Every Muslim understands that this life is temporary, and that it’s transient nature is demonstrated to us throughout our entire lives. Jannah on the other hand is eternal and the final home of the believers. Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful talks about Jannat Al Firdous as being the peak of paradise. The highest level that the believer can earn.
But what’s the price of Paradise, What do you have to do to get into Jannah? Allah tells us clearly the things that will take you to Jannah are simple. Allah says that whoever believes and does righteous deeds will earn ‘Jannat tajri min tahtihal anhar’ Paradise beneath which rivers flow.
This is the easiest way to understand what Allah expects for you. Allah wants belief and actions. The beliefs in Allah, His Angels, His Messengers, The books of revelation, the Day of Judgement, and Qadr (predestination) the good of it and the bad of it.
That’s a basic answer, and the easiest way to put it. However, in this short lesson I want to actually discuss the price of Jannah and what it will take in practical terms for you to earn Jannah.
So we take our lesson today from Surah Al-Baqarah verse 101. We are looking at these two verses because they are directly connected to the Muslims situation in the present day. Allah subhanahu-wa-tala says:
“When there came to them, a messenger from Allah, confirming what they had, they threw the Book of Allah behind their backs, as though they didn’t know.”
What did these people do? Allah-subhanahu-wa-tala is talking here about Banu Israel, the people of Musa (AS), because we have so many lessons to learn from these people, as we are very similar as a nation.
The nation of Muhammad (Saw) and of Musa (AS) are very similar because we fall into the many of the same problems. So, Allah subhanahu-wa-tala is teaching us, and warning us, that you too could fall into these problems.
Lesson 1: Follow the Messenger & the Message
Allah says that Messengers were sent to them confirming that which they already knew from their scriptures.
So, what problems did they fall into? Allah says that, when the Messenger came, confirming that which they already knew from their scriptures, but they ignored it.
However, Allah doesn’t say they ignored it, instead He swt says they threw it behind their backs. This is emphasizing the severity of their actions.
They were people of knowledge, people of scripture. So they knew from the scriptures revealed to them the concept of the Day of Judgement and the eternal hereafter. They also understood the commands of Allah and how to live according their scriptures.
Furthermore, they understood what had happened previously to the nations before them, the crimes those people had committed, and the punishments Allah sent them. Allah revealed this in their book just like we find in our book, the Quran.
Allah swt informs the Muslims ummah about Banu-Israel, just as He swt informs us about the previous nations so that we may learn from their mistakes.
Banu Israel were shown all the mistakes that the previous nations had committed, so that they wouldn’t commit those same mistakes. They were informed them about what was to come in the future.
They knew about the coming of the Messenger Isa (AS) but when He came to them, they rejected him. Allah also informed them about Muhammad (Saw), the unlettered prophet who will speak revelation and yet again when He came and they also rejected him.
In their scriptures they were informed about the Prophet Muhammad (saw), the final Messenger. This is why they were awaiting him in Madinah. However, when the Prophet (saw) came to them they refused to follow him, even though they recognized him from the descriptions of him in their scripture. They refused to follow him because he was not from the Isralites, instead He (saw) was an Arab.
The racial prejudice kept them from following what they knew to be the truth from God Al-Mighty.
Lesson 2: Following One path means Giving up another
نَبَذَ فَرِيقٌ مِّنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ كِتَابَ اللَّـهِ وَرَاءَ ظُهُورِهِمْ كَأَنَّهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُون
“A group of them threw the book of Allah behind their backs as though they had no knowledge”
After telling us those who threw the book of Allah behind their backs. Immediately in the following verse Allah begins by saying:
وَاتَّبَعُوا مَا تَتْلُو الشَّيَاطِينُ عَلَىٰ مُلْكِ سُلَيْمَانَ
“And they followed instead that which the Devils recited at the time of Solaiman”
Surah Al Baqarah 102
So they gave up the goodness of the Guidance of Allah, in order to take up and follow the misguidance of the devils.
We learn from this that in order to follow something, you have to give something up.
