Showing posts with label Surah Al Asr. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Surah Al Asr. Show all posts

Tuesday 28 March 2023

Divine Warning!! Indeed, the man is in loss (The reality of human beings)

Surah 103 Al Asr "The Time" is a short surah  of just three verses, yet it carries very meaningful insight into the importance of time and a stern warning for the man for "Indeed Man is in Loss." We have already written three posts on the explanation of this seurah. But today, in our series of posts on Scholars' Viewpoint, we present a extremely lecture by Nouman Ali Khan, one of the eminent Muslim scholars of present times, who concentrates on the subject of why man is in loss and why.

The verse under discussion is: إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ‌ Indeed man is in loss (103:2) That is there has been no worthwhile and trustworthy path, except the path of Allah. But man has always been pursing paths that  lead only to loss and ruin. He has always been provided opportunities to listen to the Divine Calls, yet he listened to calls that are lucrative and inticing.  And thus has been in loss.

Let us watch the video below and see how Nouman Ali Khan explains what this meanigful verse actually mean and how  and why man is in loss:
Nouman Ali Khan, born to a Pakistani family, is an American Muslim speaker and Arabic instructor who founded the Bayyinah Institute for Arabic and Qur’anic Studies, after serving as an instructor of Arabic at Nassau Community College. He has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre of Jordan.

وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is our duty to convey only to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, and if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the video above are those of the scholar concerned. We have shared this view as added information in better understanding of Islam. The reader may or may not agree with the view owing to their own perception. If anyone differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the references and their authors.  If someone has more material about the subject, he/she is most welcome to share in the comments box to make the post all encompassing.

For more Scholarly views and videos, please read our reference page: Scholars' Viewpoint on Important Issues Related to Islam.

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Thursday 6 August 2020

Surah Al-Asr - The Time: Exegesis 103rd Chapter of Quran

Sürah Al-‘Aṣr " العصر "  is the 103rd surah with 3 ayahs, part of the 30th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'an. The Surah takes its name from the word Al-‘Aṣr occurring in the first verse.

Although Mujahid, Qatadah and Muqatil regard it as a Madani Surah, yet a great majority of the commentators opine that it is Makki; its subject matter also testifies that it must have been sent down in the earliest stage at Makkah, when the message of Islam was being presented in brief but highly impressive sentences so that the listeners who heard them once could not forget them even if they wanted to, for they were automatically committed to memory.

Though is a mere three versed Sürah, it is very strong in its substance. Imam Shafi’ says that if people thought about Surah Al-’Asr carefully, it would be enough for their guidance. It is a concise but comprehensive Surah, which in three verses, outlines a complete way of human life based on the Islamic worldview.

This Surah is a matchless specimen of comprehensiveness and brevity. A whole world of meaning has been compressed into its few brief words, which is too vast in content to be fully expressed even in a book. In it, in a clear and plain way it has been stated what is the way to true success for man and what is the way to ruin and destruction for him. Imam Shafi has very rightly said that if the people only considered this Surah well, it alone would suffice them for their guidance. How important this Surah was in the sight of the Companions can be judged from the tradition cited from Hadrat Abdullah bin Hisn ad-Darimi Abu Madinah, according to which whenever any two of them met they would not part company until they had recited Surah Al-Asr to each other. (Tabarani)

The more one reads it, the more clearer its subject matter becomes. We have already presented a summary and an overview as to why the man is at loss. We now present the verse by verse translation and exegesis / tafseer in English. You may also listen to its recitation in Arabic with English subtitles at the end of the post:

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"

