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Surah Al-Asr Explained To Kids

Surah Al-Asr Explained To Kids

Surah Al Asr: By the time
Surah Al Asr explained: our time is ticking away…


Surah Al-Asr Explained To Kids

Surah Al-Asr is one of the second shortest surah of the Quran – the shortest being Surah Al-Kawthar. Because Surah Al-Asr is so short, it is one of the first suwar (plural of surah) that Muslims learn when they start reading or memorizing the Quran. In Surah Al-Asr, Allah SWT swears by the time. He then explains that people are losing their time, they are wasting their time. But there are also special people out there who are not wasting their time. Who are these people? Why is Allah SWT swearing? Let’s learn together!


The Words of Surah Al-Asr

Let’s read Surah Al-Asr together!

Arabic version of Surah Al-Asr
Surah Al-Asr from tanzil.net

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

1 وَالْعَصْرِ

2 إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ ‎

3 إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ ‎

[bismillah ir-raHmaan ir-raHeem
wa (a)l-‘asr(i) (1) inna (a)l-insaana lafee khusr(in) (2) illa (a)l-ladheena aamanoo wa ‘amiloo (a)S-SaaliHaat(i) wa tawaSSaw bi-(a)l-Haqqi wa tawaSSaw bi-(a)S-Sbr(i) (3)

“In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.

By time, (1) Indeed, mankind is in loss, (2) Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience. (3)”

You can also listen to our Studio Arabiya student Omar recite Surah Al-Asr by clicking here!


Why does Allah SWT swear?

Sometimes, people swear. Most people do it at some point in their lives. Most people probably do it too much. And why do we swear? We swear when we are upset, when we want to make a point, when we want people to listen, when we want things to change. And if you have ever heard someone swear.


Allah SWT also swears in the Quran. Of course, it is different from us human beings swearing because we are talking about Allah SWT, the Supreme, the Majestic, the Perfection. For instance, He never uses bad language. However, the impact when we read or recite those passages from the Quran, or when we listen to them is very similar: He wants to get our attention, to make us pause for a moment, to listen more carefully, to ponder upon that thing He is swearing by.


When Allah SWT swears by something, it means He takes an oath by it, and so we need to pay extra attention and understand why He is doing that. In the case of Surah Al-Asr, Allah SWT is swearing by الْعَصْر [al-’asr] usually translated as “the time”. Let’s look at this word more closely.


It comes from the Arabic root letters ع ص ر which carry other meanings that really shed light on this word. It means to press out, to squeeze out, to wring out. Think about the other Arabic word عَصِير [‘aSeer] which shares the same roots and means “juice” (which is made by squeezing fruits). So here, Allah SWT is really talking about the time that is running out. He is talking about the time that is going by so quickly that we can not afford to waste it any longer – because we have already wasted it so much, haven’t we? By doing things that are not beneficial, by forgetting where we are coming from and where we will eventually go back to: our Creator. And we will have to answer to Him as to how we used this ticking time.


The solution for True Success

But Allah SWT is the Most Merciful, He is All Loving, He is the Generous. He wants nothing but what is best for us in this life and the next. So He doesn’t just swear and tells us that we are at loss, no: He gives us the solution, He gives us the solution for success – true success, the kind of success that will save us from the true failure in the akhirah. And what is that solution? It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3, masha’Allah:

  1. Believe: believe in Him and everything that He is teaching us through the Quran and the Sunnah
  2. Do good: follow the Quran and the Sunnah in everything you do
  3. Advise: be a part of this ummah, even though it can be challenging at times, by supporting your Muslim sisters and brothers, reminding one another about Allah SWT and His Message and reminding one another to be patient through the difficulties. To the best of your ability – no one is perfect, only Allah SWT is.


This Surah gives us a new perspective on what true success and true failure really are – and they are the exact opposites of what people normally think of success and failure. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your best to get nice things. You can still work to get a good job, make good money, have a nice house, etc. But it does mean that, in striving for all of these things, you need to remember to do them for the right reason: for Allah SWT alone.



Have you ever had an ice cream cone or popsicle in your hand, but it was so warm outside that it was melting faster than you could eat it? This is how it will feel like if we let time go by without using it wisely, doing something beneficial in the eyes of Allah SWT. May Allah SWT make us of these special people Allah SWT talks about in this surah, ameen!

This article was originally published in our Studio Arabiya Times magazine (Fall 2023). CLICK HERE to read the whole magazine!

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