The greatest advice

Muhammad Fakharuddin
5 min readApr 21, 2024
Photo by Jan Canty on Unsplash

It said that Luqmân was a wise man, and a known and popular figure in Arab culture before the time of Prophet Muhammad PBUH; it also understood that Luqmân was not a follower of any prophet but through his intellect and gift of God able to assess the nature of God and essence of life.

God decided to pen Luqman's advice in the Quran and named a chapter after his name.

Wisdom can be defined as putting things where they belong or in their right place, equating the right value to a thing, or similarly when making a decision based on strong and thoughtful reason; rather than making it quickly and spontaneously ( going with the flow) or under societal pressure. Normally a wise person will hold on to their decision despite failure or resistance because it's based on sound judgment and long-term benefits.

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and Third by experience, which is the bitterest. [Ancient Chinese philosopher, Confucius]

It said Luqman was not a follower of any Prophet, and probably the advice passed to his son at the later part of his life; which captures the near essence of what life is about and how one should value what is important while zoning out of the distractions.

Indeed, We blessed Luqmân with wisdom, saying, “Be grateful to Allah, for whoever is grateful, it is only for their own good. And whoever is ungrateful, then surely Allah is Self-Sufficient, Praiseworthy.”

And ˹remember˺ when Luqmân said to his son while advising him, “O my dear son! Never associate anything with Allah in worship, for associating others with Him is truly the worst of all wrongs.”

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.

But if they 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. Then to Me, you will ˹all˺ return, and then I will inform you of what you used to do.

Luqmân added,˺ “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.

“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.

“And do not turn your nose up to people, nor walk pridefully upon the earth. Surely Allah does not like whoever is arrogant, or boastful.

Be moderate in your pace. And lower your voice, for the ugliest of all voices is certainly the braying of donkeys.”

Some conclusions

Though pearls of wisdom and eloquence of words do not need more translation, a few words could be added for clarity.

  1. In between God added a part also to make the respect of one's parents evident, Luqman would not have added that out of self-respect (to ask his son) to take care of himself.
  2. One can notice how God brings the rights of Parents, especially mothers after its rights.
  3. A person's moral compass can be judged by how humble and grateful one is, and if you are not respectful and thankful to your parent who bears the responsibility of caring (when you cannot) then there is a serious problem.
  4. An ungrateful person will complain about most things in their life; instead of being satisfied with them and making use of them to make one's life more meaningful, and this will eventually be disastrous for the individual.
  5. After faith, the most important thing for a person is to produce good deeds, as life is a grassland where you can plant seeds of your actions; and whose fruits will become available hereafter. So make sure you plant those seeds and even how minute it is they carry a weight of their own.
  6. Stopping Evil is also important, rather than being obsessed with one's actions, else corruption will spread and will eventually create a situation where doing good deeds will become difficult and less useful.
  7. When you try to stop evil, you will face resistance and difficulty so bear that patiently and sustain under those circumstances rather than taking an easy road out.
  8. One should be careful of the Ego the self possesses, as it takes humans down the wrong path; the same is the case with Satan when his arrogance came over his servitude to God, and that made it become Evil.
  9. Be humble and considerate in your voice, when you are dealing with people as it is essential for making good relationships, even if you are in an argument, a loud voice is not preferred.

Why is it the greatest advice? for a wise man, the greatest trait is to find the truth and perceive reality as is.

Luqman is one of the wisest men able to get closer to reality; for a father, the greatest asset is a pious Son, so he is his parting that knowledge to him and setting him up for success by establishing his relationship with one God, so lesser idols and his desires do not make him astray.

Once on the right path, Luqman sets the importance of collecting good deeds in return for an everlasting life; and making this world a better place by stopping what he can and persevering while on that path.

Then Luqman teaches his son the art of living in a community by keeping himself humble; not becoming boastful of the truth he achieved, and communicating those ideas passionately and wisely.

It's important to note that an intelligent person, whose nature is not perverted ( Fitrat-e-Saleem) and not bound by the imagination of society and its orthodoxy can arrive at the truth. Intelligence should also translate into actions rather than an idea; and serve humanity to create a balanced and just society.

We need more intelligent personalities like Luqman, to create a balance in this world and push it back to its axis where it's about to fall.

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