The religion of Islām has been completed to such perfection that it has left absolutely no stone unturned. Allāh ﷻ mentions:
ٱلۡيَوۡمَ أَكۡمَلۡتُ لَكُمۡ دِينَكُمۡ
“Today, I have completed your religion for you.”
The details of this completion are found in numerous āyāt of the Qurʾān and in many chests from the treasures of Ḥadīth – from establishing the concept of Tawḥīd and Risālah to removing a harmful object from the street. Big or small, Islām has got it all!
From among these intricate teachings of Islām is one very important Sunnah which, unfortunately, has been confined to mere theory; the Muslim Ummah across the globe have practically disregarded it. This is the Sunnah of behaving appropriately when visiting a fellow human being on his/her deathbed. The ʿulamaʾ have recorded ample ḥadīths wherefrom such a Sunnah is physically demonstrated.
Imāms al-Bukhārī and Muslim ؒ have recorded a ḥadīth in their Ṣaḥīḥayn on the authority of Sayyidunā al-Musayyib ؓ that when Abū Ṭālib – the beloved uncle of the Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ – had reached his final moments, the Prophet ﷺ was encouraging him to pronounce the statement of Īmān.
Imām al-Bukhārī ؒ has related another ḥadīth on the authority of Sayyidunā Anas ؓ that a young Jewish boy who used to serve the Prophet ﷺ became ill. The Prophet j visited the youngster and requested that he accept Islām. He looked at his father, who advised him to obey Abū ’l-Qāsim – i.e. the Prophet ﷺ – and, subsequently, he embraced Islām. The Prophet ﷺ then left the home of the young boy and said:
«الحمد لله الذي أنقذه من النار»
“All praise is due to Allāh who has saved him from the Fire.”
These two ḥadīths display the Prophet’s ﷺ compassion for both the old and young alike; hence, we learn this is something ought to be practised wherever and whenever possible. It is also worth noting that the Prophet ﷺ neither differentiated between family and non-family, nor prioritised Muslims over non-Muslims.
This methodology was applied by the great companions of the Prophet ﷺ after his demise. We learn from another incident reported by Imām Muslim ؒ that when ʿAmr b. al-ʿĀṣ ؓ had reached his final stages, his son ʿAbdullāh ؓ was consoling his father and reassuring him that everything is looking positive, and then reminded him that the Prophet ﷺ had verified his success.
Here, Sayyidunā ʿAbdullāh b. ʿAmr b. al-ʿĀṣ ؓ practically illustrated what one ought to say and do when visiting a person on his/her deathbed.
Today, it is a shame to see many Muslims say the most inappropriate of things, e.g. “Do you recognise me?” “Do you remember we went to such-and-such a place together many years ago?” and the likes. Instead, we should be pointing their attention to the hope in Allāh’s ﷻ forgiveness and vast mercy, along with motivating them to increase their desire to meet the Lord of all the Worlds.
May Allāh ﷻ enable us to revive this sunnah of His beloved Prophet ﷺ. Āmīn.
 [Al-Māʾidah: 5/3].
 Al-Bukhārī (3884) and Muslim (24).
 Al-Bukhārī (1356).
 Muslim (121).