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“God has bought from the believers their selves and...” (At-Tawbah 9:111)

by Fethullah Gülen on . Posted in Sūratu’t-Tawbah (Repentance)

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إِنَّ اللَّهَ اشْتَرَىٰ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَنفُسَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُم بِأَنَّ لَهُمُ الْجَنَّةَ
“God has bought from the believers their selves and wealth because Paradise is for them.” (At-Tawbah 9:111)

The verse above means that God will buy the transient lives and wealth of the believers in return for their eternal rewards in Paradise. Indeed, God wills to buy their souls or lives and wealth to bestow on them Paradise in the Hereafter in return. There is a significant point here worth mentioning. Although, as stated above in interpreting verse 9:20, the Qur’ān usually mentions wealth prior to life or the soul, in this verse life comes before wealth. This is because life is more important than the wealth for human beings in the Hereafter. Wealth that has gained value by being used in God’s cause comes after the life or soul sacrificed for God’s sake. Clearly, if one cannot enter Paradise, what significance will the wealth, which will be a simple ornament of Paradise, have for them? Thus, unlike the other, similar verses in the Qur’ān, the soul or life is mentioned in this verse prior to wealth in order to express this truth.

In fact, everything that human beings seem to own temporarily, including their selves, is God’s property. Everything from coming into existence to whatever is necessary for maintaining life is an essential gift from God. Second, God allows human beings, who are in fact the trustees of God’s gifts, to own and use them according to certain rules. This is another favor of God. We are unable to preserve our possessions, and when we die, they will be left in the world. Although it is God Who really possesses them and has bestowed them on us together with our life, God wills to eternalize them—His Own property—by buying them from us in return for thousands of times a greater price. This is the greatest of favors. This is so great a favor that if we do not accept it, either we waste our property given to us as a trust on fleeting and harmful desires and fancies and so betray its Real Owner and thus deserve His punishment, or our property will eventually and we will eternally be deprived of a most beneficial trading.

However, if we accept this contract, which is one hundred percent in our favor, we will die to live eternally in a blessed, much more beautiful world, with our property eternalized to give ever-fresh, eternal fruits. Our world of a few days will perish in the soil like a seed, but it will grow into an eternal world of Paradise. We will satisfy our carnal desires not as we wish but according to certain standards that are to our benefit and acquire God’s good pleasure in return. We are not forced to enter all these transactions, but we enter them with our free will, to which God Almighty gives extremely great value. Since the acceptance of this contract will be made dependent on our free will, the Qur’ān presents it in terms of trading.

Since this contract was made with all human beings in pre-eternity, it was renewed in the Torah, the Gospel, and the Qur’ān, emphasized in different styles.