April 7, 2011
Beautiful Reminder: Luqman's Advice to His Son, Part 1
One of the beautiful reminders that Allah sets for us in the Qur'an is the story of Luqman and the advice he gave to his son. This story can be found in Surah Luqman, Chapter 31.
Who was Luqman?
According to the tafsir of Ibn Kathir (taken from tafsir.com), his full name was Luqman bin 'Anqa' bin Sadun and his son's name was Tharun. The majority of the salaf considered Luqman to be a righteous servant of Allah, but not a Prophet. Sufyan Ath-Thawri was quoted as having said, "Luqman was an Ethiopian slave who was a carpenter." It was also narrated from Mujahid that "Luqman was a righteous servant but he was not a Prophet."
Allah, the Most High, speaks of the virtue of Luqman in the Qur'an. In verse 12 of Surah Luqman, it says, "And indeed we bestowed upon Luqman Al-Hikmah (wisdom and religious understanding) saying: 'Give thanks to Allah.' And whoever gives thanks, he gives thanks for the (good of) his own self. And whoever is thankful, then verily, Allah is All-Rich (free of need), Worthy of all praise."
What was Luqman's Advice to His Son?
In verse 13, Luqman began his advice: "And remember when Luqman said to his son when he was advising him, 'O my son! Join not in worship others with Allah. Verily, joining others in worship with Allah is a great Zulm (wrong) indeed.'"
After this, Allah says in verses 14 and 15, "And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years - give thanks to Me and to your parents. Unto Me is the final destination."
"But if they both strive with you to make you join in worship with Me others that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not; but behave with them in the world kindly, and follow the path of him who turns to Me in repentance and in obedience. Then to Me will be your return, and I shall tell you what you used to do."
Starting with verse 16, Luqman's advice continues:
"O my son! If it be (anything) equal to the weight of a grain of a mustard seen, and though it be in a rock, or in the heavens or in the earth, Allah will bring it forth. Verily, Allah is Subtle (in bringing out that grain), Well-Aware (of its place)."
"O My son! Aqim-As-Salat (perform As-Salat), enjoin Al-Maruf (Islamic monotheism and all that is good), and forbid from Al-Munkar (polytheism and all that is evil), and bear with patience whatever befalls you. Verily, these are some of the important commandments (ordered by Allah)."
"And turn not your face away from men with pride, nor walk in insolence through the earth. Verily, Allah likes not any arrogant boaster. And be moderate in your walking, and lower you voice. Verily, the harshest of all voices is the braying of the asses, (Qur'an: Surah Luqman, verses 13-19)."
Lessons to Take
1. The Importance of Calling to Tawhid
The first thing that Luqman began his advice with was a reminder to believe in Allah, alone, without partners.
Providing an explanation of this, Shaykh Rabee Al-Madhkhali writes in his article, Luqman's (the wise) Advise to his Son, "Wisdom is to put something in its place and this is from the wisdom of Luqman and every caller who is wise...From the aspects of wisdom is that you start with the most important of affairs just as in the hadith of Muadh ibn Jabil which is a clarification from the Messenger (Sallaahu alayhi wa Sallam) concerning the methodology of this call to Allaah, the exalted. The Messenger (Sallaahu alayhi wa Sallam) said, "You will come to the people from the Book (Jews and Christians), so let the first thing you call them to be to testify that none has the right to worshipped except Allaah" then he mentioned Salat (prayer) and Zakat (obligatory charity)," (Ahmed, Bukhari and Muslim)."
The Shaykh continues saying, "Likewise, Luqman called his son to be upon Tawheed (maintaining the Oneness of Allaah) and forbade him from Shirk (to associate partners with Allaah) then after that he ordered him with prayer and to enjoin good and forbid the evil. This clearly shows his wisdom."
2. Being Mindful of Our Duties Towards Our Parents
In verses 14 and 15, Allah tells us of the duties owed to our parents, reminds us of the hardship our mothers bear in raising us, and commands us to be thankful.
Ibn Kathir comments on these verses, saying, "Allah mentions how the mother brings the child up, and how she gets tired, and suffers stress from staying up with the child night and day, to remind the son of her previous kind treatment to him."
Shaykh Madhkhali comments, "His statement 'unto Me is the final destination' is a warning from Allah that He will call you to account with what you have put forward in this life. Were you grateful to Allah? Have you established the obligations upon you that Allah has legislated?"
Commenting on verse 15, Shaykh Madhkhali says, "If they help you in the obedience to Allah and guide and cultivate you with a correct upbringing then they deserve to be obeyed. If, however, they both deviate and strive with much effort with you to fall into Shirk with Allah then there is no obedience to them (in that). However, the general righteousness that you should have towards them does not become void even if they try and strive against you and harm you to disbelieve in Allah, it is upon you not to forget their rights.
His statement "but behave with them in this world kindly" means that you have good conduct towards them, be righteous to them, spend on them even if they be disbelievers. You obey them in other than the disobedience to Allaah. You serve them and fulfil their needs. All of this is considered to be kindness to them."
Ibn Kathir mentions a narration recorded in At-Tabarani where Sa'd ibn Malik said that ayah 15 was revealed concerning him: "I was a man who honored his mother, but when I became Muslim, she said: `O Sa`d! What is this new thing I see you doing? Leave this religion of yours, or I will not eat or drink until I die, and people will say: Shame on you, for what you have done to me, and they will say that you have killed your mother.' I said, `Do not do that, O mother, for I will not give up this religion of mine for anything.' She stayed without eating for one day and one night, and she became exhausted; then she stayed for another day and night without eating, and she became utterly exhausted. When I saw that, I said: `O my mother, by Allah, even if you had one hundred souls and they were to depart one by one, I would not give up this religion of mine for anything, so if you want to, eat, and if you want to, do not eat.' So she ate.''
To be continued...