Sometimes I wonder if it is a given that teachers/Imams who stand on the minbar and give talks or classes will receive a greater reward in comparison to a volunteer who opens and closes the mosque, makes sure it is hoovered or organises worshippers during Covid 19. 

There is no doubt that seeking/teaching knowledge is from the best of deeds and there are many evidences for this. But we can’t compare the entitlement of reward.

Of course, we pray *all* are given abundant reward by Allah. But one key thing to consider is that generally the teachers in a community are known by the congregation and given additional reverence due to being seen delivering khutbahs or having things shared online etc. This brings with it it’s own challenges.

But the one thing that volunteers have over this first group – is that their sincerity is less likely to be tainted as they receive less limelight. I’ve seen brothers and sisters (from the youth to front-line uncles) do so much in the community, but they may not be on social media much, or have their quotes shared online pastedGraphic.png. They do what they want to help the community and that’s it. They go home, carry on and repeat the next day/week/month. 

I think of the authentic hadith in Bukhari of the lady who used to clean the mosque and had the honour of the Prophet (saws) insisting he pray her janāzah after finding out she had passed away. Or the individual who would deliver food to people in the midst of the night in Madinah without anyone knowing. He was only recognised when he passed away and during the ghusl, they found black marks on his back from the weight of the sack.

Or Abu Bakr (ra) who would look after an old, blind woman on a regular basis and was only found out by ‘Umar (ra) when he decided to wait for him.

The point is that we don’t know where the true reward lies. As Ibn al-Mubarak (ra) would say ‘maybe a small action is made great by its intention, and maybe a great action is made small by its intention’. 

Just to end, this sentiment can be extended to many volunteer roles outside of mosques;

– Those who help at food banks distributing food to the poor.

– Volunteers helping charities at fundraising events. 

– People going out of their way to visit others who might be struggling mentally.

– Those who help setup audio/visual for Islamic institutes.

– Individuals visiting old care homes or hospitals to accompany the sick etc etc.

The list is endless. So I say to those working for the community, who may not be recognised as much as others – that your reward is with Allah (swt) and that is the best of rewards.