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

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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).