الآية رقم (3) - إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ

(3) - (Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience. (3))

The creed is a principle settled in the soul then tie in the heart. As explained before, the creed is related with just hidden matters, not tangible ones. We believe in Allah (swt), His angels, His Books, His prophets, in the Last Day and to believe in the divine decree, both good and bad. These are all unseen. Believing in these unseen is what distinguishes the believer from the disbeliever, whereas, believing in tangible things is same for the believer and disbeliever, because the man believes in what he sees and comprehends, however, that does not mean that what we do not see or comprehend does not exist, Allah (swt) says:

﴾ وَفِي أَنفُسِكُمْ ۚ أَفَلَا تُبْصِرُونَ ﴿

 (And in yourselves. Then will you not see?) (Adh-Dhariyat: 21)

Hence, we are in front of a great honorable matter, which is the correcting of the creed.

إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا (Except for those who have believed): The creed relates to unseen matters of which its first is to believe in Allah (swt), this is the origin of faith, for if we believe in the existence of The Only One, and The Steadfast, Who has the attributes of highness, perfection, ability and wisdom, to Whom is the return and final refuge. After believing in this comes the belief in the rest of the unseen, which their source is The Lord that believe in.

Thereof, the creed is two types: The origin and the top one; that is the belief in Allah (swt), then comes the second type which results from the belief in Alalh (swt), that is belief in what Allah (swt) has informed us about concerning to do certain things and refrain from doing others.

Hence, the source that supports us and gives us strength to face all the difficulties of life is believing in The Only One, The Truthful (swt). Reasons end, deceive and betray, the only supporter that remains is the Causer of the reasons.

Faith enriches the soul, by this the believer welcomes life’s events with relaxed satisfied self with the divine decree, does not grieve if something bad touched him, nor does he get conceited with the blessing since he believes that both the blessings and the afflictions are trials form Allah (swt). This is how you move from the theoretical creed to its application which is the good deeds.

وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ (and done righteous deeds): Allah (swt) made the good deeds a condition of the correct faith. Hence, the first element is faith and the second is the righteous deeds. The first good deeds to be achieved are the worshipping acts that Allah (swt) legislated to His servants and commanded them with. As for the prayer, it prohibits immorality and wrongdoings, and the life canons of transactions organize the relations of individuals and communities. Besides, no other way of worshipping Allah (swt) except by that which Allah (swt) has ordained, unless the volunteering.

When there are right faith and good deeds, some kinds of inattentiveness surely appear across man’s way in life, as the Prophet (saws) said:

((Every child of Adam commits sin, and the best of those who commit sin are those who repent.))[1]

As such there has to be the third element:

وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ (and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience): The self, by its nature, ignores the method due to its desires and whims, which leads it to deviating from the purposes, consequently, it needs a reminder to remove its unawareness and bring it back to the true path.

(and advised): indicates the interaction. Everyone in community can advise and can be advised, simultaneously. That is, sometimes I advise you and another you advise me, sometimes I am unaware and you are aware and sometimes, it is the opposite, thus it is something very normal among all the people.

Hence, when we face obstacles and ordeals in life, we advise each other to truth and advise each other to patience.

So, when all these three elements meet together, then, we will be from the winners whom Allah (swt) excluded them from lost.

Advising requires effort and it has to be about truth, gently, without any violence. The Holy Qur’an uses the word advise, not command, because it carries the meaning of gentleness and kindness, such as from the lover towards his beloved and from a father towards his children.

We find the subject of advising in many places in the Holy Qur’an, as with the case of Ibrahim (pbuh) when he advised his sons with faith:

﴾ وَوَصَّىٰ بِهَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ بَنِيهِ وَيَعْقُوبُ يَا بَنِيَّ إِنَّ اللَّهَ اصْطَفَىٰ لَكُمُ الدِّينَ فَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ ﴿

 (And Abraham instructed his sons and so did Jacob, [saying], “O my sons, indeed Allah has chosen for you this religion, so do not die except while you are Muslims.”) (Al-Baqara: 133)

There is a very long available time for giving advice, but there may be no sufficient time, so it comes as a brief before the end comes, as we see in the advice of Ya’qub (pbhu) when he was on deathbed, he was very desirous to advise his sons, he wanted to be assure that his sons will follow the method of Allah (swt) after his death.

 ﴾أَمْ كُنتُمْ شُهَدَاءَ إِذْ حَضَرَ يَعْقُوبَ الْمَوْتُ إِذْ قَالَ لِبَنِيهِ مَا تَعْبُدُونَ مِن بَعْدِي قَالُوا نَعْبُدُ إِلَٰهَكَ وَإِلَٰهَ آبَائِكَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ إِلَٰهًا وَاحِدًا وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ﴿

 (Or were you witnesses when death approached Jacob, when he said to his sons, “What will you worship after me?” They said, “We will worship your God and the God of your fathers, Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac – one God. And we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.”) (Al-Baqara: 133)

Allah (swt) mentions the advices of fathers to their children because the father gives the most truthful sincere advice than anyone else, any father may never cheat his children:

