Al-‘Asr (The Passage of Time) is the one hundred and third chapter of the Qur’an. It is a relatively short chapter. Its translation is as follows: Time is a witness, that man is surely in a state of loss, except for those who believe and do good deeds and exhort one another to hold fast to the Truth, and who exhort one another to steadfastness. (103:1-2)
In this chapter, the Qur’an refers to time. What is time? Time is a passing phenomenon; it is always in a state of travel, from present to future, from morning to evening, from today to tomorrow. Time is beyond your control, you can never stop time. In making this reference, the Qur’an gives a very important lesson, one which is important for everyone, both men and women. This lesson is: take time as an opportunity. Avail of time before it passes away forever. If you miss the train of time, you will never be able to catch it again. Al-Razi, one of the commentators of the Qur’an, says: “I was pondering over the meaning of this Qur’anic verse while I was in Baghdad. Why does the Qur’an say that time is a witness for man? Then I heard the voice of an ice vendor. He was calling out to people, ‘O people, purchase my goods before they melt away and vanish.’” The phenomenon of ice successfully explains this Qur’anic verse. Everyone’s life is like a melting piece of ice.
Every person is constantly losing his time. When he rises in the morning, he has lost the night, which cannot return to him again. As evening nears he has lost the day. By these verses, the Qur’an warns every human being to avail of time. Avail of the opportunities of the day that you will not get during the night, and avail of the opportunities of the night that you will not get during the day. In other words, with these verses, the Qur’an tells us the importance of time management. Time management is a must for every man and woman. We have a very short time here on this earth. In only a few years’ time, we will face death. Everyone should undertake serious planning of his time in order to avail properly of his pre-death period. We have only two options before us, either to avail of the time wisely or face failure forever.