Saturday, 21 July 2018

EU still in denial on immigration

The North/South destabilizing trade imbalance can no longer be sustainable. It is time to stop playing the ostrich…” – Refugees crisis: Chickens coming home to roost; The Guardian, October 2, 2015.
The 28-member European Union (EU) has yet to brace up to the real causes of millions of unsolicited migrants on its doorsteps, even as one of its leading members, the United Kingdom (UK) voted in 2016 to leave, and few others now threatening to borrow a leaf from the would-be leaver. Immigration is at the top of the issues threatening the Union. The essential causes of those problematic migrations are historically evident, but the EU apparently regards that evidence as inconvenient. So denial provides provisional convenience to the European bloc; meanwhile thousands of economically dislocated humans perish in the bordering Mediterranean Sea every month, as the EU erects both physical and legal walls to fence off its unwanted guests. Latest reports on the vexed challenge show that these walls are composed of: a) disrupting humanitarian rescue missions in the Mediterranean(!); b) offering aid to countries that commit to stemming the flow of people; c) funding the United Nations (UN) to repatriate migrants stuck in Libya; and d) beefing up the Libyan coastguard to nip migration in the bud. (This should partly explain the harsh treatments Nigerian returnees received in the hands of Libyan authorities)   
Only recently the EU has opted to increase its expenditure on Africa by over 20% spread across 7 years hence, to a minimum of €36bn (£31bn) in a bid to reduce the number of migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean Sea. A large part of that amount is said to be targeted at funding the Italian-trained Libyan coastguard, whose primary task it is to force migrant-boats back to Africa. But so far, the effect of all these international efforts to stem mass migrations northwards is comparable to the effect of water on a duck’s back. The migrations have increased with time. And rather instructively, a recent study by a watchdog, Eunpack, to closely examine EU’s efforts to tackle the migrations challenge has revealed “a mismatch between the grandiloquent declarations and the action actually implemented on the ground…” and “a troubling lack of monitoring and impact evaluation schemes across most of the EU crisis response initiatives…” The study then concludes that, “outsourcing of migration management to Libyan authorities and the dramatic increase in the number of people in custody in Libyan detention centres is fuelling a criminal economy and traffic”.
Sequel to that disheartening report, EU’s foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, suggested that, “If you want to manage migration and if you want to prevent further security threats in particular terrorism, there is one single place where you have to invest all your political, economic and diplomatic efforts and that is the belt of the Sahel and the Horn of Africa”. For its part, the European Commission (EC) has entered a “compact” with five African counties: Ethiopia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal that is inextricably tied to development aid, trade and other EU’s policies to the original agenda of returning unwanted migrants from Europe. In the first year of the compact Mali accepted EU funds in exchange for 404 returnees; those funds are tied to beefing up internal security forces, border control, and crack down on smugglers. One fact however stands starkly out of all the foregoing: the efforts fight shy of the real causes of the 21st century mass migrations from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere. But William Swing of the UN International Organization for Migration didn’t fight so shy of that inconvenient historical fact when he recently asserted thus, “For three centuries Europe populated the world…and today, because of demographics and the low birth rate, it has become a continent of destination. This is a psychological adjustment that has not been made…”
The UN official has stated a fundamental fact only peripherally. Population and demographics are not at the core of the issue, but material wealth and economic opportunities are primary to the discussion. Until some two hundred years ago when the United State of America gained her independence, Europe was a net receiver of global wealth. But even with the US independence, global wealth continued to flow from the south to the north. For a planet that was evidently designed for a circular flow for its equilibrium, a unidirectional flow would inevitably result in catastrophic disequilibrium. It therefore requires little imagination to see that the ongoing mass migrations are naturally following the flow of global wealth for, as a popular adage makes plain, bees always follow honey. It is understandable that the EU is presently having difficulties coming to terms with this reality. But we should make bold to remind the Europeans that the short term pains of facing up to this touch reality is as nothing in comparison with the unending nightmares of looking the other way. Token gestures which results from looking away from reality will not wish away the migrations challenge. What the moment calls for is an all-encompassing infrastructural development progamme for Africa – the equivalent of post World War II Marshall Plan for the redevelopment of Europe.
The need for such a plan was proposed at UN Roundtable discussions as early as in the last months of the 20th century. Other forward looking groups have since continued to call for a Marshal Plan for Africa. One of the more dedicated of these groups, The Club of Rome, in the early 1970s published its detailed studies of human exploitative activities and their consequences on global stability, The Limits of Growth. As the over 200-page book indicates, employing empirically derived data, trillions of Euros, rather than tens of billions, are the realistic sums required to sustainably check the present global socio-economic instability; and by extension, the mass south/north migrations. Of course the impulsive response to that suggestion would be to exclaim that the sums are simply unaffordable. But I would counter thus: if the northern hemisphere’s unsustainable consumption and undifferentiated growth patterns could be reasonably adjusted, funding for Africa’s Marshall Plan would materialize. The EU as a bloc and her North American neighbours need to make a fundamental shift in their existing social values; that is the “psychological adjustment” William Swing of the UN was talking about.
There is little doubt that a painstaking digestion of The Limits of Growth and countless related studies on the subject would facilitate this all-important adjustment of mindset. This is not an option for the EU, but the only option for the entire northern hemisphere. To persist in denial could be likened to a bomb waiting to go off.

