The Wise Man Luqman and His Advices to His Son
(Khutbah at ISOC - Shawwal 22, 1436/ August, 2015)
وَلَقَدْ ءَاتَيْنَا لُقْمَانَ الْحِكْمَةَ أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِلَّهِ وَمَنْ يَشْكُرْ فَإِنَّمَا يَشْكُرُ لِنَفْسِهِ وَمَنْ كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ حَمِيدٌ(12)وَإِذْ قَالَ لُقْمَانُ لِابْنِهِ وَهُوَ يَعِظُهُ يَابُنَيَّ لَا تُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّ الشِّرْكَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيمٌ(13)وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ وَهْنًا عَلَى وَهْنٍ وَفِصَالُهُ فِي عَامَيْنِ أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيْكَ إِلَيَّ الْمَصِيرُ(14) وَإِنْ جَاهَدَاكَ عَلى أَنْ تُشْرِكَ بِي مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ فَلَا تُطِعْهُمَا وَصَاحِبْهُمَا فِي الدُّنْيَا مَعْرُوفًا وَاتَّبِعْ سَبِيلَ مَنْ أَنَابَ إِلَيَّ ثُمَّ إِلَيَّ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَأُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ(15)يَابُنَيَّ إِنَّهَا إِنْ تَكُ مِثْقَالَ حَبَّةٍ مِنْ خَرْدَلٍ فَتَكُنْ فِي صَخْرَةٍ أَوْ فِي السَّمَوَاتِ أَوْ فِي الْأَرْضِ يَأْتِ بِهَا اللَّهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَطِيفٌ خَبِيرٌ(16)يَابُنَيَّ أَقِمِ الصَّلَوةَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَانْهَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَاصْبِرْ عَلَى مَا أَصَابَكَ إِنَّ ذَلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ (17) وَلَا تُصَعِّرْ خَدَّكَ لِلنَّاسِ وَلَا تَمْشِ فِي الْأَرْضِ مَرَحًا إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ مُخْتَالٍ فَخُورٍ(18)وَاقْصِدْ فِي مَشْيِكَ وَاغْضُضْ مِنْ صَوْتِكَ إِنَّ أَنْكَرَ الْأَصْوَاتِ لَصَوْتُ الْحَمِيرِ(لقمان 12-19)
We endowed Luqman with wisdom: ‘Be thankful to Allah: whoever gives thanks benefits his own soul, and as for those who are thankless—Allah is self-sufficient, worthy of all praise.’ Luqman counselled his son, ‘My son, do not attribute any partners to Allah: attributing partners to Him is a terrible wrong.’ We have commanded every person to be good to his parents: his mother carried him, with strain upon strain, and it takes two years to wean him. Give thanks to Me and to your parents—all will return to Me. 15If they strive to make you associate with Me anything about which you have no knowledge i.e. scriptural proof. then do not obey them. Yet keep their company in this life according to what is right, and follow the path of those who turn to Me. You will all return to Me in the end, and I will tell you everything that you have done. [And Luqman continued], ‘My son, if even the weight of a mustard seed were hidden in a rock or anywhere in the heavens or earth, Allah would bring it [to light], for He is all subtle and all aware. Keep up the prayer, my son; command what is right; forbid what is wrong; bear anything that happens to you steadfastly: these are things to be aspired to. Do not swell your cheek at people, nor walk about the place arrogantly, for Allah does not love arrogant or boastful people. 19Go at a moderate pace and lower your voice, for the ugliest of all voices is the braying of asses.’ (Luqman 31:12-19)
Luqman was known among the Arabs before Islam as Luqman al-Hakim that is Luqman the wise man. He was probably from Sudan or from Southern Egypt. There were many stories attributed to him that expressed his great wisdom and spirituality.
He was not a Messenger or Prophet but Allah honored him very much. Allah mentioned in the Qur’an his advices to his son and a whole surah of the Qur’an is named Surah Luqman (Surah 31). Wisdom (Hikmah) is ‘to do what is appropriate in the way that is appropriate.’ The Qur’an tells us that Luqman’s wisdom led him to be thankful to Allah. Allah is the source of all gifts and favors. Those who are thankful to Allah are the real wise people. Gratitude to Allah is a humble acknowledgement of His favors and bounties. This acknowledgement has three parts: it must be deeply and sincerely in the heart. It must be expressed by the tongue and it must manifest in the actions.
Luqman took good care of his family. Allah gave him a son and he wanted to raise his son with good morals and manners. His wisdom was not only in his moral advices to his son; he was also very kind and gentle in his teachings. If you want to raise your children in the right way, then you should be the role models for them and guide them gently how to live and how to behave. Moral upbringing usually comes from home. It is parents’ responsibility first to give the right direction to their children. They should also select right schools for their education. Right upbringing and right education are important for sons and daughters both.
Education in Islam is not mere reading, writing and learning some skills to get a good job and make money. Education in Islam is the training and cultivation of the mind, soul and body with proper moral, spiritual and intellectual values. An educated person is a person who knows how to control his/her passions and desires and how to express his/herself in the most appropriate manner in every situation.
Luqman’s advices were very comprehensive. He advised his son about faith, worship, good behavior, and active, righteous and courteous involvement in social life. He gave his son ten advices. These are the most important spiritual and moral values.
- Sound Faith – Belief in the Oneness of God is the first and most important principle of Islam. All Islamic education must begin with this principle. Tawhid must be emphasized and Shirk must be rejected. Oneness of Allah is the ultimate truth and it has the greatest affect in developing a moral and dignified personality.
- Love and respect of parents – Immediately after faith in Allah comes the duty towards the parents. Love, honor and obedience to parents, especially mothers, are absolutely required. Even if the parents are disbelievers they should be treated well in worldly matters, but without compromising in the matters of faith. Parents’ rights (or the rights of any person, group or institutions) are not above the rights of Allah.
- Avoid sin and evil always – What Allah has forbidden you must not do at any time and place. Always keep in mind that Allah is aware of everything. You cannot hide anything from Allah. Even if something as small as a mustard seed is hidden somewhere in the heaven and earth, Allah can bring it for judgement. This consciousness of Allah’s omnipresence is the real guarantee of moral behavior.
- Prayers - Regular and proper prayers are the nourishment of the soul. Through prayer we acknowledge the Lordship of Allah, give thanks to Him and express our allegiance and obedience to Him. When we keep up our prayers, they help us to keep up our faith and our connection with Allah. Sincere prayers have power to solve our problems and keep us away from sins and lots of troubles.
- Command what is good - This means active engagement in the society by doing and promoting good things, spreading truth, justice and righteousness. Commanding means that you should take a leadership position so you are able to assert good values, with wisdom and with proper individual or collective action.
- Forbid wrong things – The corollary of commanding good is forbidding evil. The task of commanding good things cannot be complete without preventing and eradicating evil, sin and corruption. We must be courageous to say the wrong is wrong for the sake of Allah and in the interest of spreading goodness in the society.
- Patience and steadfastness – Patience is the key for success. It means working with persistence and perseverance. This work required a lot of sacrifice and may entail suffering. One must be willing to go through hardship for promoting the good causes. Patience is necessary for all those who want to work for good causes.
- Kindness and courtesy to all people. Good people are kind and courteous people.
- Humbleness – Be humble in your walk and in all your behavior.
- Moderation - Follow moderate lifestyle in your talk and in your walk. No extravagance, or extremism is allowed in Islam. Neither your actions should be extremist nor your words.