Luqman al-Hakim (The Wise—peace and blessings be upon him) was a well-known sage whose advice to his son is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. He was known as The Wise due to his wisdom and religious understanding. He always advised his son about the straight way of Allah and to avoid shirk (associating others in worship with Allah).
Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, former President of the Islamic Society of North America, spoke about this in his Khutbah at the Islamic Society of Orange County (California, USA) on August 27, 1999: Almighty Allah says: “We bestowed (in the past) Wisdom on Luqman: ‘Show (your) gratitude to Allah.’ Any who is (so) grateful does so to the profit of his own soul; but if any is ungrateful, verily Allah is free of all wants, worthy of all praise. Behold, Luqman said to his son by way of instruction: ‘O my son! Join not in worship (others) with Allah: for false worship is indeed the highest wrongdoing.’ And We have enjoined on man (to be good) to his parents: in travail upon travail did his mother bear him, and in years twain was his weaning: (hear the command), Show gratitude to Me and to your parents: to Me is (your final) Goal. But if they strive to make you join in worship with Me things of which you have no knowledge, obey them not; yet bear them company in this life with justice (And consideration), and follow the way of those who turn to Me (in love). In the End the return of you all is to Me, and I will tell you the truth (and meaning) of all that you did. ‘O my son!’ (said Luqman), ‘If there be (but) the weight of a mustard-seed and it were (hidden) in a rock, or (any where) in the heavens or on earth, Allah will bring it forth: for Allah knows the finest mysteries, (and) is well-acquainted (with them). O my son! establish regular prayer, enjoin what
is just, and forbid what is wrong; and bear with patient constancy whatever betide you; for this is firmness (of purpose) in (the conduct of) affairs. And swell not your cheek (for pride) at people, nor walk in insolence through the earth: for Allah loves not any arrogant boaster. And be moderate in your pace, and lower your voice; for the harshest of sounds without doubt is the braying of the ass.’”
(Luqman: 12-19)
Luqman was known in pre-Islamic Arabia as Luqman al-Hakim, that is, Luqman the sage or the wise man. He was probably from Sudan. There were many stories attributed to him that expressed his great wisdom and spiritual maturity. The Qur’an mentioned Luqman to tell us that Luqman’s wisdom led him to be thankful to Allah. Real wisdom consists of directing our thanks to Him Who is the ultimate source of all gifts and favors to us. That ultimate source is Allah. Gratitude to Allah is a humble acknowledgement of His favors and bounties. This acknowledgement has three parts: It must be deeply and sincerely felt by the heart, it must be expressed by the tongue, and it must be manifest in the actions.
The Qur’an tells us that one way Luqman expressed his gratitude to Allah was by giving proper teachings and training to his son. The education of children, whether sons or daughters, is one of the essential teachings of Islam. It is the responsibility of the parents to give proper education and instructions to their children. However, education in Islam is not mere literacy, or training to get a good job and make money. Education in Islam is the training and cultivation of the mind, soul and body with proper ethical, moral, spiritual and intellectual values. An educated person is a person who knows how to control his or her passions and desires and has learned how to express himself or herself in the most appropriate manner in every situation.
Prophet Luqman gave ten items of advice:
1. Recognition of Allah – This 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 avoided. Oneness of Allah is the ultimate truth and it has the greatest affect in developing a moral and dignified personality.
2. Love and respect of parents – All good education must include the teachings about the rights of parents. However, parents’ rights (or any person, group or institutions’ rights) are not above the rights of Allah.
3. Awareness of Allah’s presence and His knowledge – This is the best protection from all sins and wrong doings.
4. Regular and proper Prayers – Prayer is 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.
5. Commanding what is good – This means active involvement in doing good things and spreading truth, justice and righteousness.
6. Forbidding wrong things – This means active involvement in preventing and eradicating evil, sin and corruption.
7. Patience and steadfastness – This is necessary for all those who want to work for a good cause.
8. Kindness and courtesy to all people – Good people are kind and courteous people.
9. Humbleness – Be humble in your walk and in your behavior.
10. Moderation – Follow a moderate lifestyle. No extravagance or extremism is allowed in Islam.