Afam Nkemdiche is an engineering consultant; June, 2018                      

The Evening of Life: Letter to my Cousin

Having lived a fruitful life; though some have lived a life of thievery, cunning and brigandage, yet, all must end one day. Life is lived in epochs: Morning, afternoon and evening. In the evening of our lives, we await the call to the higher realm. During this period, we reminiscence over our journey through life; how we arrived where we find ourselves. Some spend the evening of their lives in glory and relish the laughter of their grandchildren, while there are those who spend the evening in shame, regrets, infamy and ignominy; cursing their corrupt and ignoble past; gnashing their teeth and wishing they had not chosen the path of perfidy. It is in the evening that those who are today mismanaging the affairs of men under them will realize the futility in amassing ill-gotten wealth and 50-bedroom mansions on hilltops and valleys. The evening is when our bones get tired and weariness sets in and we begin to glean the world beyond.
The Psalmist said “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” Psalm 90:10
It is towards this end that I have decided to admonish my very dear cousin; Abdulfatah Akintola Kekere-Ekun, as he clocks the enviable age of 65 on Sunday 1stof July; five years short of the Biblical provision. Fortunately, our Quran does not place such limit on our years on this divide. But, no doubt, 65 is the evening of life.
An anonymous observer writing on the evening of life had this to say: “Yes! Life has its sunset hour, its twilight season. The dim eye, the silvered lock, and the feeble step — indicate that the closing period of earthly existence has arrived. How rapid has been the flight of time! How near must be the approach of eternity?”
“The evening of life accustoms us to the consideration of death — it assists us in the realization of immortality. The evening of life is the time for rest.”
“The evening of life is the time for reflection; how desirable is the evening hour for quiet meditation, for self-examination, and for the formation of wise and goodpurposes.”
Our evening of life should be consecrated to calm and elevated thought. But whatever has been your previous history — you are now, by the dictates of  age, withdrawn from active duties. In the peaceful twilight hour, when we sit alone and commune with our own hearts, our thoughts naturally turn to the occurrences of the past.
True, the remembrance of our imperfections and our sins — is painful and self-condemning; yet it is always best to open one's eyes to the truth.  Ask God himself to be your teacher. Make this your prayer: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life!" Psalm 139:23. And Allah said in the Quran:
If Allah were to punish men according to what they deserve. He would not leave on the back of the (earth) a single living creature: but He gives them respite for a stated Term: when their Term expires, verily Allah has in His sight all His Servants. (Quran 35:45)
Allah promises in the Quran:
All who buy the life of this world at the price of the life to come - their suffering shall not be lightened, nor shall they be succored! (Quran 2:86)
Be of good cheer, as you have lived an exemplary life devoid of iniquities and sinful shenanigans. A devout Muslim, philanthropist and a compassionate man, you have been able to find your way into Allah’s good books. There is no doubt, the remaining years of your life shall be spent glorifying His name and walking in the path of the righteous.
Let the sorrowful and self-abasing remembrance of your iniquity make Allahincreasingly precious in your estimation: But the consideration of the past should not only awaken penitence — it should excite gratitude. You have been continually enriched with numberless blessings. Surely goodness and mercy have followed you all the days of your life. Recall some of the multiplied proofs which you have had of God's mercies over you. It would be impossible to recount every instance of his goodness towards you — for memory, always imperfect, is now sadly impaired, and forgets many of his blessings and benefits. Yet, we know that:
. . .  He giveth you of all that ye ask for. But if ye count the favors of Allah, never will ye be able to number them. Verily, man is given up to injustice and ingratitude (Qur'an 14: 34)
Do ye not see that Allah has subjected to your (use) all things in the heavens and on earth, and has made His bounties flow to you in exceeding measure, (both) seen and unseen? . . . . . . . (Qur'an 31: 20)
Each comfort which you have enjoyed through life — came from his beneficent hand; each impulse to good and each resistance to evil which you have felt — was through the impartation of his grace.
Then which of the favors of your Lord will ye deny? (Qur'an 55: 13)
Even as to your trials, you can see now, with regard to some of them at least, that they were "blessings in disguise;" and you are sure that they were all sent for some wise and loving purpose.
When you think of the increased weakness and perhaps suffering which you have yet to bear; of the inevitable separation between yourself and those whom you love which must surely take place; of the valley of the shadow of death through which you must pass, and of the solemn moment when your spirit shall depart from this world — natural feeling shrinks from the scene before you. "Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone!" Psalm 71:9is the language of your heart!
But, for the benevolent and merciful God to hearken to your supplications, you must start working for it before it is too late; so that when ‘you walk through the valley of the shadow of death’ you will fear no evil.
My brother, cousin and fellow Bearer, welcome to the evening of your life: Happy birthday and many happy returns.
Barka Juma’at and happy weekend

