When we get closer to the Holy Qur’an, recite and try to understand the 2nd Ruku, ayaat 12-19 of Surah Luqman, we find what great words of hikmah (wisdom) were passed by Luqman to his sons. In this Surah once again stress on four basic criteria for success and salvation as mentioned in Surah Al-Asr - i.e. iman (Faith), amal-e-saleh(Righteous deeds), ‘Twasi bil-haque’ (the Truth) and ‘Twasi bis-sabr’ (mutual exhortation to constancy and steadfastness) – has been made but with a slightly different words, style and perspective – this is the style of the Qur’an – same topics or issues being discussed in different terms and terminologies.
What we come to understand with the 12th ayaat of Surah Luqman is that the very first demand of wisdom, granted by Allah, is that our attitude must always be of gratefulness and obedience before Allah, and not of ingratitude and thanklessness. If we are ungrateful and unbelieving, we are but causing harm to ourselves only. Allah does not lose anything. He is independent and does not stand in need of anyone’s gratitude. He is Ghani (All-Sufficient) and Hameed (Self-Praiseworthy). Therefore, we should always be thankful to Allah all the time. This is the basis of wisdom of the Qur’an and Islam.
Now the very first advice by Luqman to his sons in the next ayat is not to indulge in shirk (associating others will Allah in His Divinity) in any way - which is mighty wrong, we must always be very sure and have firm belief deep down our heart that none but Allah is our Creator, Providence, Benefactor and responsible for whatever good we are enjoying in this world; and, at the same time, if we are passing through some odds or unwanted circumstances, these too are from Allah. Nothing (good or bad) happens without His will, so we should always remain thankful and be patient in all situations. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an: “If you are grateful (by accepting Faith and worshipping none but Allâh), I will give you increase (in My Blessings), but if you are ungrateful, My punishment is severe (14:7).”
The second saying of Luqman to his sons is to be thankful to their parents to whom all thanks remain due after Allah. When it comes to obedience – it is obedience to Allah and obedience to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) but when the question of rights then first and foremost shukr belongs to Allah and then directly it comes to our parents – Anishkurli wa-liwalidaik. In this world our parents take a lot of pains, sufferings and hardships for us, so we owe a lot to them, especially to mother. As per one hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) rights of mother are much greater as compared to the rights of father on their children.
A young sahabi came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) and asked who has the maximum right of my good service and behaviour – first and foremost – the Prophet replied - your mother. He asked again after her who, the Prophet replied - your mother. He asked for the third time: after her who, the Prophet replied - your mother. Only when the same question was repeated for the fourth time that the Prophet replied - your father. On the basis of this we can say that the rights of the mother are three times more than the rights of the father.
We should always remember that whatever good or bad we do (however big or small it) – anywhere / any time – is not only watched by Allah but recorded as well so as to be placed before us on the Day of Judgment, and we will be rewarded accordingly. This is another fundamental point of Qur’an’s hikma which we get to understand with the next advice of Luqman to his sons. How much qualified, knowledgeable and far sighted we may consider ourselves but all these are very limited. We can’t see, hear or perceive beyond a limit. But Allah is Lateef (Most Subtle) andKhabeer (All Aware) – nothing can escape His knowledge and grasp - be it as small as a grain of mustard hidden under a rock or in the skies or beneath the earth. How important is this advice for us. It will always keep us in check and protect us from doing wrong, forbidden or illegal, inshaAllah.
Luqman’s next advice to his sons is to establish salah rather keep the salah established, and enjoin others to whatever is ma’ruf (good) and forbid all from whatever is munkar (evil). We must realise at this point that Allah , in our very nature (zameer or nafse aw-wama), has made it known to us what ma’ruf is and what munkar is. Whatever our nature knows to be good is ma’ruf and on the other from whatever our nature refrains us is munkar. Therefore, enjoining others to ma’ruf (good) and forbidding all from munkar (evil) is extremely important and this would be biggest service to the humanity. Looking after the sick, helping the poor, taking care of orphans and widows, etc. no doubt, are also services to the humanity but limited to this world only but for us, who have faith in akhirah, enjoining others to ma’ruf (good) and forbidding all from munkar (evil) becomes paramount. A famous hadith says that if you see something wrong/evil/unjust – munkar - being done, it becomes your duty to stop it by force, if not capable of doing so by your words and even if this is not possible for you so at least one should feel sorry and aggrieved in their hearts. In this there is a subtle allusion to this that whoever will enjoin ma’ruf and forbid munkar, will inevitably have to undergo verbal or physical prosecution because truth is always bitter and it is very hard for us to accept it due to conflict of motives or materialistic gain or loss that it may cause. So this ayaat ends with advice of being sabir (patient).
The last pieces of advices Luqman to his sons are always to maintain low profile and have modest behaviour which is possible only when we are not arrogant, do not have pride, do not tread haughtily upon earth, we keep our voices low and are soft spoken. However, the advice of Luqman does not imply that one should always speak in a soft and low voice and tone regardless of the occasion and requirement. What is objectionable is that one should not shout and produce a voice like the ass in order to terrorise and humiliate the other person.
If we act upon the advice in the mentioned ayaat of Surah Luqman and convey the same to our families, relatives and friends, we may transform our families into ideal families which when done in a larger scale shall lead to an ideal society and ultimately will make our duniya and akhirah real successful.