Understanding The Prophet's Life
From Issue: 1028 [Read full issue]
The Prophet (peace be upon him) encourages kindness to others in every way. He shows us that such kindness is always richly rewarded by God. Whatever we do in this life affects our standing on that Day. Hence, we should always seek and do what improves our position and refrain from what is likely to have a negative effect.
Al-Bara ibn Azib reports that the Prophet said: "Whoever lends another something to use, or guides another down a lane - or he said a path - will have a reward similar to that of freeing a slave". [Bukhari]
Sometimes the Prophet tells us that God promises a very rich reward for an action that does not appear, in our estimation, to deserve such treatment. This is not for us to question, because God rewards a good action with at least ten times its value. He may increase that reward up to 700 times as much, and even more, if He so wishes. Besides, when the action is likely to cement social relations within the Muslim community, then God rewards it very richly. Hence we need not be surprised at the reward promised in this hadith.
The rich reward promised is for lending something to be returned after use, but the hadith phraseology refers mostly to a cow, a she-camel, a sheep, etc. or to a useful article. Such animals used to be given to a family to use for a while, making use of their milk, or for riding in the case of a camel or a horse, and for them to return after a while. Thus the benefit given by such an offer is stretched over a period of time. Hence, it is so richly rewarded. On the other hand, a person who shows the way to someone in unfamiliar surroundings gives badly needed assistance. Hence, it deserves a rich reward.
"Al-Adab al-Mufrad with Full Commentary: A Perfect Code of Manners and Morality" - Adil Salahi