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In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful. 

SURAH AL ASR 

By ABUBAKR KAROLIA

SOUTH AFRICA

South Africa, March 11, 2007

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By the late Afternoon (Asr), truly man is in loss (khus)–

Except for those who have Iman (faith) and do righteous actions (Amal e soleh)

And urge, enjoin, (tawasau) each other to the truth (bil Haqq) and

urge, enjoin (tawasau) each other to steadfastness, fortitude (sabr). [1]

 

The above Surah is the 103rd of the 114 Surah’s of the Noble Qur’an. It has three Verses and 16 Arabic words and letters. This Surah was revealed to the Prophet (S) in the earliest period of his Prophethood in Makkah.

This Surah is important for our renewal or keeps us on track as it beautifully explains in a focused and simple way the method that encapsulates the essence of the Divine Guidance. The Surah is an affectionate admonition to be careful and to watch ourselves in every aspect of our life in the condition of time or we could be humiliated or even ruined. As The Noble Qur’an is a message for all time, it serves as a guide for posterity and whenever we need assistance or help, especially when we have not utilized our time in life effectively.

Dr Asrar Ahmed [2] elucidates that there are many levels of understanding the Noble Qur’an. He emphasizes that the Noble Qur’an is implicit on fundamental truths and our human nature. He says that the Glorious Qur’an calls us to contemplate it (tazakkur bil Qur’an) and from this point of view it is the easiest of books to understand. He further mentions that the highest stage of contemplation of the Qur`anic verses has been termed (tadabbur bil Qur’an), which means reflecting and pondering over every word deeply, in order to understand the philosophy and the wisdom of the Noble Qur’an for our guidance and practice. In this sense it is the most difficult of books as it is not easy to attain the depth of its meaning.

According to Shaykh Ibn Ata’alla Iskandri (1309 C.E. d), the word (tazakkur) has a type of message and remembrance that refocuses the individual, when error or slip ups occur and with tremendous vibrancy and the speed of lightning returns one to the path of obedience and worship of the Creator because of the humble and correct realization of the error.

The Qur`anic concept words “tafakkur”- thinking and “tadabbur” - contemplation both has a purpose and realisation to achieve faith and acknowledgement of the Creator. The example of the Prophet’s (S) thinking (tafakkur) in the cave of Hira before his Prophethood was his basis towards faith (Iman) and the knowing of the Creator.

A prefential view that the Noble Qur’an was a totally open book for the Prophet (S) of Allah. He was the best exegete of the Noble Quran and he interpreted it in an appropriate and just manner. This was a reality due to the nature of his position as Habibullah – one who is loved foremost by Him. There is no human being that can be compared to the Rasul (S) in the manner that he conducted himself with the Creator.  The Noble Qur’an is guidance for mankind and it was revealed through the Prophet (S) by the Creator and therefore it is seen as a miracle of the Prophet (S). Therefore it can be said that all the verses of the Noble Qur’an can become clear according to one’s personal relationship with Creator.

As the Creator is Al-Alim and therefore all knowledge comes ultimately from Him. He has given humankind the faculty of “aql” – reason as a tool to establish the truth. The conditions that we must apply here is to reflect, contemplate, to think or to ponder on what the Glorious Qur’an is reminding, warning or guiding us to or the openings that we might experience by our focused courtesy towards it. As we ponder the meaning of the Noble Qur’an, we must attempt to unveil the outer and the inner meanings and a reflection on every word with deep study, courtesy and understanding for our guidance or assistance in life.

On careful study we find that this short Surah is a linguistic masterpiece, significant with wisdom, practical examples, deep meaning, caution and advice.

Imam Shafi (R) said that if people were to only reflect on Surah Al Asr, it was enough to guide humankind.

It is our intention to consider the following Qur`anic Arabic words that are relevant to hopefully unveil the outer and inner meaning of Surah Al Asr.

Wal Asr – by the token of time

Insan - human being

Khusr – loss

Iman - belief

Amal e soleh – righteous deeds

Tawasau – urge, enjoin, and persuade to take some actions

Al Haqq – the truth

Sabr – persevere

 

By the Token of Time and Humankind 

Firstly, Allah takes an oath by “time” that humankind will be at a lost if they do not secure conditions of this vow, which is to have faith (Iman), to do righteous deeds (amal e soleh), to encourage the truth (watawasau bil haqq) and urge each other to have fortitude (watawasau bis sabr) and the reason that time is important is to secure these four principles so that we will not fail in life or misunderstand its deeper meaning?