( 1 )   By time,
Muhammad Asad Explanation:
The term asr denotes "time" that is measurable, consisting of a succession of periods (in distinction from dahr, which signifies "unlimited time", without beginning or end: i.e., "time absolute"). Hence, 'asr bears the connotation of the passing or the flight of time - time which can never be recaptured.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
Ie., the complete period of prophethood from Adam (sws) to Muhammad (sws) bears witness. In this period, that the court of justice was set up on the earth for the immediate addressees of the messengers of God and the rebellious among them were punished in this very world. All this can also be stated in another way as: history bears witness. Viewed thus, this word is the name of all the accounts mentioned in the Qur’an that validate the Day of Judgement. The Qur’an has presented evidence from the accounts of ‘Ad, the Thamud, the people of Noah (sws), Lot (sws) and Shu‘ayb (sws) and other similar ones. This evidence is presented here in one word. In fact, this is the evidence of the lesser days of judgement on the greater Day of Judgement. These lesser days of judgement were brought about to validate the greater day to the extent scientific facts are experimentally validated in a laboratory. Besides the evidence found in the world in and around man to substantiate the Day of Judgement, this is the evidence from history on this day.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Al-Asr may mean: (1) Time through the Ages, or long periods, in which case it comes near to the abstract idea of Time, Dahr; (2) or the late afternoon, from which the Asr canonical prayer takes its name. An appeal is made to Time as one of the creations of Allah, of which everyone knows something but of which no one can fully explain the exact significance. Time searches out and destroys everything material. No one in secular literature has expressed the tyranny of "never-resting Time" better than Shakespeare in his Sonnets. For example, see Sonnets 5 ("never-resting Time"), 12 ("Nothing gainst Time's scythe can make defence"), and 64 ("When I have seen by Time's fell hand defaced The rich proud cost of outworn buried age"). If we merely run a race against Time, we shall lose. It is the spiritual part of us that conquers Time. See verse 3 below. For the "afternoon" idea see next note.

Mufti Shafi Usmani contends that since ‘Time’ is man’s capital of life, the man himself is the trader. Under normal circumstances, his capital is not a frozen thing that may be kept for a while and used up later when the need arises. The capital is fluid or flowing all the time, every minute and every second. The man who invests it needs to be very wise, intelligent and agile, so that he is able to swiftly and readily reap the profit from a flowing capital. One of the old scholars said that he had learnt the meaning of this verse from an ice-seller whose trade required utmost diligence, and if he were neglectful for a moment, his entire capital would melt away. That is why this verse has sworn an oath by the ‘time’ to indicate that it is a melting capital, and the only way to escape loss is to take every moment of his life as valuable, and use it for the four acts mentioned in the Surah.

Another possible reason for swearing by ‘Time’ may be that the ‘Time’(in the sense of history) bears testimony to the fact mentioned in the Surah. If one thinks on the causes of the rise and decline of individuals and nations, he would certainly believe that it is only these four acts(mentioned in the forthcoming verses) that may ensure the real success and betterment of mankind. Whoever has ever abandoned them has suffered a great loss, as is evident from numerous events recorded by history.

 إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ 
( 2 )   Indeed, mankind is in loss,
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
The word الۡاِنۡسَان is not generic in nature. The alif lam affixed to it defines it and the reference is to the addressees of Muhammad (sws) to whom the truth was conclusively communicated and in spite of this they persisted in their arrogance. Loss here refers to loss both in this world and the next. In other words, they will be punished in this world like the other foremost addressees of other messengers of God were, and a great torment awaits them in the Hereafter. They have their eyes fixed on high status, power and the wealth of this world. They think that opposing the Prophet (sws) is earning them a lucrative deal. In reality, they are facing the law of retribution and will soon reach their fate. Hence, they should remain aware that if they persist with this attitude they will end up in loss.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
If life be considered under the metaphor of a business bargain, man, by merely attending to his material gains, will lose. When he makes up his day's account in the afternoon, it will show a loss. It will only show profit if he has Faith, leads a good life, and contributes to social welfare by directing and encouraging other people on the Path of Truth and Constancy.

 إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ 
( 3 )   Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.
In this Surah an oath has been sworn by the Time to impress the point that man is in sheer loss and only those people are an exception from the loss who are characterized by four qualities:

(1) Faith.

(2) Righteous deeds.

(3) Exhorting one another to truth.

(4) Exhorting one another to patience.

Let us consider each of these parts separately in order to fully understand the meanings.

As for the oath, we have explained several times above that Allah has not sworn an oath by any of the created objects on account of its glory or its excellence and wonderful qualities but for the reason that it testifies to the truth which is meant to be established. Therefore, the oath by Time signifies that Time is witness to the truth that man is in sheer loss except for the people who possess the four qualities.

