Surah 9 verses 111-115 Al Tawba
111. Verily, Allah has purchased of the believers their lives and their properties; for the price that theirs shall be the Paradise. They fight in Allah's Cause, so they kill (others) and are killed. It is a promise in truth which is binding on Him in the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel) and the Qur'an. And who is truer to his covenant than Allah? Then rejoice in the bargain which you have concluded. That is the supreme success .
In a business deal Allah offered to purchase from the believers their lives in this world in return for giving them lives in Heaven, provided they were willing to fight in His cause in this life.
It is just a method of communicating. It is Allah who gives life and it is Allah that takes it. It is simply a test of the belief of the believer. It is also a standard of seriousness imposed upon the believer. Sometimes the mission is so serious and the outcome so important that one should be willing to risk one’s life in order to achieve it. The task here was the protection of the prophet of Allah so that he could complete his mission.
It was not necessary that the life of the people who entered into this deal would be lost but it was a risk that they should be prepared to take. The task could involve not only the prospect of being killed but also may involve killing others who attacked the prophet. As a job, the job description was complete and the compensation deferred. Many might reject such an offer for they would value the life of this earth but if this offer was coming from your creator it was the deal of a life time. How many of us can say that Paradise is guaranteed to them even if they tried hard to lead virtuous lives. Here there was the certainty of Paradise. How many of us can say how long their lives would be? After all this was up to Allah. For Good measure Allah also says that He is good for His word. He has a long history when He has promised this deal before as evidenced in the Bible and the Old Testament.
112. (The believers whose lives Allah has purchased are) those who repent to Allah (from polytheism and hypocrisy, etc.), who worship Him, who praise Him, who fast (or go out in Allah's Cause), who bow down (in prayer), who prostrate themselves (in prayer), who enjoin (people) for Al-Ma'ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all what Islam has ordained) and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism of all kinds and all that Islam has forbidden), and who observe the limits set by Allah (do all that Allah has ordained and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which Allah has forbidden). And give glad tidings to the believers.
This is not a deal for everyone. I must warn you that the promise of Paradise should not be abused. It should not be regarded as a short cut to Paradise. It is possible for people to set up shop and offer Paradise for getting yourself killed in some cause or the other. Only God can decide who will go to Paradise and this is not always clear to those who offer Paradise or those who accept their offer.
You must prequalify for it and the qualifications are clearly stated. You are not ready for Jihad unless you already doing the following;
1. Believe in one God and worship Him.
2. Are regular in prayers
3. Keep your fasts
4. Talk about the oneness of God.
5. Avoid what has been forbidden and urge others to avoid.
6. Remind the believers of the day of judgment.
This is a very summarized explanation and not to be taken literally but it is intended to give you the sense that before fighting in the cause of Allah you must already be in a state of Jihad of the Nafs. You must be practicing both in a spiritual and a worldly sense what has been demanded of you. The oft repeated mention of “glad tidings”, was also part of the affirmation that to be a Muslim was to believe of the afterlife. The life of this world is but a small part of a soul’s total existence, nevertheless it is the more important part. What you do in this brief interlude will determine whether you are awarded a Doctorate or a graduation or just a pass or count as a failed and wasted life.
It is a given that Allah would protect His Prophet until the message was completed but it was also important to involve the Muslim Ummah in this project because there was here a message for all times. No one died because of the migration, but they treated it as if their life depended on it. The wars that were fought between the Meccans and the people of Medina were fought after the migration. So what does it mean for us today?
To me it means that every worthwhile task and mission has to be embarked upon as if one’s life depended on it. To achieve anything meaningful one has to go through a lot of anguish and stress and tension. To give ones blood is to give one’s life energy.
If you look at the environment today, you see an environment that is hostile to Muslims. The dignity, the self respect, even the lives of Muslims are threatened. It is an environment when in many parts of the world Muslims threaten other Muslims. It is a time when Muslims are confused and frequently divided. Confused and divided by the blaring propaganda being orchestrated against Islam. It is not possible to be a true Muslim today without being confident that yours is the right path. That what you have to offer is superior to anything else that is on offer. If you are not convinced about this then meditate on it and discuss and ponder. Islam is not for the weak of conviction.
In this country, it is easy and it is difficult to be a Muslim. Easy because you have the freedom to worship and difficult because you have a very comfortable life style and you may be called upon to choose between putting your life style at risk and standing up for your rights. Having said this, our challenge today is nothing as compared to the challenge of those people who took an oath at Aqabah 1400 years ago. If you are concerned, if you are in doubt, if your friends and family are in doubt, I want you to read the verses from Al Touba that I have quoted today and be inspired. What is the worth of your life whether it is 40 years or 80 years? We all need to have a cause beyond raising our families and being good citizens. We all need to have something that we feel so strongly about that we can invest our combined physical, emotional and psychological energy in. What we should be most afraid of is being superficial Muslims, or half hearted Muslims or reluctant Muslims, especially today when Islam needs our whole hearted commitment.