The Creator is guiding humankind in this Surah to show the necessary principles that we must live by and their necessary application for success at a basic level. It shows the minimum or foundational integrity that must be firmly established in the life of Muslims for subsequent higher development and growth. There is a constant urgency of practising these four principles with wisdom and understanding so that believers and humanity will not fail or face an utter loss during “their time” in life.

To apply these four principles correctly are actions that will represent a building block of a solid foundation to help develop the individual with the correct character and conduct, which will ultimately establish successful societies and nations that can be emulated in this life from one generation to the next.

The preliminary point of this Surah is to understand what time is and to realize its nature. We must understand the wisdom and the purpose of time and to learn how we can use it effectively for our progress, growth and development and not to fall prey to its negative characteristic of either wasting or spending it in vain, which can bring humankind to a loss.

The word “Asr”means absolute time – that means that before creation there was no time. The meaning of time became relevant after Allah “created” creation. We should not curse time as Allah created time. We should be aware of the guidance of this Surah and why we must practice the four principles in our lives and to study the reasons why time is pertinent to our loss, especially when we are disobedient to these principles.

The word “Asr” is mostly referred to the middle and afternoon prayer when we are caught up in the material world and become heedless to prioritise our commitment to our Creator for our spiritual development and growth. We become oblivious of our time that is a detriment to the innate value and nature of ourselves.

Yusuf Ali (1872- 1953) in his tafseer of this Surah comments that if we merely run a race against time, we will lose. It is the spiritual part of us that conquers time. [3]

Another Surah, 76 in the Noble Qur’an is called Dahr, which means time or man (Insan). This Surah explains that the word (dahr) is time as a whole, or for a long period. This title recalls a Pagan Arab idea that personified time as existing spontaneously from eternity to eternity and responsible for the misery or happiness of creation. They said and believed that nothing but time can destroy them. This attitude was wrong as time is a created thing and it has its mysteries, but it is no more eternal then matter. It is only relative to our conceptions and absolute as the renowned scientist Einstein [4] has proved. It is only Allah that is Self Subsisting and Eternal from the beginning and eternal to the end. We must not transfer His attribute to any figment of our imagination. [5]

Let us look at an example as to why we were at a lost by not using time effectively. When we study the history of the Muslims over the last 300 years and analyze our complacency in governance and general moral ethics within the guidance of the Noble Qur’an and the Prophetic (S) way, then we may understand why we lost our leadership and are in a certain state of confusion in the contemporary era.

We slowly and consistently became despotic, corrupt and did not keep up with relevant knowledge or sciences that were necessary to keep us ahead in the various fields of life. We lost our manner to govern justly, were not aware of our surroundings and our environment, our systems of education were redundant and mostly our character and behavior was far from the Divine teachings.

From the above example in history it can be deduced that humankind will be in loss, if time is not respected as a condition for an upright life and a responsibility for continuation with its various and vibrant courtesies and virtues that must consistently and continuously be in place. We have to know the harmony of the created world and various balances of cause and effect that will be the basis of our material, spiritual growth and development in our life.

Our journey is ongoing; it was from Heaven - from the life and experience of Adam (AS) and Bibi Hawa; then to the World and thereafter to the Hereafter. For a successful return all of our choices and actions must be within the synchronization of the Divine guidance and laws of the Creator who is All Merciful and Especially Compassionate.

The Sufis say that time is like a sword and if you do not cut it, it will cut you. If we do not utilize our time effectively for our real purpose in life that is to worship Allah with Ihsan – perfection, excellence and being fully aware of the conditions of nature then we will be the losers. For in the matter of time with undeniable complacency and denying the harmony of nature, we will inevitably bring ourselves to a loss. The meaning of worship must be clear in our minds so that we apply the full spectrum of created laws to establish the love of Allah within the boundaries of the Divine Laws. We must be careful in this regard so that we do not establish these Divine Laws with the harshness of our lower nature, but to ensure that we establish them by emulating the character of our Beloved Prophet (S) who was a “Mercy for all the Worlds”.