The word time is used for the past as well as for the passing time in which the present, in fact, does not signify any long stretch of time. Every moment, when it has passed, becomes past, and every moment of the future, when it is passing, becomes present, and when it has passed, becomes past. Here, since the oath has been sworn by time absolute, both kinds of time are included in its meaning. The oath by the past time means that human history testifies that the people who were without these qualities, eventually incurred loss, and in order to understand the significance of the oath by the passing time, one should understand that the time which is now passing is, in fact, the time which has been given to every single individual and every single nation to work in the world. Its example is of the time which is allotted to a candidate for answering his question-paper in the examination hall. The speed with which this time is passing can be estimated from the movement of the secondhand in the watch. Even a second is a considerable amount of time, for during this very second light travels 186,000 miles, and in the Kingdom of God there may as well be many things which move even faster than light, but are not yet known to man. However, if the speed of the passing time be regarded the same as of the movement of the second-hand, and we consider that whatever act, good or bad, we perform and whatever occupation we pursue, takes place in the limited span of age that we have been given for work in the world, we feel that our real wealth is this very time, which is passing so quickly. Imam Razi has cited a scholar as saying: I understood the meaning of Surah Al- Asr from an ice-seller, who was calling aloud for the attention of the people repeatedly in the bazar: Have mercy on the one whose wealth is melting away! Hearing what he was crying I said to myself: this then is the meaning of Walasri innal-insana lafi khusrin. The age-limit that man has been allotted is passing quickly like the melting away of ice. If it is wasted, or spent in wrong pursuits, it will be sheer loss to man. Thus, swearing an oath by the Time what has been said in this Surah, means that the fast passing Time is witness that devoid of these four qualities in whatever occupation and work man is spending his limited span of life, he is engaged in bad bargains. Only such people are engaged in good bargains, who work in the world, characterized by the four qualities. It would be just like calling attention of the candidate, who was spending the time allotted for solving the question-paper in some other pursuit, to the wall clock in the examination hall, to tell him that the passing time bore witness that he was causing loss to himself; the candidate benefiting by the Time was he who was using every moment of the allotted time in solving the paper.

Though the word man has been used in the singular, in the following sentences those people have been made an exception from it, who are characterized by the four qualities. Therefore, one will have to admit that here the word man has been used as a collective noun, denoting a class, and it applies equally to individuals, groups, nations, and entire mankind. Thus, the general statement that whoever is devoid of the above four qualities is in loss, would be proved in any case whether it is a person who is devoid of these, or a nation, or all men of the world. It will be just like giving the verdict that poison is fatal for man; it will mean that poison is fatal in any case whether it is taken by an individual, or a nation, or all the people of the world. Poison’s being fatal is an unchangeable truth; it does not make any difference whether one man has taken it, or a nation has decided to take it, or all the people of the world collectively have agreed to take poison. Precisely in the same way this truth by itself is unchangeable that man’s being devoid of the above four qualities brings him loss. The general rule is not at all affected even if one man is devoid of these, or a nation, or all the people of the world agree that they would exhort one another to disbelief, immorality, falsehood and servitude to the self.

Now, let us see in what sense has the Quran used the word khusr (loss). Lexically, khusr is an antonym of nafa (profit); in trade this word is used in the case when loss results from one bargain as well as in the case when the whole business is running in loss, and also in the case when man loses all his capital and becomes bankrupt. The Quran has made this word a special term of its own and uses it as an antonym of falah (true success). And just as its concept of falah is not merely synonymous with worldly prosperity but comprehends man’s true success from the world till the Hereafter, so its concept of khusr (loss) is also not merely synonymous with worldly failure or distress but comprehends man’s real failure and disappointment from the world till the Hereafter. We have explained the Quranic concept of both falah and khusran at several places before which need not be repeated here.

Besides, one should also understand that although according to the Quran true success is man’s success in the Hereafter and real loss his failure there, yet in this world too what the people describe as success is not, in fact, real success but its end in this world itself is failure, and what they regard as loss is not, in fact, loss but a means of true success even in this world. This truth has been stated by the Quran at several places and we have explained it everywhere accordingly. (Please see (E.N. 99 of Surah An- Nahl); (E.N. 53 of Surah Maryam); (E.N. 105 of Surah TaHa); (E.Ns 3-5 of Surah Al-Lail). Thus, when the Quran states conclusively and absolutely that man is certainly in loss, it implies loss both in this world and in the Hereafter. And when it says that only such people are secure from this loss, who are characterized by the four qualities, it implies their being secure from loss and attaining true success both here and in the Hereafter.

