Imaam Muslim reports in his ‘Saheeh‘ (no. 251) from a narration of Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allaah sallAllaahu alaihi wa sallam said:
“Shall I not guide you to that by way of which Allaah wipes out sins and elevates the ranks? They said: ‘Yes, O Messenger of Allaah.’ He said: Perfecting the ablution despite the hardship and dislike [that a person may find], and taking many steps towards the mosque, and waiting for the next prayer after observing a prayer, that is just like holding the frontier [i.e. at the time of war].”
Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen rahimahullaah in his explanation of ‘Saheeh Muslim‘ said:
((Should I not guide you to that by which Allaah wipes out sins and elevates the ranks)) :
i.e. of a person in paradise.
((They said: Yes, O Messenger of Allah. He said: Perfecting the ablution despite the hardship & dislike)) :
i.e. [due to] severe cold, or due to hot water, or pain in ones body, etc.
((and taking many steps towards the mosque, and waiting for the next prayer after observing a prayer)) :
Waiting [for the prayer] with ones heart and body; so waiting with ones body is that a person remains in his place of prayer until the next prayer; and as for waiting with ones heart then that is: whenever a person finishes from one prayer he [eagerly] awaits the next prayer; when will it come? So that he can stand before his Lord. [This is] due to his love of the prayer. Allaah has made the prayer a coolness for his eyes [i.e. a comfort for him]. And this is a sign of his true faith, as the Prophet sallAllaahu alaihi wa sallam informed. And Allaah has said:
وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُضِيعَ إِيمَانَكُمْ
Allah would never cause your faith to be in vain.
The scholars have said: [Meaning]: You prayers towards Jerusalem.
((that is just like ‘ar-Ribaat’ – holding the frontier [at the time of war]))
Ibnnul Atheer said in his ‘an-Nihaayah fee Ghareebil Hadeeth‘: In origin it means establishing war against the enemy by fighting, and tying the war steeds and preparing them [for battle]. So he sallAllaahu alaihi wa sallam likened these righteous acts and forms worship [i.e. perfecting the ablution in times of hardship, taking many steps to the mosque, and waiting from one prayer to the next] to Jihaad.
He said: al-Qutaybee said: It means: being constant upon and adhering to purification, prayer, and worship.
an-Nawawee said: “In origin it means devoting oneself to something; so it is as if he dedicated himself to this act of obedience. Or it could be held to mean: This is the best type of striving, just as it is said: ‘The best type of Jihaad is striving against one’s own self’. Or it could be held to mean: This is a type from the types of Jihaad that is made easy and possible [for everyone to do]. And all of these sayings are good.”
Shaykh Abdul Muhsin al-Abbaad – may Allaah preserve him – said in his explanation of ‘Aadaab al-Mashy Ilas-Salaah‘, (vol. 5, pge. 121 of his ‘Majmoo‘):
And this reward, just as it is for going to the mosque, then it is also for returning [from the mosque after the prayer].
It occurs in ‘Saheeh Muslim‘ (no. 663) from a narration of Ubayy bin Ka’b radiyallaahu anhu said:
“There was a man – and I do not know of any other man whose house was farther than his from the mosque – he never missed the prayer (in congregation). It was said to him – or I said to him -: It you were to buy a donkey you could ride upon it In the dark nights and in the burning hot sand. He said: I do not like my house to be situated by the side of the mosque, for I (eagerly) desire that my steps toward the mosque and back from it, should be written for me until I return to my family. Upon this the Messenger of Allaah said: Allaah has gathered all of that (reward) for you.”
Imaam an-Nawawee rahimahullaah said in his explanation of Muslim:
“It contains an establishment of a person receiving reward for the footsteps for his returning from the prayer, just as he receives [the reward] for [every footstep he takes] going [to the prayer].”
Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen rahimahullaah said in his explanation of Riyaadus-Saaliheen, vol. 2 pge. 200:
In it is a proof that [taking] many steps to the mosques is from the ways of [attaining] much good, and that if a person eagerly seeks and hopes for Allaah’s reward by doing that, then Allaah will write for him the reward for his coming to the mosque, and for his returning [home] from it.
And in Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen’s explanation of ‘Saheeh Muslim‘ vol. 3 pge. 710 he said:
In it is a proof that a person is rewarded for his intention even regarding his returning from the mosque [when going back] to his family. So he has two rewards: (1) Before the prayer [i.e. walking to the mosque], and (2) After the prayer [i.e. returning from the mosque]. This is due to his seeking and intending Allaah’s reward by way of that.
Shaykh al-Fawzaan – may Allaah preserve him – was asked:
Q: Retuning home after prayer: Is it an act of worship?
A: Yes, it has been reported that his going to and returning from [the mosque] to his house are written for him. Yes.