Irfani(Noetic) Tafsir(Exegesis): Surah AL-Asr



Al-Asr: The period of time when human affairs appear whether good or evil.

تفسير  القرآن العظيم/ ابن كثير (ت 774 هـ)

العصر الزمان الذي يقع فيه حركات بني آدم من خير وشر


103.1 Waw (Declaration of Oath: by) The Time



وَ: Waw phoneme interpreted as Qasam (Oath) generally heard as a form of aggrandizement or inspiring awe or something frightful to validate or to establish context for what mentioned next.

According to Ibn Arabi the phoneme Waw is compositely identified by



Second leftmost و exits in our realm while the first rightmost و exists in another realm separated by the chasm of Alif ا . Alif assures that the first و is not same as the second.

You might think of the second و as the Macro emergence of the first Micro و .  For example, water’s Micro realm is comprised of particles and molecules while the Macro realm waves rolling and billowing, distinctly different, they are both the same entity and yet the water’s being-ness partitioned into these two realms. Call that partition Alif ا .

Equipped with this understand of the Waw (و) وَ+ٱلْعَصْرِ forms an oath a declaration about the time so the listener is alarmed:

  • Hark! The most innovative category of time exclusively debuted to transact the human affairs.
  • From the Time (الدهر) , timing the cosmos and all that on earth, emerged a new category of time exclusive for human beings to interact


Ifran (Noesis) 1. Allah fashioned a de novo passage of time for human affairs to transact, indeed most unique type of time, never encountered before in cosmos.


103.2 `Inna (Actually) Human-kind for sure in loss

إنَّ الإنْسانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ

in loss: In state of loss and usage of Inna renders the shape of human specie i.e. not particularly successful!


تفسير جامع البيان في تفسير القرآن/ الطبري (ت 310 هـ)

إن ابن آدم لفي هلَكة ونقصان. وكان عليّ رضي الله عنه يقرأ ذلك: «إنَّ الإنْسانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ، وإنه فيه إلى آخر الدهر»

تفسير لطائف الإشارات / القشيري (ت 465 هـ)

{ ٱلإِنسَانَ }: أراد به جنْسَ الإنسان. ” والخُسْر “: الخسران


`Inna: Both `Anna and `Inna serve as semi-verbs i.e. acting upon their noun as if it is a subject/object of a sentence.


Chapter 1

`Inna (`Anna) means steadfast continuity perfection and solidity both for the Wujud (Being-ness) and the knowledge of some object.

الحروف الفارابي
الباب الأول
الحُروفُ وَ أسمَاء المقولات
الفصل الأوّل
حرف إنّ
(1) أمّا بعد فإنّ معنى انّ الثبات والدوام والكمال والوثاقة في الوجود وفي العلم بالشيء.
ولذلك تسمّي الفلاسفة الوجود الكامل ” إنية ” الشيء- وهو بعينه ماهيّته – ويقولون ” وما إنية الشيء ” يعنون ما وجوده الأكمل، وهو ماهيته.


103.3 Except those who safeguarded and performed good deeds and recommended with Haqq and recommended with patience.

إِلاَّ ٱلَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْاْ بِٱلْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْاْ بِٱلصَّبْرِ

Except those who believed: is not a good translation since آمَنُواْ does not really mean having faith as in English usage, it renders a meaning of securing and safeguarding.  

Except those who:

  • safeguarded against the wrath of Allah
  • safeguarded people against their own wrath

Tafsir Kabir

Imam Razi

There are two sets of recommendations or admonishments

  • recommendations apropos of Allah
  • recommendations of persisting with patience for the latter

First one for encouraging good conduct in presence of Allah, second persisting with patience not being foul in presence of Allah.

Umar said: May Allah have mercy upon the person who shows me my defects!

تَوَاصَوْاْ: they recommended in past tense, not in present/future, as to praise the actual behavior of the person who persisted with such good recommendations and character, not the person who might in future offer such conduct or has the potential. (it is all about what is done not by mere good thoughts and intentions that might or might not occur in future)


تفسير مفاتيح الغيب ، التفسير الكبير/ الرازي (ت 606 هـ)

المسألة الأولى: هذه الآية فيها وعيد شديد، وذلك لأنه تعالى حكم بالخسار على جميع الناس إلا من كان آتياً بهذه الأشياء الأربعة، وهي الإيمان والعمل الصالح والتواصي بالحق والتواصي بالصبر، فدل ذلك على أن النجاة معلقة بمجموع هذه الأمور وإنه كما يلزم المكلف تحصيل ما يخص نفسه فكذلك يلزمه في غيره أمور، منها الدعاء إلى الدين والنصيحة والأمر بالمعروف والنهي عن المنكر، وأن يحب له ما يحب لنفسه، ثم كرر التواصي ليضمن الأول الدعاء إلى الله، والثاني الثبات عليه، والأول الأمر بالمعروف والثاني النهي عن المنكر، ومنه قوله:{ وَٱنْهَ عَنِ ٱلْمُنْكَرِ وَٱصْبِرْ } [لقمان:17] وقال عمر: رحم الله من أهدى إلي عيوبي. المسألة الثانية: دلت الآية على أن الحق ثقيل، وأن المحن تلازمه، فلذلك قرن به التواصي. المسألة الثالثة: إنما قال: { وَتَوَاصَوْاْ } ولم يقل: ويتواصون لئلا يقع أمراً بل الغرض مدحهم بما صدر عنهم في الماضي، وذلك يفيد رغبتهم في الثبات عليه في المستقبل.



