Words of the Wise – Luqman’s Advice to His Son

luqman's advice to his sonLuqman, the wise, is known in history for his understanding, knowledge, and eloquence. As the Quran states: “And indeed We bestowed upon Luqman Al-Hikmah (wisdom and religious understanding, etc.)…” (Luqman 31:12) He was a righteous servant of Allah (swt). His full name was Luqman bin Anqa bin Sadun, and he was a dark-skinned slave from Ethiopia. He was a carpenter by profession.

The name of Luqman’s son was Tharan. To Luqman, he was also the closest and most beloved of all people, who deserved to be given the best knowledge. Even today, Luqman’s wise counsel for Tharan is quoted and reflected upon for guidance. What was so dazzling about Luqman’s advice for his son? And how many of us impart the same to our offspring today?

“…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.’” (Luqman 31:13)

This wise father attached his son to the mighty source of man’s ultimate success – His Lord. Luqman knew that if Tharan’s relationship with his Creator was firmly positioned, he would have few worries left. He also clearly stated the supreme oppression that man can commit, which is to associate partners with Allah (swt), and grant honour and obedience which is due to Him (swt) to others who are mere creations.

“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.” (Luqman 31:14)

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Tafseer Surah Luqman (Part 3): The Rights of Allah and the Right of the Parents


Adapted for Hiba Magazine by Shaheera Vakani (Jeddah)

وَإِذْ قَالَ لُقْمَانُ لِابْنِهِ وَهُوَ يَعِظُهُ يَا بُنَيَّ لَا تُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ ۖ إِنَّ الشِّرْكَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيمٌ

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.

وَإِذْ قَالَ لُقْمَانُ لِابْنِهِ وَهُوَ يَعِظُهُ

“And (remember) when Luqman said to his son when he was advising him…”

Allah is telling us what Luqman said to his son while advising him. Those who are wise teach their wisdom first to their children. The closest to you are those who should be advised first. Your children are a perpetual charity and if you raise them with the right manners and creed, your deeds continue to increase.

The most important lesson we learn from Luqman’s manner of speaking to his child in this verse is his gentleness: he does not scorn his son; rather, he begins by using an endearing name showing love and affection. Raising children is an act that should be done for the sake of Allah.

How did Luqman preach to his son?

He spoke casually and did not underestimate him just because he is his son. The word used here is “وعظ” which is to advise with the prohibitions and commandments of Allah. It includes warning and encouragement. We should tell them that these actions bring the pleasure of Allah and these actions bring on the wrath of Allah. A lot of times we just give ambiguous commands and make up rewards and warnings. We should instead give rationale based on the Quran and Sunnah and not invent new things.

What was his first advice?

يَا بُنَيَّ لَا تُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ

“O my son! Join not in worship others with Allah.

This is the first and foremost advice that Luqman gave to his son. His first advice pertains to tawheed. The most important lesson we learn from Luqman’s manner of speaking to his child in this verse is his gentleness: he does not scorn his son; rather, he begins by using an endearing name showing love and affection. Raising children is an act that should be done for the sake of Allah.

What is the reasoning behind this warning?

إِنَّ الشِّرْكَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيمٌ

Verily! Joining others in worship with Allah is a great Zulm (wrong) indeed.

This is the warning that follows the advice. He tells his son that Shirk is great injustice; and injustice is putting something in the wrong place. Shirk is injustice and imbalance while Tawheed is justice and balance. It is the most severe injustice and it is the only sin which Allah will never forgive. This injustice, however, does not harm Allah. It is the slave that harms himself and puts himself in danger of the punishment of Allah.

What is Shirk anyway?

Shirk is to associate partners with Allah in:

  1. His Lordship- to believe that there is someone besides Allah who creates, sustains and provides.
  2. His worship- to worship others besides Allah; and directing acts of worship such as supplication, vows, sacrifice, hope, fear, trust and all other acts done to seek nearness
  3. His Names and Attributes: to elevate someone’s status to the level of Allah’s perfect Names and Attributes

وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ وَهْنًا عَلَىٰ وَهْنٍ وَفِصَالُهُ فِي عَامَيْنِ أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيْكَ إِلَيَّ الْمَصِيرُ

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.

