This Surah consists of 3 verses, 14 sentences, 68 letters and 1 Ruku'.
It takes its name from the word al-asr occurring in the first verse.
Although Mujahid, Qatadah and Muqatil regard it as a Madani Surah, yet a great majority of the commentators opine that it is Makki; its subject matter also testifies that it must have been sent down in the earliest stage at Makkah, when the message of Islam was being presented in brief but highly impressive sentences so that the listeners who heard them once could not forget them even if they wanted to, for they were automatically committed to memory.
This Surah is a matchless specimen of comprehensiveness and brevity. A whole world of meaning has been compressed into its few brief words, which is too vast in content to be fully expressed even in a book. In it, in a clear and plain way it has been stated what is the way to true success for man and what is the way to ruin and destruction for him. Imam Shafe has very rightly said that if the people only considered this Surah well, it alone would suffice them for their guidance. How important this Surah was in the sight of the Companions can be judged from the tradition cited from Hadrat Abdullah bin Hisn ad-Darimi Abu Madinah, according to which whenever any two of them met they would not part company until they had recited Surah Al-Asr to each other. (Tabarani)
Bismi Allahi alrrahmani alrraheemi
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
103 : 1
By the (the token of) time (through the ages)
103 : 2
2. Inna al-insana lafee khusrin
Verily man is in a constant state of declivity -
103 : 3
3. Illa allatheena amanoo waAAamiloo alssalihati watawasaw bialhaqqi watawasaw bialssabri
Save those who believe and perform righteous deeds and exhort one another to abide by the truth and admonish each other to be patient. (R)
1. By Al-'Asr (the time).
2. Verily! Man is in loss,
3. Except those who believe (in Islâmic 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'rûf ÇáãÚÑæÝ)which Allâh has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds (Al-Munkar ÇáãäßÑ)which Allâh has forbidden), and recommend one another to patience (for the sufferings, harms, and injuries which one may encounter in Allâh's Cause during preaching His religion of Islâmic Monotheism or Jihâd, etc.).
YUSUFALI: By (the Token of) Time (through the ages),
PICKTHAL: By the declining day,
SHAKIR: I swear by the time,
YUSUFALI: Verily Man is in loss,
PICKTHAL: Lo! man is a state of loss,
SHAKIR: Most surely man is in loss,
YUSUFALI: Except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy.
PICKTHAL: Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance.
SHAKIR: Except those who believe and do good, and enjoin on each other truth, and enjoin on each other patience.