وَٱلْعَصْرِ By the time! إِنَّ ٱلْإِنسَـٰنَ لَفِى خُسْرٍ Indeed Mankind is in Loss. إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ وَعَمِلُوا۟ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا۟ بِٱلْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا۟ بِٱلصَّبْرِ Except those who have faith, do good, and urge each other to the truth, and urge each other to perseverance. [Surah Al-Asr | Verse 1 to 3]
It is clear to us that anything Allah SWT swears by in the Qur’an is a huge matter. In the time of the Rasulullah(SAW), beginning with an oath was a method to draw the attention of the listener. And in this surah, we see the general state of mind of humanity. We are in a state of loss, failure, and this Dunya itself is only an amusement.
As humans, our real existence is based on “Time” and whenever a day passes, one part of your life and existence does pass away. which is why it is very important we use our time in this Dunya wisely.
In the first part of the last verse, Allah SWT says: “إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟” (Except those who believe). Now we see hope! No matter how lazy, inefficient, unproductive, or powerless you feel you are. As long as you strive to live and die as a Muslim your life will not be a complete waste of time. So, never stop striving even if you feel weak do not give up it’ll come to a point where all these will make sense.
Is believing enough?
Now the second half of the last ayah, Allah SWT says: “وَعَمِلُوا۟ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ” (and do righteous deeds). Surely we all know just being a believer isn’t enough. You have to put in the work, and face our chosen test. Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an that:
“Do the people think that they will be left to say, "We believe" and they will not be tried?” “But We have certainly tried those before them, and Allah will surely make evident those who are truthful, and He will surely make evident the liars.” [Surah Ankabut | Verse 2 & 3]
So just because we say believe isn’t enough. We have to face and pass our tests and do righteous deeds. These righteous deeds include all the great acts of worship in Islam which encompass every possible beneficial use of your time: prayer, supplication, charity, helping the poor, defending the weak, excellence in dealings, and so on.
An Example of a Righteous Deed
In the last words of the Surah, Allah SWT says: “وَتَوَاصَوْا۟ بِٱلْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا۟ بِٱلصَّبْرِ” (and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience). And this right here is one of the most important examples of righteous deeds.
Hasan al-Basri, one of the greatest scholars in Islamic history. Is reported to have had this inspiration about Surah al-‘Asr. On a hot day, on a street of Baghdad, he heard an ice-seller exclaim: “O people! Have mercy on one whose capital is melting away.” Sheikh al-Hasan al-Basri made an immediate connection with time. He said just as the ice-seller would make a loss if his capital melted away. A man, in general, will make a loss in life if we allow our capital to melt away. Our capital is the time we have been blessed with in this Dunya. And in Surah Al-Asr Allah reminds us about how if we misuse our time(our Capital we’ve made al-Khusr (a tremendous loss).
Our Time is Limited
This life you see is merely a short rest stop on your journey to the Hereafter. So, don’t wait until tomorrow to change for the better. Start today because tomorrow may never come. Our time is limited in this Dunya. Every day we hear/see about so and so passing away. We just say RIP with a crying emoji and move on. One day it will be my death or your death news that would reach across others.
So how unwise of us will it be if we waste our time carried away by the glitters of this fleeting Dunya. Our Time is not guaranteed but surely Death is certain.
“Time is like a sword: If you don’t cut it, it will cut you. Second is yourself: if you don’t busy it with the right, it will busy you with wrong.”A famous saying of Imam Shafi’i (RA)
Concept of Time from Hadith
Rasulullah(SAW) advised us in a Sahih Hadith to take advantage of five matters before five other matters:
- Your youth before you become old.
- Your health, before you fall sick.
- Your wealth, before you become poor.
- Your free time before you become preoccupied.
- and your life, before your death.
The last two matters mentioned in the hadith relate directly to time. It points out the reality that our free time is what we have left to work with. Let’s strive instead of using our free time to join Social media challenges that won’t add to your Mizaan when you die. Let’s be wise and use our time in the best of the manner in worshiping Allah Azzawajal.
Alhamdulillah! We all have been blessed with the gift of time. It depends on how well you choose to make use of your time. You may decide to live a purposeful life. Or decide to take this gift for granted by indulging in life glitters and deceit that won’t add value to your life. Reach out, make Du’a, and do something valuable with your time. Because it won’t always be there forever.
Learn to live a life of focus and purpose by decreasing distractions in your life. You don’t need it. Every second count! Seize these opportunities before they are overtaken by other factors. I hope you find this short reminder beneficial. What does time mean to you? How do you manage it? May Allah guide us to make better use of our time.