Table of Contents

18. The Ethos Of Luqman

Luqman, the wise is the son of Anqi son of Mazid son of Saroon. He was from the Nubia, Egypt and his nickname was Abolanm. He is said to have thick lips and strode. Some historians believe he was the nephew or cousin of Prophet Job. Luqman was born 4373 years after the Fall of Adam. He has maxims one which is:

"O my son! Do not associate aught with Allah; most surely polytheism is a grievous iniquity." (31:13)

يَا بُنَيَّ لَا تُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ ۖ إِنَّ الشِّرْكَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيمٌ

Narratives are also decorated with his aphorism. Luqman was living at the time of Prophet David. During the last years of this life, he withdrew from people, passed away at the time of Prophet Jonah and was buried in Eileh, Palestine. There is discrepancy over his life-span. Some say that he lived as long as 3500 years.

His Wisdom In The Holy Quran

"And certainly We gave wisdom to Luqman, saying: Be grateful to Allah. And whoever is grateful, he is only grateful for his own soul; and whoever is ungrateful, then surely Allah is Self-sufficient, Praised." (31:12)

وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا لُقْمَانَ الْحِكْمَةَ أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِلَّهِ ۚ وَمَنْ يَشْكُرْ فَإِنَّمَا يَشْكُرُ لِنَفْسِهِ ۖ وَمَنْ كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ حَمِيدٌ

"And do not turn your face away from people in contempt, nor go about in the land exulting overmuch; surely Allah does not love any self-conceited boaster." (31:18)

وَلَا تُصَعِّرْ خَدَّكَ لِلنَّاسِ وَلَا تَمْشِ فِي الْأَرْضِ مَرَحًا ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ مُخْتَالٍ فَخُورٍ

"And pursue the right course in your going about and lower your voice; surely the most hateful of voices is braying of the asses." (31:19)

وَاقْصِدْ فِي مَشْيِكَ وَاغْضُضْ مِنْ صَوْتِكَ ۚ إِنَّ أَنْكَرَ الْأَصْوَاتِ لَصَوْتُ الْحَمِيرِ

His Morals As Narrated By Imam Sadeq

Imam Sadeq was asked once by Hammad about Luqman and his wisdom mentioned by Allah in the holy Quran. The Imam said: By Allah! Luqman was not granted wisdom on account of his descent, wealth, offspring, physical prowess, or beauty. Rather, he was a man whose belief in Allah was very strong. He was pious, quiet, silent most of the time, far-sighted, meditative, sharp in insight, wealthy with morals. He never slept during the day, nor did anyone ever see him using the toilet or even bathing due to his being extremely bashful, to his deep thinking and reservations. He never laughed at anything at all for fear of sinning, nor was he ever seen angry.

He never joked with any one. He never expressed his delight at something of this life’s wares when he earned, nor did he ever grieve about anything. He married a number of women and had a number of children but many of his children died before coming of age, yet he never wept over the death of any of them. He hardly passed by two men contending of fighting without reconciling between them, and he never left them before resolving their dispute or coming to peaceful terms.

Whenever he heard someone saying something which he appreciated, he asked for its explanation and whom he had learnt it from. He quite often attended the meetings of religious experts and men of wisdom. He often visited Judges, Kings, and Sultans, so he would pity the Judges because of their trials and seek Allah’s mercy for Kings and Sultans due to their merits before Allah and their dignity in it. He derived wisdom and taught himself that which would help him overcome his own inclinations and struggle against his own desires and seek refuge through it from Satan. He used to heal his heart with meditation and console himself with moral lessons. He never traveled to a place except for a cause that concerned him. This is why he was granted wisdom and protection against sinning.

عَنْ حَمّادٍ قَالَ: سَأَلْتُ أَبا عَبْدِ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ عَنْ لُقْمَانَ وَحِكْمَتِهِ الَّتِي ذَكَرَهَا اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ، فَقَالَ : أَمَا وَاللَّهِ مَا أُوتِيَ لُقْمَانَ الْحِكْمَةُ بِحَسَبٍ وَلا مَالٍ وَلا أَهْلٍ وَلا بَسْطٍ في جِسْمٍ وَلا جَمَالٍ.