Now, let us consider the four qualities on the existence of which depends man’s being secure from loss and failure.

Of these the first quality is Iman (Faith). Although this word at some places in the Quran has been used in the meaning of only verbal affirmation of Faith (e.g. in (Surah An-Nisa, Ayat 137); (Surah Al-Maidah, Ayat 54); (Surah Al- Anfal, Ayats 20, 27); (Surah At-Taubah, Ayat 38); ( Surah As- Saff, Ayat 2), it has primarily been used in the meaning of believing sincerely and faithfully, and in the Arabic language this word has this very meaning. Lexically, amanu lahu means saddaqa-hu wa tamada alai-hi: affirmed him and put faith in him, and amana bi-hi means aiqana bi-hi: had full faith in him. The Faith which the Quran regards as true Faith has been explained in the following verses:
In fact, true believers are those who believed in Allah and His Messenger, then entertained no doubt. (Surah Al- Hujurat, Ayat 15).
Those who said: Allah is our Lord, and then stood steadfast by it. (Surah HaMim As-Sajdah, Ayat 30).
True believers are those whose hearts tremble with awe, whenever Allah is mentioned to them. (Surah Al-Anfaal, Ayat 2).
Those who have believed adore Allah most ardently. (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayat 165).
Nay, (O Prophet), by your Lord, they can never become believers until they accept you as judge for the decision of the disputes between them, and then surrender to your decision with entire submission without the least resentment in their hearts. (Surah An-Nisa, Ayat 65).
The following verse is even more explicit as regards the distinction between verbal affirmation of Faith and true Faith; it says that what is actually desirable is true Faith and not mere verbal affirmation of the Faith:
O you who profess to have believed, believe sincerely in Allah and His Messenger. (Surah An-Nisa, Ayat 136).
As for the question, what has one to believe in, in order to have true faith? This has also been answered and explained in the Quran most explicitly. First, it implies that one has to believe in Allah, not merely in His Being but in the sense that He alone is God; no one else is an associate in His Godhead. He alone is worthy that man should worship, serve and obey Him. He alone can make or mar destinies; man should invoke Him alone and have trust in Him alone. He alone can enjoin things and forbid things; man is under obligation to obey Him and refrain from what he forbids. He sees everything and hears everything; not to speak of any act of man, even his motives and intentions with which he has done an act, are not hidden from Him. Secondly, one has to believe in the Messenger, in the sense that he is a guide and leader appointed by Allah: whatever he has taught, is from Allah, is based upon the truth and has to be acknowledged and accepted. This belief in Apostleship also includes faith in the angels, the Prophets, the divine Books and in the Quran itself, for this forms part of the teachings which the Messenger of Allah has given. Thirdly, one has to believe in the Hereafter, in the sense that man’s present life is not his first and last life, but after death man has to be resurrected, to render an account to God of the deeds done in the present life, and has to be rewarded for the good deeds and punished for the evil deeds accordingly. This Faith provides a firm basis for morality and character, upon which can be built the edifice of a pure life, whereas the truth is that without such Faith, the life of man, however beautiful and pleasing outwardly, is like a ship without an anchor, which is at the mercy of the waves wherever they may take it.

After Faith the second quality required to save man from loss is to perform righteous deeds (salihalt). Salihat comprehends all kinds of virtuous and good deeds. However, according to the Quran, no act can be a good act unless it is based on Faith and it is performed in obedience to the guidance given by Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him). That is why in the Quran exhortation to perform good deeds is preceded everywhere by Faith, and in this Surah too it has been mentioned after the Faith. Nowhere in the Quran has a deed without Faith been called a good deed, nor any reward promised for a deed performed without Faith. On the contrary, this also is a fact that only that Faith is reliable and beneficial, the sincerity of which is proved by man’s own act and deed, otherwise Faith without righteous deeds would be a false claim refuted by the man himself when in spite of this claim he follows a way opposed to the way taught by Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him). The relationship between Faith and righteous deed is of the seed and the tree. Unless the seed is sown in the soil no tree can grow out of it. But if the seed is in the soil and no tree is growing out of it, it would mean that the seed is lost in the soil. On this very basis whatever good news has been given in the Quran, has been given to the people who believe and do good deeds, and the same has been reiterated in this Surah. What man requires to do after the Faith in order to remain secure from loss is to perform righteous deeds. In other words, mere Faith without righteous deeds cannot save man from loss.

