When a loved one is critically ill, it can be a challenging time filled with worry and uncertainty. As we hope for their recovery, it is important to ensure that they receive the utmost care and attention, including their spiritual well-being. In Islam, there are specific guidelines and prayers that can be performed for someone who is critically ill. In this article, we will explore the dua (prayer) for someone who is critically ill and the proper way to perform it.
Purification of the Sick Person
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Water Purification and Wudoo’
According to Islamic teachings, a sick person has the same obligations as a healthy person when it comes to purification with water from minor and major impurities. This means that they should perform wudoo’ (ablution) in the case of minor impurity and ghusl (ritual bath) in the case of major impurity.
Before performing wudoo’, it is essential for the sick person to clean themselves with water or any suitable alternative, such as stones or tissues, after urinating or defecating. The use of three clean stones is recommended for cleaning oneself, avoiding the use of anything that is not respectable, like dung or bones. If the sick person is unable to use water due to their condition, they can perform tayammum (dry ablution) by striking their hands on pure dust and wiping their face with the inside of their fingers and palms.
Prerequisites for Tayammum
Tayammum can be performed using any pure substance that has dust on it, even if it’s not the ground. For example, if the dust can fly off a wall, it can be used for tayammum. However, it is important to note that tayammum is invalidated by anything that would invalidate wudoo’. Therefore, as soon as water becomes available, tayammum is no longer necessary.
Prayer of the Sick Person
Standing, Sitting, and Lying Down
Ideally, a sick person should pray while standing. However, if they are unable to stand, they can pray while sitting, preferably in a crossed-legged position during the times when standing is normally required in prayer. In the case where sitting is also not possible, they may pray while lying on their side facing the qiblah (the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca). It is recommended for them to lie on their right side for added virtue. If lying on the side is not feasible, they can pray while lying on their back with their feet towards the qiblah.
Prayer Adjustments for Physical Limitations
If a person is able to stand but cannot bow or prostrate, they should still pray while standing and lean forward for bowing and prostration. If a person has an eye condition that requires lying on their back for healing, they may pray in that position. In situations where bending or prostrating is difficult, adjustments can be made. For example, if a person cannot bend their back, they can bend their neck instead. The intention and recitation of the required prayers should be maintained throughout, while unnecessary additional gestures, such as finger gesturing, are not recommended.
General Guidelines for Prayer
It is crucial for the sick person to be mindful of their physical condition when praying. If they become capable of performing an action that they were initially unable to do, such as standing, sitting, bowing, or prostrating, they should incorporate it into their prayer and continue from where they left off. If they miss a prayer due to sleep or forgetfulness, they must promptly make it up when they wake up or remember it. Under no circumstances should a person stop praying, as it is an essential pillar of faith.
If a sick person finds it challenging to offer every prayer on time, they may combine the Zuhr (noon) and Asr (afternoon) prayers, as well as the Maghrib (evening) and Isha (night) prayers, at the time of the earlier or later prayer, depending on what is convenient for them. However, Fajr (dawn) prayer cannot be combined with any other prayer due to its separate timing.
When someone we care about is critically ill, their well-being extends beyond their physical health. Following the teachings of Islam, it is important to ensure their spiritual needs are met, even in challenging circumstances. Performing the dua for someone who is critically ill and adapting the prayer according to their physical limitations can provide solace and bring us closer to Allah. May we always be diligent in our prayers and seek His blessings and guidance in every situation.
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