Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel
What does it mean by the expression ” The lifetime of this nation is between Asr and Maghrib”?
The time period for this nation (umma) of Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) is around a thousand years. Imam Suyuti (Allah have mercy on him) has written a treatise stating that this nation (umma) will proceed beyond a thousand years.
Ibn `Umar (Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Your life in comparison to the lifetime of the past nations is like the period between the time of `Asr prayer and sunset. Your example and the example of the Jews and Christians is that of a person who employed laborers and said to them, “Who will work for me till the middle of the day for one Qirat (ancient)?’ The Jews did. He said, “Who will work for me from the middle of the day till the `Asr prayer for one Qirat each?” The Christians worked accordingly. Then you (Muslims) work from the `Asr prayer till the Maghrib prayer for two Qirats each. They (the Jews and the Christians) said, ‘We did more labor but took less wages.’ He (Allah) said, ‘Have I wronged you in your rights?’ They replied, ‘No.’ Then He said, ‘This is my blessing which I give to whom I wish.” [Bukhari]
Hafiz Ibn al-Hajar (Allah have mercy on him) commentates on these narrations, “and it is evident that the lasting of this nation (umma) is somewhat a thousand years, this is because the age of the Jewish nation is equivalent to that of the periods of the Christian and Muslim ages combined, and the people of transmission have agreed that the period of the Jews till the advent of Allah’s final Messenger Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) was more than 2000 years, and the span of the age of the Christians was 600 years from them. And also, this narration points to the fact about how little of the age of this world has remained.
[Ibn Hajr, Fath al-Bari Bi Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, Suyuti, Al-Hawi Lil-Fatawi]
Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally trained scholar who has studied in the UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. He started his early education in the UK. He went on to complete the hifz of the Quran in India, then enrolled in an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied the secular and ‘Aalimiyya sciences. He then traveled to Karachi, Pakistan. He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for several years. He has taught hifz of the Quran, Tajwid, Fiqh, and many other Islamic sciences to children and adults onsite and online extensively in the UK and Ireland. He taught at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK, where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences. He currently resides in the UK with his wife. His interest is a love of books and gardening.