What was his second advice?

وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ

And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents.

The second advice pertains to being dutiful to parents. The wording of this verse tells us that it is Allah who is giving this advice, He said “وصينا” meaning “We enjoined”. Additionally, the advice that comes from Allah is called “وصية” which is a will, or a covenant. It is a command from Allah that makes it obligatory upon us to obey and be kind towards our parents.

This advice is not directed to Muslims only, it is directed to all of humanity, whether believer or disbeliever. This relationship can never be changed or cut off.

حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ وَهْنًا عَلَىٰ وَهْنٍ

His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship,

He specifically mentions the mother because of the pain she suffers in bearing children, raising them and taking care of them. His mother bore him in weakness upon weakness; from the time of conception to labor, she becomes weaker by day. She is elevated in ranks as a result of this hardship.

Allah orders us to thank our parents. This does not mean to just verbalize a few sweet words; rather, gratitude should be expressed through actions.

وَفِصَالُهُ فِي عَامَيْنِ

and his weaning is in two years

And his nursing is for two years; there was hardship at conception and birth, and now there is hardship in raising the child. She suffers exhaustion upon exhaustion in bringing the child up. He constantly needs to be with the mother because he needs to be fed. Allah plants mercy in the heart of the mother and she is able to tolerate this work.

أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيْكَ إِلَيَّ الْمَصِيرُ

Therefore, give thanks to Me and to your parents, unto Me is the final destination.

Allah commands us to be grateful and thankful towards Him since He is the One who is laying down all of these rights and rules and sowing mercy in people’s hearts.

How do we thank Allah?

  1. To worship Him in the way He loves
  2. Fulfilling the rights He has enjoined upon us
  3. To use His blessings to obey Him

Allah orders us to thank our parents. This does not mean to just verbalize a few sweet words; rather, gratitude should be expressed through actions.

The final return is to Allah; He is our destination. He will then hold us accountable for these deeds.

Etiquettes of Answering the Call of Nature

  1. Avoid spoiling water that is beneficial to people, such as springs and wells.
  2. Avoid spoiling the streets and pathways that people walk on and pass through.
  3. Avoid spoiling the shade under the trees that people might relax under and enjoy.
  4. Avoid urinating in stagnant water like a pond or fountain.
  5. It is not allowed to enter into the bathroom with anything that mentions Allah’s name
  6. It is not allowed to speak in the bathroom.
  7. While defecating or urinating, the person should not face the Qiblah nor should he give the Qiblah his back.
  8. When entering the bathroom, say “بسم الله اللهم إني أعوذ بك من الخبث و الخبائث”“Bismillah, O Allah I seek refuge with You from the devils, male and female.”This creates a barrier between the person and the Shaytan.
  9. To enter the bathroom with the left foot and exiting with the right
  10. When exiting the bathroom, say “غفرانك” “(I seek) Your forgiveness” when exiting the bathroom.
  11. To place a barrier between himself and the people in order not to be exposed
  12. To use the left hand to clean after answering the call of nature
  13. To use the two methods of cleansing; Istinjaa (using water to cleanse yourself) and then Istijmaar (using tissues to cleanse yourself).

Tafseer Surah Luqman: Quran, Music and Idle Talk


Adapted for Hiba Magazine by Shaheera Vakani (Jeddah)

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَشْتَرِي لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ لِيُضِلَّ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَيَتَّخِذَهَا هُزُوًا ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ

“And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e.music, singing, etc.) to mislead (men) from the Path of Allah without knowledge, and takes it (the Path of Allah, the Verses of the Quran) by way of mockery. For such there will be a humiliating torment (in the Hell-fire).” (Luqman 31:6)

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ And of the people are those who are محرومين  and مخذولين. They are deprived from happiness, disgraced and dispraised.

And when Our Verses (of the Qur’an) are recited to such a one, he turns away in pride, as if he heard them not, as if there were deafness in his ear. So announce to him a painful torment.

Why are they deprived and disgraced?

