Shaykh Uthaymeen said (1): In some instances a person is patient when a calamity befalls but they do not anticipate the reward. In this case the calamity will be atonement for their sins. But if their patience is coupled with anticipating the reward, the calamity will become atonement for their sins and they will receive the reward.
Shaykh Uthaymeen said (The Prophet peace be upon him said):
مَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ
Whoever fast the month of Ramadan having faith and anticipating the reward, he will be forgiven for his previous sins. (Sahih al-Bukhari 2014)
The meaning of ‘having faith’ is to believe that Allah has obligated it and to believe in the reward that comes with fasting. The meaning of ‘anticipating the reward’ is that the person anticipates receiving his reward from Allah for fasting this month.
All of us pray and fast Ramadan, but does it cross our hearts that we intend to receive the reward from Allah by doing so, and this reward will be stored for us with Allah? Most of the people are heedless of this. Most of the people only want to perform the obligation while the reward does not cross their mind. The affair of the worshipper anticipating the reward is
very important. For this reason the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم restricted this
great reward for the person who fast Ramadan if he fast while having faith and anticipating the reward; and this is not for the one who fast out of habit.
Translated by Rasheed ibn Estes Barbee
(1) Tafsir Soorah 'Āli `Imrān Tape 37a 30 minute mark
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