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Meaning of Surat-Al Asr

1. By the Time!
2. Verily man is in loss!
3. Save those who believe, and do good deeds, and exhort each other to truth and exhort each other to endurance.

1. "Asr" i.e, Age, which is the continuity of Time. The word "Asr", meaning age or time is used in a mystic use. Commentators say it is a reference to the Age of the Holy Prophet (A.S.) i.e., a period when the Lord's Promised Last Reformer and Final Law-giver was sent into the world and stayed preaching the truth and taught men the correct ways and means by which man can rise from the ignoble and the loathsome depth of the material world into the glorious heights of spiritual bliss. Some commentators take the word "Asr" to mean the ceremonial afternoon prayer and the Sixth Holy Imam Jafar Muhammad As-Sadiq (A.S.) says it is a reference to the age when teh Last one of the promised Guide or Imam, in the seed of the Holy Prophet (A.S.) who bears the same name Muhammad who is the son of the eleventh Holy Imam Hasan ibne Ali Al-Askri who is titled "Mahdi". Taking the reference to either the age of the Holy Prophet (A.S.) or his Last Deputy on earth, the last Holy Imam, it will mean one and the same significance to say that those who will be benefitted by the teachings or the guidance of the Great Teacher, will be the ones guided aright and those who reject any one of these two, the Last Apostle from the Lord or the Last one of the Lord's commissioned Guides or Imams, is lost.

"Asr" literally means "Squeezing" or the squeezed object. It has been figuratively used for Time-in the sense of its becoming-meaning the squeezed of the past which unfolds as future. The other two verses give the justification of this meaning.

The state of ever-folding and the unfolding ascribed to time in its relation to the events falling within it, represents the state of the Imam as a microcosm and a medium between the Infinite One and the finite ones as such the Imam has been termed in the language of the Ahlul-Bayt as the "Madaarud Dahr", i.e., the Axis of the age and the actuating factor behind it.

2. It is needless to go into details that man amidst innumerable temptations is always caught in the lust for the satisfaction of his carnal desires, thus under the risk of being easily beguiled by the innumerable and the most powerful and irresistible attractions. And if man, is not on his guard against all the formidable forces of Satan who is ever active to lead man astray, man suffers the loss, loss of the pleasure of His Lord which is the loss of his own salvation, the loss real.

It is said that this is, as well a reference to the taunt of Abu-Jehl and Walid bin Moghaira who said that the Holy Prophet (A.S.) and his Followers are the losers for they have abandoned the worship of their ancestral gods and have given up themselves to some one Allah. This verse clearly addressing the one who holds any such false idea says that he who says that the Holy Prophet and His Followers are in loss, is himself in the loss.

3. "Those who believe" may include every believer to the extent or the degree of the strength of his conviction or faith and those who will be meant here with the fullest application of the term, will be only those who satisfy to the fullest extent the owning of the several great qualities of a believer mentioned by Allah. See 26:15, 2:177, 6:163, 9:20, 26.

The believers are those from whom Allah has purchased their wealth and their lives in exchange for His pleasure with them 9:111. Those who hold the Holy Prophet (A.S.) in preference to their own souls 33:6. The perfection or the purity in the faith can never be found in any other than those whom Allah himself has purified (33:33) to be the models of purity in every aspect of goodness in the life on earth. Thus those who are referred here immediately are the Holy Ahlul-Bayt. (Imam Ali, Imam Hasan, Imam Hussain, Hazrat Fatima Zahra) (PBUT).

When asked the explaination of this Sura the Holy Prophet (A.S.) said that "those who are safe and whose faith and deeds are totally correct and perfect are my Ahlul-Bayt", i.e. Ali and the Imams in his seed "and those who reject me or them, are in the loss."

As regards the preaching the Truth, who else could do it, save those who must themselves be fully conversant with it and even realized it by their own conviction and the strength of faith. The Holy Prophet (A.S.) had said that "I and Ali are of one and the same Light" and "Ali (A.S.) is always with the Truth and the Truth will always be with Ali". The preaching of the Truth needs knowledge of it, and the Holy Prophet (A.S.) had said "I am the City of Knowledge, and Ali is its Gate". The Holy Prophet (A.S.) has said " I leave behind me two weighty things things: The Book of Allah and my Ahlul-Bayt, if ye be attached to these Two, never, never shall ye get astray and never, never will these Two get separated from each other until they meet me at the Fountain of Kauthar in Heaven. Thus the immediate application of this reference could rightly be only to Ali or the Ahlul-Bayt collectively and those according to their attachment to these Holy ones.

None of the Eleven Holy Imams left this world with a natural death-they all suffered martyrdom. The Ahlul-Bayt exercised patient who suffered the untold miseries, tortures and even a wholesale massacre of all their dear ones.

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