مَن يَشْتَرِي لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ they purchase idle talk that makes them heedless and deviated.  Allah is telling us that when someone chooses to purchase something, he has a desire for it and nobody is forcing him to. Qatadah said: “By Allah, he may not spend money on it, but his purchasing it means he likes it, and the more misguided he is, the more he likes it and the more he prefers falsehood to the truth and harmful things over beneficial things.”

What are the types of talk?

  • Truthful talk: is helpful and beneficial
  • Vain talk: neutral talk; it is neither good nor bad and it does not increase one’s knowledge but it will not harm him either
  • Harmful talk: these are the sins of the tongue: backbiting, lying, slandering, and mocking. It is important to safe guard the tongue from such talk and rely on Allah to be protected from such talk.
  • لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ is talk that is Haram; it is false and has no benefit in the Dunya or Akhirah.

Music and the Quran

The scholars have agreed that this verse indicates musical instruments and singing. Many people are in the misconception that the Quran does not explicitly mention that music is Haram but this verse makes it clear. It was said by scholars that singing and musical instruments sows hypocrisy in the hearts because it is not beneficial and deviates the heart from Allah’s remembrance.

What about Nasheeds?

The wisdom behind this verse is that sometimes Nasheeds become faster engrained in the hearts and minds of people than the Quran. The misconception is that Nasheeds increase in one’s faith, but if you really wish to increase your faith, then you have the Book of Allah! It is the speech of Allah that is unmatched by any other speech. This is Ihsaan, to worship Allah in the best way.

يقول أبو مالك الأشعري أنه سمع النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم يقول

ليكونن من أمتي قوم يستحلون الحر والحرير والخمر والمعازف

Abu Malik Al-Ashari said that he heard the Messenger of Allah (sa) say, “From among my followers there will be people who will consider lawful (Halal) illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcohol and the use of musical instruments.” (Bukhari)

Musical instruments were “made Halal or lawful”, which means that in the time of the Messenger of Allah (sa), musical instruments were Haram. Singing is the sound of the Shaitan, it stirs people’s emotions and deprives them from working towards the noble goal that Allah created us for. This includes movies, theatres and cinemas.

What is the reason behind purchasing this idle talk?

لِيُضِلَّ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ to mislead other from the path of Allah without knowledge. He will mislead someone else by spreading this disease of idle talk. He misguides himself and others from the Quran and Sunnah and Shaitan will tempt and trick us into thinking that the path of Allah is tedious.

وَيَتَّخِذَهَا هُزُوًا the next step is that he will mock the verses of Allah and never take it seriously. He will become busy with things that have no wisdom or value and this shows his misbehaviour and disrespect towards Allah and His verses.

أُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ for those people is a humiliating torment. The word أُولَٰئِكَ is usually used to exalt something and raise its status, but in this verse it means that those people are outcasts and far from Allah’s mercy. This status started from purchasing idle talk, which lead to misleading himself and others, which lead to mockery of Allah and His verses. They are punished and belittled and will suffer humiliating torment because of their mockery.

وَإِذَا تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِ آيَاتُنَا وَلَّىٰ مُسْتَكْبِرًا كَأَن لَّمْ يَسْمَعْهَا كَأَنَّ فِي أُذُنَيْهِ وَقْرًا ۖ فَبَشِّرْهُ بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ

“And when Our Verses (of the Quran) are recited to such a one, he turns away in pride, as if he heard them not, as if there were deafness in his ear. So announce to him a painful torment.” (Luqman 31:7)

What is the condition of this person?

وَإِذَا تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِ آيَاتُنَا The verses of Allah are recited to this person because Allah has decreed that he will hear them and choose the path of guidance, but what is his response?

وَلَّىٰ مُسْتَكْبِرًا كَأَن لَّمْ يَسْمَعْهَا كَأَنَّ فِي أُذُنَيْهِ وَقْرًا He turns away and rejects the verses of Allah with complete arrogance. These verses were meant to increase him in faith but rather, the idle talk and heedless words that he would listen to and relish have blinded his heart and the verse of Allah cannot penetrate into a sinful heart. Moreover, he turns away as though he cannot hear the verses at all because there is a deafness of heaviness in his ears. At this point, the person has rejected the truth as a result of ignorance and arrogance.