Therefore, as time is a created thing it remains within the harmony of creation and thus in total courtesy to the Creator.  We did not understand the harmony of creation and the laws pertaining to it. Our definitions were based on our negative desires and thus slowly eroded our position. We must constantly ensure our vibrancy and be in full respect to our Creator in this world and only then will our humble creative submission take care of our well-being and lead us to the next world.

Our vigilance, choices and conduct in life must be consistent, effective, joyful, and reflective and humble as a “middle people” that are fully aware that the world must be “under our feet or in our hand, but not in our hearts”. With this higher behavior, to be fully conversant and acquainted with all the necessary tools and sciences that are available to appreciate the blessing of this world for the Love of the Creator, then can we make this journey of life with a solid purpose to the next with hopeful expectation and in awe of the Lord of the Heavens and Earth.

 

Iman and Humankind 

The Arabic word Insan is from “uns”, i.e. to be familiar with other humans as we are essentially social beings because we like to be in groups. We have the ability to think, to talk and to act. Communication, thinking and contemplation distinguish us from other creation. As we are also forgetful, it is beneficial to be reminded. Because we are social beings, we require laws that will ensure that we do not create havoc or disorder in the world. It is essential that we know the nature of the self that will result in creating an inner and outer harmony for our selves and the world. This is one of the main reasons that Allah constantly Guides us so that we will always inculcate the value and form of the Divine Guidance in our lives.

Initially our consciousness grows naturally but with maturity the second phase of consciousness kicks in. This level of consciousness must be aware that the Lower nafs must become accountable to the Ruh.  We are to differentiate our lower ego and the Ruh so that we purify our hearts and thus ourselves. We have trust in Allah and learn how to live in the world so that we know all its tricks. The guide is the Way of Islam so that we are harmonized with its guidance and thus in harmony with creation. We must understand these priorities so that we achieve a positive result for the World and After Life.

This Surah was revealed in the early period of the Prophet’s (S) Prophethood to establish the aspect of faith (Iman). This is a cardinal factor that is essential for the development and strengthening of the early Muslim community. The Arabic word Iman is derived from “aman” meaning peace. To understand its literal meaning is to have trust, security, and safety or to testify to this belief. The literal meaning of faith (Iman) is to provide peace and tranquility.

The Islamic essentials of faith (Iman) are to believe and testify that there is one God – Allah, to believe in his Angels; His Books; His Prophets; Predestination and the Last Day. Faith (Iman) has two aspects and these are to testify verbally and to have a certainty in one’s heart with righteousness and appropriate action.

With strong faith (Iman), Muslims anxiety must disappear to achieve inner peace and contentment. This state of inner peace and contentment is to understand the nature of the self and the dark zone of our lower ego that gives anxiety, anger, greed, etc, and the zone of the Ruh (Nafs al Mutma’inna) that gives contentment, joy, constant happiness and certainty. According to our choices we will sow what we reap in our behavior and condition.

There is a wonderful saying of the Rasul (S) that illustrates this point concisely and advices to live in this World as if we will live forever and to live for the Hereafter – (Akhira) as if we will die tomorrow. What this means is to do the best and excel in the World for the sake of Allah and have trust and faith (Iman) in Him. To work anxiously for the Hereafter as we may leave this world any second. We must be humble, having no fear - ready to stay or ready to go. Always doing our actions with perfection from this world to the Hereafter.

There is a subtle meaning to this Hadith, that if we work as if we will live forever then we must realize that we have all the time on our hands to postpone all worldly accumulation as we can do that whenever it is necessary. So therefore, we must use time effectively and responsibly for a joyous and contented life for our success.

From the message of the Noble Qur’an it is clear that there are four sources of faith (Iman). First to reflect, to think – (taffakkur) about Allah and His creation; second, to know Allah through His Beautiful Names and Attributes; third, to be obedient to the Creator, (taa’aa) and finally to avoid disobedience to Him – (maasiyah).

The above examples of thinking and contemplation are excellent tools to improve ones condition of faith (Iman) , as the Beautiful Names of Allah makes us aware of His Beauty (Al-Jamal) and Majesty (Al-Jalal) of the Creator and in particular His Uniqueness. And, our reflection and contemplation of the Heavens and Earth brings us closer to the Creator and His Greatness and Wonderful Mercy and a hopeful awareness of the Blessings from the Creator for our use with total responsibility and awe.

