Sickness is beneficial for a Believer


Is this narration authentic?

Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) asked, ‘Have you ever felt a headache? The man said: ‘What is a headache’? He (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘A vein that beats in the head of a person’. The man said: ‘No, I have not experienced that ever’! The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘Whoever would like to see a man from the people of the Hell-fire, then look at this man’.



This narration has been declared authentic by Imam Ibn Hibban and Imam Hakim (rahimahumallah). Hafiz Dhahabi (rahimahullah) concurs with this grading.

The full narration is as follows:

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah (radiyallahu ‘anhu)  says, “Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) once asked a Bedouin, ‘Have you ever been affected with Ummu Mildam’? The Bedouin inquired, ‘What is Ummu Mildam’? Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied, ‘Heat between the flesh and skin’ [i.e. fever]. The Bedouin said, I have never had fever. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) then asked, ‘Have you experienced a headache’? The Bedouin asked, ‘What is headache’? Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, ‘A vein that beats in the head of a person’. The Bedouin said: ‘No, I have not experienced that ever’! Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘Whoever would like to see a man from the people of Jahannam, then look at this man”

(Sahih Ibn Hibban; Al Ihsan, Hadith: 2916, Mustadrak Hakim, vol. 1 pg. 347 and Al Adabul Mufrad of Imam Bukhari, Hadith: 495)



Imam Ibn Hibban (rahimahullah) explains, ‘Allah Ta’ala afflicts people with various sicknesses,ailments,diseases, grief and discomforts as a means of expiation for our sins. A person is bound to commit sins. If he is saved from these ailments in this world, then there is no expiation for his sins, therefore he will be from the inhabitants of Jahannam.

May Allah Ta’ala protect us!



When inspecting these narrations, it is evident that the person in question did not suffer any illness/discomfort nor was he tested in any way throughout his life. Therefore he had no means of expiation for his sins.

The Hadith in question does not mean that if a person did not suffer from a headache in his life, he is destined for Jahannam. Rather a headache is just one means of sins being expiated. Other discomforts, illnesses, grief etc. are also means of expiating sins.



And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.


Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala


Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar


Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar