Wal ‘Asr (By Time!)

A-úthú billáhi minash shaytánir rajím. Bismilláhir Rahmánir Rahím!

[Arabic du’á]

“By [the token of] Time (through the ages), Verily, man is in loss, Except those who have faith and do righteous deeds and exhort one another to Truth and exhort one another to patience and constancy. “

In this Surah, Allah is making an oath by Al ‘Asr, by Time. Some scholars, like Malik, say that ‘Asr here means the time of the ‘Asr prayer. Others say that it means Time through the ages.

Time is one of the creations of Allah. All other creations are affected by time including us. Every day we grow older, every day we come closer to our destiny, to the Day of Reckoning. On that day, everyone will find out through his final account and last Balance Sheet whether he or she is in profit or in loss.

The subject of the oath is that mankind, or Al Insan is in loss; except those who believe and do righteous deeds. Allah excludes those who believe with all their hearts and do good deeds and also exhort (or urge) one another to Truth and Patience or constancy.

Warning and Glad tidings

This Surah is a warning to those who do not listen, the misguided and those who are blinded by their whims and desires not to waste or misuse life. It is a call from Allah to those who lack faith, to those who do not do good deeds and those who do not exhort (or urge) one another to Truth and Patience to wake up, to avoid becoming losers before it is too late.

It is also a glad tiding for the believers who do good deeds, who exhort righteousness and patience. They will be winners and will be rewarded for their faith and their good deeds and actions.

Nature of loss

The loss referred to in the Surah, of course, has nothing to do with the material or emotional loss that we may experience in this world. It is not the loss of business or trade or the economic or financial loss that people suffer in their affairs of this world. The Surah is referring to mankind’s loss on the Day of Judgment, the Day of Reckoning when man will meet his lord and creator to find out the result of his deeds and actions during his life.

The Surah does not specify the reasons for the loss, but there are many verses in the Holy Quran that clearly tell us which actions will lead us to loss and perdition at the end. For Example:

” And Those Who Reject The signs of Allah – It is They who will be in Loss.” Sura 39/v63.


“Assuredly those will be lost – Who denied the meeting with Allah and refuse to receive true guidance.” Sura 10/v45 .

Can man be saved from this loss? The answer is Yes. The Surah provides the answer and tells us what is required for safety:


One needs Faith. Complete, Pure and Sincere. Faith is not a passive thing. Faith or iman in Islamic terminology includes three things:

  • Declaration of faith with the tongue.
  • Conviction of the truth of this declaration in the heart.
  • Implementation and action on the requirements of this Declaration with the body and the heart.

The Prophet described iman as: “that which is firmly rooted in the heart and confirmed by action”. Iman, complete with all of these three components, makes the believers the best of nations. Those who claim “belief in god” but reject ANY of the messengers of Allah are not believers. We read in the Holy Quran the following verse:

“If any one desires a religion other than Islam, Never will it be accepted of him, and in the hereafter he be among those who have lost.” Sura3/v85

Good Deeds

Iman should be manifested in good deeds that are consistent with the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet. These deeds should be pure and sincere and intended for the sake of Allah alone, otherwise they will be useless. Even a great amount of good and sincere deeds could be frustrated, depleted and lost on account of bad deeds done to others.

{The Hadith of Bankruptcy}

However, One must keep in mind that our good deeds, no matter how great they maybe, are for own benefit, our own interest and for our own good. Allah does not need any of us or any of our actions or deeds. Allah does not need our worship, and neither is He hurt by our sins.

Exhortation for the Truth

A true believer does not live for himself. Whatever good he has, especially in his moral and spiritual life, he spreads among the members of his community so that they see the truth and stand by it in patient hope and perseverance.

A true believer is aware of his obligations towards his community and others, keen to contribute and do his best for the betterment and social welfare of his Muslim society by directing and encouraging other people on the way of truth and perseverance.

Exhortation to patience

We all need patience and perseverance and acceptance. Without these qualities, a Muslim cannot succeed in his interactions with Allah or in his interactions with others.

We need patience and perseverance to fulfill our acts of worship and all that Allah has ordered.

We need patience and perseverance to avoid all temptations and all that Allah has prohibited.

We need patience and perseverance to accept hardships and afflictions that we may suffer and which we can do nothing about.

Sabr and shukr or patience and gratitude make everything good for the believer, no matter what befalls him: The prophet said:

“How amazing is the affair of the believer. Everything is good for him – and that is for no one but the believer: If good times come his way he is thankful and that is good for him, and if hardship comes his way he is patient and that is good for him.”

There are some Muslims who seem to think that that their duty as Muslims begins and end with themselves. They are unaware that they are collectively responsible for the goodness of the Muslim society as a whole. They have no commitments to their society or community. They believe that it is enough for them to be good. They care less for others. They may give Zakah or charity but they have no time or patience to be committed or involved for in any common cause or issue.

Exhortation of Truth and Patience is a clear affirmation of our joint responsibility to the common good of our own communities and society. We are collectively responsible for the advancement and encouragement of goodness and the opposition of evil. We are all obliged to help and support one another.

“The Believers, men and women are protectors of one another, they enjoin what is just and forbid what is evil.” Sura 9/v71

“Help one another in righteousness and piety But help not one another in sin and rancor. (Aggression)” Sura5/v2

Al Imam Ashafey said: “If people were to ponder or contemplate on this Surah, it would have been sufficient to them. ”

Contemplate on this surah and ask your self whenever you are ready, is it sufficient for you? Do you have what it takes to be a winner at the Day of Judgment?

[du’á in Arabic]

Ameen! Aqeemus Salaah!