By the action of cognition, thinking (tafakkur) on Allah’s creation, we must always be aware of our surroundings and be guided by our humility, clarity, discipline and alert thoughts. We will always consider the magnificence of our Creator and ask the question as to, “which of His bounties can we deny?” (See Surah 55, Al Rahman).

Our correct humility and conduct will eventually teach us to have an alert mind with a reflective, pure and tranquil heart. Once we are aware of our courtesy to the Creator then we can strengthen our Iman – faith by conducting righteous deeds and avoiding disobedience that will bring about a consciousness of the Creator, His creations and the Nature of the self. [6]

It was in this way that the Prophet (S) spent his vigils in the Cave of Hira near the outskirts of Makkah. He made (tafakkur) – reflected and meditated on his situation beyond the social, economic and political order of the Meccan society and appreciated the wonderment of creation and the pristine idea of monotheistic belief and harmony.

Allah found him in need and at the perfect moment guided and chose him to be the Final Messenger of the Creator. Taffakkur – contemplation, reflections leads to Iman – belief as its first condition and the secret is between Allah and the slave – abd.

Two basic components of Iman are patience, fortitude (Sabr) and gratitude (Sukr). These stations teaches us to establish good character in our life’s journey, to be patient in difficult times and during good times to be grateful and to demonstrate respect for Divine favors.

It was the basis of such initial Surah’s that established the Islamic message and developed the Prophet (S) and his companions to later become the best generation of Muslims.

From the above explanation we can appreciate why the Companions of the Prophet (SAW) used to meet one another and only depart until one of them recited Surah Wal Asr to the other and they bid peace upon one another. [7]  They did not want to forget or become heedless of the essential and foundational message of Islam.

We need Surah Wal Asr as a foundation for our lives as the following 10 things can take us away from the belief (Iman) of our Creator:

Old age

Poverty

Extreme wealth

Negative desires

Arrogance

Pride

Sickness

Death

Darjaal

Qiyamah - The Last Day.

  

Righteous Deeds and Actions

To perform righteous deeds (amal e soleh) with sincerity (ikhlas) is an antidote against anxiety and distress. It develops a relationship with the Creator by worshipping Him and serving Humankind. It establishes contentment through faith (Iman) and shows a vibrant method to extend sincerity (ikhlas).  There are about four hundred Ayahs’ on amal e saleh – Righteous actions and deeds that show us the importance of this principle of Surah al Asr. Amal e soleh makes one appreciate our humanness, our humanity and our correct behavior towards creation.

Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri a renowned Auliya, an author many books and a teacher [8] said that there is a notion that if one is kind to others then they will be kind to you. That is why in the desert there is a hundred percent generosity because they cannot tell when they may need help in that environment, which can be treacherous, so they learnt to approach their worship of the Creator with the correct courtesy.

The Prophet (S) was asked to give a simple meaning of Islam and he explained that one must have faith (Iman) in Allah and serve Humankind. This is beautiful combination of faith (Iman) and ensuring appropriate righteous actions (amal e soleh) for the benefit of the individual and others.

When transacting a good action (amal e soleh) we must have the ingredients of sincerity, truthfulness and with the love of Allah will enhance the inner and the higher in us for our personal well-being. When we extend this action collectively then it helps establish a collective Blessing. This collective reciprocation becomes a community that is well meaning and the Blessings are a measure and useful by good character and behavior.

We must wish for others what you wish for ourselves. Believers should be as brothers and sisters to each other. The purpose of doing good and righteous deeds (amal e soleh) is to enhance the individual and thus the family, the community, the nation. To establish and fulfil modesty and courage in our conduct and to achieve wisdom for justice with mercy. These characteristics can only be established when we have a unity of purpose that is to know ourselves for the love of the Creator.

Faith (Iman) and righteous deed (amal e Soleh) are two personal elements that are specific for the self. The individual must engage in them and not be at a loss. We will now deal with the next two levels that are applied at a social, political and economic level.  

 

Urging and Enjoining the Truth 

They are to urge, enjoin each other to the truth (watawasau bil Haqq) and urge, enjoin each other to persevere, to be patient, to have fortitude (watawasau bis’ sabr). The word (tawasau) is a unique word and it’s about taking action with sincerity, urging and encouraging each other to establish a collective truth, justice and social order for good leadership and governance in all our dealings and behaviour. In other words to establish a mutual reciprocity and equity, for the well being of all.

