such a spectacle because of this hadith, alhamdulillah. This hadith also shows the power of dua made by the Messenger (saws) because even today in modern medicine, there is still no cure for epilepsy.

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