In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Allaah [The Exalted] said:
إِنَّ ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنَ لَفِى خُسۡرٍ
إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ وَتَوَاصَوۡاْ بِٱلۡحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوۡاْ بِٱلصَّبۡرِ
By Al-‘Asr (the time). Verily! The human is in loss; except those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, enjoin one another to the truth and enjoin one another to patience.
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said:
Imaam Ash-Shaafi’ee [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “If all the people pondered upon this Surah, it would have sufficed them”. The clarification of this affair is that the fulfillment of four affairs – (mentioned) in this Surah- will lead a person to attain the highest level of human perfection. The first affair is acquaintance with truth, the second is to act upon truth, the third is to teach truth to the one who does not know and the fourth affair is to exercise patience whilst learning the truth, acting upon it and teaching. Allaah mentioned these four levels in this Surah and made an oath by Time – that everyone is in a state of loss except those who believe and perform righteous deeds, and they are those who act upon the truth they know, enjoin one another to the truth whilst exercising patience in the path and being steadfast. This is pinnacle of human perfection, because indeed perfection necessitates that a person attains perfection himself and enables others to attain it. This is attained through rectification of the strength of one’s knowledge and action- rectification of the strength of one’s knowledge is attained by way of Eemaan and rectification of the strength of one’s actions is attained through righteous deeds; then enabling others to attain this perfection (i.e. by the will of Allaah) through teaching, exercising patience upon this path and enjoining one another to exercise patience in the path of knowledge and righteous action. This Surah, despite its shortness, is one of the most comprehensive Suras of the Qur’aan that gathers good in its entirety, and all praise and thanks is due to Allaah Who revealed and assured that His Book is sufficient besides everything else – a cure for every disease and a guide to every good.
[An Excerpt from Miftaah Daarus Sa’aadah page 61. slightly paraphrased]