Babatunde Jose


Many thanks sir

On Thu, Jun 21, 2018 at 16:05, Bayode Ogunmupe
<> wrote:
Why only actions matter in life
                              By Bayo Ogunmupe
In this world we live in, intentions mean nothing. Your actions mean much. This seems obvious during this period of constant political propaganda and lies. So it makes sense to judge people based on what they do rather than their intensions. going further, what matters to me even more than your actions is the consequences of your actions. This means that intensions do matter, but only as far as they cause you to engage in actions that make your life and the lives of others better.
    We are so quick to justify our own worldview based on intentions rather than the actions we are carrying out. Tis most pronounced in Nigerian politics where politicians say one thing but do something else. but rather judge something based on ideology, we should instead examine the consequence of their actions. But we sadly so focused on our intensions and don't pay enough attention to what we're doing with our lives. Having good intensions is important, but our intensions don't interact with the real world. They don't shape society, culture and the planet. While our actions do shape this world.
    It is time we start living our lives based on our actions and not on our intensions. Here are some reasons why you should start focusing on your actions right from now. You're defined by how you treat people, not how you justify your treatment of them. just as every good government has an ideology with which it justifies its policies, you also have your narrative for why you treat people in certain ways. Your narrative may change over time but the way you treat people will live on.
    Two, you are defined by what you are pursuing in life, not by your reasons for pursuing them. You are defined by the people you hang out with, not by your excuses for surrounding yourself with the wrong people. This is a hard lesson to learn. You must consciously make sure that people you spend time with shared your values that actions matter more than intensions. Three, you are defined by your beliefs, not why you believe them. It matters more what you believe than your reasons for accepting that belief. You can't live all your life justifying your beliefs by explaining that your parents gave you the belief or that was how you were educated. You have the autonomy to change your belief.
    Four, you are defined by the way you love, not how you feel when in love. The fairy tale emotion of love is absent from many lives. In fact the actions of love matter more than how it feels. Five, you are defined by the life you create, not by the excuses you make along the way. Nothing defines you more than the life you have created for yourself or your lifestyle. it is the sum total of all your creative expressions, actions, your passions, your beliefs and your choices. Despite that, it doesn't matter what you intended to create. What matters is what happened from your actions.
    In the sacred area of human life, there is a need to think outside labels and old habits, for tradition is the enemy of progress. And the reason for unwarranted optimism by people is because the human mind is unlimited in its capacity to think, create, grow, plan ahead and act for the common good. To strongly believe in something and not live it, is dishonesty. But by refusing to bend to what society  wants you to be; by not changing who you are so other people will accept you, you assert your unique character. By such actions you will never be fooled by other people's words and dissembling

Is Buhari dissimulating?

