Answered by Shaykh Shuaib Ally
Question: Assalam alaykum,
What are the rewards of cleaning one’s home (either by sweeping, mopping, dusting, or any other means of cleaning)?
Answer: Assalam alaykum,
I hope that you are well.
As far as I can tell, there are no clearly defined rewards specified for this type of activity in the Qur’an or authentic Sunnah.
However, cleaning one’s home is a praiseworthy act, and is left up to Allah the most high to reward as he deems fit.
We know it is praiseworthy from a number of pieces of general evidence.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) Assisted in Household Work
The first is that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was described by Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) as being involved with the upkeep of his house, in a manner that indicates that she considered this praiseworthy.
Al-Aswad said that he asked Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) about what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was like at home. She said, “He was at the service of his household; when the time for prayer came, he would leave to pray” [Bukhari].
Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani, in his commentary on this hadith, mentions that doing so teaches humility, not considering oneself too important to do work at home, and the importance of men serving their household at home.
Cleanliness is Praiseworthy
The general act of keeping things clean and neat is praiseworthy. We know this because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) held in high regard Umm Mihjan (Allah be pleased with her) who used to clean the masjid.
This companion passed away without the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) knowing. He then asked the others what had happened to her. Upon being told that she had passed, he said, “Did you not think to tell me?” They replied in a manner indicating they did not think it newsworthy. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked them to point out her grave, over which he then prayed [Bukhari].
This tradition speaks to not just the importance of cleaning the masjid, but cleanliness in general; it was her act of continually cleaning the masjid that was noteworthy.
There are other pieces of evidence that point to the importance of cleanliness in the Islamic tradition, such as the Qur’anic refrain that “Allah loves those who turn to him, and loves those who keep themselves clean” [Qur’an; 2.222], as well as the Prophet’s saying (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that “keeping clean is half of faith” [Muslim].
Assisting and Helping Others
One reason cleaning one’s house, for example, is praiseworthy is that it facilitates the lives of others, itself a notable act, either by assisting them in undertaking an activity they may not want to do, or freeing up their time for other pursuits, or allowing them a clean environment in which they to live.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Allah is engaged in the assistance of his servant so long as he is engaged in the assistance of his brother” [Muslim].
The Role of Intention
It is finally worth noting that one’s intention can take an action from the everyday to the realm of the sacred. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said that a “Muslim who spends for the maintenance of his family, if he does so expecting a reward from Allah for it, will have his actions treated as charity” [Bukhari]. The principle here is that an action, even if is obligatory – such as a man’s financial upkeep of his dependents – can become praiseworthy when done with a noble intention.
Seeking the divine by considering any of what has been mentioned above, or more, can render such actions praiseworthy, and those that are rewarded, by Allah’s grace.
Allah knows best.
[Shaykh] Shuaib Ally
Shaykh Shuaib Ally is a scholar who has recently returned to Toronto after completing his studies overseas. He started his studies by completing his MA in Islamic Studies at the University of Toronto in 2008. He went on to study in a number of Islamic disciplines privately with scholars in Saudi Arabia, including Tafsir, Qur’anic Sciences, Shafi’i law, Usul, Hadith, Hadith Methodology, Grammar and Balagha. Shaykh Shuaib currently resides in Toronto.