1. By (the Token of) time (through the Ages)
6262. Al-Asr may mean: (1) Time through the Ages, or long periods, in which case it comes near to the abstract idea of Time, Dahr; (2) or the late afternoon, from which the Asr canonical prayer takes its name (see n. 271 to ii: 238). An appeal is made to Time as one of the creations of Allah, of which everyone knows something but of which no one can fully explain the exact significance. Time searches out and destroys everything material. No one in secular literature has expressed the tyranny of "never-resting Time" better than Shakespeare in his Sonnets. For example, see Sonnets 5 ("never-resting Time"), 12 ("Nothing gainst Time's scythe can make defence"), and 64 ("When I have seen by Time's fell hand defaced The rich proud cost of outworn buried age"). If we merely run a race against Time, we shall lose. It is the spiritual part of us that conquers Time. See verse 3 below. For the "afternoon" idea see next note.