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Books- The Constituents of the Divine Assignment- 7th Constituent - Paragraph (2-6): The Value of Time According to Surat Al-Asr
In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful  

 There is a short Surat in the Noble Quran about which Imam Ash-Shafi'i, may Allah have mercy on his soul, said, "If people ponder over this Surah, it will be enough for them."[Ibn Kathir Interpretation 4\548].

 This Surah puts forth an entire method for the life of human beings as decreed by the Creator of mankind. Throughout every era, time and place and in all ages, man has only one method which grants him prosperity, and he has only one path which leads him to the eternal Paradise, and anything else is loss, waste and misery. The Surat I am referring to is Surat Al-Asr. Allah says:

﴾By Al-'Asr (the time)* Verily! Man is in loss* Except those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth (i.e. order one another to perform all kinds of good deeds (Al-Ma'ruf)which Allah has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds (Al-Munkar)which Allah has forbidden), and recommend one another to patience (for the sufferings, harms, and injuries which one may encounter in Allah's Cause during preaching His religion of Islamic Monotheism or Jihad, etc.). ﴿

[Al-Asr, 1-3]

 Allah has sworn by time (Asr) to man. In fact man himself is mere time, for he is nothing but a number of days; whenever each day passes then part of him has gone. Also, "Not a day comes from the days of this world but says: O son of Adam, I am a new day, and I am a witness for the deeds performed during my stay, so make benefit from me. If my sun sets I will not return until the Day of Resurrection!"

 Allah, Sublimed be He, has sworn to man by time to tell him that he is in loss as long as the passage of time consumes his life, given life is his capital, the container of his deeds and the price he pays to be admitted to Paradise which Allah has promised him.

 In commerce, losing your capital without making any profits is the big loss ever. Similarly losing time is a big loss, so if man utilizes his time for the purpose he was created for, he can avoid this loss, and this utilization is manifested in having faith, offering good deeds, recommending one another to the truth and to patience.

 First: Faith:

﴾Except those who believe ﴿

 Faith is the connection between this small, mortal and definite creature with the Everlasting, Indefinite and Absolute Origin (i.e. Allah), due to Whom the universe exists. Faith allows man to move from his limited potentials to the vast universe, from his insignificant power to the giant mighty hidden power of the universe and from his short lifetime to the permanent eternity that is known only by Allah. This connection grants man power, permanence and the strong will, and it grants him the real happiness he usually pursues, and this happiness is transcendental and priceless. Also, it makes man affable with life just like the affability between lovers. Gaining this happiness is an unmatched gain, and losing it is an unmatched loss as well.

 Actually, worshiping Allah Alone exalts man from worshiping anyone else, and by this worship, man will never humiliate himself to anyone or act in a servile manner before anyone other than the One and the Superb Vanquisher (i.e. Allah). When man belives deeply that there is only One Omniportent and One Deity Who deserves to be worshiped (i.e. Allah), desires and tending to be opportunistic will vanish from his life to be replaced with the Divine Law and Order.

 One of the requisites of having faith is that man should know that he is Divinely honored, and when he does so, his self-esteem will be raised up, and it will deter him from descending this rank to which he is Divinely elivated.

 Second: The Good Deed:

﴾and do righteous good deeds,﴿

 Because faith is a positive motivating power, the good deeds are the natural fruits of this faith. Once faith is deeply rooted in the believer's conscience, it strives to prove itself in the shape of a good deed, for faith cannot stay inactive in the believer's soul without any positive outcome. If faith keeps motionless, it is considered fake or lifeless, just like the artificial flower which differs from the natural one in lacking fragrance.

 The crucial fact about the good deed is that it is not something accidental, something done in the heat of the moment or something that is one time outcome, but rather it is the result of motivations to fulfill a transcendental purpose and for which believers cooperate with one another.

 Faith cannot be passive, negative, secluded or confined, but rather it is a clean pure movement, a positive purposeful act, a balanced building of earth and a beacon for the coming generations. Also, it befits Allah's Method and heads towards Him. May Allah have mercy on the soul of Umar bin Abdul Aziz for he said, "Day and night consume you, so invest them properly. Also, they take as much as they can of you, so make use of them as much as possible."

 When the space the good deed covers is wide enough, a great number of people and nations will be affected by and convinced with it, and when it is long lasting, more and more generations will reap its fruits. Also, the deeper it is rooted in man's structure physically, psychologically, socially and spiritually, man will achieve the purpose of his existence, and his humanity will illuminates. In brief, the wider the space the good deeds embraces, the longer its influence is and the more effective it is, the more exalted in the Sight of Allah it will be. These are the characteristics of the good deed.

