The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) reportedly said, “On the Day of Resurrection, Almighty Allah will say, ‘O son of Adam! I became sick and you did not visit me!’ The person will say, ‘O Lord, how can I visit you and you are the Lord of all that exists!’ Allah will say, ‘Did you not know that my slave ‘so and so’ was sick, and you did not visit him? Did you not know that if you visited him, you would have found me with him?’” (Muslim)
The muslim ummah is like one body. Visiting each other in times of happiness and health strengthens the bonds of brotherhood. Visiting in sick and distressing times further grows the brotherhood.
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said, “The parable of the believers in their mutual love and mercy is like that of a living body: If one part of it feels pain, the whole body suffers in sleeplessness and fever.” (Muslim)
As outlined above, when one person is sick, the rest of us should feel their pains as well. Visiting the sick is a clear sign of empathy and love.
The Prophet reportedly said, “The rights of a Muslim over another Muslim are six… When you meet him, you greet him with the salaam (i.e. to say: as-salamu alaykum); when he invites you, you accept his invitation; when he consults you in a matter, you give him sincere advice; when he sneezes and praises Allah, you ask Allah to have mercy on him; when he is sick, you visit him; and when he passes away, you follow his funeral.”(Bukhari)
From this hadith, our obligations are clearly outlined from meeting a person to accompanying him during the funeral.
Visiting the sick is a mercy from Allah as Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), who reportedly said, “A Muslim visiting his sick brother will continue to be in the harvest of Paradise until he returns home.” (Muslim)
Visiting sick people who are not muslims can serve a purpose of spreading the message of Islam like The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) visited a Jewish boy and called him to Islam. He was also present when his uncle Abu Taalib was dying asking him to accept Islam. This visit can also create a positive image of Islam to a non-believer and may soften his heart.
Some etiquettes of visiting a sick person include: do not sit too long with a sick person to allow them enough rest, regular visits are acceptable as long as the sick one doesn’t dislike it, choose an appropriate time to visit, depending on the individual and make dua for the sick as The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) did:
It was narrated by Ahmad and Abu Dawood (3106) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever visits a sick person who is not yet dying, and says seven times in his presence: ‘As’alu Allaaha rabb al-‘arsh il-‘azeem an yashfiyaka (I ask Allaah, Lord of the mighty Throne, to heal you), Allaah will heal him of that sickness.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.
Reassure the patient to cheer them and uplift their spirits and remind them of Allah’s mercy.
"He who holds on firmly to my Sunnah at a time when my Ummah are (grovelling) in corruption will receive a reward of a hundred martyrs."
Abu Hurayrah rahimahullah reported that Allah’s messenger sallalaahu ‘alayhi was sallam said: “When a human being dies, all of his deeds are terminated except for three types: an ongoing sadaqah, a knowledge(of Islaam) from which others benefit, and a righteous child who makes du’aa for him.” (Muslim and others)