Benefits from Surah al-‘Asr

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(NOTE: If you want to build a strong and powerful relationship with Allah, check out Islamia TV, where you can watch Islamic speakers from across the globe deliver inspiring and motivational courses. Learn more at www.islamia.tv.)

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy

All Praises are due to Allah, and may the Peace and Blessings of Allah be showered upon the Noble Messenger.

To Proceed:

Allah says in Surah al-‘Asr:

‘Asr here means time. So there are three opinions as to what it is:

  • The time from the creation of the world till the Day of Judgement
  • The duration of the Prophethood of Muhammad SAW
  • Salaat-ul-‘Asr

When Allah says ‘By the ‘Asr’, He is making an oath. So Allah is swearing byal-‘Asr. Allah can swear by anything He wants, as He can use anything to be His witness. However, we as Muslims, are not allowed to swear by anything or anyone except by Allah, His Names or His Attributes. The Prophet SAW said:

  “By the ‘Asr,

Indeed all of mankind is in a state of loss,

Except those who have Iman,

Conduct righteous actions,

Call each other to the Truth,

And call each other to having patience.”

 “ “Whoever swears by other than Allah has indeed committed kufr [disbelief] or shirk [polytheism].”

So this is a prohibition for us to swear by anything or anyone except Allah.

Then Allah says:

Here Allah could have said:

  “Inna al-insaana la fee khusr”

[Indeed mankind is in loss]

  “Al-Insaanu fee khusr”

[mankind is in loss]

But, rather, He emphasised this sentence by the addition of ‘inna’ and ‘la’. This is only done if this there is some doubt or rejection of the sentence. In the Arabic language one would not use ‘inna’ or ‘la’ except if someone may have doubt in what is being said. So one would emphasise what he is saying by adding these two words.

Likewise, it is not necessary to use the ‘la’, as Allah could also have just used
‘inna’:

  “Inna al-insaana fee khusr”

So He added the ‘la’ for extra emphasis.

So Allah emphasised the fact that mankind – the human race as a whole – are
in loss, in three ways:

  • Using an oath
  • Using ‘Inna’
  • Using ‘la’

He did this due to the fact that the kuffaar [disbelievers] rejected the fact that
they would be in loss unless they possessed the four qualities mentioned later in
the Surah.

So the emphasis means that we pay special attention to what is coming next.
We should want to know how we can be excluded from the general rule of being
in a state of loss.

So Allah then says:

  “Except those who have Iman”

Iman can be loosely translated as faith. However, a definition of Iman, as
stated by Shaykh-ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, would be:

  “Iman is statement and action – statement of the heart and the tongue, and action of the heart, the tongue, and the limbs. It increases with obedience [of Allah] and decreases with disobedience.”

So we can see that Iman consists of five parts:

  • Statement of the heart:
  • This is known as tasdeeq, or the firm beliefs that a person holds, which admits
    no doubt, whatsoever. E.g.: with respect to Allah, His Angels, Books,
    Messengers, Qadr [Predestination], the Last Day etc.

  • Statement of the tongue:
  • This is when a person proclaims his belief, eg when he says: ‘I bear witness that
    none has the right to be worshipped except Allah, and I bear witness that
    Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah’.

  • Action of the heart:
  • This refers to the different states and feelings of the heart. Things like love,
    hope, fear, reliance and trust in Allah, etc.

  • Action of the tongue:
  • Things like making dhikr of the tongue, such as saying subhaanAllah. Or like
    giving da’wah – enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, etc..

  • Action of the limbs:
  • Things like salaah, zakaah, sawm, hajj etc.

As Iman consists of these different parts, we should see that it would not
remain constant. One’s strength of belief increases and decreases, his love,
hope, fear, etc increase and decrease. Therefore, we should see that Iman
increases with obedience to Allah, and decreases with disobedience.

Next Allah says:

  “And do righteous actions”

So here Allah has separated Iman from righteous actions by saying:

“Except those who have Iman and do righteous actions.” Does this mean
that Iman is separate from actions. Does this not mean that actions are not
part of Iman as mentioned above? The answer is no. Here Allah is
emphasising action. So He mentions a general point [Iman] followed by a
specific [actions]. This can be shown by the next aayah:

  “And enjoin each other to the Truth.”

Enjoining each other to the Truth is da’wah. Giving da’wah is from the
‘righteous actions’. So Allah mentioned da’wah to emphasise it from the many
‘righteous actions’. In a similar way, Allah says:

Here, Allah mentions the angels and then later on mentions Jibreel and
Mikaa`eel. But Jibreel and Mikaa`eel are both angels. So why did Allah
mention them? This is, as we mentioned, in order to emphasise Jibreel and
Mikaa`eel, as some people did indeed hate these two angels. So likewise,
Allah mentions actions after Iman – even though actions are part of Iman
– due to the fact that some people would reject the fact that they must do
righteous actions, and that belief is enough! As we often hear from some people
who make excuses for their neglecting compulsory good deeds: “But God
knows what’s in my heart” or “It is what’s in my heart that counts”….

As for the righteous action, then it has two conditions:

  • It must be founded upon a correct intention. That is: it must be done
    sincerely for the sake of Allah. It must not be done to show off, or for the
    purpose of any saint, or other individual. The proof of this is the statement of
    the Prophet SAW:
  “Say, whoever is an enemy to Allah, the Angels, the Prophets, Jibreel and
Mikaa`eel; then Allah is an enemy of the disbelievers” [Baqarah, 2:98].
 “ “Indeed actions are but by intention, and every man shall get what he intends.”

  • It must be done according to the Sunnah of the Messenger SAW. The proof of this is the statement of the Prophet SAW:
  •  “ “Whoever introduces something in this affair of ours [ie Islaam], then it will be
    rejected.”

    Then Allah continues:

      “And enjoin each other to the Truth.”

    This means da’wah, or calling others to Islaam. So it is not enough to have the
    correct beliefs and righteous actions. One must call to that.

    The Messenger SAW said:

     “ “Narrate from me even if it is an aayaah.”

    There are a number of conditions of da’wah:

    • Correct Intention:
    • As we mentioned earlier, every good deed must be founded upon a correct
      intention, due to the statement of the Prophet SAW:

       “ “Indeed actions are but by intention, and every man shall get what he intends.”

      Da’wah is not excluded from this.

    • Knowledge:
    • One must have knowledge of what he is calling to and how to call to it. Allah
      says:

        “Say [O Muhammad]: This is my path. I call to it UPON SURE KNOWLEDGE, I and those who follow me.”

    • Wisdom:
    • Allah says:

        “Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and a good admonition.”

      So we should be gentle at times, and harsh at other times. We should employ
      tadarruj [graduation] not giving all of Islaam at once.

      Da’wah can be of many types: with the pen by writing books, giving advice,
      giving speeches…

    • Practising what we preach:
    • Allah says:

        “O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do?”

    Allah completes the Surah by saying:

      “And enjoin others to having patience [Sabr].”

    There are three categories of Sabr:

    • Sabr in being obedient to Allah
    • Sabr against being disobedient to Allah
    • Sabr against the Qadr [predestination] of Allah, such as when calamities
      occur etc.

    So we ask Allah ta’aalaa to make us of those who have Iman, do righteous
    actions, call to that, and then have patience.

    And all Praises belong to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.

    (NOTE: If you want to build a strong and powerful relationship with Allah, check out Islamia TV, where you can watch Islamic speakers from across the globe deliver inspiring and motivational courses. Learn more at www.islamia.tv.)



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