Expectation of reward

I pray that all Muslim readers have completed the fast of Ramadhaan last month. The reward for fasting Ramadhaan are incredibly generous:

“Whoever fasts Ramadhaan, out of faith and expectation of reward, will be forgiven all his past sins!” Narrated by Abu-Hurayra and reported by Al-Bukhaari who rated it authentic.

I translated the Arabic word احتساب (pronounced Ihtisaab) as “expectation of reward.” What the word linguistically means is the positive expectation of reward based on a valid reason.

The hadeeth I cited above is one such valid reason! Another is the authentic Qudsi (holy) hadeeth, “All works of the son of Adam are for his own benefit, except fasting; it is for Me and I will recompense by it Myself.” Also narrated by Abu-Hurayra and reported by Al-Bukhaari.

Ihtisaab, therefore, is quite different from تمني (pronounced Tamannee), wishful thinking, which is an expectation of reward based on no reason. What is worse than wishful thinking is self delusion (وهم ‘Wahm’): the expectation of reward based on a provably invalid reason! God says about that, “Shall I tell you about the most losing of their works? Those whose endeavor in this world is in vain while they think they have done good!” (18:103-104)

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