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Bab T-`Asr I

TheTafsīr Sūrat al-`Aṣr

The Qur'ānic Surat al-`Asr (Surah of the Afternoon), Q. 103. Asr

Introduction and Notes.

Stephen Lambden UCMerced.

198X - in progress 2015


(The Surah of the Afternoon [Time])  Qur'an 103

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate
By the Afternoon!
إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ 
Surely Man is in the way of loss,
إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ 
Save those who believe, and do righteous deeds, and counsel each other unto the truth, and counsel each other to be steadfast.

The Sūrat al-`Aṣr (Qur'ān 103).

The above is the Arabic text of this Surah with the translation of the Cambridge academic A. J. Arberry (d. 1969). Exactly what this  three verse 103rd Meccan Surah title indicates is unclear. al-'Aşr  is the second word in the opening oath and can literally mean 'The Time', 'The Afternoon' or 'The Afternoon Prayer'  (so Netton, 1992).  It basic import has been succinctly summed up as follows:

"After beginning with the phrase 'By the time!' (Wa 'I- 'Aṣr), the sūra goes on to insist that man will be lost unless he is among the believers and doers of good. The sūra thus makes the important theological point that salvation is dependent on faith and works (Netton, 1992)