In the name of Allah the most Beneficent ,the Most Merciful .Im about to share my 1st Lesson from the Course “stair way to Heaven ” Instructed by our respected teacher Dr.Yousaf Raza .it was “Surah Al-Asr” taught to us on 18th February,2014.
Before going into details lets study the background of this Chapter.
1.Its a Makki surah (It revealed onto Mohammad S.A.W in Makkah).
2. One of the earliest revelations of the Quran.
3.One of the Shortest Chapters of the Quran.
4. The most profound and most Comprehensive Surah of the Quran regarding the Salvation .
5. COmpanions of Prophet didnt depart each other’s company without reciting Surah Al-Asr to each other.
6.Imam Shafi : If only this Surah were Revealed, it would have been sufficient for the guidance of Mankind.
7.It Consists of 3 Verses, But Consists of 1 Sentence (or at Max 2 Sentences) .
1. By the time ,
2. Indeed Human is in Loss .
3. Except those who bring Faith andDo righteous deeds and Join together in the Mutual Teachings of Truth and of Patience and Constancy.
In 1st verse Allah is swearing . and in Quran swearing and Oath are used in the context of Witnessing. and In Arabic when word “Al” is connected to any Noun “Al-noun” it means the all the kinds of that noun. So here “Asr (Time)” is the Noun. and word “Al” is linked to it ” Al-Asr” . meaning every time. all the time.what ever time it is. So Allah is swearing from the creation of the time to its end.
“Inna “ means indeed /Verily . Word “Insan “ is used here which is often translated as Human but in Arabic “Insan “ means the one who is forgetful. and every human is forgetful. Then the word “Al” is connected to “Insan” as “Al-Insan”,Which means all types of Human, From Adam to the end of human race, i.e including rich,poor,small,short,black,blonde,white, American,Arab,Asian etc all humans. the word “La ” is used here to put the emphasis. “khusr “ means Loss. So All sorts of human are in Loss.
Verse 1+Verse 2 :
by the time, since the birth of the time, be it good time,bad time, happy time,sad time or what ever time it is,and what ever kind of human it is ,human is in loss. What ever age you belong to ,what ever race you are from , you are in Loss. and why are you in Loss ? because of time , which is fleeing. “Asr” is used for something which cant be retrieved.if its lost then its lost for ever. Each and every second time is passing by, we cannot stop it. So Allah is making something Witness to our Loss which is itself the cause of our Loss.
Example by Imam Shafiee : just like a person selling Ice, the time is melting the ice, the more time passes by the more ice turns into water. The person got to sell his ice asap before the ice turns into water and of no use to him.
a.Lesson :just like the time and ice , our lives are the same. The time the whole ice is melt into water is our life.
imagine a person followed by a lion, the person runs to save himself and saw a well, he jumps into the well and hold on to the rope. Beneath the well there is a Snake so person cant go down. above the well is the Lion waiting for him to come out of the well. So the man holds on to the rope and waits for the lion to go away. Meanwhile the two rats ,one is black and one is white, starts eating the rope from the top.1st the Black one bites then the white one bites and so on.So now the Man is worried,Lion is not going away,snake is beneath there.and two rats are eating the rope.He finds a beehive and honey is coming out of it. he puts his finger in the hive and tastes the honey.It tastes delicious. So he again does the same and tastes it bit more. when he does it for the 3rd time the rats are done with the rope and the person fells down in the bottom of the well ,where the snake is waiting for him.
In this example person is You and I. Lion is the death, Snake is the grave, length of rope is our limited life. Black and white rats are Night and the day. And the honey are the disillusion and entertainment of the worldly life. We are so Deluded by worldly entertainment that we forget about our death. and we are busy tasting the honey .
except those who bring faith and do righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.
Criteria of Survival :
In this worldly life every one aims to achieve certain things to be a Succesfull. A kid will want to have candies , toys, play-station/xbox and friends around him . A student will want to have a Iphone/samsung galaxy ,a car , good grades . A man will want to have a Good job ,a good home, a car and a beautiful wife. every one has his criteria of success.
But here in this Surah the criteria of Success is not mention but the Criteria of Survival is Mention. The word “Wa” is used which means ” And ” after each characteristic word “and ” is used, Meaning you cannot achieve survival unless you follow all the 4 qualities. You cannot be only a Believer,and only being a Believer cant safe you from hell fire. Or You become a believer and do good deeds and neglect other 2 qualities and hope that you will be saved from hell. Well then Hell No . In Order to be saved from hell you must have to follow all the 4 mention qualities.
Bring faith and do good deeds and tell others the truth and bear patience , only then you will be saved from Hell.
we think that if we will have a large no of army, numerous slaves, dozens of beautiful wives, and uncountable wealth and power we are successful. But Pharaoh (Firon) had all of them, was he successful ? in fact he was one of the greatest losers.
And Imagine a Person who is exiled from his home land, his own parents are against him, he is sleeping on the streets,he is a total failure right ? the example of that man in reality is Prophet Ibhrahim A.S .who was exiled from his own country, his father turned against him. But is he a Failure in eyes of God ? No ! he is one of the most successful human.
A person coming to home and asking his wife “what did you cook today for lunch ? ” and his wife is saying ” nothing because you didn’t bring anything to cook ” .and that person stays hungry. He and his family starves for several days . Again that person will be a failure in our eyes, but in reality that Person was Our Prophet Mohammad (Pbuh) .
Lesson : The criteria of Success is not having a luxury life,fame ,money and power. it is the criteria of success for the worldly life, the criteria of Survival of the hereafter is different, its your faith and good deeds and telling others to do right and having patience.
Example (its from Noman Ali Khan’s Illustrations of Surah Al-Asr) :
Imagine there are prisoners tied by chains and are caged in a sailing ship.At time of night the ship got hit by the rock and wrecked into pieces. And all the prisoners who are tied to each-other by chains were sleeping and now they are drowning into the water. what will be the 1st thing they have to do for their survival ? its “Wake Up” ,open up your eyes.compared to Surah Al-Asr “waking up ” is bringing faith/ Believing( open up your eyes) . Now will “waking up” be enough for them ? No. They got to Swim to save their selves from drowning.When compared to Surah Al-Asr it is “Doing good deeds “. will Swimming be enough for them to save their lives ? No . Because there are other prisoners tied to them with chains and they are sleeping and drowning. Each individual prisoner has to go and wake up the sleeping prisoner and tell him to swim with him . Which is “enjoining others to the Truth ” in Surah Al-Asr . if the drowning prisoner says go to hell, let me sleep or let me die, will that stop the one who is trying to wake up others ? no because he knows that if he stops waking up others and telling them to swim , then he will drown along with them because he is tied to them with chains. So he must bear patience and keep on trying , if he can convince others to join him, only then he can save him self.
Surah Al-Asr is a Life time Lesson. And we are no different than the prisoners tied to each other with chains in a sailing ship. We usually recite Surah Al-Asr in our Prayers because it is one of the shortest chapter of Quran and We forget that this surah it self is telling us we are running out of time.
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Special thanks to Dr.Yousaf Raza for making his time and coming to Peshawar from Islamabad and teaching us the Life time Lesson. And to Ustad Noman Ali Khan for his efforts in explaining this surah in Illustrations Lesson’s . May Allah bless both of them with more knowledge of the Quran and give us all the heart and courage to implement on the Lessons from Quran.
Ameen Allahuma Ameen.