Not unlike many other observers of contemporary events in Nigeria, I had presumed that the conversation on whether or not Nigeria’s architecture needs restructuring has been laid to rest when President Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) committee on the sensitive matter returned a verdict in support of restructuring, until recently when Aso Rock hosted a group of Delta State traditional rulers. Buhari was reported to have told his royal guests that those calling for restructuring of the country are parochial(!) While still trying to figure out what that unexpected pronouncement might come to mean, let us recall that even though Candidate Buhari had in 2015 made a great play of the fact that APC’s Manifesto accords priority to restructuring, President Buhari, with equal measure, pretended to be ignorant of the contents of selfsame Manifesto on which he had ran for office. Buhari’s benumbing pretence only succeeded in heightening the nationwide call for restructuring.
Pressed to pay appropriate attention to the inevitable matter, and perhaps acting with an eye on 2019, Buhari hurriedly set up the APC committee which pronounced in favour of restructuring. It would also be recalled that in receiving the committee’s report, Buhari assured Nigerians that the report will be diligently implemented. What then informed the implied change of heart in Buhari’s recent surprise statement on the issue? Has Buhari been dissimulating on the matter the while? Is consummate dissimulation an essential trait in the Daura born general? We shall return to these questions presently.
Now, in adjudging the calls for restructuring parochial, Buhari was also reported to have invoked the time-worn excuse that those calls are not focused – restructuring means different things to different people, etc. That excuse is nothing short of being economic with the facts. No national conversation in decades has been more focused than the calls for political restructuring of Nigeria. And no national conversation has been more substantiated by history. That need to restructure Nigeria became evident no sooner than the conclusion of the 1967-70 Civil War. The creation of 12 states from the post-independence 4 regions (Eastern; Midwestern; Northern; and Western) at the start of war in 1967, was targeted at strategically breaking the backbone of the Eastern region which had just seceded from Nigeria. Though the jury is still out on how the decision contributed to the Civil War efforts, but it smacks of inverted logic to observe that the solution to a country’s unity would be sought by breaking it up. What is more troubling was that successive federal governments since 1970 to the late 1990s seemed to have looked to states creation as a ready political masterstroke. As a consequence Nigeria grew from 12 states to 36 states in less than 30 years. The petro-dollars that accrued to the national coffers in those years completely blinded the respective leaderships of the country to the critical need to make economic viability a basis for states creation. Funding of state governments thus became the sole responsibility of the federal government – a novel concept in Nigeria’s financial management since 1967. But the equally blinding gales of petroleum oil gluts at the turn of the century ruthlessly exposed the rump of the mother hen. Today, 20-odd of the 36 states have been officially declared non-economically viable. As they say, the rest is now history.
