The Prophet PBUH said,
Abdullah Yusuf Ali, (1872 1953) was an Islamic scholar who translated the Qur'an into English. His translation of the Qur'an is one of the most widely-known and used in the English-speaking world. In his childhood, Ali received a religious education and could recite the entire Qur'an from memory. He spoke both Arabic and English fluently. He studied English literature and studied at several European universities. Yusuf Ali's best-known work is his book
The Holy Qur'an: Text, Translation and Commentary,
Surah Al Asr
Islam is based on (the following) five (principles):
- To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah's Apostle.
- To offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly.
- To pay Zakat (i.e. obligatory charity) .
- To perform Hajj. (i.e. Pilgrimage to Mecca)
- To observe fast during the month of Ramadan.
Narrated Ibn 'Umar: Bukhari
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Introduction and Summary
This early Makkan Surah refers to the testimony of Time through the ages. All history shows that Evil came to an evil end. But Time is always in favour of those who have Faith, live clean and pure lives, and know how to wait, in patience and constancy.
Cf. the theme of S.95.
C.283 (The running Commentary, in Rhythmic Prose)
Waste not, nor misuse, your life. Time
Through the Ages bears witness that nothing remains
But Faith and Good Deeds, and the teaching of Truth
And the teaching of Patience and Constancy.
But for these, Man against Time is in loss!
1. By (the Token of) time (through the Ages),
C6262. 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 (see n. 271 to 2:238).
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 against 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.
إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ ﴿٢﴾
2. Verily Man is in loss,
C6263. 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 ...
3. Except such as have
- and do righteous deeds,
C6264. Faith is his armour, which wards off the wounds of the material world; and his righteous life is his positive contribution to spiritual ascent.
... وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ ...
- and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth,
C6265. If he lived only for himself, he would not fulfil 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.
وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ ﴿٣﴾
- and of Patience and Constancy.
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