1- By time, Indeed,
2- mankind is in loss,
3- Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience. (Al-Asr 1-3);
I recently listened to a beautiful explanation of Surah Al-Asr by brother Nauman from (Alabayyinah Institute) and really wanted to share some points in my own words that deeply touched me. Most of us have already memorized this short Surah by heart and recite it every now and then during our Salah, but don’t always reflect upon the deep and comprehensive wisdom behind its message. Allah(SWT) is addressing to humanity after swearing by the “passing time” that every one among us is at loss unless he does the 4 actions that are prescribed for him. We have to keep in mind that these all 4 actions bonded together are the bare minimum for us to simply save ourselves from being thrown into hell fire or in other words just obtaining the passing marks in the test of this life(slightly above the F grade). By following these 4 essential steps, we are infect just getting to the point from where we can excel to the real success by striving for the paradise and then even go beyond by attaining its higher levels or academically speaking, raise ourselves to the better grades of C, B and A respectively.
Most of the humanity is unconscious of the reality of this life and hence ends up wasting their entire time while living in a fantasy world with material goals and objectives as their primary reason of existence. Just to better explain this idea, visualize a person who is lying in middle of a lake in an unconscious state. What would be the first thing that should happen to him so he could survive? Naturally he has to gain consciousness followed by the rest of the efforts that would eventually get him over to the land. As per the first action mentioned in Al-Asr, with the help of our Imaan (believe in Allah’s(SWT) oneness, the angels, the books, the messengers, the day of judgment and the destiny), our unconscious state is broken which is nothing but a precursor to making effort towards our ultimate goal of survival from the hell fire. If this drowning person, after gaining his conscious state, ignores the current situation simply because he was in the middle of a really fancy dream and tries to go back to sleep instead of making struggle to save himself from drowning, his loss will be imminent just like a person without Imaan on the day of judgment.
The 2nd action mentioned in Al-Asr is an emphasis towards doing good deeds (Amal-e-Saleh) which could be equated with trying to swim towards the land. However, as soon as that person begins his struggle he finds out that he is chained with other unconscious people who are somehow related to him e.g. his wife, kids, parents, cousins, uncles, aunts, friends etc. The next logical step he would require to take for his own survival is to wake up those who are chained with him, explain to them the gravity of the situation and that they are all going to die unless they help each other. This can be equated to the 3rd action mentioned in Al-Asr (Watawasau-Bil-Haq) which is to advice each other of the truth. Just like that drowning person doesn’t have the luxury or choice of not to make effort for waking up the others chained to him for his own survival, a Muslim doesn’t have a choice but to constantly advice others about the truth and make every last effort to bring them on the straight path to Allah(SWT) in the foot steps of our beloved Prophet (SAW).
Suppose if one of the person in the chained group gives up due to this tough situation, everyone will have to drag his body to the shore and in that effort they may end up drowning all together. Hence everyone of them, in addition to making effort, has to constantly reassure every other person in the group that if they work together they will surely make it to the shore. Just like that, the Muslim Ummah is a single unit and hence every individual Muslim is to help out the other Muslim belonging to the circle of his community, family and friend not only by preaching the truth but also by strengthening each other emotionally in thick in thin by constant reassurances and reminders of the Allah’s(SWT) promises and help which is what the 4th and last part of our required effort is about according to Al-Asr (Watawasau-Bis-Sabr) . We Muslims not only have to make others recognize the truth but also constantly advice and help each other to be persistent and patient amongst all the worldly calamities and tests they we will be subjected to during this life.
In essence, if an individual doesn’t perform his duty till his last breath as prescribed in Surah Al-Asr, he will fail to achieve the bare minimum required to survive on the day of judgment since the lack of any of the 4 actions will surely undermine his chances of success.
May Allah(SWT) help us not only to achieve this bare minimum mentioned in Surah Al-Asr but achieve beyond that, save us from the torments of hell fire and make us among the righteous ones. Ameen!