Luqman (sura)

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  Sura 31 of the Quran  
سورة لقمان
Sūrat Luqmān

Arabic text · English translation

Classification Meccan
Position Juz' 21
Structure 4 rukus, 34 verses

Surat Luqman (Arabic: سورة لقمان‎, sūrat luqmān, "Luqman") is the 31st chapter (sura) of the Muslim holy book, the Qur'an. It is composed of 34 verses (ayat) and takes its title from the mention of the sage Luqman in verses 12–19. It was revealed in the middle of Muhammad's Meccan period, and is thus usually classified as a Meccan sura.[1]


The focus of this sura, once broken down into its many elements, can be seen as emphasizing principles of moderation.[2] The sura uses the mustard seed analogy to emphasize the degree to which God maintains his purview over man's actions, possibly emphasizing the fact that any evil or good deed no matter how small is recorded and will be brought out by Allah during the day of judgement.[3] A final point of focus for Sura 31 comes down to the purpose of God's creation. 31:29 and 31:20 show how God's intention through creation was to better mankind, and his signs are theoretically everywhere, from rain to vegetation.[4] This emphasis once again reminds people of their subservience to Allah while also driving home the idea that man is meant to do good on the Earth. Man's purpose is to serve God, while the Earth has been created in order to facilitate man's needs.[5]


Sura 31 features many intertextual references, a quality that Quranic narrative is known for. Enhanced by what Carl Ernst calls "ring structure" Sura 31 can be reinterpreted based on its inherent conceptual breaks.[6]

This is the proposed breakdown of Surah 31 and its "ring structure":[7]

A: Verses 1-11 Omniscience and self-sufficiency of God for the betterment of mankind pt.1

Verses 2-5: The Righteous are mentioned and their good habits are encouraged

Verses 6-7: The disbelievers are highlighted, contrasting the early practices of pious practicers

Verses 8-11: Paradise is reveled as reward, God's omnipotence is prominently highlighted as being predominantly for the betterment of man [8]

B: Verses 12-15 Rules and Guidelines

Verses 12-13: Luqman bequeaths knowledge to his son, No partners may be ascribed to Allah, and He is the highest power

Verse 14: Obey and be good to parents, a powerful reference to the struggle of motherhood

Verse 15: It is reiterated that believers should not obey those [parents] which ascribe partners to God

X: Verses 16-17 The chiastic middle

Verse 16: Omnipotence of God is compared to ability to see everything [i.e. the size of a mustard seed]

Verse 17: It is revealed through prayer, forbidding wrong, and employing moderation, are the values a believer should aspire too.

B': Rules and Guidelines pt.2
Verses 18-19: Employ manners and moderation in society to better follow Allah

A': Verses 20-34 Omniscience and self-sufficiency of God for the betterment of mankind pt. 2

Verses 20-21: Disbelievers are called out once again and reminded of their punishment

Verses 22: Believers counter the disbelievers

Verse 23: The Prophet should not be sad that disbelievers are astray

Verse 24-28: The Omnipotence and infinite scope of God's power is reiterated

Verse 29-32: All of God's acts are for the betterment of mankind

Verses 33-34: Judgement day is a bookend, emphasizing the need for right practice and submission to God

Surat Luqman and the Hadith[edit]

The Hadith teaches that for some bondsmen, a high rank has been determined. But sometimes, that bondsman has not acquired the good deeds to reach to such a high rank. Hence Allah causes him to become involved with some calamity, which if he accepts and bears patiently, he is able to reach that high position. According to the Hadith, when Luqman was teaching, he was asked, "What has brought you to be like this?" meaning his high rank. Luqman said, "Truthful speech, fulfilling the trust, and leaving what does not concern me."[9]


  1. ^ Asad, Muhammad (2008). The Message of the Qur'an (2nd ed.). Watsonville: The Book Foundation. ISBN 1-904510-35-3.
  2. ^ Oliver Ceaman, The Quran: An Encyclopedia, pg. 356
  3. ^ Ibn Katheer, Stories of the Quran, pg. 4 of Chapter 16
  4. ^ Abdel Haleem, The Qur'an, Sura 31
  5. ^ Fazlur Rahman, Major Themes of the Quran, pg. 79
  6. ^ Carl Ernst, How to Read the Qur'an, The University of North Carolina Press, pg. 117
  7. ^ Abdel Haleem, The Qur'an, Sura 31, pp. 261–263
  8. ^ Fazlur Rahman, Major Themes of the Qur'an: Second Edition, pg. 79
  9. ^ Al-Halawi, Ali Sayed, Stories of the Qur'an by Ibn Kathir, Dar Al-Manarah

External links[edit]

  • Surah Luqmaan (Complete text in Arabic with English and French translations)
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Surat al-Rum
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