فَبَشِّرْهُ بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ So announce to him a painful torment. Allah will give him respite and show him the signs to bring him to guidance, but the person rejects this. The temporary satisfaction that he got out of this idle talk resulted in painful torment of the body and heart because he turned away from the speech and remembrance of Allah.

 Etiquettes and Manners of Reciting the Quran

  1. Sincerity: to be sincere to Allah in your intention and to recite it only for His sake
  2. Purity: it is recommended to make Wudhu and be in a purified state when reciting the Quran. However, a person in the state of Janabah is not allowed to recite the Quran. Also, the area he is sitting to recite should be clean and pure.
  3. Use of Miswak: to have a clean mouth before reciting the Quran is a Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (sa)
  4. Seeking refuge with Allah from Shaitan: Shaitan does not want you to recite the Quran and will distract you and discourage you
  5. Saying Bismillah: It should be said when starting a new Surah, except for Surah At-Taubah. When starting the middle of a Surah, however, it is enough that only the Istiadhah is said.
  6. Reciting clearly: to recite clearly and slowly without hastening, and to recite with Tajweed while pondering the meanings
  7. Beautifying the voice: beautify your voice when reciting the Quran without exceeding the limits of Tajweed
  8. Stop reciting if tired or sleepy: when tired or sleepy, it is better to stop reciting because you are not fully aware of what you are reciting.
  9. Patience with difficulty: It is mentioned in a Sahih Hadith that the one who recites the Quran with expertise is with the honourable angels, while the one who has difficulty reciting gets two rewards: reward for reciting and reward for patience
  10. Facing the Qiblah: it is from the manners of reciting the Quran but it is also allowed to recite in any other position; sitting, walking, riding and even if you are lying down. The best way is to sit and face the Qiblah.


How the Righteous Taught their Children

July 11- Righteous children

By Maryam Sakeenah

In Surah Maryam, we are told of Prophet Zakariya’s (as) invocation to Allah (swt) for someone to inherit his prophetic legacy. His prayer was stimulated by his desire to see his mission continue after him and to pass on to the future, the treasure of wisdom, knowledge and faith he had acquired over the years. Allah (swt) blessed him with a righteous, noble son to inherit his legacy and to make it live beyond human mortality. It highlights the importance and role of parenthood as a means to reach out to the future and make the best in you live beyond your limited span of life.

The family lives of prophets give us important insights into their roles as parents. The manifestation of Luqman’s wisdom that Allah (swt) chooses to record in the Quran is what he taught his son. These words of advice are perhaps the best example today for Muslim parents.

The primary thrust of Luqman’s teaching is on belief in the Creator. His words are warning against associating with Allah (swt) anything of the creation. The tone, however, is not overassertive but explanatory, describing Shirk as the ‘greatest injustice’ against the Lord of the universe. Parents must teach their children the rights of Allah (swt) along with His attributes of absolute uniqueness and incomparability, so as to build in the consciousness of their children, recognition of Allah (swt) from their earliest years. It teaches complete reliance on Him for all needs and roots out all likelihood of Shirk.

The centrality of Tawheed in teaching the young recurs yet again in the words Ibrahim (as) and Yaqoob (as) say to their sons. Allah (swt) quotes them as saying: “‘O my sons! Allah has chosen for you the true religion, therefore die not save as men who have surrendered (unto Him)’… Yaqoob said to his sons: ‘What will you worship after me?’ They said: ‘We shall worship your God, God of your fathers, Abraham and Ishaq, One God and unto Him we have surrendered.’” (Al-Baqarah 2:132-133) Also, in this instance, the strong concern to ensure that their inheritors are saved from misguidance is very noticeable. It emphasizes that fear of Allah’s (swt) displeasure is the most powerful restraint against sin. As parents, it is our prime responsibility to plant in our children from their earliest years this seed of Taqwa (God-consciousness), motivate them to do good and restrain them from evil. Yaqoob (as) stresses the importance of staying forever in a state of submission to God by instructing his children to hold fast to faith and “die not, except as Muslims”.