The above two qualities are such as must be possessed by every single individual. Then, the Surah mentions two further qualities, which a man must have in order to be saved from loss. They are that the people who believe and do good deeds must exhort one another to truth and to patience. This means that in the first place, a believing and righteous people should not live as individuals but should create a believing and righteous society by their combination. Second, that every individual of this society must feel his responsibility not to let the society become degenerate. Thus, all its members are duty bound to exhort one another to truth and to patience.

Truth is the antonym of falsehood, and generally it is used in , two meanings:
(1) A correct and right thing which is in accordance with justice and truth, whether it relates to belief and faith or to mundane affairs.
(2) The right which is obligatory on man to render, whether it is the right of God, the right of man, or the right of one’s own self. Thus, to exhort one another to truth means that the society of the believers should not be so insensitive that falsehood may thrive and things against justice and truth be done in it, and the people be watching everything indifferently. On the contrary, it should be a living, sensitive society so that whenever and wherever falsehood appears, the upholders of the Truth should rise up against it, and no member of the society rest content with only himself adhering to truth, righteousness, justice and rendering the rights of others, but should exhort others also to adopt the same way of life. This is the spirit that can ensure security of a society against moral degeneration and decay. If a society becomes devoid of this spirit, it cannot remain secure from loss, and eventually even those people are also affected by the loss who might in their own way be adhering to the truth, but were insensitive to violation of the truth in their society.
The same has been stated in Surah Al-Maidah, thus: Those who adopted the way of disbelief among the children of Israel were cursed by the tongue of David and of Jesus, son of Mary, because they had grown rebellious and become transgressors: they would not forbid one another to do the wrong deeds they committed. (verses 78-79). Then the same idea has been expressed in Surah Al-Aaraf, thus: When the children of Israel totally forgot the teachings (of observing the Sabbath), We seized with a severe scourge all those who were transgressors, and We saved those who used to forbid evil (verse 165); and in Surah Al-Anfal, thus: And guard against that mischief which will not bring punishment in particular to the mischief-makers alone from among you. (verse 25). That is why to enjoin what is good and to forbid what is evil, has been enjoined on the Muslim community as a duty (Surah Aal-Imran, Ayat 104) and the community which performs this duty has been declared to be the best community (Surah Aal-Imran, Ayat 110).

Besides exhorting to the truth, the other thing which has been declared as a necessary condition for keeping the believers and their society secure from loss is that the members of the society should enjoin patience upon one another. That is, they should enjoin upon one another to bear with fortitude and steadfastness the difficulties, hardships, trials, losses and deprivations which befall the one who adheres to the truth and supports it. Each one of them should encourage the other to bear up against adversity steadfastly.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
In the coming verse, it is categorically stated how a person can secure himself from loss. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
… Though this approach is pointed out in a few words, however such is the judiciousness and comprehensiveness of style adopted that if a person deliberates on it, he will come to know the individual and collective obligations which are imposed on him and his eternal salvation depends on discharging them.
A little deliberation shows that the real purpose of the Qur’an is to guide man to this straight path and to organize the individual and collective lives of a person in order to achieve success in the Hereafter. In other words, the message which is conveyed by one hundred and fourteen surahs of the Qur’an has been succinctly put forth in three verses of this surah. It is to this very fact that Imam Shafi‘i has pointed by saying that if people only read Surah al-‘Asr while reflecting on its contents, it will suffice for them. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 9, 530)

Īman (faith) is an ancient religious term. The root امن is also found in Hebrew and means considering something to be true and relying on it. The word آمين (amen) is made from this word and through it we corroborate something. In the Qur’an, iman has been used in this meaning. Thus if something is accepted with the certitude of the heart, then this is called iman. The foundation of this word is iman (faith) in God. If a person accepts the Almighty such that he submits his heart and mind to Him to the utmost, then in the terminology of the Qur’an, he is a mu’min (believer).

