Reflection No. 236 on Q 39:74 – Reward of the Hard Work

فَنِعْمَ أَجْرُ الْعَامِلِينَ
Fani‘mal ajrul-‘āmilīn
How excellent is the reward of the workers [of righteousness]
 (Sūratz Zumar, No. 39, Āyat 74)

When believers are led to Heaven they will express their gratitude and wonder at the rewards that await them. The above phrase is part of a description of the statements of believers as they enter the doors of Heaven. They will praise God and thank Him for fulfilling His promise to them, for granting them the abode in which they can have what they desire. Then they will truly understand how beautiful the reward of their actions is.

According to Tafsīr-e Namūne and Tafsīr al-Mīzān there is also the possibility that this phrase is from God, announcing the excellence of the reward of those who have worked hard.

Work and effort in the way of God are necessary to fulfill the responsibility given to human beings. It is vital for achieving a status with God and earning the rewards He has kept for His servants. Nothing can be achieved without hard work, and closeness to Allah is no exception. It cannot come through laziness and apathy. Imam Ali (a) says; Honor with Allah, the Glorified, is obtained through beautiful actions not through beautiful words (Mīzānul Hikmah, H. 13960). He also says; Do not be like him who hopes for (bliss in) the next life without action . . . who utters words like ascetics in this world but acts like those who are eager for it. (Nahjul Balāgha, Maxim No.150)

Āyatullāh Ja’far Subhānī in his book Secrets of Success says:
The system of world and every page of human history testify that everybody’s success is invariably related to his efforts. It takes hundreds of chemical actions and reactions for a small plant to become a big tree. Every living thing naturally knows that its existence depends upon struggle and efforts.

The condition for hard work that deserves reward from Allah is that it should be done for Him alone. The intention is not for personal status, wealth, or other worldly gains. Even when it is work that is done for the world such as earning an income or fulfilling worldly duties, it should be done with the intention of serving Allah. This focus will make the work blessed and its fruits will last forever.

Work that all believers should put efforts in, include:
a) Working for self- improvement in all aspects
b) Gaining knowledge that brings closeness to Allah
c) Fulfilling duties to family and friends
d) Making a difference in society
e) Preparing for the next world

Hard work brings satisfaction and reward both in this world and the Hereafter. It adds meaning to life and enhances enjoyment of daily routines. There is a lasting joy in putting effort to achieve one’s goal. Remind yourself of this verse to motivate yourself to work hard each day. There is no time to waste as much is to be done before life is over.

Sources: Amīrul Mu’minīn Ali b, Abī Tālib (a), Nahjul Balāgha; Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūne; ‘Allāmah Muhammad Husayn Tabātabā’ī, Tafsīr al-Mīzān; Muhammadī Rayshahrī, Mīzānul Hikmah;