By Time. Mankind is Certainly in Loss – Shaykh Fawzan | Dawud Burbank [Audio|En]


Sharh-ul-Usool-ith-Thalaathah : Lesson 04 – Part B & Lesson 05 
Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzan | Dawud Burbank [Audio|English]

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Imaam Muhammad ibn ‘Abdil-Wahhaab (rahimahullaah) said: 

And the Proof is He the Most High’s saying:

إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ
إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ

By Time. Mankind is certainly in loss. Except for those who have eemaan (those who truly believe) and perform righteous deeds, and enjoin one another with the truth and enjoin one another with patience. [103:1-3]11


It is obligatory that you learn these four matters in detail – is there any proof for what the Shaikh has said? That it is obligatory upon us to learn these four matters, and he has promised us that he will not say anything except with a proof, so where is the proof? The proof upon that is His saying, He the Most High,


By Time. Mankind is certainly in loss. Except for those who have eemaan (those who truly believe) and perform righteous deeds, and enjoin one another with the truth and enjoin one another with patience. [103:1-3]

“Except for those who have eemaan”, this is the first matter: knowledge, because eemaan cannot be except through knowledge, which is awareness of Allaah the Mighty and Majestic, awareness of His Prophet and awareness of the religion of Islaam with the proofs.

The second matter: “And they perform the righteous deeds”, this is action upon the knowledge.

The third matter: “And they enjoin each other with the truth”, this is calling to the knowledge and action.

The fourth matter: “And they enjoin each other with patience”, upon harm in the path of calling to knowledge and action.

So His saying, He the One free of all imperfections:


By Time. [103:1]

The, “Waw”, is the waw-ul-qasm (the ‘waw’ of an oath). And Al-‘Asr is a noun upon which an oath is sworn and it is majroor, and the sign that it is majroor is that it has a kasrah upon it. And what is meant is Time and a time period.

Allaah, the Most High, swears by a time period and by Time, and it is something created. And Allaah, the Majestic and Most High, swears by whatever He wishes from the creation, but the creation may not swear an oath except by Allaah. And Allaah does not swear an oath except by something which has importance, and which contains a Sign from His Signs, He the Perfect and Most High. So this Time, contains a lesson and has importance, and therefore Allaah swore an oath by Time, and He swore by the night when it covers, and He swore an oath by the daytime brightness.

But as for the creation, then he may not swear an oath except by Allaah. And it is not permissible for us to swear an oath by other than Allaah. He sallallaahu’ alaihi wa sallam said:

“Whoever swears an oath by other than Allaah, then he has committed unbelief or he has committed shirk.”[1]

And he said: 

“Whoever is going to swear an oath, then let him swear by Allaah or let him keep silent.”[2]

So Allaah swears by whatever he wishes and he does not swear except by something which has importance and which contains a lesson, so what is the lesson here in this Time? The lessons are tremendous, the succession of the night and the day, and how they interchange and take from each other, this one taking from that one, and that one taking from this one, and they succeed each other in this amazing ordered manner which does not vary or alter.

This is a proof for the Ability of Allaah the Perfect and Most High. And then, whatever occurs within this Time from events and catastrophies and calamities and from favours and blessings and good things, and whatever occurs within this Time, this is from the lessons. And likewise because night and day are an arena for righteous action to be performed in. He the Most High said:

 .. وَهُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ خِلْفَةً 

And He (Allaah) is the One who made the night and the day to follow each other in succession … 

Meaning they follow each other in succession, this one follows on from this one.

لِّمَنْ أَرَادَ أَن يَذَّكَّرَ أَوْ أَرَادَ شُكُورًا ..

… for whoever wants to be reminded of Allaah or whoever wants to give thanks for Allaah’s favours. [25:62]

And in some of the recitations of this aayah, it occurs:

… for the one who wants to remember Allaah … [25:62]

So the night and the day are a tremendous bounty to be earned for a person who utilizes them in obedience to Allaah the Mighty and Majestic, and the arena for action is the night and the day, you have nothing else besides the night and the day, they are the arena for action and for good and pure earning for this world and the hereafter. So in the night and the day there are lessons and there are benefits, so therefore Allaah swore an oath by Time.

