As Salamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu Surah Al-'Asr
In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
1. By Al-Asr (the time).
2. Verily! Man is in loss.
3. Except those who believe in and do righteous good deeds, and recommend
each other to the truth, and recommend each another to patience.
Because Allah Almighty swears by Al-'Asr (the time) in the beginning of the Surah, it is given that name.
Its Relationship to What is Before It
In the previous Sarah, we are told that a preoccupation with worldly pursuits is a most objectionable way to live; in this Surah, we are informed about those pursuits that we must preoccupy ourselves with: faith in Allah, good deeds, advising one another to follow the truth, and advising one another to be patient upon the truth, for these pursuits reap good for both individual and society.
The Virtues Of This Surah
At-Tabarani mentioned that 'Ubaidullah bin Hafs said, "When two men from the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) would meet, they wouldn't part from one another until one of them recited Surah Al-Asr, until its end; then they would give greetings of peace to one another after it." It was also recorded by Al-Bayhaqi from Abu Huthaifah. Ash-Shafi'i said, "lf A1Iah had revealed only this Surah to His creatures, it would have been enough for them." He said that because in this Surah stages are mentioned, that if one completes all of those stages, he achieves his completion. The stages are as follows :
1) To know the truth.
2) To apply it in practice.
3) To teach it to one who doesn't know it or who is weak in his knowledge of it.
4) To be patient regarding the preceding stages: patient when you are learning the truth, patient when you are applying the truth, and patient when you are teaching the truth.
To strengthen your knowledge you must have faith, and to strengthen your application you must perform good deeds. Then you should be patient in your knowledge, your actions, and in your teaching.
This Surah, despite its brevity, is one of the most comprehensive Surahs of the Qur'an, and all praise is due to Allah.
The Meanings Of Its Words Wal-'Asr:
'Asr means time; there are many lessons to be learnt through the passing of time - the continual succession of day and night, night and day - because that consistent pattern clearly indicates the Creator, Glorious is He and Most High, and that He should be singled out for worship. They say that Al-'Asr means the time in which the good and evil actions of man take place.Innal-lnsaana:
Man as a species.Lafee Khusr:
Man is in a state of loss since his life is his most valuable wealth: if he dies without believing and performing good deeds, he will have suffered the ultimate loss. This is the reason for the oath.Illallatheena Aamanu wa 'Amilus-Saalihaat:
This refers to those who have faith and do good deeds, for they are in profit, not loss. This is because they worked for the Hereafter, and were not preoccupied with worldly pursuits. Every male and female believer falls under this exception: the wording is general, and embraces all who have faith and do good deeds.Watawaasaw Bil-Haqq:
They advise one another to believe in the truth, to speak it, and to apply it. That is faith in Allah alone, and upholding what Allah legislated and staying away from what He forbade.Watawaasaw Bil-Sabr:
Those who advise one another to be patient upon their belief of the truth, upon their true speech, and upon their application of the truth. Patience is strength in the soul that calls one to bear hardship, yet to continue to work. There are many forms of patience. One must be patient in staying away from sins; patient in performing obligatory deeds; patient when one is faced with the vicissitudes of life, those decrees that we find it painful to bear. That we are supposed to advise one another to patience after having been ordered to advise one another to the truth indicates the superiority of patience and the great rewards waiting for those who are patient:
Truly! Allah is with the patient ones.
(Surah Al-Baqarah 2: 153)
The Meaning in Summary
Allah Almighty swears in this chapter by "the time," and Allah Almighty may swear by anything from his creation, according to His Will; all others, however, may swear only by Allah alone. Here, Allah Almighty swears by "the time” that every human being is in a state of loss, except for those who believe and do good deeds. The first stage includes those who know the truth and believe in it; the second stage those who do good deeds because of the truth they have believed in; the third stage includes those who advise one another to do good and teach one another about the truth, The final stage includes those who advise one another to be patient and steadfast upon the truth. At the end of this last stage, one achieves completeness, for completeness means for one to not only be complete alone, but also to help make others complete. One can achieve that by strengthening his knowledge and ability of application, by having faith and by performing good deeds. Then he completes others by teaching them and by advising them to have patience upon knowledge and good deeds. This Surah, despite its brevity, is one of the most comprehensive Surahs of the Qur’an, and all praise is due to Allah.
What Can Be Derived From These Verses
1) In only three verses, Surah Al-'Asr explains the way to salvation. Imam Ash-Shafi'i said, if Allah had revealed only this Surah to His creatures, it would have been enough for them."
2) We are informed of the end for the disbeliever: complete and utter loss.
3) We are informed of the ultimate success awaiting those who believe and do good deeds, those who stay away from Shirk and disobedience.
4) It is compulsory to advise one another to follow the truth and to be patient.
5) Here, A1Iah Almighty swore by "the time'," for in the passing of time, things change constantly, a reality from which we can learn many lessons.
Other General Benefits
I) When we are informed that we must advise one another and cooperate with one another to promote truth, good deeds, and patience, we learn what the life of the believer should be, a life in which one patiently establishes the truth despite the hardships he may suffer while working for the benefit of Islam and his nation.
2) One of the best of deeds is to repent from sins.
3) "And recommend one another to the truth and recommend one another to patience'': In regards to this verse, Ar-Razi said, "This verse indicates that the truth is heavy and that hardships necessarily accompany it, that is why recommending one another about patience is mentioned directly after it."