Home Religion & Spirituality Father to Son: Gems of Wisdom

Father to Son: Gems of Wisdom

Luqman's (A.S.) timeless advice to his son, as recorded in the Qur'an, covers essential aspects of a righteous life. He emphasizes the importance of worshiping Allah alone, maintaining humility, establishing prayer, encouraging good deeds, forbidding evil, and being patient and moderate in behavior. These pieces of advice, given by a father to his son, highlight the nurturing and guiding role a father should play in his child's life. Luqman's wisdom reflects the ideal father-son relationship, one built on love, respect, and the desire to instill strong moral and spiritual values, guiding the son towards a balanced, ethical, and devout life, ultimately pleasing to Allah.

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If Allah, in the Qur’an, calls someone wise, we must turn to that person with all our attention and respect. Regarding Luqman (A.S.), Allah says in the Qur’an, “We bestowed wisdom upon Luqman” (Qur’an, 31:12). Although Luqman (A.S.) was neither a prophet nor a messenger, he was a righteous, upright, and pious man. Allah not only mentioned him in the Qur’an but also named an entire chapter (Qur’an, 31) after him. Luqman was blessed with profound wisdom, and his timeless advice to his son offers lessons for all of us. Allah records this advice in a series of verses (Qur’an, 31:12-19).

In the words of Shaykh Rabi b. Hadi Al-Madkhali, these verses are among the greatest and must be pondered over and benefited from in terms of belief, worship, and manners. We learn knowledge for action and to improve our manners with what we know from the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger (peace be upon him).

1.Association of Partners with Allah (Shirk)

The first piece of advice Luqman (A.S.) gave to his son was to worship Allah alone and not to associate any partners with Him. He warned him, saying:

“O my beloved son! Never associate ˹anything˺ with Allah ˹in worship˺, for associating ˹others with Him˺ is truly the worst of all wrongs.”(Qur’an: 31:13)

There is nothing more dangerous than associating partners with Allah, as it is a sin that will not be forgiven. Allah mentions:

Indeed Allah does not forgive that partners are associated with Him but He forgives anything besides that to whomsoever He wills.” (Qur’an 4:48)

“Whoever commits Shirk, it is as though he falls from the sky and a bird takes him or he is taken by a wind.” (Qur’an 22:31)

In the next verse, Allah (SWT) emphasizes the importance of honoring one’s parents. Allah says:

And We have commanded people to ˹honor˺ their parents. Their mothers bore them through hardship upon hardship, and their weaning takes two years. So be grateful to Me and your parents. To Me is the final return.” (Qur’an 31:14)

We are advised to fulfill the rights of our parents and be kind to them. Allah mentions the reasons for being thankful to them. The difficulties a mother endures while bringing you into this world are beyond description. She, along with your father, educates and nurtures you, spending long nights looking after you. All this pain and hard work justifies the need to be grateful to them, as Allah has linked being thankful to Him with being thankful to one’s parents.

However, this reminder of “honoring our parents” includes a crucial balance, as Allah, The Almighty, mentions in the next verse:

“But if they (i.e., your parents) pressure you to associate with Me what you have no knowledge of, do not obey them. Still keep their company in this world courteously, and follow the way of those who turn to Me ˹in devotion˺.” (Qur’an 31:15)

From these verses, we learn that while we owe our parents respect and gratitude, our ultimate obedience is to Allah. If your parents help you obey Allah, they deserve your obedience. However, if they try to lead you into Shirk (associating others with Allah), you should not obey them in that matter. Nonetheless, you should still treat them with kindness and respect, show good conduct, and be righteous towards them. Spend on them and fulfill their needs, even if they are non-believers. This is part of showing kindness towards them.

Common ways in which one may associate partners with Allah include:

• Idolatry: Worshiping physical idols or statues, which is the most explicit form of shirk.

• Superstitions: Believing in superstitions or charms that supposedly bring good luck or ward off evil.

Seeking Help from the Dead: Praying to or seeking help from deceased saints or ancestors, instead of asking Allah directly.

Relying on Horoscopes and Astrology: Believing that the positions and movements of celestial bodies can influence one’s fate or destiny, rather than Allah’s will.

Excessive Admiration of Leaders: Treating religious or political leaders with such high respect that it almost seems like worship, and believing they can do no wrong or have special divine knowledge.

• Celebrity Worship: Idolizing celebrities or public figures to the extent that their opinions and lifestyles are followed unquestioningly.

Self-worship: Placing one’s own desires and ego above the commandments of Allah, making personal gratification the ultimate goal.

Obeying Human Laws Over Divine Law: Giving precedence to man-made laws or societal norms that contradict Allah’s commands, essentially replacing divine guidance with human judgment.

2. The Weight of Every Deed

The second piece of advice Luqman (A.S.) gave to his son was:

“O my dear son! ˹Even˺ if a deed were the weight of a mustard seed—be it ˹hidden˺ in a rock or in the heavens or the earth—Allah will bring it forth. Surely Allah is Most Subtle, All-Aware.” (Qur’an 31:16)

This serves as a reminder that on the Day of Judgment, every deed, even if it is as small as the weight of a mustard seed, whether hidden in the deepest rock, or in the highest heavens, will be revealed. Nothing will be hidden from our Creator or from ourselves. Luqman advised his son to be mindful of this reality, as every action and thought is recorded by the angels and does not escape Allah in His infinite knowledge. No deed is too insignificant to be overlooked by Allah, who is Al-Lateef (the Subtle) and Al-Khabeer (the All-Aware).