It is also now history that the calls for politico-economic restructuring of Nigeria is unwavering focused on both economic viability and financial autonomy. Furthermore, it was observed that the resultant dependence-orientation in the states and the appropriation of mineral rights by the federal government have negatively impacted the entrepreneurial inclination of the states. This is reflected in Nigeria’s virtually stagnant Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of approximately $400.00 for decades – a mere fraction of those of many less-endowed countries than Nigeria. This unacceptably low figure indicates that the bulk of the citizenry does not actively participate in adding value to the economy. All of these constitute the essential argument for restructuring. Restructuring strictly defined, is a call for the reversal of the experimental decision to break up the 4 regions into smaller states in mid-1967. That experiment was decidedly not properly thought through; this was to be expected in a war-induced emergency.
But the Civil War lapsed over half a century ago; it’s time for reason to hold sway. The call for restructuring eminently qualifies to be classified as a voice of reason. Virtually every leading Nigerian patriot has lent their weight on the side of restructuring the country – the 2014 National Conference provides the proof. So why is Buhari apparently feet-dragging of the matter, even in the light of compelling reason? Could that well-known spirit of dissimulation that has wreaked havoc on Project Nigeria since the First republic, presently playing a wicked trick on Buhari’s mind in the Fourth republic? Recall that the first indigenous federal government was formed by a coalition of the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons, (NCNC) and the Northern Peoples Congress, (NPC), with the understanding that the NCNC would produce the prime minister; but NPC’s dissimulation introduced a crack in the coalition that prematurely terminated that republic. Following the partially successful January 1966 coup d’etat, Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi in Lagos, and Chukwuma Nzeokwu in Kaduna had reached an understanding, with Yakubu Gowon and Olusegun Obasanjo among others present at the Lagos end, on how to move the country forward. But Aguiyi-Ironsi’s apparent dissimulation got the better of that agreement. Nzeokwu went from wielding the command of one half of the country to being Aguiyi-Ironsi’s prisoner within minutes of arriving in Lagos. (Yet some persons insist on propagating the fallacy of an Igbo January 1966 coup d’etat) Aguiyi-Ironsi was overthrown six months after.
In 1975 Gowon dissimulated on his pledge to handover power to civil authorities. He was forced from office few weeks after. Ushering in the Second republic in 1979 Obasanjo would cover his own dissimulation with the sophistry of arithmetic (two-thirds of 19). The Second republic barely lasted one term. Ibrahim Babangida didn’t spare a thought for sophistication in his own dissimulation in bringing forth the Third republic. He shamelessly annulled the June 12th 1993 “free and fair” election even with the international community looking on. Sani Abacha was to borrow a leaf from his mentor; he dissimulated on his late-1993 promise to MKO Abiola’s fellow Social Democratic Party (SDP) stalwarts – he never handed over power to SDP. The infamous Third-term bid was another version of Obasanjo’s sophisticated dissimulation. Unusual presidential humility compelled the former shoe-less Otuoke boy to break that cycle of dissimulation in 2015.
Is Jonathan’s successor now making to resume that cycle of destabilizing dissimulation in 2018? Incidentally, Buhari’s latest vacillation on the topical matter of restructuring lends a measure of credence to my recent suggestion (The Guardian, June 13th, 2018) that the taciturn general could end up in history as a curious quantity. This brings us back to the earlier set of three questions; but before we attempt to proffer answers to them I should suggest we ponder the reported words of a man who ought to have an inkling of the right answers, the veteran journalist-turned-politician, Segun Osoba: “Nigeria was built on deception and corruption; restructuring is the only way to make progress…”
Hopefully, Buhari would eventually command the presence of mind to heed the voice of reason on Nigeria’s political restructuring.
Afam Nkemdiche is an engineering consultant; June, 2018                      

