In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the
2.Verily, man is in loss,
3.Except those who believe and do righteous deeds and exhort one another to
Truth and exhort one another to patience.
< By Time > That is, the ages during which the deeds – both good and bad – of
the sons of Aadam `alayhis salam take place. Maalik said that it refers to the
time of `asr prayer, but the first explanation is more correct. Allah swears by
it (time) that mankind is in loss, that is misfortune and ruin.
< Except those who believe and do righteous deeds > Allah excludes those of
mankind who believe sincerely with all their hearts and do good deeds with their
< And exhort one another to Truth > That is, in the face of misfortune or
calamity, the things which have been written for us and the persecution of those
who would seek to harm whoever orders the good and forbids the evil. It is
reported that Musailamah (he was an arch-liar who lived at the time of the
Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam and falsely claimed to be a
brother-prophet) was visited by `Amr ibn al-`Aas after the Messenger of Allah
sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam had begun his mission, but before `Amr had embraced
Islaam and Musailamah said to him: "What does your companion (the Prophet
sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam) say about this time?" `Amr replied: "A soorah has
been revealed to him which is concise, yet elegant." "And what is it?" inquired
Musailamah. "It is: < By time, Verily, man is in loss, except those who believe
and do righteous deeds and exhort one another to Truth and exhort one another to
patience >." Musailamah thought about this for a while and then he said: "It has
been revealed to me something like that." "What would that be?" asked `Amr. He
replied, "Oh, wabr (Hyrax, an animal described by ibn Katheer as resembling a
cat, having long ears, and a large breast and being for the rest, very ugly.)!
Oh, wabr! You are merely two ears and a breast and the rest of you is but a
hole." Then he asked: "What do you think, oh, `Amr?" `Amr replied, "By Allah!
Surely you are aware that I know you lie!" Musailamah intended by the
composition of these nonsensical verses to produce something which was the very
antithesis of the clarity and conciseness of the Qur’aan; as a result it did not
even convince a pagan idol-worshipper of the time.
According to at-Tabaraani, whenever any two Companions of the Prophet sallallahu
`alaihi wa sallam met, they would not part, until one of them had recited to the
other Soorah Al-`Asr and then delivered Salaams upon him. Ash-Shaafi`I said: "If
the people were to ponder on this Soorah, it would be sufficient for them." This
is the end of the tafseer of Soorah al-`Asr, all praise is due to Allah and from
Him proceeds all Grace.