Rewarding Learners

Article translated to : العربية

giving rewards to learners has a great positive effect in motivating them to learn; therefore, the teacher should follow this method whenever he feels that his students lack interest or for any other useful purposes.

there are several kinds of rewards, but all of them have the same motivating effect. here are some of these kinds:

a) material rewards: this type has the greatest motivating effect on the students because it demonstrates that the rewarded student excelled his friends and gained the pleasure of his teachers. the prophet, peace be upon him, used this type of rewards:

1) abdullah bin al-hareth said: the prophet, peace be upon him, arranged abdullah, obaidullah and several boys of bani al-abbas in rows, then said: “the one who reaches me first will get so and so”. then, the boys raced toward him, fell on his back and chest. the prophet, peace be upon him, kissed them and sit with them.

b) reward by supplication “doaa”: it means asking allah to bless the student and grant him more success. this type of rewards is rarely used by the teachers but it was used by the prophet, peace be upon him:

1- ibn abbas, may allah be pleased with him, said: once the prophet, peace be upon him, entered the bathroom and i prepared the ablution water for him. when he saw the water he said: who put this water here? i said “me”. he said: “o allah, give him the fiqh (jurisprudence) in religion”. al-taimi said: this demonstrates that the reward by doaa is desirable. ibn al-munier said: ibn abbas was hesitant in choosing one of three options:

1- giving water to the prophet, peace be upon him, while he was in the bathroom,

2- putting the water beside the door so that the prophet, peace be upon him, can pick it up,

3- just wait and do nothing. he chose the second option because the first one is not appropriate and the third one will cause difficulty for the prophet in demanding water; therefore, after this clever way of thinking, the prophet, peace be upon him, asked allah to grant ibn abbas more jurisprudence in reward for his clever choice.

c. reward by commendation: this type includes giving positive feedback like: excellent, very good, great …etc. this method helps the student to be more confident about his efforts and abilities.

1- ubai bin ka’b narrated that the prophet, peace be upon him, said: “o aba al-monther! do you know which is the greatest verse of the holy koran? i said: (allah! la ilaha illa huwa al haiul qaiyyoum)(allah – there is no deity except him, the ever-living, the sustainer of [all] existence) the prophet, peace be upon him, hit my chest and said: right, you have really good knowledge. al-nawawi said: this is a great merit for ubai and it demonstrates his vast knowledge. moreover, this hadith demonstrates that it is allowed to laud or commend any person in his presence if such person is pious and don't take pride.

abo mousa al-ashari, may allah be pleased with him, said: i came to the prophet, peace be upon him, while he was at al-bathaa (name of place). he asked me: did you perform pilgrimage? i said: yes. he said: what type of pilgrimage did you intend when you assumed ihram? i said: o allah, i intend to perform haj as your prophet, peace be upon him, did. he said: well done…

mohammad jamil zino said: the successful teacher should commend his students if he noticed any improvement in their conduct or learning efforts. for example, if the student gives a correct answer, the teacher can give him the following feedback: well-done, bless you, great. this kind of feedback encourages the student to continue and enhance his morale; therefore, he will love his teacher and school and will be ready for learning more. moreover, he will encourage his friends to follow his example to get such commendation and encouragement.


1) rewards create positive effects for motivating the student to learn more.

2) the rewards should be a mean, not a target.

3) reward by doaa is recommended. it is good to choose the appropriate doaa which matches the commended deed.

4) reward by commendation is good method to encourage the student to learn more.