“recommended with Haqq” means recommended with aid and reliance upon Allah.

Dara: no speech or thought or action of us has any result or merit unless Allah gives its measure of goodness and success

تفسير تفسير القرآن/ التستري (ت 283 هـ)

{ وَتَوَاصَوْاْ بِٱلْحَقِّ } أي بالله عزَّ وجلَّ.



“recommended with Haqq” is a Maqam (Rank) in presence of Allah.

Dara: Ability and clarity and applicability of being able to recommend people towards good is not something we posses, indeed it is an attained rank and state wherein our words impacts people for better. One has to be elevated by Allah to such ranks. It is not achieved, it is truly and exclusively an endowment from Allah.

تفسير حقائق التفسير/ السلمي (ت 412 هـ)
التواصى بالحق هو المقام مع الحق


“recommended with Haqq” is recommending goodness and all things beautiful!

Dara: Every entity has its own beauty, and yet nothing is beautiful in and of itself, indeed beauty was foreign to this cosmos only by Allah’s generosity Allah’s own beauty was infused in all objects. Remind people of the beautiful things they have in themselves and around them and remind them of their origin and recommend to them to seek that origin. Don’t pontificate lofty words to sound wise and learned, instead point out people’s beauty to themselves, point at the beautiful gifts from Allah already offered to them. Let them see such beauties by themselves, don’t let them see you or hear your words!

تفسير لطائف الإشارات / القشيري (ت 465 هـ)
وتواصوا بما هو حقُّ، وتواصوا بما هو حَسَنٌ وجميلٌ


Ibn Arabi

“recommended with Haqq” constantly suggesting and declaring that Allah is eternally everlasting immutable in Oneness and Justice.

Dara: Circumstances of life cause a person angst and doubt against Allah and recommendations should always come to the person about the lack of defect or injustice on the part of Allah, else people tend to judge Allah once in throes of calamities. Keep reminding that in spite of the circumstances Allah is Everlasting and Constant in His/ITs presence. Often during the calamities even the sincerest person tends to believe that Allah is gone i.e. not present or does not care or does not want to remedy the circumstances. And one has to be reminded of such untruths: nothing happened to Allah; and we are with the same Divine Presence in a good day as we are in a bad day, no difference between the two.  It is our Nafs (Self) who ingeniously fabricates ambiguities to differentiate these two circumstances while in reality there are no differences.

تفسير تفسير القرآن / ابن عربي (ت 638 هـ)

{ وتواصوا بالحق } أي: الثابت الدائم الباقي على حاله أبداً من التوحيد والعدل



I’rab  & Vocabulary 



Waw Qasam (Oath) and it is Jarr (Tugger) and Al-‘Asr (The Time) is Majrur (Tugged) and the sign for Majrur is the ending Kasra of Al-Asr-i. 

إنَّ الإنْسانَ

‘Inna is semi-verb and Al-Insan is the noun for Inn, and it is Mansub and the sign for that is the ending Fat-ha. 

لَفِي خُسْرٍ

لَ+فِي خُسْرٍ


La: Lam Al-Muzhalaqa namely Sliding Lam (L Sound) or Rolling Lam (downwards).

Originally the verse should have read

لإنَّ الإنْسانَ فِي خُسْرٍ

ل+إنَّ الإنْسانَ فِي خُسْرٍ

La/Lam serves as emphasis and so does the Inna, and the Arab did not like double emphasis on the same word, therefore La slid down the sentence and joined Fi

ل+إنَّ الإنْسانَ لَ+فِي خُسْرٍ

لَفِي خُسْرٍ La-Fi serves as Khabar (Information) about the Inna or some said Khabar of Inna is omitted.

لَفِي خُسْرٍ is Jar and Majrur, لَفِي is Jarr tugging خُسْرٍ as Majrur(tugged).

إِلاَّ ٱلَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْاْ بِٱلْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْاْ بِٱلصَّبْرِ

إِلاَّ the exception word.

ٱلَّذِينَ is Ism-un Mausul-un (إسمٌ موصولٌ) Conjunctive Noun connecting what is before it to what  follows after, it is connecting the exception إِلاَّ to  آمَنُواْ (those) safeguarded. It is in state of Nasb as a part of the excepted. In other words imagine an arrow leaving إِلاَّ and hitting ٱلَّذِينَ as the target thus this target is marked with the ending Fat-ha.


وَ simply And connecting phrases.

آمَنُواْ safeguarded/believed with the connected Agent-doer of the verb واْ or Waw namely they/those, past tense verb third persons plural.

ٱلصَّالِحَاتِ serves as مفعولٌ بهِ or Direct Patient for the preceding verb آمَنُواْ. Plural in the state of Nasb and yet the usual ending Fat-ha was replaced by Kasra due to being Intact female-gendered plural (جمعٌ مؤنثٌ سالمٌ). 

مفعولٌ بهِ

Maf’oul-un Bi-hi: Direct Patient, patient is directly acted upon by the verb act of coming.


وَ simply And connecting phrases.

تَوَاصَوْاْ safeguarded/believed with the connected Agent-doer of the verb واْ or Waw namely they/those, past tense verb third persons plural.



بِ Jarr (Tugger) meaning By Means Of , which tugs ٱلْحَقِّ the Majrur(Tugged). 



بِ Jarr (Tugger) meaning By Means Of , which tugs ٱلصَّبْرِ the Majrur(Tugged).



© 2020-2002, Dara O. Shayda