Lessons from Luqman’s story
- You can be low in people’s eyes but important in Allah’s sight
- Have a close relationship with your children
- There is no greater sin than shirk
- Honor your parents
- Remember that all actions are recorded
- Establish prayer
- Learn how to speak to people properly
- Improve your manners and etiquette
Who was Luqman and where was he from?
Also referred to as Luqman the Wise, the 31st Chapter of the Quran is titled with his name. It is said he was from the area of North of Africa, around what is Sudan or Ethiopia today. His words of wisdom were so profound, that Allah chose to make mention of them in His final Book, the Quran as lessons eternally preserved.
Although not considered a prophet, his teaching of his son was so powerful that Allah chose to make mention of his words in His final revelation, the Quran, and on top of that,He chose to name him when so many Prophets are not named in His Book.
‘And We had certainly given Luqman wisdom…’
Lessons from Luqman’s life
The lessons so important they have been eternally preserved. The Muslims today recite these words as an act of worship.
Ibn Kathir says this means understanding, knowledge and eloquence.
1. High status of Luqman in Allah’s sight
Being a slave, he was not seen as important in the eyes of the people, but he certainly was important with Allah. That is true even today, when some people may not have a status or position in society but they are friends of Allah.
‘… [and said], “Be grateful to Allah .” And whoever is grateful is grateful for [the benefit of] himself. And whoever denies [His favor] – then indeed, Allah is Free of need and Praiseworthy.’
He was commanded to be thankful to Allah for his blessings and favours given to him alone among his people. The benefit of that gratefulness will come back to him, and Allah’s reward is for those who give thanks.
This is very appropriate today too, when you have been granted good health, wealth, education or status, be thankful to Allah by asking Him to provide goodness to others in the same manner, rather than being selfish. As Muslims, we are taught that if we have a need and call out to our Creator, in that supplication remember to ask for the needs of others to be fulfilled also. Call out for them too.
2. Luqman’s close relationship to his son
Luqman’s story in the Quran relates to the advice he gave to his son. His son was named Tharan as some sources say, and he was the closest and most beloved of all people to him. Luqman called his son by a very strong term of endearment and he was the one who deserved to be given the best of his knowledge. It shows he had a very close relationship with his son.
How many of us have a close relationship with our children? Especially teenagers, where most of the time we aren’t even able to address them with affection, because we spend so much time away from the home, busy with other things. Instead, be kind to them and tell them you love them.
3. There is no greater sin than shirk
‘And [mention, O Muhammad], when Luqman said to his son while he was instructing him, “O my son, do not associate [anything] with Allah. Indeed, association [with him] is great injustice.’
Luqman started by advising him to worship Allah alone, and not to associate anything with Him. Develop a powerful link with the One who created you. You think this is to be a life of enjoyment, which a teenager might naturally assume with his life ahead of him.
But if you develop a link with your Creator in such a way that the day you die, you will from then on be in the best of company. He adds that joining others in worship with Allah is the biggest evil deed and injustice that you can do.
4. Honour your parents
When Luqman advised his son to worship Allah alone, he also told him to honour his parents:
‘And We have enjoined upon man [care] for his parents. His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination.’
Allah mentions how the mother brings the child up, and how she gets tired and suffers stress from staying up with the child day and night, to remind the son of her previous kind treatment of him. For doing this, when we return to Allah, we will be rewarded most generously for that.
Listen attentively and obey what they ask you to do, but if they ask you to join in worship anything with Allah, don’t obey them in this. But still treat them kindly and with respect.
This applies to other family members too. When a person reverts to Islam or tries to follow the Sunnah more attentively, his/her family can become negative even to the extent they don’t want to know their child anymore. But as a practicing Muslim, you must still be kind to their needs. As a note to parents as well, live with your children in such a way that they automatically give you high respect.
5. Remember that all actions are recorded
‘[And Luqman said], “O my son, indeed if wrong should be the weight of a mustard seed and should be within a rock or [anywhere] in the heavens or in the earth, Allah will bring it forth. Indeed, Allah is Subtle and Acquainted.’
Allah will bring everything forth on the Day of Resurrection, when it is placed in the scales of justice and everyone is rewarded or punished for his actions and no one will be dealt with unjustly in anything.
In today’s time, the fact that your actions are being monitored more and more both outside of your home with CCTV as well as inside with the increasing variety of technology should make people understand how easy it is for the Almighty Creator to be aware of everything you do.
6. Importance of establishing prayer
‘O my son, establish prayer, enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong, and be patient over what befalls you. Indeed, [all] that is of the matters [requiring] determination. ‘
Be punctual in your prayer, no matter how busy you are. We owe our Creator that much as a minimum on a daily basis for the one who made you. It is one of the greatest injustices committed today – the majority of the Ummah not praying Salah five times a day whether at home or the masjid. You need to have a link with him in all circumstances good or bad.
Luqman the wise knew that whoever enjoins what is good and forbids what is evil, will inevitably encounter harm and annoyance from people, so he told him to be patient and explain things in the best manner. And everyone has their own tailor-made test to see how sincere they are.
7. Learn how to speak to people
‘And do not turn your cheek [in contempt] toward people and do not walk through the earth exultantly. Indeed, Allah does not like one self-deluded and boastful.’
Do not turn your face away from people when you speak to them or they speak to you, looking down on them in an arrogant fashion. Rather, be gentle towards them and greet them with a cheerful face. And do not be boastful, arrogant, proud and stubborn. Do not do that, for Allah will hate you.
8. Improve your Manners and Etiquettes
‘And be moderate in your pace and lower your voice; indeed, the most disagreeable of sounds is the voice of donkeys.’
Look at what Luqman is teaching his son! Have we ever taught our children how to walk, and how it reflects your attitude and demeanour? Walk in a moderate manner, neither slow and lazy nor excessively fast. And do not exaggerate in your speaking and do not raise your voice unnecessarily, as this is hateful to Allah.
This timeless piece of advice and teaching is a framework for all parents today and by doing them, you are laying the foundations for a happy future. And children will need to see this model behavior in their parents too for it to be effective.
Follow and adhere to the beautiful advice Luqman the Wise gave to his child and build the relationship between us and our Lord.