 ﴾وَإِذْ قَالَ لُقْمَانُ لِابْنِهِ وَهُوَ يَعِظُهُ يَا بُنَيَّ لَا تُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ ۖ إِنَّ الشِّرْكَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيمٌ﴿

 (And [mention, O Muhammad], when Luqman said to his son while he was instructing him, “O my son, do not associate [anything] with Allah. Indeed, association [with him] is great injustice.”) (Luqman: 13)

 ﴾يَا بُنَيَّ أَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَانْهَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَاصْبِرْ عَلَىٰ مَا أَصَابَكَ ۖ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ ﴿

 (O my son, establish prayer, enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong, and be patient over what befalls you. Indeed, [all] that is of the matters [requiring] determination.) (Luqman: 17)

These are examples of advising to the truth, the truth is the likeable method that the advisor tried and he wants people whom he loves to be committed to, this is why he advised them with.

Referring to Islamic history, we find many examples of advising to truth and patience. For example, at the age of the (The right guided Caliphs), Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him), on the first of his caliphate, has addressed the people saying:

“O’ people I have now been appointed in command over you and I am not the best of you, so that if I do well , help me and if I deviate then put me straight, obey me so long as I obey God and His Messenger. But if I disobey God and His Messenger, you owe me no obedience.”

Imam Ali (may Allah honour his face) instructed Al-Ashtar when he appointed him on Egypt:

“Then, know, O Malik, that I have sent you to an area where there have been governments before you, both just as well as oppressive. People will now watch your dealings as you used to watch the dealings of the rulers before you, and they (people) will criticise you as you criticised them (rulers). Surely, the virtuous are known by the reputation that Allah circulates for them through the tongues of His creatures. Therefore, the best collection with you should be the collection of good deeds. So, control your passions and check your heart from doing what is not lawful for you, because checking the heart means detaining it just half way between what it likes and dislikes. Habituate your heart to mercy for the subjects and to affection and kindness for them. Do not stand over them like greedy beasts who feel it is enough to devour them, since they are of two kinds, either your brother in religion or one like you in creation. They will commit slips and encounter mistakes. They may act wrongly, wilfully or by neglect. So, extend to them your forgiveness and pardon, in the same way as you would like Allah to extend His forgiveness and pardon to you, because you are over them and your responsible Commander (Imam) is over you while Allah is over him who has appointed you.”[2]

These are some of the advices that are mentioned in our Islamic history. Giving and receiving advices to truth, and to patience  in the face of the tremendous hardships of this life, is very important matter. Allah (swt) says:

    ﴾يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَعِينُوا بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلَاةِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ  ﴿

 (O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.) (Al-Baqara: 153)

 

[1] Al-Mustadrak Ala As-Sahihain, Chapter 4, Hadith No. 7617.

[2] Jawaher Al-Adab, Ahmad al-Hashimi, Page: 103, the second chapter.

الآية رقم (2) - إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ

(2) - (Indeed, mankind is in loss, (2))

This verse is what Allah (swt) swears for.

By (mankind) Allah (swt) means all people without any exclusion.

Allah (swt) swears by the the time (of the afternoon) to teach us that the general principle of the survival of nations and civilizations lies in three conditions, if they are available in a community, then it will flourish and develop, but if one of these conditions is missed , the community will fall in ignorance. These conditions are: A fixed creed, the righteous deeds and advising to truth and to patience.

الآية رقم (1) - وَالْعَصْرِ

(1) - (By time, (1))

An oath by the time.

Allah (swt) swears by what He (swt) wills to what He (swt) wills, because He (swt) is the creator of everything, Has knowledge of everything and their secrets, but, as for us, we do not know the greatness of the things neither their seriousness since we are ignorant of the creations around us.

The oath in the Holy Qur’an is either in affirmative form as this verse, or in negative form as in:

 لَا أُقْسِمُ بِيَوْمِ الْقِيَامَة﴿

 (I do not swear by the Day of Resurrection.) (Al-Qiyamah: 1)

The purpose in both is one, which is to confirm what is sworn to. However, in the affirmative oath there is a suspicion which Allah (swt) wants to remove, whereas, in the negative oath, there is no suspicion, it is a very clear matter that does not need to be sworn to, but if He (swt) had willed to swear, He would have sworn by that.

In this verse, Allah (swt) swears by the time (of the afternoon) to confirm what is followed in the next two verses.

What is the relation between the time and what is sworn for?

It is said that: The time is an approach for the following ruling which is: The man is always in loss. The time can refer to a point of time or to an idiomatic meaning, which is the prayer of the afternoon; the midst prayer which is mentioned in this verse:

   حَافِظُوا عَلَى الصَّلَوَاتِ وَالصَّلَاةِ الْوُسْطَىٰ وَقُومُوا لِلَّهِ قَانِتِينَ ﴿

 (Maintain with care the [obligatory] prayers and [in particular] the middle prayer and stand before Allah, devoutly obedient.) (Al-Baqara: 238)

Moreover, the time can refer to a specific period such as when we say: The Ab-Bassy period, The Umayad period, Atom period and Technology period, hence it has certain conditions and persons.