Introduction of Al-`Asr
(Revealed before Hijrah)
By general agreement, this Surah was revealed in the early years of the Call. Western orientalists, besides Muslim commentators of the Quran, assign it to the early Meccan period.
The preceding Surah had dealt with man’s passion for amassing wealth and worldly goods and its evil consequences. In the present Surahwe are told that a purposeless life having no ideals to pursue goes to waste; and that material progress and prosperity cannot save a people if they do not possess faith and do not lead clean and pure lives. This is the unfailing testimony of time. Drunk with great material resources and power, prestige and prosperity, disbelievers, especially the Christian nations of today, labour under the misconception that these things will never see decline or diminution. On the other hand, Muslims for their part, seem to have despaired of their future. The Surah relates particularly to the present time. It may, however, be taken also to relate to the Holy Prophet’s own time since by العصر is meant, his time.
یہ ابتدائی مکی سورت ہے اور بسم اللہ سمیت اس کی چار آیات ہیں۔
اس سورت میں یہ بیان فرمایا گیا ہے کہ گزشتہ سورتوں میں جس قِسم کے انسانوں کا ذکر ہے اور جس دنیا طلبی سے ڈرایا گیا ہے اس کے نتیجہ میں ایک ایسا وقت آئے گا کہ جب سارا زمانہ گواہ ہوگا کہ وہ انسان گھاٹے میں ہے سوائے ان لوگوں کے جو ایمان لائے اور نیک اعمال بجالائے اور انہوں نے حق پر قائم رہتے ہوئے حق کی نصیحت کی اور صبر پر قائم رہتے ہوئے صبر کی نصیحت کی۔
بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ﴿۱﴾
بِسۡمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
a. 1:1. (close)
a. See 1:1. (close)
وَ الۡعَصۡرِ ۙ﴿۲﴾
3427. ‘Asr means, time; history; succession of ages; the afternoon; or the evening. Al-‘Asran means, the night and the day; the morning and the evening (Lane). (close)
4832. Important Words:
العصر (the Time) is inf. noun from عصر. They say عصرہ i.e. he aided, succoured or assisted him; he saved and preserved him: he gave a gift and did some favour to him. عصر means; time or history or succession of ages: a period of time (syn. دھر); a day as opposed to night; a night as opposed to day; the afternoon; or evening. العصران means, the night and the day: the morning and the evening (Lane & Aqrab).
See a collective note on the whole Surah under v: 4. (close)
اِنَّ الۡاِنۡسَانَ لَفِیۡ خُسۡرٍ ۙ﴿۳﴾
إِنَّ ٱلۡإِنسَٰنَ لَفِي خُسۡرٍ
3428. Al-Insan, (man) here signifies man as mentioned in 17:12; 18:55; 36:78; and 70:20, viz. the hasty, the contentious man, or the man who opposes Divine Messengers. (close)
b. 10:46. (close)
3429. It is History’s infallible testimony that those individuals or nations, who do not make proper use of the opportunities that come to them in life, and who defy the eternal natural laws which determine human destiny, inevitably come to grief. It is such individuals and nations who are the losers in the race against Time and it is to these that the word Al-Insan in the Surah particularly refers. Divine laws cannot be defied with impunity. (close)
b. 10:46; 65:10. (close)
4833. Important Words:
خسر (in a state of loss). خسر (khasira) means, he suffered a loss; he lost his way; he was ruined (Lane).
الانسان (man) here signifies man as mentioned in 17:12; 18:55; 36:78; 70:20, viz. the hasty, the contentious, the quarrelling and the impatient man. (close)
اِلَّا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ عَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ وَ تَوَاصَوۡا بِالۡحَقِّ ۬ۙ وَ تَوَاصَوۡا بِالصَّبۡرِ ٪﴿۴﴾
إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَٰتِ وَتَوَاصَوۡاْ بِٱلۡحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوۡاْ بِٱلصَّبۡرِ
c. 90:18. (close)
3430. In this Surah and at several other places in the Qur’an, believers have been enjoined not only to adopt right and good principles and right ideals themselves but also to preach them to others and thus to help in the creation of a healthy atmosphere around them. They are further enjoined not to be discouraged or dismayed by opposition or persecution they might have to face in the discharge of their very difficult task but to bear it with patience and fortitude. Thus, the Surah in one brief verse has laid down rules of conduct by observing which one can lead a happy, contented, prosperous and progressive life. (close)
4834. Important Words:
الصبر (to be steadfast) is inf. noun from صبر (sabara) which means, he was or became patient or enduring; he endured trial or affliction with dignity or he was contented in affliction or trial without complaining; he was steadfast amid trials; he made no difference between a state of ease and comfort and a state of affliction, preserving calmness of mind in both states (Lane & Aqrab).
It is history’s infallible testimony that those individuals or nations who do not make full use of their God-given powers and faculties and of the opportunities that come to them in this life, and who defy the eternal natural laws which determine the destiny of man inevitably come to grief. It is such individuals and nations who are the losers in the race against time and it is to these that the word الانسان in the Surah refers. Divine laws cannot be defied with impunity and the Quran repeatedly draws pointed attention to the sad fate of those people who have the audacity to do so, in the words: "Have they not travelled in the earth and seen what was the end of those before them?" (40:22).
Firm faith in eternal truths and the practical carrying out of them in our dealings in everyday life constitutes a sure guarantee for a happy, contented, prosperous and progressive life; and this is the meaning of the words "such as have faith and do righteous deeds." Man cannot escape "loss" which is the purpose or object of his life without possessing true and real faith in Divinely-revealed truths and adjusting his conduct in harmony with them. Human reason without the assistance of a revealed guidance cannot be a safe guide. It is Divine guidance received through God’s great Messengers that can lead safely to the desired goal. But a person, however, good and great, cannot bring about any real and permanent reformation single-handed unless the whole environment is changed, because man is strongly influenced by his environment. In this Surah and at several other places in the Quran, believers have been enjoined not only to adopt right and good principles and ideals themselves but to preach them to others and thus help in the creation of a healthy atmosphere around them. They are further enjoined not to be discouraged or dismayed by opposition and persecution they might have to face in the discharge of their very difficult task but to bear it with patience and fortitude. Thus the Surah, in one brief verse, has laid down the golden rules by observing which one can lead a successful and happy life. Taking the word العصر to mean the time of the Holy Prophet (Bukhari) or taking it as applying to the latter days, the Surah emphatically declares that the disbelieving nations, with all their material resources and great power and prestige will suffer loss; only the righteous believers will achieve the noble goal they desire and pursue.