Sura Al Asr : A miraculous epitome of Quranic Essence

Sura Al-Asr is the 103rd sura of Holy Quran and it contains 3 ayats. It is one of the shortest suras in Quran, however despite its length, it’s meaning is immensely deep, thus we can safely call it a semantic miracle to mention such a deep “hidayat”(the right path) with only three short ayats. It is like the epitome of the whole Quranic message.

It briefly sums up the whole system that Islam brings to mankind and describes the current state of humanity at point blank by then, which also prudently paints the big picture of the very century we live in today. Sura Al-Asr also simply guides the Islam ummah into the right way and instructs them how to stay on focus.

The literary structure of the sura is so simple and so easy to remember that it is almost like a foreshadowing to mankind where century after century humanity will create non-heavenly systems but all of them will fail. This is just because humanity is in vain even to remember such “short yet effective” suggestions depicted in Sura Al-Asr.

It starts with an oath to “Asr” which can mean both time, ages, century and era, depending on the context. By opening of the sura with the mention of “time” it reads like token that this sura is “timeless” and will endure all kind historical and social changes. Whichever direction humanity might take, the contents of the Sura Al-Asr will remain valid.

The essential suggestions are based on four characteristics of a Muslim, a)faith, b)amal-i saleeh(good deeds), c)suggesting “Hakk” to each other in any society d)suggesting “Sabr” to each other anytime, anywhere.

Hakk means “divine justice” in a broad sense and sabr simply means “patience”, enduring all sorts of situations by knowing that everything can be a test from Allah(j.j)

The perfect Islamic society should be composed of such individuals whom constantly live with the knowledge that the mundane achievements or humanity, no matter how successful and flashy they might seem from outside can not help to paint the core-truth, the core-truth that humanity is at a loss unless they stick to their faith, which is characterized by two simple suggestions: Divine justice and Endurance.

The shortness of this sura is like a crystal-clear answer to wash away every excuse “not to forget” such an important suggestion.

By (the Token of) Time (through the ages),

Verily Man is in loss,

Except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy. (Sura A-Asr 103/1-3)

We suggest to have a look at the Arabic wording of the sura instead of the English translation and ponder on how it miraculously summarized the whole situation the humanity has been in and is still in and reminds us the remedy for the very spiritual diseases that clothe mankind in modern world.


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