The best of relationship between two people is based on mutual exhortation, (tawasau). Tawasau is encouraging each other, advising each other and its character is correct behaviour with the appropriate action for the love of the Creator. Haqq, is to preach virtue and to stay away from vice. The Ihsan of Ihsan is Tawasau, and the best of tawasau is making dawah - propagation.  The best favour you can do for your fellow man is to help him or her by making them aware of the message of Islam as their and our salvation without judgement or arrogance.

A story that explains the behaviour of tawasau, is when AbuBakr Siddiq’s was seen crying as his father finally accepted Islam. When asked why, he said “I know it would have given more joy to the Prophet (S) if his uncle AbuTalib had accepted Islam before he died.  I would rather he had accepted Islam then my own father” This example shows AbuBakr Siddiq’s sincere love for the Prophet (S), as his joy meant more to him then his own joy at his father becoming Muslim. His thoughts and courtesy was so sensitive towards other people’s happiness that when he achieved happiness he was sad that the other person should have hopefully accomplished a better result in their situation.

After looking at the word tawasau, we can expect to understand our commitment to the Haqq - truth. Because the words Al Haqq is Allah, as it is one of His Fairest Names, which we know Him by. Haqq is also the truth of accepting and knowing the Creator. As He is the essence of Truth and all basic truth’s emanates from His Reality, we can then understand the nature of all other truths?

Allah bestows His Mercy (Rahma) and love (Hubb) on humankind. We can appreciate these states by being an abd – servant to Him. To inculcate a relationship of (Rubbubiyya), His lordship and (Ubudiyah) as His bondsman – abd. This is the relationship taught to us by the Noble Qur’an, The Prophet (S) of Islam and the Friends (Auliya) of Allah.

Then there is relative truth of honesty, moral ethics, and justice etc in our everyday lives. To be truthful to Allah as AbuBakr Siddique (R) showed himself as a most sincere companion to the Prophet (S). Therefore accepting Haqq is the heart of the Din of Islam.

Let us look closely at the Qur`anic concepts of (Ma’ruf) and (Munkar) from the Noble Qur’an.

Too enjoin the Ma’ruf - good righteous actions of Islam is what is known from “arafa”- to know, what is known is good, it’s in the open, everything known is in the light.

And forbid the Munkar - evil forbidden actions, denial, evil; to work in the dark; deception, hidden agendas.  Now it is evil that is out in the open. Now goodness is hidden, and evil is blatantly in your/our face.

The opposite of truth (Haqq) is falsehood and deception (Batil). The very first act of Haqq and Batil was between Adam (AS) and Shaytan and Haqq lost out. Shaytan watches very closely and is an avowed enemy of humankind and works on the weakest link to defeat us from our submission and worship of Allah.  He is aware that within our nature, there are weak lower egos of the bestial self (Nafs Al Amarah bis’ su) and the reproachful self (Nafs al Lawwama) so that he can whisper and distract us from the obedience of Allah. When we study the Noble Qur’an we can be guided by its wisdom and protect ourselves from Shaytan insinuations by perfecting and purifying our character towards a tranquil and contented self. (Nafs al Mutma’inna). [9]

Shaytan noticed that Adam (AS) was reverential of the Angels and told him that if he ate from the forbidden tree, he could be like one of them and therefore live forever. Shaytan sensitively took advantage of Adam’s (AS) desire and misled him. Adam (AS) did not differentiate between Haqq and Batil and thus was unable to challenge Shaytan. Thus we also have to be careful that if we are unable to or deliberately do not differentiate between these two opposites then by the token of time we will be at a loss.

We must know that the self must purify itself to be in the presence of Allah so that the submissive worshipper is in the domain of the Creator. This state and station is reached by knowing oneself is to know Allah.[10] This position can be achieved by closely following the Noble Quran and the Prophets (S) conduct with Ihsan – beauty. The way not to lose to Shaytan is to develop and establish states and stations that are always in the presence of Allah in mind, body heart and soul. The Prophet (S) achieved such states and stations of a groomed human being, who was not vulnerable to Shaytan’s or other distracting forces.

He was known as the “Walking Qur’an” because he lived and practised its guidance obediently and in total submission to Allah – which was the ultimate and only objective in his lives as it should be ours. His character was a perfect example of moral and ethical excellence and bravely and patiently suffered all the suffering and tribulations, persecutions and oppression of his opponents. He fulfilled these fundamentals principles of faith and righteous deeds to perfection and spent 23 years in the untiring struggle, advocating the Haqq - truth and declaring the magnificence and splendour of Allah.