TEACH YOUR CHILDREN: Parable of the Ant ‘The toughest thing in life is to deprive your child of what you can afford.’-Sheik Alfaj.

A thousand and one things distracts and derail children from the path of righteousness. Parents who are not watchful over their children will not escape on the Day of Resurrection as they would be held accountable for the iniquities of their children, and they would face a torment from which nobody can escape.Anas narrated that the Prophet said: “Allah will ask everyone about those whom he was entrusted with.”- An-Nasaa’i & Ibn Hibbaan. In Proverbs 29:17 ESV we read:Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.Some parents are too emotional and tend to spoil their children, to the extent that perhaps their children have never heard the word "no" to anything they requested of their parents. The result of this is a generation of lazy and indolent youth, who grow up to become menace to society. They are the breeding and fertile ground of area boys and street urchins; the flotsams and jetsam. The never-do-wells. Parasites on society and an everlasting embarrassment to their parents. ‘Umar the Caliph said: “Get yourselves accustomed to harshness because bounties are not always available.”  The Bible said in Proverbs 14:23 (NKJV) ‘In all labor there is profit, But idle chatter leads only to poverty’.
The matter has been succinctly put by Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim who said: “The parent must keep his child away from laziness, extra comfort and being spoilt, and should raise him upon the opposite of these. He should get him used to exerting effort because laziness has evil consequences, which will cause eventual deep regret; on the other hand, exerting effort and getting used to striving in life is praiseworthy and has good consequences whether in this life or the Hereafter, or both; this is because attaining high ranks in this life and the happiness in the Hereafter are only achieved through hard efforts and striving.”  In the same vein, Imam Al-Ghazali said: “A father must protect his child by raising him upon good morals and keeping him away from evil company; he must not make him accustomed to having an easy life and must not make entertainment and joy be his main interest, because this will result in the child wasting his life in endeavouring to attaining these pleasures and joys.”
The foregoing leads us to the ‘parable of the Ant’. The ant never sees work as menial or beneath his dignity. Whether it’s moving dirt or carrying breadcrumbs, he merrily goes along doing his job. How unlike that are many people today! The sum of the matter is found in this simple Bible statement: ‘In all labour there is profit.’ Teach your children the old-fashioned way of getting money – working for it! No work is insignificant.’ As a parent you are preparing your child for their work life, so prepare them well. If you don’t, they’ll have a life of grief, and create a life of grief for others; but most especially for you. Plus, they may end up back on your doorstep!
There is an old saying ‘nothing goes for nothing’There is no food for lazy man, says an old ‘mammy wagon’ that plies old Aba road. Therefore, before you give your child an allowance, give them some chores like making their bed, cleaning their room, helping around the house, taking out the rubbish, getting good grades in school, and doing their homework on time. Reward without responsibility is indulgence. And if you love your child you won’t do that!
As parents therefore, a lot of work needs to be done to bring our children up in righteousness. Sew the seed early and you will have rest in your old age.
Going further on the matter, Abdullah bin Umar narrated, Allah’s Apostle said:"Surely! Every one of you is a guardian and is responsible for his charges: . . . . . . . . a man is the guardian of his family (household) and is responsible for his subjects; a woman is the guardian of her husband's home and of his children and is responsible for them; and the slave of a man is a guardian of his master's property and is responsible for it. Surely, every one of you is a guardian and responsible for his charges."
Do not forget that a righteous son is a source of goodness for you after your death. As the Prophet said“When a servant (of Allah) dies, his (good) deeds will cease, except for three (kinds of deeds): A charity with continuous effect, a kind of knowledge from which people draw benefit, and a good son who prays to Allah for him.” [Muslim] Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet said: “The rank of a man would be raised in Paradise, and he would ask why, and he would be told: `It is due to your son supplicating for your forgiveness.`” [Ibn Maajah]
Unfortunately, a bad son will not supplicate for a departed father, who failed to bring him up in righteousness. Rather it would be like the famous last wish of the condemned robber in Kirikiri Prison who requested to have a last word with his mother. She thought he was about to whisper his last words when he bit off her ear. Asked why he bit off her ear, he said it was because of her failure to teach him right that brought him to where he was.
May Allah teach us how to bring up our children in righteousness; Amen.
We ask, O Allah; “do not put me to shame on the Day when all shall be raised from the dead; the Day on which neither wealth will be of any use, nor children. (Quran 26:87-88)
Barka Juma’at and a happy weekend
Babatunde Jose iPhone 7