It is this very essence of faith on account of which the Qur’an demands from a person that besides substantiation from the heart, his words and deeds should also testify to it. Thus it calls every act of virtue emanating from iman and an essential quality of a believer. The mention of righteous deeds after faith is a kind of elucidation. It is like coordinating something specific and general. Imam al-Farahi writes:
… Thus the conviction which exists with all the conditions and corollaries of humility, trust and acknowledgment is called faith. And a person who professes faith in God, in His signs, in His directives, submits all that he has to Him and is happy on all His decisions is called a mu’min. (Al-Farahi, Majmu‘ah tafasir, 347)
No doubt, in the eyes of the law, every person who professes faith in Islam with his tongue is a Muslim. The extent of his faith can also not be ascertained as far as the law is concerned; however, as far as true faith is concerned, it is never static. A person grows stronger in faith when he remembers God and hears His revelations and witnesses His signs in the world within him and in that around him. The Qur’an (14:24) has compared faith to a tree whose roots are deep in the soil and branches spread in the vastness of the sky.

Same is the case of one’s faith growing weaker. Thus if a person instead of making it stronger through sound knowledge and righteous deeds does acts which are against the requirements of faith, it grows weaker, and in some cases is totally wiped out. Some verses such as (167:3) ہُمۡ لِلۡکُفۡرِ یَوۡمَئِذٍ اَقۡرَبُ مِنۡہُمۡ لِلۡاِیۡمَانِ (on that day, they were closer to disbelief than belief, (3:167)) point to this aspect.

It is evident from this that both faith and righteous deeds are essential to one another. Thus just as righteous deeds are necessary for faith, similarly faith is necessary for righteous deeds. At all places, the Qur’an has stated professing faith to be the very first condition for salvation. In Surah al-Nur (24:39), the deeds of people who are devoid of the treasure of faith are compared to the mirage found in a desolate desert which is a mere eye-wash. A thirsty person jumps towards it thinking it to be water but when he draws near, he comes to know that what he thought as waves of water were actually grains of shining sand.

This faith consists of five things:

1. Belief in God

2. Belief in the Angels

3. Belief in the Prophets

4. Belief in Divine Books

5. Belief in the Day of Judgement

In the terminology of the Qur’an, it refers to every deed which is in accordance with God’s wisdom on which the universe has been created and according to which He governs it. All its bases are found in the norms of intellect and human nature and the shari‘ah of God has been revealed to guide mankind towards these righteous deeds.

This is the obligation of preaching which the Qur’an has imposed on all its followers. This is because man does not merely live in isolation; he is also a member of a family or a citizen of a society. This is a very natural aspect of his existence. He requires the existence of a family not only for this material life but also for his moral and spiritual life. Thus on this basis he is directed here to not remain negligent of the betterment of his surroundings.

This obligation is mentioned as a part of righteous deeds as their explanation because this is a natural requirement of one’s love for the truth. A person very vehemently wants people to love what he himself loves.

The way this obligation is mentioned shows that it is from among the basic requirements of faith. If a believer does righteous deeds and also fulfills this requirement of faith, then these verses guarantee him security from any loss in the Hereafter and he will gain the eternal kingdom of Paradise.

The words حَقّ (haqq) and صَبْر (sabr) mentioned in the verse need deliberation. The Almighty did not say: “they urged others to righteous deeds.” On the contrary, His words are: “they urged one another to the truth and urged one another to remain steadfast on it.” What is the reason for this? Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

This style has not only included in it what is found in the first part, it has also made very important additions to it: iman is included to the utmost in al-haqq because it is the right of God and in fact the greatest right of God. Similarly, righteous deeds either relate to the rights towards God or rights towards human beings; hence righteous deeds are also included in haqq. It is evident from this discussion that believers do all these things as an obligation, urge others to adopt them and also counsel others that discharging these obligations is no easy a task; it requires patience and forbearance. Those who do not have this characteristic will find it very difficult to carry out these obligations. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 9, 536)

The word تَوَاصَوۡا also needs consideration. It is evident from this that the circle of this preaching is one’s own immediate surroundings and relationships. Thus the preacher and the preached are not distinct from one another. Every person at all times acts as a preacher as well as an addressee to this preaching. At some instances, the Qur’an has also called it amar bi al-ma‘ruf and nahi ‘an al-munkar. In other words, what is ma‘ruf according to nature and intellect as well as religion and shari‘ah should be urged upon those who live in our immediate surroundings and people should be stopped from what is regarded by these as munkar.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Faith is his armour, which wards off the wounds of the material world; and his righteous life is his positive contribution to spiritual ascent.