Just as the Quran often instructs believers to obey parents right after the command to obey Allah (swt), Luqman teaches his son the importance of kindness to parents. He adds that the command of God is of the highest importance – if an order by parents violates this, they are not to be obeyed. However, in this case, children should not abandon kindness and gentleness in dealing with their parents. It is this unconditional attitude of respect towards parents that keeps filial ties intact and vital and, hence, protects the moral fabric of the society by giving every individual a personal source of authority and guidance to fall back on and seek recourse to.

After sowing in the heart the seed of faith, Luqman teaches his son to worship Allah (swt) with the heart and soul, fulfilling all the rites of His worship perfectly, for prayer is the best expression of submission to Him. He also prepares his son for the hardships that come in the way of the struggle to establish virtue and eliminate vice, advising him to stay steadfast, to persevere and to trust in Allah (swt): “… bear with patience whatever befalls you.” (Luqman 31:17)

Next, Luqman takes up character-building, which is closely connected to faith in God. Faith in the heart is the fountainhead of humility and gentleness in dealing with others; the source that impels one on the path of righteousness and good conduct. He teaches moderation, gentleness, etiquette and mannerism and warns against the hateful sin of pride, which does not befit man. What strikes one about Luqman’s advice to his son is not just the comprehensive nature and content of his teaching but also how it is ordered, linked and prioritized. As parents, we must likewise prioritize what we teach our children, keeping central to all teaching faith in Allah (swt).

Prophet Muhammad (sa) taught and trained his cousin Ali (rta) as his own son, and it was under his guidance that Ali (rta) grew into a living treasury of immense knowledge. Fatima (rta), his youngest daughter, brought up under his love and protection, became a woman of extraordinary perseverance and patience. What must be taken note of is how her blessed father insisted that her relationship with him could not guarantee salvation; it could not be taken advantage of, and that individual effort and personal sacrifice had to be made to gain Allah’s (swt) love and find a place among the righteous. When Fatima (rta) came to her father to request for a slave-girl to help with household chores, the Prophet (sa) instead taught her words of remembrance of Allah (swt) to give her ease. What is obvious here is fatherly wisdom to make his children go through toil and labour and achieve a higher station of faith by facing all the rigours of life and learning to rely on Allah (swt) alone. We also see how the Prophet (sa) rejects for his children all privilege that came with his spiritual and worldly position.

Anas Ibn Malik (rta) reminisces, how in his years of service to the Prophet (sa), he was never reprimanded even slightly for his mistakes, and was always gently instructed and taught by example. He mentions his mildness of nature and readiness to forgive and overlook faults; such traits make one learn and grow, without any feeling of being ordered and instructed. It creates in the learner a fondness for the teacher that makes obedience and learning a continuous pleasure.

Ibn Abbas (rta), who was also honoured by being taught by the Prophet (sa) and grew up to become one of the greatest scholars of Islam, reminisces: “I was riding behind the Prophet (sa) one day, when he said to me: ‘O son, I am going to teach you some advice: Observe Allah (swt), He guards you. Observe Allah (swt), you will find Him ahead of you. When you ask, ask Allah (swt). And when you seek help, seek the help of Allah (swt). And be certain that were the whole nation to collaborate to benefit you, they would never benefit you, except in a thing, which Allah (swt) has already foreordained for you, and if they were to collaborate to harm you, they would never harm you, except in a thing which Allah (swt) has already foreordained against you. The pens are lifted and the sheets have become dry…’” (At-Tirmidhi) The child is being taught complete trust in Allah (swt) and submission to His decree, a belief which makes one courageous, steadfast, patient and full of hope.

Parenting is a sacred duty we owe to the future. A righteous child is our gift to the future of the Ummah. In order to instill in our children the values that can make them a means of Sadaqa-e-Jariya for us in our afterlife, we must follow the ways and methods by which the prophets and the righteous taught their progeny. As parents, teachers, and elders we have a tremendous responsibility towards those who will live out our legacies after our time is up.