The Surah takes its name from the word al-`asr occurring in the firstverse.
Period of Revelation
Although Mujahid, Qatadah and Muqatil regard it as a Madani Surah, yeta great majority of the commentators opine that it is Makki; itssubject matter also testifies that it must have been sent down in theearliest stage at Makkah, when the message of Islam was beingpresented in brief but highly impressive sentences so that thelisteners who heard them once could not forget them even if theywanted to, for they were automatically committed to memory.
Theme and Subject Matter
This Surah is a matchless specimen of comprehensiveness and brevity. Awhole world of meaning has been compressed into its few brief words,which is too vast in content to be fully expressed even in a book. Init, in a clear and plain way it has been stated what is the way totrue success for man and what is the way to ruin and destruction forhim. Imam Shafe has very rightly said that if the people onlyconsidered this Surah well, it alone would suffice them for theirguidance. How important this Surah was in the sight of the Companionscan be judged from the tradition cited from Hadrat Abdullah bin Hisnad-Darimi Abu Madinah, according to which whenever any two of them metthey would not part company until they had recited Surah Al-Asr to eachother. (Tabarani)