What is this oath sworn upon? It is His saying:

إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ

Mankind is certainly in loss. [103:2]

It (Mankind) means all of the descendants of Aadam, He did not exclude anyone, neither the kings nor the leaders, nor the rich people nor the poor people, nor the free people nor the slaves, nor the males nor the females. So, “Al-”, in, “Al-Insaan”, is for istighraaq – to make the word all-inclusive. All of the descendants of Aadam are in loss, meaning they will be in loss and destruction if they waste this precious Time, and they utilize it in disobedience to Allaah and in doing that which will harm them.

And this Time which is very cheap with many people, time seems prolonged for them, they become weary and bored, and they say, “We want to kill some time”. So they bring amusements, or they travel abroad to spend a holiday and just to spend some time somewhere, or they laugh and joke to use up time. So those people, they use it up and waste it – then it will be loss and regret upon them on the Day of Resurrection. And it could be the source of their true happiness, if only they took care of it.

So all of the descendants of Aadam are in loss and destruction, except for those who have the four qualities which are: knowledge and action and calling to Allaah and having patience upon any harm which the person meets. So whoever has these four qualities will be saved from this loss.

And having eemaan in Allaah is not possible except through having knowledge, which is knowledge and awareness of Allaah.

وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ 

And they perform the righteous and correct deeds [103:3] 

Meaning they perform the righteous deeds from the obligatory duties and the recommended duties. So they utilize their time in performing the righteous deeds in that which will benefit them in their religion and in their worldly life, for even worldly action contains good and can contain reward if it is done with the intention of using it as an aid upon obedience. So how about action for the hereafter. So what is important is that you do not waste the time, rather you use it in something which will be to your advantage and benefit you.

وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ

And they enjoin each other with the truth [103:3]

They command the good and they forbid the evil and they call to Allaah the Mighty and Majestic and they teach beneficial knowledge and they propagate knowledge and good amongst the people. They become callers to Allaah the Mighty and Majestic.

وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ

And they enjoin each other with having patience. [103:3]

They have patience upon whatever strikes them. AsSabr in the language means restraining, and what is meant by it here is restraining oneself upon obedience to Allaah. And it is of three types:

  • The first one is: Patience upon obedience to Allaah.
  • The second one is: Patience in keeping away from those things which Allaah has forbidden.
  • The third one is: Having patience with those things which Allaah has Pre-decreed to occur.

So the first: patience upon obedience to Allaah, because the person’s soul desires laziness and desires relaxation, so therefore a person must force it to have patience upon obedience and upon the prayer and upon fasting and upon jihaad in Allaah’s cause even though it may dislike these matters, he should cause it to have patience and he should restrain it on obedience to Allaah.

And the second: patience in keeping away from those things Allaah has made forbidden. The soul desires forbidden things and desires. It inclines towards them and is attracted to them, so therefore the person must bind it and restrain it away from the forbidden things, and this requires patience, and it is not easy to prevent the soul from desires and forbidden things. Whoever does not have patience, then his soul will overcome him and incline towards forbidden things.

The third is: having patience with the painful things which Allaah has decreed, the calamities which strike a person, from the death of a close relative or loss of wealth or illness which befalls a person, he must have patience upon the pre-ordainment and pre-decree of Allaah and he should not become vexed and he should not become angry, rather he should restrain the tongue from wailing and forbidden lamenting and from displaying anger and he should withhold himself from vexation and he should withhold his limbs from striking the cheeks and from tearing the front-opening of the garments. This is patience upon calamities.

As for faults, then he should not have patience upon them, rather he should repent to Allaah and flee away from them. However, with regard to calamities which are not something which you yourself have done, rather they are from Allaah the Mighty and Majestic, He has decreed that they will occur to you as a test and a trial or as a punishment for you for sins which you have committed just as there occurs in His saying the Most High:

وَمَا أَصَابَكُم مِّن مُّصِيبَةٍ فَبِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِيكُمْ وَيَعْفُو عَن كَثِيرٍ

And whatever calamity strikes you then it is on account of the sins which your hands have committed and Allaah pardons and does not punish, a great deal. [42:30]

So if a calamity strikes the Muslim in his self or in his wealth or in his children or his close relative or one of his brothers from the Muslims, then it is upon him to have patience and to await reward. He, the Most High, said:

الَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُم مُّصِيبَةٌ قَالُوا إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ

أُولَٰئِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ صَلَوَاتٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَرَحْمَةٌ ۖ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُهْتَدُونَ

Those who, when a calamity strikes them they say, “Indeed we belong to Allaah and we will certainly be returning to Him”. Those people, upon them is praise from their Lord and mercy, and they are the ones who are guided. [2:156-157] 

This is patience, and from that is having patience upon harm which comes in calling to Allaah the Mighty and Majestic, for that is from the calamities. So it is upon you to have patience upon whatever you meet from harm upon the path of good. And do not turn away from doing good, because some people wish to do good, however, if something which he dislikes faces him he then says, “It is not obligatory upon me to enter myself into these matters”. Then he abandons teaching if he is a teacher, he abandons calling to Allaah, he abandons giving the khutbah if he is a khateeb (one who gives the khutbah in a mosque), he abandons leading the prayer in the mosque, he abandons commanding the good and forbidding the evil – this person has not had patience upon the harm which came to him.

And if you are upon error, then it is upon you to turn back to the truth and to correctness, but if you are upon  something true and you have not erred, then it is upon you to have patience and to await and expect reward and to be aware and to feel that this is in the cause of Allaah the Mighty and Majestic and that you will receive reward for it, and that you remember the harm which occurred to the Prophets ‘alaihimussalaatu wassalaam and how they had patience and how they strove and fought in Allaah’s cause, until Allaah the Mighty and Majestic gave them victory.

Imaam Muhammad ibn ‘Abdil-Wahhaab (rahimahullaah) said: 

قَالَ الشَّافِعِيُّ رَحِمَهُ اللهُ: لَوْ مَا أَنْزَلَ اللهُ حُجَّةً عَلَى خَلْقِهِ إِلاَّ هَذِهِ السُّوْرَةَ لَكَفَتْهُمْ

Ash-Shaafi‘ee rahimahullaah said: “If Allaah had not sent down any proof upon his creation except this soorah, then that would have sufficed for them.”12


His saying, “Ash-Shaafi‘ee”: He is the Imaam Muhammad ibn Idrees Ash-Shaafi‘ee and Ash-Shaafi‘ee is an ascription to his great great grandfather who was called Shaafi‘, and he was from Quraish from Banul-Muttalib. He died in the year 204 H, and he was one of the four Imaams. And he said this saying, because Allaah has made clear in this soorah the reasons for wretchedness and the means for true happiness and success.

So the means for true happiness and success is that the person has these four characteristics: knowledge, and action, and calling, and having patience upon harm in the cause of Allaah the Most High. So Allaah’s proof is established upon His creation through this soorah. Allaah the Perfect says to them – I have made clear to you the means for true happiness in this short and brief soorah.

And the Qur’aan, all of it, and the Sunnah are details for these four matters. However, this soorah has made clear the means to true happiness and success in general terms, through it the proof has been established upon the creation, and the texts of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah give the details and clarify these four matters. And the speech of Ash-Shaafi‘ee does not mean that this soorah is sufficient for mankind, even if Allaah had not sent down anything else. But rather it has established the proof upon them, because Allaah has made clear in it the means to true happiness and the reasons for total wretchedness, so on the Day of Resurrection no-one can say, “I did not know the means to true happiness and I did not know the reasons leading to total wretchedness”, when he has read this brief and short soorah.


[1] Reported by Aboo Daawood and At-Tirmidhee from a hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar radiyallaahu ‘anhumaa [Al-Albaanee – saheeh].

[2] Reported by al Bukhaaree as hadeeth 6108 and by Muslim as hadeeth 1646/3 as a hadeeth also of Ibn ‘Umar radiyallaahu ‘anhumaa.

Sharh-ul-Usool-ith-Thalaathah. Explanation of the Three Fundamental Principles of Imaam Muhammad ibn ‘Abdil-Wahhaab by Shaykh Saalih ibn Fowzaan al-Fowzaan hafizahullaah. Translated by  Daawood  Burbank, rahimahullaah

Posted with kind permission from Dawud Burbank rahimahullaah

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