We must always remember that the first Haqq is Allah. The relative haqq’s are then to be practised to worship Him and gain His love and Affection. In a Hadith Qudsi [11], Allah tells us that the entire universe cannot contain Him, but a heart of a practising believer – Mu’min can.

The first three people that believed in Allah after the Prophet (S) of Islam during his Prophethood was his wife, Bibi Khadija (RA) and from the young children, Hadrat Ali (R) and from the Adult males was AbuBakr Siddiq (R).

So, “itteba” is to follow the truth – Haqq by concluding and conducting our Ibadah –worship, of Salah – prayer, Saum - fasting, seeking knowledge and engaging in muamalaat – good deeds and giving people their rights. This means that we must firstly, honour our responsibilities and duties to Allah and thereafter to the people and then to all creation.

A measure of Haqq will be a measure of truth against ourselves. The Hadith of our beloved Rasul (S) reminds us that when we see oppression we must first, eradicate it physically and thereafter with our tongue and last with our heart, i.e. to mentally reject it as bad, and that is the lowest form of our Iman.

The highest witnessing of the Haqq is speaking out in the face of a tyrant. Very few can stand up to this type of Haqq.  The opposite of it is lies, falsehood (kadhib) and many people are proficient in this.  Lying is a major characteristic of a Hypocrite.

The major characteristics of hypocrites (munafiqeen) are that they lie when they talk; do not keep their promises; are dishonest when they are entrusted with something; abuses and gets violent or wild in a dispute.

We must be vigilant to ensure that we do not promote hypocrisy, arrogance, stubbornness, denial of the Creator, associating a partner with him or to be proud about ourselves. We must promote Haqq and not invent innovation (bid’a) in the worship of the Creator but to be within The Qur’an and the Prophetic Way.

Our haqq is weak when evil is strong. When we allow this state of affairs, it establishes an atmosphere of evil, that promotes disbelieve, anxiety, confusion, erratic behaviour and a collective mood of loss. From this explanation we can understand why the aura and the energy of the contemporary world are in such an ill condition. So verily by the token of time humankind will be at a loss with this sort of negative behaviour.

There is strong saying that encapsulates the essence of evil: ‘All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing’. [12]

 

Urging and Enjoining each other with Patience 

Finally, the Surah Al Asr urges each other to Sabr - patience. In this regard the Prophet of Islam (S) was the most patient and the other Prophets as Ayub (AS), Yakub (AS) etc, also demonstrated beautiful examples of this state.

As mentioned earlier that Iman – faith has two branches, one is to be thankful (shukr) to Allah and the other is to be patient (sabr). Patience, fortitude (sabr) is needed during three states of affairs. Firstly, during, tribulation (bala), second, during obedience (taa’aa) as fasting etc and thirdly, during disobedience (maasiyah), abstaining from sin, when evil glitters around you.

Allah is Al Sabur – the Most Patient with His creation, Jinn (entities created from smokeless fire) and Insaan (mankind), He gave them free will and they need to reflect on this trust – amanah so that they will not be at a loss.

When finally in Jannah, the people of thankfulness (shukr) will see what the people of patience, fortitude (sabr) receive, and it will make them wish that they could return to earth, suffer the indignities of having their bodies cut up in pieces with a pair of scissors, so that they too can earn that infinite reward of the people of patience, fortitude (sabr). So we increase our sabr by fasting. Ramadan is the month of Taqwa (to achieve a cautious awareness and consciousness of the Creator) and Sabr (patience, fortitude). The two states go hand in hand.

Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri in his ta’wil of Surah wal Asr elucidates that patience is like eating a bitter aloe. One does not like this condition as it can be tough on the self. Another description of patience is like a hard ground where nothing grows. The Shaykh further advises us and perhaps in a most poignant, erudite and moving view on how not to be at a loss by the token of time, is to be in the zone of non-time and non-space. He said that to solve the paradox of time is go beyond time.

