Issue 121 » June 8, 2001 -




Surah al-'Asr

The Declining Day (103)

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful!

"I swear by the declining day, that man is a certain loser, save those who have faith and do righteous deeds and counsel one another to follow the truth and counsel one another to be steadfast."


  • This short surah of three verses outlines a complete system for human life based on the Islamic viewpoint. In a few words the whole Islamic constitution is covered and in fact, the nation of Islam is described in its essential qualities and its message. This is the eloquence of which Allah alone is capable!

  • The great fact which this surah affirms is simply that throughout the history of man there has been one worthwhile and trustworthy path. All other paths lead only to loss and ruin. That path is first the adoption of faith, followed up with good deeds and exhortation to follow the truth and to steadfastness.

What does the adoption of faith signify? 

  • Faith is the great root of life from which goodness springs in its various forms and to which all its fruits are bound. What does not spring from faith is a branch cut from a tree: it is bound to fade and perish, it is indeed a devilish production, limited and impermanent! 

  • Faith is the axis to which all the fine fabric of life's network is connected. Without it life is a loose event, wasted through the pursuit of yearnings and fantasies. It is the ideology which collects diversified deeds under a consistent system, following the same route and geared to the same mechanism, possessing a definite motive and a predetermined goal.

Doing what is righteous is the natural fruit of faith 

  • Spontaneous activity is generated at the same time as the reality of faith settles inside the human heart and mind. For faith is a positive and active concept which, once it has pervaded the human conscience, hastens to activate it to the outside world in good deeds. This is the Islamic view of faith. It must be dynamic. If it is not, then it is either phoney or non-existent!

  • From this we recognise the values of faith: dynamism, activity, creativeness and productiveness devoted to Allah's pleasure and not narrowness, negativity or isolation into self. It is not just sincere and innocent intentions, that never develop into actions. This is the distinguishing characteristic of Islam that makes it a creative power in practical life.

Counseling one another to follow the truth and to steadfastness

  • This reveals a picture of Islamic society which has a unique inter-relationship between its individual members. It realises the essence of its faith and what it has to do of good deeds which include, among other tasks, the leadership of humanity along its own path. To execute this tremendous duty, counseling and exhortation becomes a necessity since catering for right and equity are the hardest tasks ever to carry out.

  • Exhortation to endurance and steadfastness widens the capacities by inspiring unity of aim and direction and the feeling of togetherness in everyone, equipping them with love, fortitude and determination. It generates vitality in the community where the truth of Islam can survive and through which it is implemented.

[compiled from "Fi Zilaal il-Qur'an" (In the Shade of the Qur'an) by Imam Sayyid Qutb, entire commentary of 30th part of Qur'an available for online reading from YMC Online Library]

Know Your Islamic Vocab.


  • usually denotes a trial, tribulation, test, or hardship of some sort e.g. "O Allah, save us from the fitnah of the Day of Judgement", or the fitnah of one's sins

  • but can also mean civil strife, unrest, conflict, or war e.g. the fitnah caused by the Mongol invasion of Muslim lands
DAWA - Time to Come Out of our Boxes!  
Our approach towards Da'wah has to be modified to address the youth and atheists
  • This category includes a significant portion of western society and the majority of youth today. Da'wah traditionally meant inviting Jews, Christians, Hindus, and others to Islam i.e. those who at least believed in a God, in whatever shape or form. Nowadays however, Da'wah could also mean inviting faithless, secular minded individuals towards religion. The students of schools, universities, and colleges are the potential audience of this form of Da'wah, since this portion of the population represents the height of secularism or atheism in North America today! Often times, it's challenging enough to convince them of the virtues of religion in the first place, let alone calling them to Islam. Therefore, in order to establish a belief in the existence of God, before anything else, we should learn how to raise questions about the belief in God and the defects in the theory of evolution/materialism, through intellectual and educational discussions. It may not be very productive to give lectures on the concept of Tawheed (Oneness of God) and its different forms, if the person doesn't even think God actually exists!

[Taken from the article "DAWA: Time To Come Out of Our Boxes" @ www.youngmuslims.ca]

Quotes to ponder over

One night, while the mujahid 'Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak was guarding the Muslim camps from enemy attack, he wrote the following poem in a letter to his friend al-Fudayl ibn 'lyad, an ascetic worshipper who was always traveling between the two holy shrines in Makkah and Madinah:


"O worshipper of the Two Shrines, if you could only see us,

You will learn that your worship is mere play.

Some may wet their cheeks with their tears,

But we wet our chests with our own blood..."


[qouted in "Priorities of the Islamic Movement" by Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi]