by Safia Fatima
Today we will be discussing the seventeenth ayah of Surah Al-Luqman. This chapter is labeled as the thirty first in the Qur’an and before moving forward I’d like to give a little background on it. Luqman (a.s) had a conversation with his son and the advice he gave to his child was so remarkable that Allah decided to make it a part of the Qur’an. You must be wondering who Luqman (a.s) is so let me tell you a bit about him. According to most scholars, he is not a Prophet. But Allah had given him a lot of wisdom and because of that he is also very famous in Arab history. Luqman (a.s) taught his son many things but, for now we are going to ponder over just one piece of advice and try to learn from it.
The ayah starts with Luqman (a.s) advising his son to establish prayer regularly. If you ever read this Surah in translation, you will notice that after telling his son not to indulge in shirk and making him aware that Allah is always watching him, he immediately counsels the son regarding the prayers that are made obligatory onto him. Luqman (a.s) knows how important prayers are. He knows that Allah has a right upon us and if that right is to be fulfilled then after declaration of faith, the prayers need to be taken very seriously.
What we learn from this is that prayers are a serious business. We can’t take them lightly or lazily. Now one might ask why prayers are important anyway. Well the answer is: prayers help us remember Allah. The prayers are a further means to help us become more grateful to Him. Because when we attend the call of Allah, five times a day, we are bound to be reminded about His favors too. Moreover prayers make us brave and give us courage. How come, you ask? When we stand in front of Allah so frequently, we know that if trouble strikes us then Allah will always have our back. We will never be in doubt regarding His mercy and protection.
After that, Luqman (a.s) gives his son another piece of advice. He tells him to enjoin what is good and forbid what is wrong. How amazing is that; Luqman (a.s) is broadening the thinking of his son by inspiring in him a concern for others too. He is instructing him to encourage people to do the right thing. And not just that, he is also telling him to stop anyone who is participating in immorality.
From the above we learn that after fulfilling the right Allah has upon us, we should also carry out the right people have upon us. The sad part is: most of us forget this. As in our unconsciousness we become selfish. If we pray regularly but our brother or sister doesn’t, we are hardly caring. We learn something good at Sunday school but we fell reluctant to share it with others because we think our friends aren’t necessarily interested. Something wrong, like a girl breaking the cafeteria line, happens right in front of our eyes but we ignore it. But you know what? When we become self centered, because we think we should mind our own business, then we are bound to affect our spiritual health too.
There might be much evil around us and if we ignore it, then one day the dirt is going to leave a mark on us too. We won’t be able to escape the wrong influence either. That’s why we need to share the good and forbid what’s immoral so that you and I have a good company around to protect us. There might be a chance that you might get lazy for Fajr, just once, but then you will always have your brother banging the door to wake you up. But if there’s no one to wake you up, you might just lack behind.
Luqman (a.s) finishes this advice by telling his son to remain patient over whatever comes at him, no doubt that is from those incredible accomplishments he can have. How awesome is that we are being told through this ayah that verily praying regularly, spreading good and standing against evil are no easy achievements. When we stand up for prayer at Isha, is it very easy? No. But we try to fight against our Nafs. When we ask our siblings to pray, is it easy too? No. They might tell us to mind our own business or simply ignore the call. But should we get angry and think that we didn’t expect them to make it to Jannah anyway. Absolutely no! If we see someone misbehave with their elders, should we simply pass by? Again, no! However when we do our part, people are going to trouble us. Most of the times the remarks aren’t going to be positive, they might be sarcastic. People might even call us ‘the new sheikh in town’. But we can’t be angry. We can’t let our concern drown. No matter what happens, we will have to continue with outmost determination. And that requires patience.
This advice by Luqman (a.s) builds our character. We are learning how to successfully live in this world while aiming for the Akhirah. And that’s exactly what we need.