ANTICIPATION OF REWARD

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بسم الله  الرحمن الرحيم

By Dr Omer El-Hamdoon

Allah has endowed this Ummah with numerous blessings and magnificent gifts, bestowing upon it the greatest of blessings.

AbdUllah ibn ʿOmar (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Prophet (ṣalla Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:

“Your similitude and the similitude of the two peoples of the Book is like that of a man who hired workers, and said, ‘Who will work for me from the morning till midday and will have one scale of wages?’

So the Jews did the work. Then he said, ‘Who will work for me from the midday till ṣalātul ʿAsr and will have one scale of wages?’

So the Nazarenes, i.e., the Christians, did the work.

Then he said, ‘Who will work for me from ṣalātul ʿAsr till the Sun sets and will have two scales of wages?’ and that is you.

So the Jews and the Nazarenes were angry, and said, ‘How come we did more work, but were less in wages?’ He said, ‘Have I wronged you in any of your rights?’ They said, ‘No’. He said, ‘So, that is my virtue, I give to whom I will.’” (Narrated by Al-Bukhārī)

One of the favours Allah has granted us is that immense rewards can be attained by merely correcting our intentions and anticipating the reward with Allah in all actions, whether they relate to the matters of dīn or our daily livelihoods.

Mujāhid and Saʿīd ibn Jubair (may Allah be pleased with them) commented: “By Allah, they didn’t say those words with their tongues, but Allah knew what is in their hearts, so He praised them for it, so that others would do the same.”

The virtue of ʾiḥtisāb, anticipating the reward for good deeds, renews our intentions and directs our souls towards righteousness. We should rejoice in the blessings from Allah: “Say: ‘With the virtue from Allah and with His mercy, let them rejoice’.” (10:58)

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Prophet (ṣalla Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said to a group of women: “If anyone of you loses three of her children, and she anticipates the reward, then she will enter Al-Jannah.”

A woman then asked, “What about two? O Messenger of Allah!”

He responded, “Even two.” (Narrated by Sahih Muslim)

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) also reports that the Prophet (ṣalla Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said: “Allah said: ‘Whoever I take two of his loved ones (his eyes), and he is patient and anticipating, I have pleasure in giving him no less than al-Jannah’.” (Narrated by At-Tirmidhī)

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) further narrates that the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W) said: “There is no reward for My believing slave if I take the life of his close ones from this life, then he anticipates the reward, except al-Jannah.” (Narrated by Al-Bukhari)

Abdullah ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) tells us that the Prophet (ṣalla Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said: “There isn’t a better rewarded dose with Allah than a dose of anger someone swallows wanting the reward of Allah.” (Narrated by Ibn Mājah)

Uthman ibn Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) heard the Messenger of Allah (ṣalla Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam) say: “Whoever builds a masjid for Allah (anticipating the reward from Allah), Allah will build a house for him in al-Jannah.” (Narrated by Muslim)

Abu Hurrairah (may Allah be pleased with him) recounts that the Prophet (ṣalla Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever anticipates the reward of keeping a horse for the sake of Allah, and out of believing in Allah’s promise, then the horse’s feeding, watering, his urine and droppings will all be in his scale of good deeds on the Day of Judgement.” (Narrated by Muslim)

Abu Masʿūd al-ʾAnṣārī (may Allah be pleased with him) remembers the Prophet (ṣalla Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam) saying: “If the Muslim spends money on his family – whilst anticipating its reward – then it will be for him a charity.” (Narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Saʿad ibn Abi Waqqāṣ (may Allah be pleased with him) relays that the Prophet (ṣalla Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said: “You will not spend any money in which you seek the reward of Allah, save that you will be rewarded for, even that which you place in the mouth of your wife.”

Umm Salamah (may Allah be pleased with him), the wife of the Prophet (ṣalla Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam), heard him say: “Whoever spends on two daughters or two sisters or two female relatives expecting Allah’s reward, until Allah gives them from His bounty, then they will be a curtain for him from the Fire.” (This is a weak (ḍaʿīf) hadith narrated by Ahmad and al-Ṫabarānī)

In times of crisis and everyday dealings, the believer’s path is marked by ʾiḥtisāb. Reflecting on the lives of the Companions, we see their dedication to anticipating rewards in their actions, a principle echoed throughout their lives and teachings.

Abu Dhar (may Allah be pleased with him) asked the Messenger of Allah (ṣalla Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam) how he could give charity without money.

The Prophet (ṣalla Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam) answered: “Are the following not a form of charity: Takbīr (to say ‘Allahu Akbar’), Al-Ḥamdu Lillāh, Subḥāna Allah. You seek forgiveness of Allah. You enjoin good and forbid evil. You remove the thorn, bone, and stone from the path of the Muslims. You guide the blind. You show someone seeking his need where it is – if you know. You help the weak with your muscles. All these are charity from you to yourself. And to have intercourse with your wife, there is reward.”

Abu Dhar (may Allah be pleased with him) wondered about the reward for fulfilling his own desire, to which the Messenger of Allah (ṣalla Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam) explained the deeper significance of anticipating reward even in personal joys and hardships.

Anas ibn Mālik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates: I was sitting in the presence of the Prophet (ṣalla Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam) in his house when a man asked him, “When is the Hour, O Messenger of Allah?” The Prophet (ṣalla Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam) responded, “It will occur, but what have you prepared for it?”

The man said, “By Allah, I haven’t prepared for it a lot of action, but I love Allah and His Messenger (ṣalla Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam).”

The Prophet (ṣalla Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam) then said, “You are with whom you have loved, and you shall that which you anticipate its reward.”

The concern of the Companions and their followers regarding this matter extends even after the passing of the Prophet (ṣalla Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam). We observe the best of this Ummah post-Prophet (ṣalla Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam) in the figure of Abu Bakr al-Ṣiddīq (may Allah be pleased with him). When he sent the army of Yazīd ibn Abi Sufyān to al-Shām, he accompanied them on foot. Yazīd, the commander, said to Abu Bakr, “Either you ride or I come down.” Abu Bakr replied, “You are not to come down, and I am not riding. I am anticipating these steps in the Path of Allah.” He then offered some advice to Yazīd.

Saʿīd ibn Al-Musayyib (may Allah be pleased with him) said: When death approached one of the ʾAnṣār, he remarked, “I will inform you of a hadith, I am informing you because I expect the good reward from doing so. I heard the Messenger of Allah (ṣalla Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam) saying, ‘If one of you performs wudu well, then leaves for the ṣalāh (i.e., in the masjid), he will not lift his right foot without getting one good deed from Allah. And he will not place his left foot without Allah removing one bad deed from his account’.”

Muʿādh ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him), when questioned about how he reads the Qur’an, explained, “I sleep the beginning of the night. Then, I get up having attained my sleep, so I read what Allah has written that I read. And I anticipate the reward of my sleep as I anticipate the reward of my qiyām.”

Wakīʿ ibn al-Jarrāḥ (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated the hadith in which the Messenger (ṣalla Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam ) said, “Every one of you shall be spoken to by Allah on the Day of Judgement. There shall be no interpreters…”

Upon completing the narration, Wakīʿ remarked, “Whoever is from the people of Khurasān, then let him anticipate revealing this hadith in Khurasān.” At-Tirmidhi commented, “Because the Jahmiyyah reject this.”

The Quran states:And he who is pious and righteous will be far removed from it (Hell): He who spends his wealth for increase in self-purification. And has in his mind no favour from anyone for which a reward is expected in return. Except only the desire to the Countenance of his Lord, the Most High. And He surely will be pleased.”

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