As believers, we must remember that Allah is watching us at all times and He is aware of everything we do. He will hold us accountable for all our actions. Therefore, we must not be careless with our deeds, for even the smallest action can tip the scales on the Day of Judgment. We should aim to incorporate good deeds and intentions into our everyday lives, knowing that Allah’s mercy rewards our intentions even if we fall short of completing them.

3. Establishing Prayer and Patience

Luqman (A.S.) then advised his son:

“O my dear son! Establish prayer, encourage what is good, and forbid what is evil, and endure patiently whatever befalls you. Surely this is a resolve to aspire to.” (Qur’an 31:17)

Establishing prayer refers to performing prayers in the best manner, as Allah instructed, including properly performing ablution (Wudhu). One must ensure they purify themselves from any major or minor impurities before performing prayers.In another place, Allah mentions:

“The believers are successful, those who are humble in their prayer.” (Qur’an 23:1-2)

These verses highlight the importance of humility in prayer, as it is where the true essence of prayer lies. A prayer lacking humility, a sense of Allah’s greatness, and reflection on the words being recited is very deficient. Therefore, strive to be humble in your prayer, letting go of thoughts about the world, wealth, and family. Focus solely on remembering the greatness of Allah, the Most High, the Exalted.

Enjoining good and forbidding evil are among the obligatory duties that Allah has commanded His servants to perform. Shaykh Al-Sa’di (May Allah be pleased with him) explained that doing this requires knowing which actions are righteous and which are evil, so you can guide others correctly with gentleness and patience. Righteous actions are those approved by Islamic teachings, while evil actions are those prohibited by them.

Luqman (A.S.) knew that those who enjoin good and forbid evil will inevitably face harm and annoyance from others, so he advised his son to be patient. Being patient when people cause harm or annoyance is one of the most important commandments.

Allah, the Almighty, says in the Qur’an:

“You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah.” (Qur’an 3:110)

This verse highlights the qualities of the best Ummah (nation), which include promoting good, preventing evil, and having a strong faith in Allah.

4 . Humility

The fourth piece of advice Luqman (A.S.) gave his son was about humility. He said:

“And turn not your face away from people with pride, nor walk arrogantly upon the earth. Surely Allah does not like whoever is arrogant and boastful.” (Qur’an 31:18)

The phrase “to turn your face” means looking down on someone when they come to speak to you or when you speak to them, or turning away without acknowledging them, acting superior. This behavior is a sign of pride. Pride and arrogance are highly detested qualities, as mentioned in the Qur’an in several places. It is strongly discouraged because it can lead to disbelief and ignoring the teachings of the Prophets and the verses of Allah. The Qur’an warns that those who turn away from its verses with pride will face a painful punishment:

“And when Our verses (of the Qur’an) are recited to them, they turn away in arrogance as if they did not hear them, as if there is deafness in their ears. So give them good news, O Prophet, of a painful torment.” (Qur’an 31:7)

Allah also mentions:

“And walk not on the earth with conceit and arrogance. Verily, you can neither split nor penetrate the earth nor can you attain a stature like the mountains in height.” (Qur’an 17:37)

Abdullāh ibn Mas‘ūd (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Anyone who has an atom’s weight of arrogance in his heart will not enter Paradise.” (Sahih Muslim)

Allah loves patience and forbearance and dislikes hastiness and recklessness, which negate the honorable traits He loves. Therefore, cultivate patience, forbearance, wisdom, and noble qualities in yourself.

5. Being Moderate

The last piece of advice that Luqman (A.S.), the Wise, gave his son, as mentioned in the Qur’an, is:

“And be moderate in your walking, and lower your voice. Verily, the harshest of all voices is the braying of the donkeys.” (Qur’an 31:19)

“Be moderate in your walking” means to walk at a balanced pace—not too slow and lazy, nor too fast and hurried, but somewhere in between. “Lower your voice” means to speak calmly and not raise your voice unnecessarily. Mujahid and others explained that the most unpleasant sound is the loud braying of a donkey, implying that raising one’s voice excessively is distasteful and displeasing to Allah. Comparing a loud voice to a donkey’s bray indicates that such behavior is highly criticized.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Luqman’s (A.S.) timeless advice to his son, as recorded in the Qur’an, covers essential aspects of a righteous life. He emphasizes the importance of worshiping Allah alone, maintaining humility, establishing prayer, encouraging good deeds, forbidding evil, and being patient and moderate in behavior. These pieces of advice, given by a father to his son, highlight the nurturing and guiding role a father should play in his child’s life. Luqman’s wisdom reflects the ideal father-son relationship, one built on love, respect, and the desire to instill strong moral and spiritual values, guiding the son towards a balanced, ethical, and devout life, ultimately pleasing to Allah.

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