Reward: Fantastic rewards for simple worship

Q575 :I read in a religious book a story which says that the Prophet once asked Ali, his cousin and son-in-law, to do five things before going to sleep every day. These were: to pay to charity 4000 dinars, to recite the whole of the Qur'an, to pay the price of heaven, to reconcile two quarreling people, and to offer a pilgrimage. When Ali protested that he could not do all these every night, the Prophet told him that to recite the surah: "Al-Fatihah" four times will equal giving away 4000 dinars to the poor, and to recite the surah entitled "Al-Ikhlas", three times, which equals the recitation of the Qur'an, and to recite three times a certain prayer equals the payment of the price of heaven, and to say ten times a certain supplication for forgiveness equals bringing about reconciliation between two quarreling people and the recitation of a certain part of a particular verse of the Qur'an equals the offering of pilgrimage. Ali promised to do that every night. My question is whether that is correct and supported by evidence from Hadith?

A575 : An important point in the overall Islamic concept of life, man, the day of judgement, and the life to come, is that this world represents a chance for every one of us to prove himself to be a good and obedient servant of Allah. If he proves that, he is entitled to being admitted into heaven, and if he fails, he is bound to be thrown into hell, unless Allah chooses to forgive him. There are a variety of ways by which a human being can make sure of passing the test. Sheikh Ali Al-Tantawi, a renowned contemporary scholar, makes the analogy in which he describes heaven as a beautiful house with a superb garden and a fence all round. However, there are many doors in that fence and admission through any of them is allowed. He says that for everyone in the crowd outside, gaining admission into the garden or the house is the primary objective. It does not matter which door he is allowed to go through, as long as such permission to enter is granted to him. The doors to heaven are numerous. Every one is represented by one of the good actions or virtues Islam encourages its followers to maintain or observe. Pilgrimage, for example is a means to get one's past sins completely forgiven. Therefore, every Muslim has the urge to go to pilgrimage in fulfilment of his duty to Allah, which is to do the pilgrimage at least once in a lifetime when he will have his sins forgiven. Some people go on pilgrimage every few years, in order to ensure that whatever they may have committed of sins after their previous pilgrimage are also forgiven. Other people may choose to fast voluntarily, because fasting is a great act of worship and Allah has promised great reward for fasting. You find that there are certain people who observe a habit of fasting one or two days a week, throughout their lives. They undoubtedly earn a great reward, which makes it easier for them to gain admittance to heaven. Other people may choose to be exceedingly generous to poor people. Sadaqah, or alms, also earn great reward. Others may choose to offer voluntary prayers. You find some people standing up in prayer at night, for long periods, worshipping Allah when no one hears or sees them. There are other ways of earning Allah's pleasure, such as helping people with their problems, fighting for Allah's cause, bring about an atmosphere of love and mutual confidence within the Muslim community, etc. All these are matters which can be described as marks of obedience to Allah. They help a person to pass the test of this life in order to ensure a better life in the hereafter. What we should remember is that Allah punishes a bad action to the extent that it is worth. However, He rewards a good action with ten times its value. This applies to all deeds and actions we do during our lives, without compulsion. Moreover, Allah is so generous in His reward that when we think of doing some good action, He rewards us for it as if it is done. When actually do it, He increases that reward to ten times the value of that action. Furthermore, He may increase His reward many more times. Indeed, the reward may be as high as seven hundred times the value of the action itself, or even more. But He does not give extra increase haphazardly, or to people whom He wants to favour. Every reward must be earned. Two people may give SR 100 each to a poor person. One of them may receive the reward of having paid SR 1000, while the other may receive greater reward. There must be a reason for that, which Allah values highly, such as the amount paid by the second man represents a large part of his savings, or indeed represents no savings at all. He needs it for his own family's needs, but he prefers to give it away in order to help someone who is in greater need for it, while the amount paid by the first man may represent only a fraction of what he has. Intention and other factors may increase the value of a good action done by a Muslim, and therefore, increase its reward. We know for certain that Allah is fair to all of us. He does not lose sight of what we may do at any time or any place. Indeed, every small action we may choose to do, whatever it is, will be recorded for or against us. Now, if Allah is so fair to every one of us, how come that He would reward an apparently easy action in the same measure as one which requires a much greater effort or represents a much harder task? If you examine this story carefully, you will find that it is improbable on the one hand and illogical on the other. Its improbability arises from the fact that it requires Ali to do each night several actions, each one of which represents a great prize which every Muslim yearns. People continue to save for years on end in order to afford pilgrimage, and here we have the reward of a pilgrimage being earned by repeating certain verses of the Qur'an in a matter of two of three minutes. Furthermore, one of these actions is described as the price of heaven. That price, to every one of us, is a continuous action throughout our lives, which makes us always watchful for any pitfalls, so that we may remain obedient to Allah. Moreover, the whole story is illogical because it equates certain actions with rewards which are totally unrelated to them. Thus, reciting the Fatiha is claimed to equal paying to charity one thousand dinars. That is not dissimilar to a teacher of mathematics asking a child to add four apples and three pears. Why should repeating a form of supplication be equivalent to bring about reconciliation between quarreling people? The fact is that this story and ones of similar nature are fabrications. It it is true that one can get the reward of donating so much money and reciting the whole Qur'an and performing pilgrimage and paying the price of heaven in a matter of minutes, then no one of us needs to do any other thing. Allah wants us to be always conscious of Him, to remember Him and obey His commandments and to conduct our lives according to the constitution He has provided for us. It is only through such conscientious observance of Islamic teachings that we pass the test of this life and gain admittance into heaven. Such fabricated stories encourage idleness, and therefore, failure in this test. May Allah grant us all the ability to do what He requires of us and to help us pass the test of life, earn His pleasure, and to be forgiven our sins by Him.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )