Jumu’ah Khutbah – From the Lessons of Hajj: The Reward of Effort – Shaykh Ahsan HanifAssima Alam
One of the greatest lessons that we learn from the Hajj and from the story of the prophet Ibraheem (AS) is the effort and reward that you gain through the effort of your worship. We know incidents from Ibraheem’s (AS) life because of what they represent. However, one thing that we don’t think about from the story of Hajj is the effort that it must have taken from Ibraheem (AS); the time, the hard work, the discipline, and the motivation required for those acts of worship to performed. That is why even today the Hajj is not an easy act of worship or pillar of Islam. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) compared and likened the Hajj to Jihad; however, the beauty of this religion is that the effort that you put into acts of worship, you get rewarded for it too. It’s not just about the end result or reaching the objective, but the difficulty that it takes.
When you are patient and you’re disciplined and go along with the logistical aspects of your worship regardless of any issues, the reward of bearing through that is something which makes your act of worship greater in the sight of Allah SWT – so long as that part of effort is intrinsic to the act of worship and doesn’t detract from its value or objectives. For instance, if by exerting so much effort in the run up to an act of worship you become unable to even perform it, then that is not from the beauty and ease of this religion.
The Prophet said, ‘O Bani Salima! Don’t you think that for every step of yours (that you take towards the mosque) there is a reward (while coming for prayer)?” Mujahid said: “Regarding Allah’s Statement: “We record that which they have sent before (them), and their traces” (36.12). ‘Their traces’ means ‘their steps.’ ” And Anas said that the people of Bani Salima wanted to shift to a place near the Prophet but Allah’s Apostle disliked the idea of leaving their houses uninhabited and said, “Don’t you think that you will get the reward for your footprints.” Mujahid said, “Their foot prints mean their foot steps and their going on foot.”
(Bukhari, Vol. 1, Book 11, Hadith 625)
This Hadith illustrates that the extra effort we put into our worship is rewarded. If you were to analyse or look through the Sunnah you would find that some of the most rewarding acts of worship after the obligatory deeds are those acts that are in the run up or after the acts of obligatory worship that you perform.
As we come closer to Allah (SWT), we don’t let the devil distract us or tempt us to think that our actions in the run up to ibadah are wasted time or effort. For every moment and second that we spend in the process of coming closer to Allah (SWT), you have an amazing amount of reward that only Allah (SWT) knows best.