وَلَكِنَّهُ كَانَ رَجُلا قَوِيًّا في أَمْرِ اللَّهِ، مُتَوَرِّعًا في اللَّهِ، سَاكِتًا، سَكِينًا عَمِيقَ النَّظَرِ، طَويلَ الْفِكْرِ، حَديدَ النَّظَرِ، مُسْتَغْنٍ بِالْعِبَرِ، لَمْ يَنَمْ نَهَارًا قَطُّ، وَلَمْ يَرَهُ أَحَدٌ مِنَ النّاسِ عَلى بَوْلٍ وَلا غَائِطٍ وَلا اغْتِسَالٍ لِشِدَّةِ تَسَتُّرِهِ وَعَمُوقِ نَظَرِهِ وَتَحَفُّظِهِ في أَمْرِهِ، وَلَمْ يَضْحَكْ مِنْ شَيءٍ قَطُّ مَخَافَةَ الإِثْمِ وَلَمْ يَغْضَبْ قَطُّ وَلَمْ يُمَازِحْ إِنْسَانًا قَطُّ وَلَمْ يَفْرَحْ لِشَيءٍ إِنْ أَتاهُ مِنْ أَمْرِ الدُّنْيا، وَلا حُزْنٍ مِنْها عَلى شَيءٍ قَطُّ، وَقَدْ نَكَحَ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ وَوُلِدَ لَهُ الأَوْلادُ الْكَثِيرَةُ وَقَدَّمَ أَكْثَرَهُمْ إِفْراطًا فَما بَكى عَلى مَوْتِ أَحَدٍ مِنْهُمْ، وَلَمْ يَمُرُّ بِرَجُلَيْنِ يَخْتَصِمانِ أَوْ يَقْتَتِلانِ إِلا أَصْلَحَ بَيْنَهُما وَلَمْ يَمْضِ عَنْهُمَا حَتّى تَحَاجَزا وَلَمْ يَسْمَعْ قَوْلا قَطُّ مِنْ أَحَدٍ اسْتَحْسَنَهُ إِلا سَأَلَ عَنْ تَفْسِيرِهِ وَعَمَّنْ أَخَذَهُ وَكَانَ يَكْثُرُ مُجَالَسَةَ الْفُقَهاءِ وَالْحُكَماءِ وَكَانَ يُغْشى الْقُضاةَ وَالْمُلُوكَ وَالسَّلاطِينَ فَيُرْثي لِلْقُضاةِ مِمّا ابْتَلُوا بِهِ، وَيَرْحَمُ الْمُلُوكَ وَالسَّلاطِينَ لِعِزَّتِهِمْ بِاللَّهِ وَطُمَأْنِينَتِهِمْ في ذَلِكَ، وَيَعْتَبِرُ وَيَتَعَلَّمُ مَا يَغْلِبُ بِهِ نَفْسُهُ وَيُجاهِدُ بِهِ هَواهُ وَيَحْتَرِزُ بِهِ مِنْ الشَّيْطانِ وَكَانَ يُداوي قَلْبَهُ بِالتَّفَكُّرِ، وَيُداري نَفْسَهُ بِالْعِبَرِ، وَكَانَ لا يَظْعَنُ إِلا فِيما يَعْنِيهِ فَبِذَلِكَ أُوتِيَ الْحِكْمَةُ وَمُنِحَ العِصْمَةُ.

His Praiseworthy Traits

A man passed by Luqman and saw how people were surrounding him. He asked him: Aren’t you the black slave who used to tend the sheep in such and such place? Luqman said: Yes. The man asked again: What caused you to be in this position? Luqman said: Speaking the truth, giving the trust back to its rightful owners and staying away from what does not concern me.

His Seclusion And Silence

Luqman used to sit alone. Once his master passed by him and said: O Luqman! Why do you sit alone so much? You would better associate with people. Luqman said: Sitting alone is better for meditation which is the path to paradise.

وَكَانَ لُقْمَانُ يُطيلُ الْجُلُوسَ وَحْدَهُ فَكَانَ يَمُرُّ بِهِ مَوْلاهُ فَيَقُولُ: يَا لُقْمانُ إِنَّكَ تُديمُ الْجُلُوسَ وَحْدَكَ، فَلَوْ جَلَسْتَ مَعَ النَّاسِ كَانَ آنَسُ لَكَ فَيَقُولُ لُقْمانُ: إِنَّ طُولُ الْوَحْدَةِ أَفْهَمُ لِلْفِكْرَةِ وَطُولُ الْفِكْرَةِ دَلِيلُ عَلى طَريقِ الْجَنَّةِ.

A wisdom of Luqman was that he was a company of Prophet David for months. Once David was making coats of mail but Luqman was too shy to ask what it was good for. When it was finished, David put it on saying: What a good shirt for warrior! Luqman then said: Silence is wisdom but few are those who uphold it.

وَ مِنْ حِكْمَتِهِ أَنَّهُ صَحِبَ دَاوُودَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ شُهُورًا وَكَانَ دَاوُودُ يَسْرِدُ الدَّرْعَ فَلَمْ يَسْأَلْهُ عَنْها فَلَمّا لَبِسَها وَقَالَ نِعْمَ لَبُوسِ الْحَرْبِ أَنْتَ، فَقَالَ لُقْمانُ الصَّمْتُ حِكْمَةٌ وَقَلِيلٌ فَاعِلُهُ.

