Surah Asr >> Currently viewing Surah Asr Ayat 3 (103:3)

Surah Asr Ayat 3 in Arabic Text

إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ وَعَمِلُوا۟ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا۟ بِٱلْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا۟ بِٱلصَّبْرِ
Illal lazeena aamanoo wa ‘amilus saalihaati wa tawaasaw bilhaqqi wa tawaasaw bissabr

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 3

Sahih International
Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.

Yusuf Ali
Except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy.

Abul Ala Maududi
save those who have faith and do righteous deeds, and counsel each other to hold on to truth and counsel each other to be steadfast.

Muhsin Khan
Except those who believe (in Islamic 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’ruf) which Allah has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds (Al-Munkar) which Allah has forbidden), and recommend one another to patience (for the sufferings, harms, and injuries which one may encounter in Allah’s Cause during preaching His religion of Islamic Monotheism or Jihad, etc.).

Pickthall
Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance.

Dr. Ghali
Except the ones who have believed, and done deeds of righteousness, and enjoin each other to the Truth, and enjoin each other to patience.

Abdel Haleem
except for those who believe, do good deeds, urge one another to the truth, and urge one another to steadfastness.

Quran 103 Verse 3 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Asr ayat 3, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(103:3) save those who have faith and do righteous deeds, and counsel each other to hold on to truth and counsel each other to be steadfast.[1]


1. In this Surah an oath has been sworn by the Time to impress the point that man is in sheer loss and only those people are an exception from the loss who are characterized by four qualities:

(1) Faith.

(2) Righteous deeds.

(3) Exhorting one another to truth.

(4) Exhorting one another to patience.

Let us consider each of these parts separately in order to fully understand the meanings.

As for the oath, we have explained several times above that Allah has not sworn an oath by any of the created objects on account of its glory or its excellence and wonderful qualities but for the reason that it testifies to the truth which is meant to be established. Therefore, the oath by Time signifies that Time is witness to the truth that man is in sheer loss except for the people who possess the four qualities.

The word time is used for the past as well as for the passing time in which the present, in fact, does not signify any long stretch of time. Every moment, when it has passed, becomes past, and every moment of the future, when it is passing, becomes present, and when it has passed, becomes past. Here, since the oath has been sworn by time absolute, both kinds of time are included in its meaning. The oath by the past time means that human history testifies that the people who were without these qualities, eventually incurred loss, and in order to understand the significance of the oath by the passing time, one should understand that the time which is now passing is, in fact, the time which has been given to every single individual and every single nation to work in the world. Its example is of the time which is allotted to a candidate for answering his question-paper in the examination hall. The speed with which this time is passing can be estimated from the movement of the secondhand in the watch. Even a second is a considerable amount of time, for during this very second light travels 186,000 miles, and in the Kingdom of God there may as well be many things which move even faster than light, but are not yet known to man. However, if the speed of the passing time be regarded the same as of the movement of the second-hand, and we consider that whatever act, good or bad, we perform and whatever occupation we pursue, takes place in the limited span of age that we have been given for work in the world, we feel that our real wealth is this very time, which is passing so quickly. Imam Razi has cited a scholar as saying: I understood the meaning of Surah Al- Asr from an ice-seller, who was calling aloud for the attention of the people repeatedly in the bazar: Have mercy on the one whose wealth is melting away! Hearing what he was crying I said to myself: this then is the meaning of Walasri innal-insana lafi khusrin. The age-limit that man has been allotted is passing quickly like the melting away of ice. If it is wasted, or spent in wrong pursuits, it will be sheer loss to man. Thus, swearing an oath by the Time what has been said in this Surah, means that the fast passing Time is witness that devoid of these four qualities in whatever occupation and work man is spending his limited span of life, he is engaged in bad bargains. Only such people are engaged in good bargains, who work in the world, characterized by the four qualities. It would be just like calling attention of the candidate, who was spending the time allotted for solving the question-paper in some other pursuit, to the wall clock in the examination hall, to tell him that the passing time bore witness that he was causing loss to himself; the candidate benefiting by the Time was he who was using every moment of the allotted time in solving the paper.

Though the word man has been used in the singular, in the following sentences those people have been made an exception from it, who are characterized by the four qualities. Therefore, one will have to admit that here the word man has been used as a collective noun, denoting a class, and it applies equally to individuals, groups, nations, and entire mankind. Thus, the general statement that whoever is devoid of the above four qualities is in loss, would be proved in any case whether it is a person who is devoid of these, or a nation, or all men of the world. It will be just like giving the verdict that poison is fatal for man; it will mean that poison is fatal in any case whether it is taken by an individual, or a nation, or all the people of the world. Poison’s being fatal is an unchangeable truth; it does not make any difference whether one man has taken it, or a nation has decided to take it, or all the people of the world collectively have agreed to take poison. Precisely in the same way this truth by itself is unchangeable that man’s being devoid of the above four qualities brings him loss. The general rule is not at all affected even if one man is devoid of these, or a nation, or all the people of the world agree that they would exhort one another to disbelief, immorality, falsehood and servitude to the self.

