The Story of Luqman, The Wise Man-Part One

The story of Luqman is mentioned in The Noble Qur’an and Surah Luqman has been named after him. Some Islamic Scholars say that Luqman was a prophet but the majority of scholars believe that Luqman was a pious man (religious man) granted with great wisdom but not prophethood. His full name is said to have been Luqman Ibn Anqa Ibn Sadun, others call him Luqman Ibn Tharan.

According to some Islamic historians, Luqman was born in the Continent of Africa and belonged to the black people of Southern Egypt living in Nubia (Nubia is a region along the Nile River which is located in Northern Sudan and Southern Egypt). Others believe he was an Ethiopian slave who worked as a carpenter in Nubia. Only Allah knows the right answer. Luqman (R.A) is mentioned in Surah Luqman and highly praised by Allah (S.W.T). It is believed that Luqman had lived in Jerusalem about 3,100 years ago (Around 1,100 B.C).

Allah (S.W.T) says: “And indeed, We bestowed (granted) upon Luqman wisdom (Al-Hikmah and religious understanding) saying: ‘Give thanks to Allah, and whoever gives thanks, he gives thanks for (the good of) his ownself. And whoever is unthankful, then indeed, Allah is All-Rich (Free of all needs), Worthy of all praise.” [Surah Luqman, Verse: 12].

Luqman (R.A) was granted the wisdom because he was a great servant of Allah (S.W.T) and he had great unique qualities. It was reported that Luqman used to lower his gaze from women, watch his tongue, eat what was lawful, keep his chastity, fulfill his promise, undertake his commitments, be hospitable to guests, love relatives, respect his neighbors, and discard what did not concern him. Luqman, a poor man, was also self-restrained, deep-thinker, very eloquent, and no one had ever seen him laughing foolishly.

(A) The Boyhood and Abduction of Luqman: Luqman, The Wise Man, grew up in the thick jungles of Africa and walked barefooted with the lower part of his body covered with a cloth. His daily encounter with different kinds of wild animals and tough life in the jungle made him strong and fearless young man. One day, while sitting in the shade of a tree, he had fallen into a deep sleep and clearly and plainly saw Angel Gabriel standing before him giving him the good news that Allah (S.W.T) had blessed him. He was reportedly given a choice to either become a prophet or ask for wisdom. Luqman had reportedly chosen the wisdom. When he awoke, he became aware that his understanding had immensely increased seizing the inner meaning of things, beyond their physical reality. Instantly, he bowed down and thanked and praised Allah for the great gift.

Luqman was captured and abducted from the black people of Southern Egypt (Nubia Region) by the Slave Traders of Africa. They sold him as a slave in the Middle East. Luqman understood that he was robbed of his freedom and could neither move nor speak freely. This was the first trial he had to bear suffering the bondage patiently, for his heart lighted with Faith and hope waiting for Allah’s action to free him from the bondage. The man who bought him was a good and intelligent man. He treated Luqman with kindness detecting that Luqman was not an ordinary man and he tested his intelligence.

One day, his master instructed Luqman to slaughter a goat and bring him the two sweetest parts from it. Luqman slaughtered the goat and brought his master the tongue and the heart. The master asked: “Didn’t you find anything sweeter than the tongue and the heart?” Luqman said: “No!” Another day, the master ordered him again to slaughter another goat and throw away two of the most harmful parts. Luqman slaughtered the second goat and threw away the tongue and heart. The master asked him again: “I ordered you to bring me the two sweetest parts of the goat and you brought me the tongue and heart, and then I ordered you to throw away the most two harmful parts of it and you threw away the tongue and heart, how can this happen?” Luqman answered: “Nothing can be more pleasing than these if they are good and nothing can be more wicked than these if they are bad.” Luqman meant that the heart and the tongue can be the cause for a person to be rewarded with Paradise or to be punished in Hellfire on The Day of Judgment.

The master smiled and was fascinated by Luqman’s choice in both cases and realized that Luqman was trying to convey some deep meaning that he could not understand himself. From this moment, the master began to take more interest in Luqman because of his wisdom and showed more kindness to him. Due to his great wisdom, Luqman (R.A) also achieved great respect from the community and many people consulted him for advice. The fame of his wisdom spread all over the country, especially in Jerusalem. Luqman was eventually granted freedom and settled among with the people of Israel. He was appointed judge during the rule of Prophet Dawud (Peace upon him) enjoying the respect
of all for his wise and fair judgment. There, he married and raised a family.

The Noble Qur’an contains precious advice that Luqman offered his son. These advice is also important to any Muslim parents all over the world that they communicate Luqman’s advice to their children, family, and members of the society in order to benefit from them. If these invaluable advice are followed and implemented, then everyone will be on the righteous path leading to Paradise. Luqman (R.A) summed up in the advice the way to succeed in this life and in Hereafter. (Part Two to be continued).

[Class Taken From The Book: LIVING IN ISLAM On Marriage and Family]

Ibrahim Hassan Gagale
April 7, 2022

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