There is no doubt that the reward of Allah The Almighty is better and more lasting than any worldly benefit. Allah, the Exalted, Says (what means):
“But what is with Allah is better and more lasting for those who have believed and upon their Lord rely.”
(Quran 42: 36)
Indeed, one’s good deeds are generously rewarded by Allah The Almighty; He Says (what means):
“And whatever good you put forward for yourselves – you will find it with Allah. It is better and greater in reward.”
Herein lies the great importance of seeking the reward of Allah The Almighty. What exactly do we mean by that?
There are various types and meanings of hoping for the reward of Allah The Almighty, including:
Seeking the reward of Allah The Almighty when carrying out acts of obedience for His sake:
If one recalls the great meaning of hoping for the reward of Allah The Almighty while performing acts of obedience, this would ward off ill thoughts such as indulging in ostentation, seeking reputation and fame or the praise and attention of people, and other manifestations of grave diseases of the heart that render deeds worthless or reduce their rewards. Such a Muslim has restricted his main concern; conversely, the Muslim whose sole aim is to attain the satisfaction of Allah The Exalted with these deeds and hopes for His reward will be rewarded generously. The Prophet said:
“Whoever fasts Ramadan out of faith and hoping for reward from Allah The Exalted will have his past sins forgiven for him.”
Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet said:
“Whoever follows the funeral procession of a Muslim out of faith and hoping to attain the reward of Allah and remains with it till the funeral prayer is offered and the burial ceremonies are over, will return with a reward of two Qirats; each of which is like the size of (the Mount) Uhud.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
In addition, the Muslim man is rewarded for providing for his family (although it is obligatory for the man to provide for his family, he will be rewarded for it as if he was offering this money for charity, if his intention is seeking the reward of Allah The Exalted). The Prophet said:
“When the Muslim spends something on his family seeking a reward for it from Allah, it is counted for him as charity.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Do you see how many rewards one can gain by offering one’s acts of obedience seeking the reward of Allah The Almighty?
Among the meanings of seeking the reward of Allah The Almighty is hoping for His reward when afflicted with calamites and hardship:
Allah The Almighty has praised such pious people who endure calamites and hardship, seeking the reward of Allah The Exalted and has promised them His mercy, guidance and abundant rewards. Allah The Exalted Says (what means):
“Who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return.” * Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided.”
Undeniably, people, whether believers or disbelievers, are afflicted by many calamites and adversities in this life; yet the believers endure them hoping for the reward of Allah The Almighty. Indeed, both believers and disbelievers suffer from losing loved ones and relatives, yet there is a great difference between the believers and disbelievers in this regard, i.e. the believers hope for the reward of Allah The Exalted by enduring such misfortunes and hardships patiently.
Allah The Almighty Says (what means):
“And do not weaken in pursuit of the enemy. If you should be suffering, so are they suffering as you are suffering, but you expect from Allah that which they expect not. And Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.”
Regarding the compensation of those who endure calamites and hardships, hoping for the reward of Allah The Almighty, the Prophet said:
“Allah The Exalted does not have a reward other than Paradise for the believing slave who remains patient for His sake when losing his dearest person from among the inhabitants of the world.”
Furthermore, Umm Salamah, may Allah be pleased with her, said that she heard the Prophet saying:
“There is no Muslim who is stricken with a calamity and says what Allah has enjoined, ‘Verily to Allah we belong and to Him we shall return. O Allah, reward me for my affliction and compensate me with what is better’, but Allah will compensate him with something better.”
Umm Salamah, may Allah be pleased with her, added that when Abu Salamah, may Allah be pleased with him, died, she said, “Who among the Muslims is better than Abu Salamah, the first household to migrate to join the Prophet ?” When she uttered these very words, Allah The Almighty compensated her with marrying the Prophet .
Moreover, our righteous predecessors used to question all their deeds and intentions, renewing their good and sincere intentions and advising each other to endure calamites in the hope of reward from Allah The Almighty.
Al-Faarooq ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab, may Allah be pleased with him, used to say, “O people, carry out your righteous deeds seeking the reward from Allah The Exalted, for whoever does so will be rewarded for his good deeds and for his seeking the reward of Allah The Exalted.”
In addition, when the Banu Al-Haarith ibn ‘Aamir wanted to kill Khubayb ibn ‘Adiyy, may Allah be pleased with him, he did not care about his fate at their hands. Before his death, he said, “Why should I fear death when it will eventually seize me, and when what I truly fear is to become fuel for Hell fire? Hence, as long as I die as a believer in the cause of Allah, it does not matter to me how it happens.”
So, offer your acts of worship and obedience for the sake of Allah The Almighty seeking reward from Him, and endure calamities and hardships, hoping for His reward; indeed, Allah The Almighty will compensate you for that with inner tranquilly, serenity, and strength, Aim high and multiply your rewards.