By (the Token of) Time (through the Ages), Verily Man is in loss, Except as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy. (Quran 103:1-3)
According to Sayyid Maududi, this Surah, Al-Asr (one of the shortest in the Quran), is a matchless specimen of comprehensiveness and brevity. A whole 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. It was the ‘Thought for Today’ at last Sunday’s monthly meeting of the Crescent Bearers. In a clear and plain way it has declared the way to true success for man and what is the way to ruin and destruction for him. It conveys a brilliant source of Guidance; thereby directing individuals, communities, nations and successive generations to the Right Path. We are reminded that a purposeless life without ideals is a waste; that material property, scientific progress and technological advancement cannot in themselves save humanity. History reveals to us that science on its own cannot drive civilization. The developments in science are used by political man to different ends. An example is the decision to use the Atom Bomb, which brought the 2ndWorld War to a final end. Man’s salvation lies in having a pure ideology, a practical philosophy, positive action and purposeful lives. The flight of Time provides the testimony that only those who do not waste the opportunity of doing good and being righteous that ultimately reap benefits of existence.
There are four principles for salvation contained in this surah and they constitute a truly comprehensive program. Let us consider each of these parts separately in order to understand the meaning fully. The oath by Time signifies that Time is witness to the truth that man is in sheer loss except for the people who possess four qualities 1) Faith,
(2) Righteous deeds, (3) Exhorting one another to Truth, and(4) Exhorting one another to patience.
Muhammad Shafi said the Struggle of the human being is like the one who is trying to sell ice. It is melting away and he needs to sell it quickly and make as much sales before the end of the day comes. Otherwise - all his valuables' and efforts will go to waste.
The first quality is Iman (Faith) of which there are 362 verses in the Quran. The Faith which the Qur'an regards as true Faith has been explained in the following verses: Quran 49: 15; Quran 41: 30; Quran 8:2; Quran 2:165 and Quran 4: 65.
Some verses are even more explicit as they make distinction between verbal affirmation of Faith and true Faith; it says that what is actually desirable is true Faith and not mere verbal affirmation of the Faith; seeQuran 4: 136.
As for the question, what has one to believe in, in order to have true faith? This also has been answered and explained in the Quran. First, one has to believe in Allah, not merely in His Being but in the sense that He alone is God; no one else is an associate in His Godhead; He alone is worthy that man should worship, serve and obey Him; He alone can make or mar destinies; man should invoke Him alone and have trust in Him alone; He alone can enjoin things and forbid things; man is under obligation to obey Him and refrain from what he forbids; He sees everything and hears everything; not to speak of any act of man, even his motives and intentions with which he has done an act, are not hidden from Him.
Secondly, one has to believe in the Messenger which also includes faith in the angels, the Prophets, the Divine Books and in the Qur'an itself, for this forms part of the teachings which the Messenger of Allah has given.
Thirdly, one has to believe in the Hereafter: Because, in the end we would all have to account. This provides a firm basis for morality and character, upon which can be built the edifice of a pure life, whereas the truth is that without such Faith, the life of man, however beautiful and pleasing outwardly, is like a ship without an anchor, which is at the mercy of the waves wherever they may take it.
After Faith the second quality required to save man from loss is to perform righteous deeds which comprehends all kinds of virtuous and good deeds. The relationship between Faith and righteous deed is of the seed and the tree.  Unless the seed is sown in the soil no tree can grow out of it.
Perhaps we might ask ourselves, as a people, have we sown any seed that would warrant us reaping the good life? Do we have leaders who are righteous in their deeds?  Our leaders must embrace righteousness lest they lead us into wanton loss. We are being led by unrighteous men who have sold their souls and are in the process of leading us into the abyss. How can we account for the state of the nation today? How can we as a people have leaders who came in as tenants from 2 bedroom tenements and end up owing 50-Room mansions? How come salaried men on retirement from service become the richest men in our society? They must give account. This is the evening of our life on Earth, Judgment is coming. Those who have not embraced faith, righteousness, truth and patience will be at a loss. See Quran 2:62; 3:114 and 10:4.
The Surah mentions two further qualities, which a man must have in order to be saved from loss. They are that the people who believe and do good deeds must exhort one another to truth and to patience. This is the spirit that can ensure security of a society against moral degeneration and decay. If a society becomes devoid of this spirit, it cannot remain secure from loss.
I concur with Shah Waliullah when he said: Wa-al 'Asr - We will remember the special Days of Allah. The Days when; Allah created the human being (Adam), the Day He revealed the Qur'an to Prophet Muhammad, the Day Allah drowned the disbelievers of Prophet Nuh, the Day Allah destroyed Pharaoh and saved Moses, the Day of Badr, the Day when Allah spoke to Musa/Moses. The Day of Judgment, the Day the believers will see Allah. By saying al 'Asr - we will remember these Days so we will not want to be in loss.
May Allah teach us to remember the Days, and save us from loss, Amin!
Barka Juma’at and a happy weekend; Amin!