We must accept that the Ruh contains all the energy bands. The Ruh is timeless and it lives forever. So when we access timelessness, which is the Ruh within us then time will not concern us. We access this zone of foreverness for ourselves, by ourselves, unto the higher self. It is Allah that is in this zone and we can achieve this state by purifying our character as a tranquil self in His worship and total submission. We must achieve a total courtesy – adab for the Love of Allah by perfecting our worship and our behaviour by living in the state of Ihsan – beauty and perfection, i.e. knowing that we worship Allah as if He sees us and if we do not see Him, know that He sees us.

So by the token of time we are at a loss because we did not keep in touch with the nature of the self and the harmony of creation. To know what is our nature is the bases of our progress, change and a courtesy to our future. The darker side of our lower ego misleads us through our desire, greed and negative behavior. The secret is that the self must be unified with the Ruh and the only thing that one must hear and acknowledge is when Allah proclaims that, “Am I not your Lord” and one submits and one testifies to Him that He is our Lord (Rabb).

With a firm commitment to know ourselves and a resolution to follow the message of Surah Wal Asr, sets up a solid foundation for our development, well-being and personal growth within Islam.

Finally, it is important to note and to keep in mind that although, by the token of time humankind can find themselves at a loss, it is also by the same token of time they can also revive themselves; by returning to the method or formula of Surah Wal Asr - by appreciating and practising the four principles of Iman –faith; Amal e soleh – righteousness and good deeds with sincerity; enjoin each other to haqq -  truth and to be in Sabr – patience, correctly as a basis of their worship and using time correctly as a foundation for change from decadence and anomie [13] from our bad conduct, arrogance and pride and not to be heedless.

This positive aspect and guidance of this Surah is to appreciate and practice its timeless wisdom. So when we are at a loss, we can achieve success by correcting our courtesy and behavior in every field of worship and for the love of the Creator ensuring perfection with knowledge, wisdom and practice.

When we establish these timeless wisdoms as our foundation that is solid, then that building will be an example that will be emulated by humankind as a success story of humility, contentment, vibrancy, creativity, justice and beauty. And then to keep it that way with constant vigilance, appropriate action, and in harmony with the self from this World to the Next.

May Allah keep and guide us on the “straight path” with Surat Wal Asr as our foundation for our forgiveness, humbleness, renewal and revival.

AbuBakr Karolia

South Africa

 

Acknowledgement:

Br Moin Haddad

Br Abdul Huck Karolia

 

Bibliography:

The Way to salvation in the light of Surah Al Asr – By Dr Asrar Ahmed – speech delivered at Aitchison College, Lahore

The Beams of Illumination and the Divine Revelation – Juz Amma – Tafseer and Ta’wil by Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri

The Holy Qur’an translation and Commentary by Abdullah Yusuf Ali

The Noble Qur'an – A new rendering of its meaning in English, By Abdalhaqq & Aisha Bewley

http://www.wefound.org/texts/Qur'an_and_Sunnah_files/Wal-Asr.htm

 

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[1] The Noble Qur'an – A new rendering of its meaning in English, By Abdalhaqq & Aisha Bewley – pg 632 -1999

[2] The Way to salvation in the light of Surah Al Asr – By Dr Asrar Ahmed – speech delivered at Aitchison College, Lahore

[3] The Holy Qur’an, translation and commentary by A Yusuf Ali – page 1783 note 6262

[4] (1879-1955) - Einstein contributed more than any other scientist to the modern vision of physical reality. His special and general theories of relativity are still regarded as the most satisfactory model of the large-scale universe that we have.

[5] The Holy Qur’an, translation and commentary by A Yusuf Ali-page 1654, 1655

[6] To know your self is to know Allah, By AbuBakr Karolia – http://www.nuradeen.com/contributions/Abubakr.htm

[7] http://www.lutonmuslims.co.uk/tafsirasr1.htm [Awsat al-Tabarâni (5124) and Shu`ab al-Îmân (8639)]

[8] Writer of many books and the founder of the Academy of Self Knowledge (ASK) – http://www.askonline.co.za

[9] Cosmology of the Self By Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri

[10] To know yourself is to know Allah – http://www.nuradeen.com/contributions/Abubakr.htm

[11] A Hadith Qudsi is the spoken word of Allah as expressed by our Beloved Rasul.

[12] This saying attributed to Edmund Burke.

[13] Social instability: instability in society caused by the erosion or abandonment of moral and social codes; social alienation: a feeling of disorientation and alienation from society caused by the perceived absence of a supporting social or moral framework.

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