Day 27 – Surah Luqman – Parenting 101

Luqman may Allah be pleased with him was one of the very few individuals who were quoted by Allah SWT in His holy book. Although he was not a prophet, he was a famous person in the Arabian literature with lots of wise words that are attributed to him. Out of all of his sayings, Allah specifically highlighted the advice that he gave to his own son.
When someone speaks to his own family, it is usually a genuine advice coming from a caring dad; it also shows integrity in making sure that your own family is guided first, before you go out and starting preaching to the masses; the Surah summarizes Luqman’s wisdom and instructs us to care about our families and direct our utmost attention to raising them on faith, morality, and the purpose of life. 

Gratitude: The Climax of Wisdom 

Some people have a fuzzy and ambiguous definition of wisdom, such as saying deep words and using grandiose expressions which they may or may not understand. The Arabs define wisdom in a super simple manner: to have proper knowledge and to act upon it!  Wisdom according to them is not about accumulating knowledge as an FYI (For Your Info), but as an FYA (For Your Action). Luqman’s wisdom was centered around gratitude, as the Ayah shows:

وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا لُقْمَانَ الْحِكْمَةَ أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِلَّهِ وَمَن يَشْكُرْ فَإِنَّمَا يَشْكُرُ لِنَفْسِهِ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ حَمِيدٌ
We endowed Luqman with wisdom: ‘Be thankful to God: whoever gives thanks benefits his own soul, and as for those who are thankless––God is self-sufficient, worthy of all praise.’ [31:12]
 
Luqman’s curriculum to his son:

1. Worship none but Allah:
         يَا بُنَيَّ لا تُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّ الشِّرْكَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيمٌ
My son, do not attribute any partners to God: attributing partners to Him is a terrible wrong.’ [31:13]

 
The more you know who Allah is, learn about His majesty and reflect on His blessings, your Iman will be boosted and you will remember that He watches you all the time:
 
يَا بُنَيَّ إِنَّهَا إِن تَكُ مِثْقَالَ حَبَّةٍ مِّنْ خَرْدَلٍ فَتَكُن فِي صَخْرَةٍ أَوْ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ أَوْ فِي الأَرْضِ يَأْتِ بِهَا اللَّهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَطِيفٌ خَبِيرٌ
 ‘My son, if even the weight of a mustard seed were hidden in a rock or anywhere in the heavens or earth, God would bring it [to light], for He is all subtle and all aware. [31:16]
 
 2. Parent’s rights:
He who does not thank people will not truly thank Allah. And the people who deserve your appreciation the most are your parents. Without understanding and implementing that concept, your whole appreciation “software” is messed up

وَوَصَّيْنَا الإِنسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ وَهْنًا عَلَى وَهْنٍ وَفِصَالُهُ فِي عَامَيْنِ أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيْكَ إِلَيَّ الْمَصِيرُ
We have commanded people to be good to their parents: their mothers carried them, with strain upon strain, and it takes two years to wean them. Give thanks to Me and to your parents– all will return to Me. [31:14]

At the same time, when there is a disagreement between your parents’ wishes and the rights of Allah, definitely Allah comes first, as Ayah [31:15] shows

3. Establish the prayer, and reform the community  

يَا بُنَيَّ أَقِمِ الصَّلاةَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَانْهَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ
Keep up the prayer, my son; command what is right; forbid what is wrong…  [31:17]

4-Be Patient, and toughen up!

وَاصْبِرْ عَلَى مَا أَصَابَكَ إِنَّ ذَلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الأُمُورِ
… Bear anything that happens to you steadfastly: these are things to be aspired to. [31:17]

5-Humble yourself to people

وَلا تُصَعِّرْ خَدَّكَ لِلنَّاسِ وَلا تَمْشِ فِي الأَرْضِ مَرَحًا إِنَّ اللَّهَ لا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ مُخْتَالٍ فَخُورٍ
Do not turn your nose up at people, nor walk about the place arrogantly, for God does not love arrogant or boastful people. [31:18]
 
Don’t Follow Parents Blindly

While it is important to have a strong and healthy relation with your parents, the Surah warns from the other extreme: following parents’ belief system blindly

وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمُ اتَّبِعُوا مَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ قَالُوا بَلْ نَتَّبِعُ مَا وَجَدْنَا عَلَيْهِ آبَاءَنَا أَوَلَوْ كَانَ الشَّيْطَانُ يَدْعُوهُمْ إِلَى عَذَابِ السَّعِيرِ
When they are told, ‘Follow what God has sent down,’ they  say: ‘We shall follow what we saw our forefathers following.’ What! Even if Satan is calling them to the suffering of the Blazing Flame? [31:21]
 
It also reminds us that no family member can benefit you on the Day of Judgment if you disbelieve:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمْ وَاخْشَوْا يَوْمًا لّا يَجْزِي وَالِدٌ عَن وَلَدِهِ وَلا مَوْلُودٌ هُوَ جَازٍ عَن وَالِدِهِ شَيْئًا إِنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقٌّ فَلا تَغُرَّنَّكُمُ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا وَلا يَغُرَّنَّكُم بِاللَّهِ الْغَرُورُ
People, be mindful of your Lord and fear a day when no parent will take the place of their child, nor a child take the place of their parent, in any way. God’s promise is true, so do not let the present life delude you, nor let the Deceiver delude you about God. [31:33]

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