[Author's note] This is the 31st Surah of the Qur'an. It has 34 verses. The reader is once again reminded that the Qur'an sticks with its style of unity in diversity, and the title does not restrict a whole Surah with itself. Again, it is to be noted that the timing and the place of the Revelation of a Sur'ah is absolutely of no significance since the Book of Allah transcends temporal and spatial bonds. Long, contradictory and futile argumentation between the commentators about the SHANE-NUZOOL (the circumstance of a particular Revelation) are sheer waste of time and energy, and more noxiously, this exercise tends to shackle the Glorious Book to certain events of no significance. This point is proven to THE QUR'AN AS IT EXPLAINS ITSELF readers by the fact that at no point anywhere in the Mighty Book will they miss what 'caused' a certain Surah or Verses to be revealed. Wisdom and knowledge transcend temporal, geographical and racial boundaries. Historically Luqman lived around 200 B.C. in an oasis in the Nubian desert of Northern Sudan. He was an emancipated slave of African descent. After diligently going through a great conglomeration of information, often conflicting, about Luqman I have reached some conclusions which are humbly presented here: (In fact, this was my answer over the Internet to a bright gentleman, Gerald Etienne who would like to take this research further ahead). -------------------------------------------------- About Luqman Posted By: Gerald Etienne Date: Friday, 24 January 2003, at 9:48 p.m. Dr. Shabbir, Peace be unto you, You said in your introductory note to surah 31 that Luqman was an emancipated black slave from Nubia (Sudan). Would you share a little bit more of your historical knowledge with us. I would like to do some research on this subject, maybe you can cite some biographical/historical sources for me or some other interested reader. Keep up the good work. Salam Gerald E. -------------------------------------------------- Respected Gerald Etienne, Salams be upon you too! I feel honored to receive communication and appreciation from you. "Rahib Luqman Mua'ammar Nubi the Hakeem, Suqrat Thani - (Sage Locomon, the Aged, the Nubean, the Wise, Socrates the second" was his full name along with titles. When I was a Colonel in the Middle East, I had occasion to meet with Libya's Col. Mu'ammar Al-Qaddhafi in 1980. He told me of his descent from Luqman, hence the name Mu'ammar. Your research will be made a lot easier if you knew that Luqman is famous as AESOP, his Greek name. Greece where he had been taken as a slave from NE Sudan in one of their Viking like raids through the Red Sea where Lugman worked as a carpenter building boats. The next challenge is to connect Aesop with Luqman. Here is the help: Fables De Loqman Le sage, Derenbourg. Encyclopedia of Islam, Luqman, B.Keller AESOP AND COMPANY: WITH SCENES FROM HIS LEGENDARY LIFE. Barbara Badre. THE BEST OF AESOP's FABLES, Margaret Clarke. AESOP'S FABLES, Anne Gatti The last three only implicitly allude to the African origin of Luqman. As a child Luqman used to herd sheep, then as a young adult he had become a noted craftsman in carpentry. And that was the main reason for his abduction by the Greek pirates. Given the name AESOP, he lived in Greece under captivity for fifteen years serving his masters while writing his fabulous and world famous AESOP'S TALES. An affluent businessman bought from him his collection in return for his emancipation. Luqman lived to be 110 years old and died in his village in Nubia. (AESOP, A MASTER OF MIND, by John Zepletal. TAFSIR DURRE MANTHUR. TAFSIR IBN KATHIR). Dear Sir, in the given references you will find the information about Luqman scattered like numerous pieces of the puzzle. You will have to make the whole picture yourself as I did to my satisfaction. In fact, that is true of all history especially when a figure as legendary as Luqman is under study. Best wishes, Yours sincerely, Dr.ShabbirHe was a very wise man, and copies of his notebook known as SAHEEFAH LUQMAN (The Scrolls of Luqman, produced in Greece) existed in the times of the exalted Messenger. Legend has it that a man read a few passages from that notebook to the exalted Messenger. He liked them and said, "Shall I now narrate to you a higher Wisdom?" Upon hearing a few verses of Surah Luqman that fan of Luqman instantly embraced Islam; and is now remembered as Hazrat Suwaid bin Saamit (r.a.) Historians have speculated whether Luqman was a Prophet of God. But his famous quote implies that he was an intellectually and morally gifted man. When asked how and wherefrom he attained his outstanding wisdom, he responded, "From the ignorant!" (Yes, we can learn from any person, even from a child. And we can learn from our mistakes as well as from the mistakes of others). With the Glorious Name of Allah, the Instant and Sustaining Source of all Mercy and Kindness.
