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In Surat Al Asr, Allah begins by swearing by the time:

و العصر

The scholars of interpretation have differed on the interpretation of this verse, some said it meant time, others said it meant the last hours of day. What is the correct view on what this verse means? are there any authentic Ahadith interpreting the meaning of this verse? also what is the wisdom of Allah swearing by (العصر)?

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No simple literal translation can capture the magnificence or the delicate meaning of these Arabic verses. Every word has multiple levels of meaning, and each line brings new insights and inspirations with every reading.

The Thafseer Ibnu-Katheer states that

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."

Either it may simply be time or evening or anyother(Allah knows the best). The correct thing is Allah(Subh) wants to say some important things to human beings, thats why he is telling that by promising upon ASR(time) which is very precious once lost can't be gain back.

We can also see the Sura Al-Fajr.

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It really depends on the context. A word may vary in meaning among others in this following categories

1) The context of what is being said.

Example a) Holy Cow b) The cow will be sacrificed for the feast.

2) The word being used in the absolute sense or it's derivation.

Example a) I came from Brad's Marriage b) Brad and Linda bonded in a Marriage today

With this context, the word Asr may have various meaning. One really need to understand and master the Arabic of the 7th century arabia to know the meaning of this word in the verse of this ayath. In this verse it means time to signifies the phase of history starting from the Prophet Adam (sws) and ending on the Prophet Muhammad (sws) in which a series of Prophets were sent by the Almighty to reveal the truth in its ultimate form. The most distinct feature of this phase of history was that whenever nations rejected the Prophets sent to them, they were destroyed.

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