One of the biggest challenges we Muslims face today as an ummah is the heedlessness and the love of duniya that is seeping through our ranks. Further, most of us believe that whatever our misdeeds, we were born with a right to enter Jannah, and enter it we will.
The Qur’an, however, speaks differently
Allah says in Surah Tauba, Verse 111:
“Verily, Allah has purchased of the believers their lives and their properties for (the price) that theirs shall be Paradise. They fight in Allah’s cause, so they kill and are killed. It is a promise in truth which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Injeel and the Quran. And who is truer in his covenant than Allah? Then rejoice in the bargain which you have concluded. That is the supreme success.”
The implications of this verse are staggering. It is as though Jannah is right out there for us to purchase; however, being a superior item, it demands a price too heavy for some to pay: our entire self. We need to “sell” ourselves to Allah by submitting to His will in every last aspect of our lives – from our deepest emotions to our trivial everyday actions. We must expend willingly for Allah’s cause every ability, all our time, resources, wealth, and everything He blessed us with, so much so that even the time we spend resting, eating, or with our loved ones, is in truth in accordance with His will.
To understand why, and to comprehend the full magnitude of the “transaction” that Allah is talking about, let us examine the rules that govern trade and transactions universally, and side by side, look at the transaction that Allah is offering.
There must be a buyer, a seller, and the item to be sold.
Allah is purchasing your life and your obedience from you; in return, you buy Paradise.
Both buyer and seller must be willing and able to make the transaction.
He is surely willing and able to sell you rights to enter Paradise – and hence, eternal success – but are you really willing to buy? Do you hanker after Jannah as you hanker after worldly wealth, property and success? Are you really eager for it and do you actually have the resources needed to make the purchase?
Price must be set and payment made.
He has also set a clear price: submission of your possessions and your will to Him and Him alone. When in the world we cannot afford to pay a high price for an item of superior quality, we go instead for a lower quality item we can afford. However, unfortunately in the Hereafter there is no lower quality of heaven on sale. There is either heaven or the raging, fiery flames. So unless you pay the price in full, you cannot enter heaven, and if you cannot enter heaven, the only other option is Hell.
Deal is off if the item is flawed, so the buyer checks the item thoroughly before finalizing the deal.
Allah will test you thoroughly before letting you enter Jannah. Do you really deserve the superior prize? To prove that you indeed do deserve it, you need to pass the test of faith every true believer is put through: to thank Allah even in times of trial, to remember Him in prosperity, and to fight the evil that surrounds and tempts you every moment.
After the transaction, the product becomes the buyer’s – the seller no longer retains any right to it whatsoever.
If you agree to sell yourself completely, and you probably have already done that by simply asking Allah for Jannah, then remember that it is no longer you who command the use of your body, intellect, and all you possess. You are but a lump of clay in the Hand of your creator, and must mould yourself as He wills.
If either party breaches the terms of the agreement, the deal is off.
Allah surely does not break his covenant – will you, then, be the one to break the agreement, and lose everything in the process, only to land in eternal torment?
So what do we really learn from this powerful ayah? Above all, it emphasizes that obtaining Jannah is not as easy as we think it is. We cannot afford to sit back and relax, or else we too shall fail in the crossing of the Bridge of Sirat – that bridge finer than a hair and sharper than a sword, from which the sinners will be cut and thrown, cut and thrown, deep down into an abyss filled with the hungry black flames clamoring to devour them.
Should this possible fate not worry us? If we really believe in Allah’s words as we claim to, should we not spend every moment in fear of the moment of judgment, and strive ceaselessly to win Allah’s pleasure? Would our nights not have been sleepless with worry, and spent in fervent prayer, if we had honestly believed in the possibility of landing in the fires of Hell?
With what supreme foolishness, then, do we neglect our duties, our prayers, fasts, our faraid? How can we lie so casually, and in what heedlessness do we hurt others, backbite, and commit sin upon sin? Has anyone ever, ever sold you a product simply because you wanted it even though you were unable to pay the price? Then how can we be so casual in our dealings with the Almighty, the Most High, and imagine that mere wishes and dreams will get us into Jannah without lifting a finger to get there? The same Jannah, in which Allah will enter those who made sacrifice upon sacrifice, the sahaba who gave up all they had, the prophets who struggled against such violent oppression?
We need to do all we can for Allah’s pleasure, starting today, starting now. We need to look into our hearts, see where we hold back a little of ourselves, hold our nafs superior to Allah. Submit to Him this minute; make it your life’s work to uphold the cause of Allah. Understand what he wants from you, release your energy, release your time and do it today, for the sword of death is suspended by the thinnest of strands above us; any minute it will strike, and with your life will go your one chance to earn and deserve the blissful abode you so earnestly ask for.
Spread the word.
Content of article taken from tafseer of the above mentioned verse, as explained by Dr.Farhat Hashmi during Taleem ul Quran course 2002).
By: Zainab Abaid
Taqwa Islamic School
Islamic Educational & Research Organization (IERO)