A very short surah that every Muslim knows. It is a Makkan surah and carries very important themes with it. The surah teaches that all human beings are in loss, except those who have iman, do righteous deeds, and remind others of the Haq (truth, rights) and remind others of sabr.
إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ
Indeed man is in loss,
إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ
except those who have faith and do righteous deeds, and enjoin one another to [follow] the truth, and enjoin one another to patience.
Even though it’s so short, many scholars have considered Surah al-Asr to be a summary of the whole Qur’an. For example, Ibn Kathir says that the surah acts as a warning to believers not to waste time or they could be humiliated of even ruined. Imam Shafi says that if Allah (swt) had only revealed this surah it would have been sufficient for the guidance of all humankind. It summarized the very essence of the Qur’anic message. Thus, Imam Shafi asserts that if one followed its counsel, it was enough for humankind to achieve success in life. At-Tabarani says that when humankind finds itself at a loss; it can revive itself by returning to the formula provided by the third verse and the four principles/conditions, which are adhered to as a foundation. We saw how these four principles operated on both physical and spiritual levels. This is probably the reason why the companions of the Prophet (saw) did not want to become heedless of the foundational message of Islam.