Question: Our father is old and has been suffering from a brain stroke for a year and a half. He is bedridden and only looks at us without speaking or moving. We do not know whether he recognizes us or not, and he has remained in the hospital throughout this entire period with a male nurse to care for him. We are with him constantly, taking care of him, and turning him in the bed every two hours. Outwardly, he is shining in a way that indicates happiness, praise be to Allaah. Our father has been an upright and devout man throughout his life, may Allaah restore his health. He used to recite the Qur’aan and never approached a Munkar (deed which is unacceptable and disapproved by Islaamic law and Muslims of sound intellect); and everyone acquainted with him knows this. He taught us Islaam, all praise be to Allaah, till it has become more precious to us than our souls, children, and everything in this world. We exerted every effort for the sake of treating him, but our efforts were in vain – Laa hawla wa Laa quwwata illaa billaah (there is neither might nor power except with Allaah). The question is:
1- What are the Aayaat (Qur’aanic verses) and Hadeeths regarding the trials that afflict a weak upright believer who stops all forms of `Ibaadah (worship) during his illness?
2- What should we do to dedicate to him Salaah (Prayer), Du`aa’ (supplication), and Qur’aan recitation we can do during his life, and what can we send forth for him and our mother who died thirty years ago? I hope you will provide us with a convincing useful answer, may Allaah reward you with the best.
3- We asked for a Muslim male nurse, but a non-Muslim came. We tried to send him back, but he appears to be kind and takes care of our father well. Thus, we kept him with our father and we try to convince him to embrace Islaam. Is it permissible to keep him with our father? What do you advise us in this respect?
4- Last Ramadaan, we asked many shaykhs concerning what we could do for our father, but we did not get a proper detailed Fatwaa (legal opinion issued by qualified scholar). Thus, we fed a Miskeen (needy) for each day in which he did not perform Sawm (Fast) an amount of a kilogram of rice and some dates. What should we have done, taking into consideration that our father does notperform any act of `Ibaadah, due to his condition and inability to recognize anything? He merely stares at us. However, we fear that he perhaps is aware of his state and is discontent with his condition. And Allaah knows best.
The doctors say that he is unconscious; therefore, we have let his beard to grow as it was and have not trimmed it? Should we shorten it, or leave it as it is?
5- Whenever we remember his condition while praying, sleeping, at home or work or elsewhere, we blame ourselves, thinking what should we do, and what a disaster has afflicted us and our father. We wonder whether it afflicted our father due to the many sins we committed, or due to his own sins. However, we as well as others know that he has been upright all his life.
We hope you will clarify these matters for us, may Allaah reward you with the best. Al-salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullaah wa barakaatuh (May Allaah’s Peace, Mercy, and Blessings be upon you).
Answer: First, verily Allaah (Glorified and Exalted be He) afflicts people in this world and makes a trial of them with evil and good, illness and good health, distress and well-being, to test the patient and gratitude people. Then, He will reward them on the Day of Judgment. Allaah (Exalted be He) says… read more here.