If he lived only for himself, he would not fulfill his whole duty. Whatever good he has, especially in moral and spiritual life, he must spread among his brethren, so that they may see the Truth and stand by it in patient hope and unshaken constancy amidst all the storm and stress of outer life. For he and they will then have attained Peace within.

Summing up, this Surah lays down the important principle of guidance for the Muslims that inviting other Muslims to keep to the true faith and good deeds is as much necessary as their own submission to the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah. Without sincere efforts, to the best of one’s ability, to invite others to the right path, one’s own good deeds are not enough to one’s salvation. Especially, if a person does not take care of the spiritual and moral welfare of his wife, children and family and turns a blind eye to their unrighteous deeds, he is blocking his way to salvation — no matter how pious he himself might be. Therefore, the Qur’an and the Sunnah make it obligatory upon every Muslim to do his best to invite others to the good deeds, and warn them against the evil acts. Unfortunately, let alone the general public, many learned people are lax in this matter. They think it is sufficient for them to be concerned about their own moral and spiritual well-being. They are not concerned about the well-being of their family and children. May Allah grant us the ability to act upon this verse.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sürah Al-‘Aṣr with English subtitles:

You may refer to our Reference Page "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, explanation and exegesis of other chapters of the Qur'an.

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 89 | 10 |
Reading the Holy Quran should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
  • The plain translation has been taken from the Holy Quran officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [1]
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  [2]
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided by [2], additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

If you like Islam: My Ultimate Decision, and to keep yourself updated on all our latest posts to know more about Islam, follow us on Facebook

Please share this page to your friends and family members through Facebook, WhatsApp or any means on Social Media so that they can also be benefited by it and better understand Islam and the Holy Qur'an - Insha Allah (Allah Willing) you shall be blessed with the best of both worlds.

Monday 24 June 2019

Understanding Islam: Why Man is in Loss? Allah Cautions in Surah Al Asr [Chapter 103]

Sūrah Al-‘Aṣr, the 103rd chapter of the Holy Qur'an, has only three verses - but many of us just read it out as if it does not carry any significance to our lives. But those few who take a time out and ponder over the three verses of the surah come to know that Allah has summed up four attributes of a true believer in this surah which if really understood can change our lives, otherwise man is truly in loss, both in this world and the Hereafter. 

Let us now for once, read this surah giving due attention to each word of it, to start with:

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"


By Time.

2. إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ‌

Indeed man is in loss,

3. إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ‌‌

except those:
  • who have faith, 
  • and do righteous deeds, 
  • and enjoin one another to [follow] the truth, and 
  • enjoin one another to patience.
As is evident, here Allah, while taking a vow of the time, has cautioned that 'man' not men is in loss and surely we as individuals are at loss unless we fulfill four preconditions that have been spelt out in the verse 3.

For the most powerful message summed in the surah, this surah is considered the summary of whole Quran by almost all notable classical and modern Islamic scholars including Imam Shafi, Ibn Kathir, and even lately Dr. Israr Ahmed.

These four conditions or pre-requisites are so eloquently explained by Nouman Ali Khan, an emerging Muslim scholar, a Pakistani living in the USA, who has mastered the Arabic language and explained the Holy Qur'an in very easy to understand language, giving examples from our daily lives and stressing home the real message contained in the Holy Qur'an. He has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre of Jordan.

Please listen to Nouman Ali Khan explaining the Surah Al Asr and the four preconditions that guarantee a man to not be in loss and be blessed:

You may refer to our post "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, meaning and summary / exegesis of other chapters (Though not complete but building up from 30th Juzʼ / Part backwards for chapters in 30th Juzʼ / Part are shorter and easier to understand). 

Photo | References: | 1 2 |
Reading the Holy Quran should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

If you like Islam: My Ultimate Decision, and to keep yourself updated on all our latest posts to know more about Islam, follow us on Facebook

Please share this page to your friends and family members through Facebook, WhatsApp or any means on Social Media so that they can also be benefited by it and better understand Islam and the Holy Qur'an - Insha Allah (Allah Willing) you shall be blessed with the best of both worlds.

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