Is a person rewarded and his sins forgiven on every footstep he takes towards the masjid even though he may not sit after one prayer waiting until the next prayer?
Shaykh Mohammad bin Saalih Al Uthaymeen rahimahumallah said,
as is mentioned in his explaination of Riyadh us saaliheen (5/61) under the following hadith:
On the authority of Abu Huraira radhiallahu anhu, the Prophet ﷺ said: “Whoever purifies himself for ablution in his house and he walks to a house among the houses of Allah in order to fulfill an obligation among the obligations of Allah, then one step of his will expiate his sins and another step will elevate his status.” (Muslim)
ومن فضائلها أيضا أن الإنسان إذا تطهر في بيته وخرج إلى المسجد لا يخرجه إلا الصلاة ففي الحديث الذي ساقه المؤلف هنا أنه لا يخطو خطوة إلا رفع الله له بها درجة والخطوة الثانية يحط عنه خطيئة لكن في حديث آخر أنه لا يخطوخطوة إلا رفع الله له بها درجة وحط عنه بها خطيئة فيكتسب في الخطوة الواحدة رفع الدرجة وحط الخطيئة بشرط أن يتوضأ في بيته ويسبغ الوضوء ثم يخرج إلى المسجد لا يخرجه إلا الصلاة فهذا له بكل خطوة يخطوها أن يرفع الله له بها درجة ويحط عنه خطيئة وهذه نعم عظيمة من الله عز وجل ومن فوائد ذلك أنه ينبغي للإنسان أن يأتي إلى المسجد ماشيا ويرجع ماشيا فهو الأفضل ودليل ذلك قصة الأنصاري الذي كان بعيد الدار فقيل له لو اشتريت حمارا تركبه في الظلماء والرمضاء فقال لا فأنا أحتسب على الله خطاي فقال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قد كتب الله لك ذلك كله فدل ذلك على أن المجيء إلى المسجد على القدمين أفضل من المجيء على مركوب
“…And also from its virtues is that a person if he purifies himself in his house then went to the masjid for no other reason except prayer then, in the hadith which the author has brought forward here that he does not take a footstep except that Allah raises his status and with the second footstep Allah expiates his sin but according to another hadith: he doesn’t take a step except that his status is raised and his sin is expiated. So in a single step, raising of status and expiation of a sin is recorded upon the condition that he made wudu in his house having performed it well and then he goes to the masjid with no other intention except the prayer. So for such person for his each step he takes towards the masjid, his status is raised and a sin expiated. This is a great favour from Allah and from its benefits (of walking towards the masjid) that it is more suitable for a person to walk towards it and return walking that is more virtous and the event of the Ansari is an evidence for this, the one who was far from the masjid so it was said to him : ‘if you bought a donkey you may ride it in the darkness and during the hot days’ so he said – ‘No. I hope that Allah will reward me for my footsteps’. The Prophet ﷺ said to him “Allah has written all of it for you”. So it points to the fact that coming to the masjid on foot is more virtuous than riding to it..”
Abu Muhammad Nezam Al-Hindi