دَاوُوا مَرْضَاكُمْ بِالصَّدَقَةِ
“Treat your sick with charity.”
Commentary & Reflections
There are two types of medicine: (1) that which cures the body and (2) that which cures the soul. The Prophet Muḥammad (upon him be peace) is indicating to the second type here. He is advising that we treat the sick with charity and other pious deeds, like doing what we can to remove difficulties and suffering from our brethren. Treating the sick in this way is a tried and tested method. The righteous have found that spiritual treatments are effective and may provide a cure even when conventional medicine does not work. Indeed, charity is a proven treatment for ailments.
Some mentioned that the Prophet (upon him be peace) would advise treatment in three ways: (1) conventional medical treatments, (2) spiritual treatments, and (3) a combination of both.
Giving charity when facing a difficult situation is a highly recommended Sunnah. The pious would turn to Allāh and give charity when facing difficulties, including illness. In fact, when a dearly beloved person became ill, some righteous individuals would liquidate their most precious possessions to give as charity. They would treat the illness of a precious loved one by giving their most valuable material possession as ṣadaqah.
Ḥalīmī mentioned a point here. If one would say:
“If Allāh decreed what will happen to one, including his lifespan and health, then what is the point of treating an illness with charity?” To this, Ḥalīmī said: “We would say: ‘It may be that Allāh decreed that if one gets treatment, he will recover. And if he does not, the illness will overtake him, and he will die.’”
(Fayḍ al-Qadīr, 3:515, al-Taysīr, 2:2)