 During 23 years only, the Prophet PBUH brought people out of darkness unto the light and out of benightedness unto the highest ranks of humanity. Also, he changed the history of mankind entirely until our present day, and as long as Allah decrees. The Prophet PBUH did so despite all the obstacles and difficulties which stood in his way from day one of calling people to Allah. The Prophet PBUH knew the value of time, and so he made it his means for extraordinary achievements that are impossible to be reached by entire nations. Allah has sworn by the Prophet's valuable life PBUH when He says:

﴾Verily, by your life (O Muhammad PBUH), in their wild intoxication, they were wandering blindly.﴿

[Al-Hijr, 72]

 The Prophet PBUH educated his companions in a sublime manner, to such an extent that one of his companions said once, "If Allah removes the veil (of the unseen), my faith will not become more profound, and if I am told that I will die tomorrow, my deeds will not increase." The weight of man's deeds in the Scale of Allah will double, and man shall be rewarded many folds when the obstacles and distractions he faces become more, and when he does not find people to help him.
  The weight of man's deeds in the Scale of Allah will double, and man shall be rewarded many folds as long as he keeps steadfast in an era when mischief prevails in societies and chaos spreads making rulers tyrants, the powerful transgressors, the rich more extravagant, scholars hypocrites and sins and Munkar widely spread, while Ma'roof (promoting the good) hidden.

((It was narrated from Ma'qil bin Yasar that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: "Worship during the time of bloodshed is like emigrating to me."))

[Muslim and At-Tirmizi]

 If man is granted prosperity in spending his time, his lifep will be lengthened even after his death, and so he stays alive though he might be dead, and he fulfills his mission whilst he is under the ground.

((It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah said: "When a man dies all his good deeds come to an end except three: Ongoing charity (Sadaqah Jariyah), beneficial knowledge and a righteous son who prays for him."))

[Muslim by Abi Hurairah]

 What would be the case if he never offers any good deed and then he dies? In another Hadith, these three details are mentioned as well:

((It was narrated that Abu Hurairah said: The Messenger of Allah said: "The rewards of the good deeds that will reach a believer after his death are: Knowledge which he taught and spread; a righteous son whom he leaves behind; a copy of the Qur'an that he leaves as a legacy; a mosque that he built; a house that he built for wayfarers; a canal that he dug; or charity that he gave during his lifetime when he was in good health. These deeds will reach him after his death."))

[Ibn Majah and Ibn Khuzaimah]

((On the authority of Muslim that Jarir b. Abdullah reported that Allah's Messenger (PBUH) said: "He who introduced some good practice in Islam which was followed after him (by people) he would be assured of reward like one who followed it, without their rewards being diminished in any respect. And he who introduced some evil practice in Islam which had been followed subsequently (by sh3er), he would be required to bear the burden like that of one who followed this (evil practice) without their's being diminished in any respect."))

[Muslim, An-Nasa'i and sh3er by Jarir]

 Woe to them… woe to them… woe to them, those whose lives ended, so are their misguidance, but the outcome of their bad deeds goes on after their death. Congratulations… congratulations to those who died and with their guidance people are still been led, and they still rejoice its outcome. Ibn Ata' Allah Al-Sakandari said, "How wonderful to have a life that is fruitful even if it is short, whereas another life might be long but fruitless. He who is blessed in his lifetime will achieve in a short period of time the indescribable and unbelievable."

 Third: Recommending one Another to the Truth:

﴾ and recommend one another to the truth ﴿

 Since, siding with the truth is difficult and is faced with so many obstacles and distractions such as desires, interests, environment, career's pressures, traditions, customs, concerns and greed, recommending one another to the truth will be a reminder, an encourager and a protector to the believer who finds his brother besides him in his hour of need, advising him, encouraging him, backing him and trying his best to keep him safe and happy, and he never lets him down or desert him. Furthermore, recommending one another to the truth sifts individual's orientations and protects them from heading towards the wrong direction, for the truth never settles or continues but in a believing society whose members recommend one another to the truth, cooperate with one another and support one another.

 Man completes himself through faith and good deeds, but by recommending his brother to the truth, he completes other people. Since the structure of the Ummah is built on the true religion we have received through the authenticated Divine Revelation, the sound mind has confirmed, the objective reality has proved and the sound Fitrah accords with, the truth shall continue and settle until the entire Ummah comes to terms with her self-power and her mission. Hence, recommending one another to the truth is a decisive matter in man's destiny, and unless the circles of the truth grow bigger on earth and refute falsehood, the latter will take over and grow. Thus, recommending one another to the truth means maintaining the existence of the truth and the accomplishment of its mission.

 Fourth: Recommending one Another to Patience:

﴾and recommend one another to patience﴿

 Due to Allah's Will the worldly life is the abode of trials through goodness and evil and the abode of struggle between the truth and falsehood. Thus, recommending one another to patience is deemed important to succeed in the trials and to overpower falsehood. Hence, recommending one another to patience helps in conquering our own desires, helps in standing against falsehood, helps in forbearing harm and helps in tolerating hardship. Accordingly, patience is the effective means to eliminate obstacles, to double potentials and to achieve goals. Allah says:

﴾If you are suffering (hardships) then surely, they (too) are suffering (hardships) as you are suffering, but you have a hope from Allah (for the reward, i.e. Paradise) that for which they hope not﴿

[An-Nisa', 104]

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