Monday, April 11, 2011

The Tafsir of Surat Al-Asr



The Tafsir of Surat Al-Asr
(Chapter - 103)
Revealed in Makkah

How `Amr bin Al-`As was aware of the Qur'an's Miracle due to this Surah

They have mentioned that `Amr bin Al-`As went to visit Musaylimah Al-Kadhdhab after the Messenger of Allah was commissioned (as a Prophet) and before `Amr had accepted Islam. Upon his arrival, Musaylimah said to him, "What has been revealed to your friend (Muhammad) during this time'' `Amr said, "A short and concise Surah has been revealed to him.'' Musaylimah then said, "What is it'' `Amr replied; (By Al-`Asr. Verily, man is in loss. Except those who believe and do righteous deeds, and recommend one another to the truth, and recommend one another to patience.) So Musaylimah thought for a while. Then he said, "Indeed something similar has also been revealed to me.'' `Amr asked him, "What is it'' He replied, "O Wabr (a small, furry mammal; hyrax), O Wabr! You are only two ears and a chest, and the rest of you is digging and burrowing.'' Then he said, "What do you think, O `Amr'' So `Amr said to him, "By Allah! Verily, you know that I know you are lying.''[1]

I saw that Abu Bakr Al-Khara'iti mentioned a chain of narration for part of this story, or what was close to its meaning, in volume two of his famous book Masawi' ul-Akhlaq. The Wabr is a small animal that resembles a cat, and the largest thing on it is its ears and its torso, while the rest of it is ugly. Musayli- mah intended by the composition of these nonsensical verses to produce something which would oppose the Qur'an. Yet, it was not even convin- cing to the idol wor- shipper of that time.

At-Tabarani recorded from `Abdullah bin Hisn Abi Madinah that he said, "Whenever two men from the Companions of the Messenger of Allah used to meet, they would not part until one of them had recited Surat Al-`Asr in its entirety to the other, and one of them had given the greetings of peace to the other.''[2]
Ash-Shafi`i said, "If the people were to ponder on this Surah, it would be sufficient for them.''

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
(1. By Al-`Asr.)
(2. Verily, man is in loss.)
(3. Except those who believe and do righteous deeds, and recommend one another to the truth, and recommend one another to patience.)

Al-`Asr is the time in which the movements of the Children of Adam occur, whether good or evil. Malik narrated from Zayd bin Aslam that he said, "It is the evening.'' However, the first view is the popular opinion. Thus, Allah swears by this, that man is in Khusr, which means in loss and destruction.

(Except those who believe and do righteous good deeds)
So Allah makes an exception, among the species of man being in loss, for those who believe in their hearts and work righteous deeds with their limbs.

(And recommend one another to the truth,) This is to perform acts of obedience and avoid the forbidden things.

(And recommend one another to patience.)
meaning, with the plots, the evils, and the harms of those who harm people due to their commanding them to do good and forbidding them from evil.
This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-`Asr, and all praise and thanks are due to Allah.

Ref [1]: He also mentioned it in Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah 6:320, and Al-Hafiz mentioned similar to it in Al-Isabah 3:225.
Ref [2]: Al-Mu’jam Al-wsat no. 5097, Majma’ Al-Bahrayn.

Ref: "Important Guidelines About the Authenticity of the Reports and Quotations in the Tafsir of Ibn Kathir"