So the people of good, they give up the bad in order to take up the good or follow it. Other people give up the good, in order to follow the bad. It all comes down to choices we make.
So the question to you is, what have you given up for Allah?
Many of us Muslims could be like Banu Israel in that we give up following the guidance Allah sent us in order to follow our desires. We live in a world that calls out to your desires at every moment.
Another question to ask yourself is what have you given up to follow you own desires?
Have you given up that which Allah has revealed you? Do you turn away from the truth? the guidance that you find in the Quran and Sunnah and instead of following your desires?
The truth is we often give up everything, in order to gain the things we desire. We give up our time, our families, we give up our wealth. All to gain the things we desire but the real Question is, what are you giving up in the dunya, right now? that will help you to get eternal happiness, both in the dunya and Akhira?
So the key takeway lesson in this lesson is that if you want to gain the greatest good, you have to give up something.
You have to give up your time or you have to give up your money, or you have to give up your socializing so much.
In order to gain the good, you have to give up something not so good or something that’s in your way, because when you are aiming to do something great, there are always obstacles. We often desire these obstacles, we often desire to be surrounded by these obstacles. That’s the challenge.
Just remember that these obstacles are almost always the things of our desires. Are you giving up what you desire in order to gain the greater goal?
The greatest goal in life is Jannah and if you can live by pleasuring Allah though your belief and actions then that is what wil lead you to eternal happiness.
Ask yourself what are you giving up for Allah? because Banu Israel didn’t give up anything for Allah, they followed their desires and gave up Allah.
The worst thing is to know and understand the greatness of this religion of Allah, and then to disobey Allah because we follow our desires.
Allah shows us in verse 102 that these people gave up obedience in order to follow the path of Shaitan. They adopted Magic as their way because it gave them the illusion that they were powerful.
Allah describes them as giving up guidance, for miss guidance.
They gave up the best of things, the guidance, the scripture, in order to take up misguidance, something that will take them to the Hellfire. How would you do such a thing? Why, because your desire’s pull you to it.
The Obstacle standing in your way to Jannat Al Firdous
The real obstacle is our own desires. We have the freedom of choice and the ability to follow or leave anything we want. It always boils down to one thing, the choice you make.
If your desires are stopping you from doing the things you need to do to make Allah happy with you, you become your own obstacle to paradise. If you recognize things in your life that keep you from Allah, give them u. If you have bad friends, you need to give them up. You need to stop them from being an obstacle between you and Allah. If you have bad habits, you need to give them up.
How do you give them up? You have to work on creating good, new habits. If there is something, a sin that you are committing, it is preventing you from Allah, it is preventing you from praying, then you need to give that up.
Who are you following? Who is your role model?
Most people follow those people they admire, who seem to have glory in the dunya. In following them we emulate what they. If these people are not leading you to Allah, then you really have to consider who you are follow.
Are you following the revelation or are you following the people? Because if you follow the people, the vast majority of people in our society are not following revelation, they’re not following the guidance. If they were following the guidance, then we’d be living in a very different world.
It’s not our place to judge everyone else, what’s important is that you what yourself and what you’re doing.
The price of Jannah is obedience.
The price of Jannah is submission to Allah-subhanahu-wa-tala. The price of Jannah is caging your desires. The price of Jannah is creating discipline in your life, so that your life will serve you, your habits will serve you, so that you attain the best of this world, as well as the Hereafter.
Allah doesn’t ask you to give up the dunya, but Allah does tell you that you have to give up those things that stand between you and Jannah, because when you aim for a thing, when you make a choice, that choice should serve you in both the dunya and Akhira.
I’ll leave on one message, don’t be like Banu Israel, and reflect on these verses and take action. Actions always speak louder than words.
If you fall short, you make mistakes, welcome to the human way. It’s ok, we all do. But you are not your mistakes, you are the servant of Allah. Allah loves you and want for you to enter paradise.
You can do it, just take one small step at a time insha’Allah.
May Allah swt bless you with the greatest and strongest beliefs and actions. May He swt guide us to the greatest and Highest paradise, Jannat Al Firdous. Ameen