Prophet Luqman (Peace be upon him)
We bestowed (in the past) wisdom on Luqman: "Show (thy) 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. (Luqman, 12)
IS HE A PROPHET OR NOT?
Hz. Luqman lived during the period of Hz. Dawud. He is from the people of Madyan and Ayka. First, he was a slave of Children of Israel; then, he was freed. It is stated that he was a tailor and that he was good at carpentry.1
Hz. Luqman is the son of Hz. Ayyub's sister. He issued fatwas beforehand but when he met Hz. Dawud, he stopped it.2
It is controversial whether Hz. Luqman was a prophet or not. According to some scholars, he received revelation. According to some other scholars, he was a righteous slave who was given wisdom. He was a slave who thought a lot, who had foresight and who kept silent a lot. He loved Allah and Allah loved him. Allah granted him wisdom. This issue is stated as follows in the Quran:
‘We bestowed (in the past) wisdom on Luqman.”3 The word "hikmah (wisdom)" mentioned in the verse is interpreted as knowledge, foresight and right thought.
It is stated in Risala al-Hamidiyyah that he was not a prophet but a great person who was given wisdom and who was taught by various prophets.4
Scholars unanimously agree that Hz. Luqman, who was known as a doctor by people, had great knowledge about medicine.5
It is also narrated that he lived in the city of Ramla near Bayt al-Maqdis and that he preached and gave advice to the people who visited him. When he was asked how he obtained such knowledge and wisdom though he was a slave, he gave the following answer:
“To be honest, to use the entrusted things properly and to abandon what is unnecessary.”6
When he was asked how he attained that high rank, he said,
“I close my eyes when I see haram things. I control my tongue. I prevent my passion. I protect my chastity. I lengthen my prayer. I keep my promises. I entertain my guests. I protect my neighbors. I abandon doing unnecessary things.”7
When he was a slave, his master said to him, “Slaughter a sheep and bring the best two organs of the sheep.” Hz. Luqman slaughtered a sheep and took its tongue and heart to his master. Afterwards, his master asked him to slaughter a ship and to bring him its worst two organs. He took the sheep's tongue and heart to his master again. When his master asked him the wisdom behind it, he said,
“There is nothing better than these two organs when they are good and there is nothing better than these two organs when they are bad.”8
HIS ADVICE TO HIS SON
It is stated in the Quran that Hz. Luqman gave very concise advice to his son. According to a narration, he had only one son and he associated partners with Allah. He talked to his son and gave him advice as follows:
"O my son! Join not in worship others with Allah: for false worship is indeed the highest wrong-doing and it is violation of the right, honor and dignity of all creatures." Yes, to associate partners with Allah is a terrible insult to the universe and a great transgression against it. By denying the sacred duties of beings and the purposes of their creation, it insults their honor.9
Hz. Luqman taught his son this truth and continued as follows:
“O my son! If there be (but) the weight of a mustard-seed and it were (hidden) in a rock, or (anywhere) in the heavens or on earth, Allah will bring it forth: for Allah understands the finer 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 thee; for this is firmness (of purpose) in (the conduct of) affairs.
And swell not thy cheek (for pride) at men nor walk in insolence through the earth; for Allah loveth not any arrogant boaster. And be moderate in thy pace, and lower thy voice; for the harshest of sounds without doubt is the braying of the ass."10
There are issues to be considered for all fathers in his advice.
Once, he advised his son as follows:
“O my son! Do not delay your repentance because death comes all of a sudden. Do not pretend to be pious so that people will offer you something if you are a sinner. Fear Allah.
O my son! I do not remember being regretful because of keeping silent. For, speech is silver, silence is gold.
Attend the preachers of scholars; listen to the words of wise people. For, Allah revives dead hearts with the light of wisdom just like he revives the earth through rain.”11
What needs to be remembered all the time is Allah's greatness and death. What needs to be forgotten is the favors you did and the bad deeds others did to you. If man remembers his favors, he will put the relevant person under obligation. If man does not forget the bad deeds done to him, his hatred will be triggered and his feeling of revenge will be agitated.”12
Once, they asked Hz. Luqman: “Who is the poorest man?”
He answered as follows: “The poorest man is the one who does not feel sorry about the sins he has committed. Such a person needs to come to his senses and feel sorry his sins. It is a sign of weakness of belief to commit a sin and not to feel sorry about it. Such a person proceeds toward unbelief very fast.”
Once, somebody looked at Hz. Luqman’s black face and thick cracked lips and despised him. Hz. Luqman said to him,
“Do not despise me due to my black face and thick cracked lips because I did not paint or crack them. What I can do is not to utter bad words through those lips and not to embarrass that black face through sins and crimes. What is the importance of my black face and thick lips if my heart is white and my words are like pearl?”
Luqman (pbuh) died in the city of Ramla near Bayt al-Maqdis Aleyhisselam.13
1 M. Asım Köksal, ibid p. 229.
2 M. Hamdi Yazır, ibid 5:3842.
3 Luqman, 12.
4 Husayn al-Jisri, Translation of Risala al-Hamidiyyah, p.528.
5 Tajrid Trnsl, 9:162.
6 M. Asım Köksal, ibid p. 231.
7 ibid p.231
8 ibid p. 233-234.
9 Şualar (Rays), p. 10-11.
10 Luqman, 13-19.
11 Ö. Nasuhi Bilmen, ibid p. 528.
12 Husayn al-Jisri, ibid p. 528
13 M. Asım Köksal, ibid p. 235.
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