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Tuesday 8 July 2014


SURAH 103 - سورة العصر 

AL-ASR – The Pressurizing / Draining Thoughts


This surah is one of the smallest in the "Quran" with only 3 ayats. It’s a very profound and a serious one that guides us in a very eloquent manner. 

The subject of the surah is about the thought which press or pressurize or force us to act. The surah describes a very important and essential aspect of life.The beloved author’s deep concern is reflected when he uses the alphabet waw (و) in the beginning of the surah. Usually traditionalists take the meaning of waw as swearing but in the true sense it is used for emphasizing the importance of the succeeding words.

Here the important word is Al-Asr which comes after waw. The meaning of Al-Asr is that specific thought which force or pressurize us to act in haste. Asr also means something which is squeezed or pressed so as to force out something out of it. For instance juice out of fruits, honey from the hives, extraction of oil from the seeds. Here the context is Man / humane mind and his actions, so Al-Asr here denotes action that is done in haste or urgency for pressing needs. The Man is in pressure to perform because of his thoughts are pressing him and he feels that the time is running out of control. So Al-Asr is basically a thought which force or pressurize man to act hastily. Therefore he is advice to practice patience / restrain [sabr] and do reconciliatory deeds [Aamale saulehat].

For better understanding of the word, you will find the derivatives of عصر in (2:266) (12:36) (12:49) (78:14)

Pressing thoughts are correlated with haste. Ben Franklin’s famous dictum, “Take time for all things: great haste makes great waste.”The honorable Author of the Quran is emphasizing on this point that those who are safe and secure are usually those people who do reconciliatory work [Aamale saulehat], instruct one another with facts and practice patience [Sabr]. A humane mind is vulnerable to pressure. The instruction from the book Quran to such minds is to never exercise or work in haste and if it does the man will be in big loss. Only those will succeed who will settle differences by working righteously, re-conciliatory and exercise patience. 

So Al-Asr are that thoughts which pressurize or impress one's mind to act quickly. Thus such minds are bound to suffer loses except who believe in self, amend such pressurizing thoughts by making them aware with facts and practicing patience. This is a very precious advice from the noble Quran to all humane minds to avoid haste.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم



 By the pressing needs / time, 

2) إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ

Indeed ! The humane / humble mind is at loss 

3) إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ

Except those who attain trust / believe / faith and do re-conciliatory work and enjoin one another with the facts and enjoin one another with restrain / patience.


وَ = When we hear the word 'wa', otherwise translated as the conjunction 'and' we tend to think of it as something additional. This is especially true of those who are English-speaking. While the conjunction does serve this function, it also has an explanatory role in classical Arabic as evident in many verses, meaning the grammatical role of 'joining' is not present. 'Wa' becomes essentially a case of 'defining' and 'clarifying'. This point needs to be understood especially in regards to the "Quran", because often times commentaries miss this point and translations almost never capture this reality and one loses out in the subtleties of the Quranic rhetoric.

The following is an example of what is meant by the above 'explanatory' role:

قَدْ جَاءَكُم مِّنَ اللّهِ نُورٌ وَكِتَابٌ مُّبِينٌ

Indeed, there has come to you light and a clear Book from Allah [5:15]

Here actually the و should not be used as conjunction but as defining or clarifying what is nur [light] and that is Kitab Mubin [clear script].

الْعَصْرِ = Pressed it, or squeezed it, so as to force out, as in juice from fruit, honey or extraction of oil from seeds, The pressing or pressurizing thoughts that drains -  genitive masculine noun

إِنَّ Indeed - accusative particle

الْإِنسَانَ The humane mind or humble man accusative masculine noun

لَفِي = Is surely, in  - emphatic prefix lām - P – preposition

خُسْرٍ = Loss, suffered, loss or diminution, deceived, cheated, beguiled, abasement, ignominy  -  genitive masculine indefinite noun

إِلَّا Except  -  exceptive particle

الَّذِينَ Those who  -   masculine plural relative pronoun

آمَنُوا feel secure, safe, free from free, trusted, confidential, faithful - 3rd person masculine plural (form IV) perfect verb - Allah is Al-Momin (59:23) - 4:136 - who is a believer - those who believe or have faith in safety, security and peace (Aman)    

 وَ  And  -  Prefixed conjunction wa (and)

عَمِلُو = work, to do, deed, act, performed, labored - 3rd person masculine plural perfect verb

الصَّالِحَاتِ = Good, non corrupt, righteous, reconciliatory deeds, reform, amend - accusative feminine plural active participle

تَوَاصَوْا = enjoined, charged, order, commanded one another, with an endeavor to persuade, Wasiyat is one of the derivative of Waas.- 3rd person masculine plural (form VI) perfect verb - subject pronoun

بِالْحَقِّ = Fact, wisdom, justice, right, truth, reality, substantial, established, due etc. Tahqeeq and Haqiqat are derivatives of Haq.-  prefixed preposition bi  – genitive masculine noun

بِالصَّبْرِ = Restrained, confined, with held, patience, retained, endure, control - prefixed preposition bi  – genitive masculine noun

Concern of the Surah:

The overall crux of this surah signifies the value and importance of exercising patience and reconciliation when one is impressed or forced to act by a pressing thought that drains us.

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