Editor's Picks

23 April 2012

Admonitions of Luqman to his son

In the Light of Glorious Qur'an

(Luqman said):*1 
"Son, Allah will bring forth*2 everything 
even if it be as small as the grain of a mustard seed
even though it be hidden inside a rock 
or (anywhere) in the heavens or earth.
Allah is Most Subtle, All-Aware. 

Son, establish Prayer, 
enjoin all that is good and forbid all that is evil,
and endure with patience whatever affliction befalls you.*3
Surely these have been emphatically enjoined.*4 

Do not (contemptuously) turn your face away from people,*5
nor tread haughtily upon earth. 
Allah does not love the arrogant and the vainglorious.*6 

Be moderate in your stride*7 and lower your voice.
Verily the most disgusting of all voices is 
the braying of the donkey."*8 

(Glorious Qur'an: Surah Luqman-Ayah 16-19)


*1. Luqman was well known as a wise and learned man in Arabia.
The admonitions of Luqman are being narrated here to imply that 
like the basic beliefs, the teachings pertaining to morals that 
the Holy Prophet is presenting, are not anything new in Arabia. 

*2. That is, "Nothing can escape Allah's knowledge and His grasp. 
A seed in the rock may be hidden for you, but it is known to Allah.
A particle in the heavens may be very distant for you,
but for Allah it is very near. 
A thing lying in the layers of the earth may be lying in darkness for you
but for Him it is in full light.
Therefore, you cannot do anything good or bad, anywhere or any time,
which may remain hidden from Allah. 
He is not only aware of it, but when the time for accountability comes,
He will place before you a full record of each act of yours. " 

*3. In this there is a subtle allusion to this that 
whoever will enjoin good and forbid evil, 
will inevitably have to face and undergo 
afflictions and hardships in the world. 

*4. Another meaning can be: 
"These are things which require courage and resolution.
To rise for the reformation of the people and to brave 
the hardships of the way cannot be the job of 
a mean-spirited and cowardly person." 

*5. Tusa'ir in the original is from se 'ar. a disease 
in the camel's neck clue to which it keeps its face turned to one side.
The idiom implies the attitude of a person 
who shows arrogance and vanity, 
turns his face away and treats others with scant respect. 

*6. Mukhtal in the original implies a person 
who has an over-high opinion of himself, 
and fakhur is the one who boasts of his superiority over others.
A man becomes haughty and arrogant and vain in his gait 
only when he is puffed up with pride, 
and wants that others should feel his superiority. 

*7. According to some commentators it means this: 
'Walk neither fast nor slow but at a moderate pace :"
 but the context shows that 
here the pace or the rate of walking is not the question. 
There is nothing morally wrong with a fast or a slow pace in itself,
 nor can there be a rule made for it. 
When a man is in a hurry, he has to walk fast,
and there is nothing wrong if one walks slow when walking for pleasure.
Even if there is a standard for the moderate pace, 
it cannot be made a law for every person at all times. 
What is actually meant by this is to reform the state of the self 
under which a person walks haughtily. 
The haughtiness and arrogance of a person 
inevitably manifests itself in his gait and style of walking,
 which shows the state of his mind 
and also the cause of his pride and haughtiness.
Wealth, authority, beauty. knowledge, power and such other things
cause a man to became proud and vain, 
and each of these gives him a special style of gait.
 Contrary to this, manifestation of humility in the gait is also 
the result of one or the other morbid mental state. 
Sometimes the hidden conceit of the self of a man 
takes on the form of ostentatious humility, piety and godliness
 and this is shown by his gait; 
and sometimes man really feels so embittered 
by the frustrations of the world that he adopts a sick man's gait.

 What Luqman means to say is this: 
"Avoid these states of the mind and self 
and walk the gait of a simple, honest and noble person,
 which neither shows any vanity and haughtiness 
nor weakness nor ostentatious piety and humility." 

*8. This does not mean that one should always speak in a low voice
 and should never raise one's voice. 
One kind of lowness and loudness"roughness and softness, 
of the rove and voice is that which is needed 
under natural and genuine requirements. 
For example, when speaking to a man close at hand,
 or to a small group of the people, 
one would speak in a low voice, 
and when speaking to a man at a distance
 or to a large number of the people,
one would inevitably have to speak loudly. 
Similar is inevitably the difference in tones 
depending on the occasion and situation.
 The tone of praise has to be different from the tone of condemnation.
 and of the expression of goodwill from that of indignation.
 This thing is in no way objectionable. 
Nor does the admonition of Luqman 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 shout oneself hoarse 
and produce a voice like the ass's braying in order to 
bully and debase and browbeat the other person." 
Print Friendly and PDF