One visiting the sick pught to wear clean clothes with good scent in order to make the patient feel better both spiritually and physically. At the same time, it is inappropriate to wear fancy clothes that are more appropriate for occasions of happiness. One should avoid wearing a strong smelling perfume which may inconvenience the sick.
Visitors should avoid causing distress to the sick by conveying bad news such as failing business, a death or similar bad news. Also, visitors should not enquire about the details of the illness for the purpose of mere conversation. This will not benefit the sick in any way, unless the visitor is a specialized physician. Similarly, visitors should not recommend to a patient any food or medicine that might have helped them or someone else. Such recommendations might lead the ill person, out of ignorance or desperation, to try it, causing further complications or even death.
Do not critcise or object to the treatment by the physician in the presence of the ill person for it cast doubt in the mind of the sick.
Make your visit brief. Sick persons may not be able to withstand such long visits. The length of the visit should not be longer than the duration the Imam sits between two khutbahs on Friday.
It is said that the etiquette of visiting a patient is that you utter your greeting and immediately thereafter you bid farewell to him.
A poet says:
“The best visit is every third day,
And then to remain seated for the blink of an eye,
With many questions, do not bother the patient,
A question as brief as two or three words are sufficient.”
That is by asking him, “How are you?”
“May Allah cure you.”
At the end of his book of Maliki Fiqh, Al Káfí, Imam Ibn Abdil Barr [Rahimahullah] says, “When visiting a healthy or sick person, one should sit where one is told. Hosts know better how to ensure privacy in their home. Visiting an ill person is an emphasised sunnah.”
The best visit is the shortest. The visitor should not sit for too long, unless they are close friends and the ill person enjoys his company.
It is the right of your Muslim brother that you visit him during the time of illness. This will enhance and nourish the bond of Islam and brotherhood between you. The rewards for this are so great that they cannot be overlooked by one who wishes to increase his deeds.
Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] said, “When a Muslim visits his brother, he will remain in the khurfah of paradise until he returns.” Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] was asked, “What is the khurfah of paradise?” He replied, “The harvest of paradise.” Rasulullah [Sallallahu álayhi wa sallam] said, “One who goes walking to visit a patient, continues to sink in the mercy of Allah. When he visits, he will be totally immersed in mercy.” [Ahmad & Ibn Hibbán in his Sahih]
Forget not that there are certain etiquettes which will make yout visit to an ill person a refreshing and morale-boosting one for him. By abiding these etiquettes, you will assist in easing his pains and you will also make him more conscious of the rewards that he will gain in return for being patient during his suffering.
Choose an appropriate time for your visit. Do not visit at inconvenient times such as mealtimes, or when people are sleeping, resting or relaxing. The length of your visit should be in accordance with your relationship with your hosts, as well as in accordance to their circumstances and conditions. Do not overstay your welcome by making your visit too long or burdensome.
Imam An-Nawawi [Rahimahullah] says in his book, “Al-Adhkár”,
“It is strongly recommended for muslims to visit pious people, brothers, neighbours, friends and relatives, and to be generous, kind and obliging to them. However, the duration of the visit varies according to host’s circumstances. The visit ought to be conducted in a pleasant manner and at times convenient to them. There are numerous ahádith and sayings in this regard.”
When you address your host, only discuss appropriate topics together with maintaining brevity in your speech. If you are the youngest in the gathering, then you should only speak when responding to a question posed to you by someone, unless you are certain that your input will be effective, leave an impression and that it will please those present. Do not be lengthy in your speech. Neither should you be careless in your sitting posture, and manner of address.