His Threefold Traits

Ibn-Omar has quoted the holy Prophet of Islam as saying: I truly say that Luqman was not a Prophet but he was a servant who meditated a great deal, enjoyed certainty, loved God and God too loved him and favored him by giving him wisdom.

عَنْ ابنِ عُمَرَ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ يَقُولُ: حَقًّا أَقُولُ، لَمْ يَكُنْ لُقْمَانَ نَبِيًّا وَلَكِنَّهُ كَانَ عَبْدًا كَثِيرَ التَّفَكُّرِ، حَسَنُ الْيَقِينِ أَحَبَّ اللَّهَ فَأَحَبَّهُ، وَمَنَّ عَلَيْهِ بِالْحِكْمَةِ.

The Criterion Of His Wisdom

Luqman was asked: Are you not the slave of such and such master? He said: Yes. He was asked again: Then what caused you to be in this status? Luqman said: Speaking the truth, giving the trust back to its rightful owners, staying away from anything which does not concern me, forbearing, keeping my tongue and abstaining from eating what is unlawful. Therefore, whoever lacks these qualities is below me and whoever has greater extent of these qualities is above me and whoever acts them is like me.

وَ قِيلَ لِلُقمانَ: أَلَسْتَ عَبْدَ آلِ فُلانٍ؟ قَالَ: بَلى، قِيلَ فَمَا بَلَّغَ بِكَ مَا نَرى؟ قَالَ: صِدْقُ الْحَدِيثِ، وَأَدَاءُ الأَمَانَةِ، وَتَرْكِي مَا لا يَعْنِينِي، وَغَضّي بَصَري، وَكَفّي لِسَانِي وَعِفَّتِي في طُعْمَتي، فَمَنْ نَقَصَ عَنْ هَذأَ فَهُوَ دُوني وَمَنْ زَادَ عَلَيْهِ فَهُوَ فَوْقِي وَمَنْ عَمِلَهُ فَهُوَ مِثْلِي.

When Grief Struck Him

Ozaee has reported that when Luqman left his hometown and settled in Moussel, whenever his patience was out, his griefs were high and had none to tell them, he would take his son home, close the doors and say: O son! the life of this world is like a deep sea in which many people have indeed drowned. Let your boat be the fear of Allah, your ration the belief in Allah, its mast.

عَنْ الأَوْزَاعي أَنَّ لُقْمانَ الْحَكِيمَ لَمّا خَرَجَ مِنْ بِلادِه نَزَلَ بِقَرْيَةٍ بِالْمُوصِلِ يُقَالُ لَها (كُومَاس) قَالَ: فَلمّا ضَاقَ بِها ذَرَعهُ وَاشْتَدَّ بِها غَمُّهُ وَلَمْ يَكُنْ يَتَّبِعُهُ عَلى أَثَرِه أَغْلَقَ الأَبْوَابَ وَأَدْخَلَ ابْنَهُ يَعِظُهُ، فَقَالَ: يَا بُنَيَّ إِنَّ الدُّنْيا بَحْرٌ عَمِيقٌ هَلَكَ فِيها نَاسٌ كَثِيرٌ تَزَوَّدْ مِنْ عَمَلِها، وَاتَّخِذْ سَفِينَةً حَشْوِها تَقْوى اللَّهِ، ثُمَّ ارْكَبِ الْفُلْكَ تَنْجُو، وَإِنّي لَخَائِفٌ أَنْ لا تَنْجُو، يَا بُنَيَّ السَّفِينَةُ إِيمَانٌ، وَشِرَاعُها التَّوَكُّلُ، وَسُكَّانُها الصَّبْرُ، وَمَجَاذِيفُهَا الصَّوْمُ وَالصَّلاةُ وَالزَّكَاةُ، يَا بُنَيَّ مَنْ رَكِبَ الْبَحْرَ مِنْ غَيْرِ سَفِينَةٍ غَرَقَ، يَا بُنَيَّ أَقِلِّ الْكَلامَ وَاذْكُرِ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ في كُلِّ مَكَانٍ فَإِنَّهُ قَدْ أَنْذَرَكَ وَحَذَّرَكَ وَبَصَّرَكَ وَعَلَّمَكَ، يَا بُنَيَّ اتَّعِظْ بِالنّاسِ قَبْلَ أَنْ يَتَّعِظِ النّاسُ بِكَ، يَا بُنَيَّ اتَّعِظْ بِالصَّغِيرِ قَبْلَ أَنْ يَنْزِلَ بِكَ الْكَبِيرُ يَا بُنَيَّ امْلِكْ نَفْسَكَ عِنْدَ الْغَضَبِ حَتّى لا تَكُونَ لِجَهَنَّمَ حَطَبًا يَا بُنَيَّ الْفَقْرُ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَنْ تَظْلِمَ وَتَطْغى، يَا بُنَيَّ إِيّاكَ وَأَنْ تَسْتَدينَ فَتَخُونَ في الدَّيْنِ.