Now, let us see in what sense has the Quran used the word khusr (loss). Lexically, khusr is an antonym of nafa (profit); in trade this word is used in the case when loss results from one bargain as well as in the case when the whole business is running in loss, and also in the case when man loses all his capital and becomes bankrupt. The Quran has made this word a special term of its own and uses it as an antonym of falah (true success). And just as its concept of falah is not merely synonymous with worldly prosperity but comprehends man’s true success from the world till the Hereafter, so its concept of khusr (loss) is also not merely synonymous with worldly failure or distress but comprehends man’s real failure and disappointment from the world till the Hereafter. We have explained the Quranic concept of both falah and khusran at several places before which need not be repeated here. (For this please see (E.N. 9 of Surah Al-Aaraf); (E.N. 30 of Surah Al-Anfal); (E.N. 23 of Surah Younus); (E.N. 102 of Surah Bani Israil); (E.N. 17 of Surah Al-Hajj); (E Ns 1, 2, (11, (50 of Surah Al-Muminoon); (E.N. 4 of Surah Luqman); (E.N. 34 of Surah Az-Zumar). Besides, one should also understand that although according to the Quran true success is man’s success in the Hereafter and real loss his failure there, yet in this world too what the people describe as success is not, in fact, real success but its end in this world itself is failure, and what they regard as loss is not, in fact, loss but a means of true success even in this world. This truth has been stated by the Quran at several places and we have explained it everywhere accordingly. (Please see (E.N. 99 of Surah An- Nahl); (E.N. 53 of Surah Maryam); (E.N. 105 of Surah TaHa); (E.Ns 3-5 of Surah Al-Lail). Thus, when the Quran states conclusively and absolutely that man is certainly in loss, it implies loss both in this world and in the Hereafter. And when it says that only such people are secure from this loss, who are characterized by the four qualities, it implies their being secure from loss and attaining true success both here and in the Hereafter.

Now, let us consider the four qualities on the existence of which depends man’s being secure from loss and failure.

Of these the first quality is Iman (Faith). Although this word at some places in the Quran has been used in the meaning of only verbal affirmation of Faith (e.g. in (Surah An-Nisa, Ayat 137); (Surah Al-Maidah, Ayat 54); (Surah Al- Anfal, Ayats 20, 27); (Surah At-Taubah, Ayat 38); ( Surah As- Saff, Ayat 2), it has primarily been used in the meaning of believing sincerely and faithfully, and in the Arabic language this word has this very meaning. Lexically, amanu lahu means saddaqa-hu wa tamada alai-hi: affirmed him and put faith in him, and amana bi-hi means aiqana bi-hi: had full faith in him. The Faith which the Quran regards as true Faith has been explained in the following verses:

In fact, true believers are those who believed in Allah and His Messenger, then entertained no doubt. (Surah Al- Hujurat, Ayat 15).

Those who

Ibn-Kathir

1. By Al-`Asr. 2. Verily, man is in loss. 3. Except those who believe and do righteous deeds, and recommend one another to the truth, and recommend one another to patience.


Al-`Asr is the time in which the movements of the Children of Adam occur, whether good or evil.

Malik narrated from Zayd bin Aslam that he said, “It is the evening.” However, the first view is the popular opinion. Thus, Allah swears by this, that man is in Khusr, which means in loss and destruction.

﴿إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّـلِحَـتِ﴾

(Except those who believe and do righteous good deeds) So Allah makes an exception, among the species of man being in loss, for those who believe in their hearts and work righteous deeds with their limbs.

﴿وَتَوَاصَوْاْ بِالْحَقِّ﴾

(And recommend one another to the truth,) This is to perform acts of obedience and avoid the forbidden things.

﴿وَتَوَاصَوْاْ بِالصَّبْرِ﴾

(And recommend one another to patience.) meaning, with the plots, the evils, and the harms of those who harm people due to their commanding them to do good and forbidding them from evil. This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-`Asr, and all praise and thanks are due to Allah.

Ibn-Kathir

The tafsir of Surah Asr verse 2 by Ibn Kathir is unavailable here.
Please refer to Surah Asr ayat 1 which provides the complete commentary from verse 1 through 3.

Ibn-Kathir

The tafsir of Surah Asr verse 3 by Ibn Kathir is unavailable here.
Please refer to Surah Asr ayat 1 which provides the complete commentary from verse 1 through 3.

Ibn-Kathir

The tafsir of Surah Asr verse 3 by Ibn Kathir is unavailable here.
Please refer to Surah Asr ayat 1 which provides the complete commentary from verse 1 through 3.

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