Surah Al-Asr, the 103rd chapter of the Quran, is a short Surah contain
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ing three verses. It is considered a summary of the entire Quran by many notable Islamic scholars, both classical and modern, including Imam Shafi, Ibn Kathir, Israr Ahmed, and Farhat Hashmi. The Surah teaches that all human beings are in a loss, except those who have faith (iman), perform righteous deeds, remind others of the truth (Haqq), and practice patience (Sabr).
1. Guidance for Humanity
- Surah Al-Asr, a chapter from the Holy Quran, is a brief yet profound guide for all of humanity. Its verses encapsulate the essence of a righteous life.
- Imam Shafi, a renowned Islamic scholar, believed that the teachings of this Surah alone if deeply reflected upon and followed, could guide a person throughout their life.
- The Surah emphasizes four core principles: faith, righteous deeds, advocating truth, and patience. These principles are foundational for leading a life that is pleasing to God and beneficial to oneself and society.
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2. Understanding of Time’s Value
- The Surah starts by taking an oath by “time,” indicating its immense importance.
- Time is a non-renewable resource, and its proper utilization is crucial for a successful life.
- The Surah serves as a wake-up call, urging individuals to be conscious of the passing time and to invest it in actions that yield eternal benefits.
3. Path to Success
- The Surah defines success in a holistic manner, encompassing both worldly achievements and spiritual elevation.
- Material gains alone are not the benchmark of success. True success lies in aligning one’s life with divine guidance and moral excellence.
- The Surah lays down the criteria for success: faith, good deeds, advocating truth, and exhibiting patience.
4. Promotion of Righteous Deeds
- Righteous deeds are actions that are in harmony with divine guidance and ethical standards.
- Such deeds not only benefit the individual but also have a positive ripple effect on society.
- The Surah underscores the significance of these deeds as a means to attain fulfillment and divine pleasure.
5. Advocacy for Truth
- Truthfulness is a cardinal virtue promoted in Surah Al-Asr.
- It’s not enough to be truthful; the Surah encourages individuals to stand up for truth and justice, even in the face of adversity.
- Upholding truth ensures a just society where rights are honored and wrongs are redressed.
6. Emphasis on Patience
- Life is replete with challenges, and patience is the tool to navigate through them.
- The Surah extols patience as a virtue that brings inner tranquility and strength.
- Patience is not passive endurance; it’s an active stance of perseverance, maintaining one’s principles even when tested.
7. Community Building
- The Surah emphasizes mutual advice and encouragement among community members.
- A strong community is built when its members support each other in adhering to righteousness and moral values.
- This collective effort ensures a harmonious society where individuals thrive and grow together.
8. Moral and Ethical Framework
- Surah Al-Asr serves as a blueprint for a life grounded in ethics and morality.
- By adhering to its teachings, individuals can lead a life that is not only beneficial for them but also contributes positively to society.
- The Surah’s principles act as a compass, guiding individuals towards actions that are in line with divine wisdom and human welfare.
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What does ASR mean in Islam?
In Islam, “Asr” (العصر) refers to the late afternoon or the time just before sunset. It is one of the five daily Islamic prayers, known as “Salat,” and is also the name of the 103rd chapter (Surah) of the Quran, which we discussed earlier.
The daily prayers in Islam, including the Asr prayer, are performed at specific times throughout the day and night. The Asr prayer is the third of these five daily prayers and is observed in the late afternoon when the sun is still above the horizon but is closer to setting.
What is the importance of Surah Al-Asr?
- Summary of Quran: The Surah is seen as encapsulating the essence of the Quranic message, providing a guide for humankind to achieve success in life.
- Warning: It serves as a warning to believers not to waste time, as this could lead to humiliation or ruin.
- Guidance: Imam Shafi believed that this Surah alone would be sufficient for the guidance of all humankind if contemplated deeply.
- System for Life: Sayyid Qutb viewed the Surah as outlining a complete system for human life based on an Islamic viewpoint, defining the basic concept of faith in a concise form.
- Time Utilization: The Surah emphasizes the importance of time and advises careful utilization of it.
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Why does Allah swear by time in Surah Al-Asr?
In Surah Al-Asr (Chapter 103) of the Quran, Allah swears by time with the words “By time” (وَالْعَصْرِ). Swearing by something in the Quran is a way to emphasize its importance and draw the listener’s attention to a profound truth or message. In this case, swearing by time serves several purposes:
- Emphasis on the Message: By swearing by time, Allah underscores the critical importance of the message that follows. It is a way of saying that what is about to be conveyed is of utmost significance and should be heeded carefully.
- Recognition of Time’s Value: Time is a universal and undeniable aspect of human existence. It is a constant and relentless force that affects all aspects of life. By swearing by time, Allah draws attention to the value of time, reminding individuals of its fleeting nature.
- Urgency and Impermanence: Time’s passage is continuous and unceasing. It symbolizes the transient nature of human life and the urgency of utilizing one’s time wisely for righteous deeds and actions. This reminder encourages individuals to act promptly and not procrastinate in matters of faith and good deeds.
- Time as a Witness: In the Quran, Allah often uses various elements of creation as witnesses to His messages. By swearing by time, Allah may be using it as a witness to the truth of the message being conveyed in Surah Al-Asr. This emphasizes the authenticity and certainty of the message.
- Reflection on Creation: The Quran frequently calls upon believers to reflect upon the signs of Allah in the natural world. Time is a fundamental aspect of creation and the universe’s order. Swearing by time prompts individuals to contemplate the creation and design of the universe as a sign of Allah’s power and wisdom.
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