31:1 A.L.M. Allah Aleem the Knower, Hakeem the Wise, narrates that: 31:2 These are the Messages of the Book, full of Wisdom. 31:3 Providing Guidance and Mercy to those who wish to live a balanced life and do good to humanity. 31:4 Such people strive to establish the Divine System and set up the Just Economic Order of Zakat. For, it is they who have conviction in the Eternity of the human "Self" and, hence, in the life to come. 31:5 They are the ones who are on the Guided Path of their Lord and they are the ones who will be ultimately successful. 31:6 But among people, there are those who invest their time in HADITH which is unfounded, so as to lead those without knowledge away from the Path of Allah, making mockery of it (the Qur'an). For such there is shameful punishment in store. [In order to defend the 'Imams' of Hadith, some commentators try to explain away 'Lahwal Hadith' as music. This obviously makes no linguistic or contextual sense]. 31:7 Whenever Our Verses are conveyed to such a purchaser of Hadith, he turns away in arrogance as if he never heard them - as if there were deafness in his ears. So give him the tidings of a painful doom. 31:8 Whereas those who believe in the Word of Allah and fulfill the needs of others, for them are the Gardens of delight. 31:9 To abide therein according to Allah's true promise. For, He is the Mighty, the Wise. 31:10 He has created the skies without any pillars and supports that you can see, and has placed firm mountains upon the earth, lest it sway with you, and He has dispersed therein all kinds of creatures. And We send down water from the sky, and thus We cause plants of every goodly kind to grow therein. (Mountains resulted millions of years ago as the earth was cooling off and the earth crust was shrinking (16:15), (78:7)). 31:11 All this is Allah's creation. Now show Me what others instead of Him may have created. Nay, but those who relegate the Truth are obviously lost in error. 31:12 And indeed, We granted this Wisdom to Luqman, "Be practically grateful to Allah, for whoever is grateful is but grateful for the good of his own "Self". And whoever chooses to be ungrateful, must know that Allah is Self-Sufficient, Owner of all Praise." 31:13 And, behold, Luqman, enlightening his son, said this to him, "O My dear son! Never associate anyone with Allah, for, verily, SHIRK (believing in Law-givers besides Him) is a tremendous wrong." 31:14 "(And O My dear son! Allah says) - We have ordained upon man goodness to his parents. His mother bore him by bearing strain upon strain, and his utter dependence on her lasted no less than two years. (2:233), (46:15). Hence, be grateful to Me and to your parents, and remember that your ultimate destination is with Me." 31:15 "Yet, if they strive to make you ascribe partners to Me, that shall be obviously contrary to what you have learned - then obey them not. However, let your company be kind to both in this world. Follow the path of those who turn toward Me. In the end the return of you all is unto Me, and then I shall explain to you what you truly accomplished in life. 31:16 "O My little son! Verily, know that something even as tiny as a mustard seed, deep inside a rock, or in the Highs or in the Lows, Allah will bring it forth. For, behold, Allah is Sublime, Aware." 31:17 "O My dear son! Strive to establish the Divine System wherever you are, and advocate the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is contrary to the Permanent Values. And remain steadfast in the face of whatever may befall you by way of opposition and persecution. All this, behold, will require unwavering determination." 31:18 "And never be arrogant with people, and walk not haughtily on the earth. Behold, Allah does not love any bragging boaster. (17:37), (57:23). 31:19 "Hence, be modest in your pace and in your bearing, and lower your voice, for, behold the harshest voice is the braying of a donkey."31:20 (This was some of the wisdom Luqman was endowed with.) Do you not realize that Allah has made of service to you all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth? And He has lavished upon you His Blessings, tangible and intangible. And yet, among people are those who argue about Allah without exploring the realm of knowledge, without taking the right approach, or a Book giving Light. 31:21 And when such people are told to follow what Allah has revealed, they say, "Nay, we follow that which we have found our fathers doing." What! Even though Satan had invited them to the doom of Flames?" 31:22 Now whoever submits his whole being to Allah and is a doer of good to others, has indeed grasped the Strongest Bond (2:256). And Allah's Laws determine the outcome of all things and actions. (WAJH = Face = Whole being). 31:23 And let not the disbelief of the rejecters grieve you. To Us is their return, and then We shall explain to them all they truly accomplished. Verily, Allah is Knower of what is in the hearts. 31:24 We will let them enjoy themselves for a little while - but ultimately We shall drive them to a heavy doom. 31:25 And thus it is: If you ask them, "Who is it that has created the heavens and the earth?" They will answer, "Allah". Say, "All Praise is due to God - for, most of them do not know (that His Laws, too, are praiseworthy and worth implementing in your lives (29:61)). 31:26 Unto Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. (His Law is operative in the entire Universe). Verily, Allah! He is Independent, Owner of all Praise (and the Universe is a living witness to that). 31:27 And if all the trees on earth were pens, and the sea were ink, with seven more seas yet added, the Words of Allah would not be exhausted (18:109). Verily, Allah is Almighty, Wise. 31:28 Your creation and your raising again are only as that of a single life cell. Verily, Allah is the Hearer, the Knower. 31:29 Do you not see that it is Allah Who makes the night grow longer by shortening the day, and makes the day longer by shortening the night? And that He has subjected the sun and the moon to His Laws, each running along its course for an appointed term? (13:2). Isn't He Aware of all you do? 31:30 Thus it is - since Allah, He is the True, and what they call upon instead of Him is the False. He is the Exalted, the Great. 31:31 Have you not seen how the ships speed through the sea carrying Allah's blessed provisions - so that He might show you some of His Signs? Herein, behold, are Messages for every person who would patiently observe the Nature and be grateful for learning. 31:32 And so, when violent waves surround them like shadows of gloom, they call unto Allah, sincere in their faith in Him (and work according to Divine Laws). But as soon as We save them ashore, some of them compromise (with falsehood). Yet none could knowingly reject Our Messages unless he is a betrayer to his own "Self", ungrateful for such blessing. 31:33 O Mankind! Be mindful of your Lord, and stand in awe of the Day when no parent will be of avail to his child, nor a child will in the least avail his parent. Verily, Allah's Promise is True. Let not (the instant gratifications of) the life of this world deceive you. And let not yourselves be distracted from Allah by anyone who deceives you (contrary to what Allah has told you about Himself in this Revelation). 31:34 Verily, with Allah alone rests the knowledge of the Hour; He it is Who sends down rain; and He Alone knows what is in the wombs. No one knows what he will reap tomorrow, and no one knows in what land he will die. Verily, Allah alone is Knower, Aware. (Hour = The Great Revolution + Resurrection ; Rain = Resurgence of humanity ; What is in the wombs = Of what character the offspring will turn out to be ; Reap tomorrow = What will happen to him tomorrow ; Land = Circumstance).