Luqman (also known as Luqman the Wise, Luqmaan, Lukman, and Luqman al-Hakeem; Arabic: لقمان) was a wise man after whom Surah Luqman (سورة لقمان), in the 31st sura (chapter) of the Qur'an, was named. Luqman (c. 1100 BC) was believed to be from Nubia or Ethiopia. There are many stories about Luqman in Persian, Arabic and Turkish literature, with the primary historical sources for his life found in the Tafsir ibn Kathir, and Stories of the Qur'an by Ibn Kathir. The Qur'an does not state whether Luqman was a prophet, but some people believe him to be a prophet and thus write Alayhis salaam (A.S.) with his name.
Source of Luqman's wisdom
Luqman was described as a perceptive man, always watching the animals and plants in his surroundings, who tried to understand the world based on what he saw. One day, whilst he was sleeping under a tree, an angel came to him and told him Allah wanted to bestow a gift upon him, with the choice of one of two gifts: the gift of wisdom, or being made king. Luqman chose wisdom, and when he awoke from his slumber, became aware that his senses and understanding had sharpened. He felt in complete harmony with nature and could understand the inner meaning of things, beyond their physical reality. Immediately, he bowed down, and thanked and praised Allah for the gift.
Luqman was captured by slavers and sold as a slave. He was deprived of his freedom and could neither move nor speak freely, but suffered his bondage patiently, faithful and hopeful, waiting for Allah's action.
The man who bought Luqman was good-hearted and intelligent, treating Luqman with kindness. He was able to detect that Luqman was not ordinary and tried to test his intelligence. He ordered Luqman to slaughter a sheep and bring its worst part to him. Luqman slaughtered the sheep and took its heart and tongue to his master. On receiving them, his master smiled, fascinated by Luqman's choice of the 'worst' part of the sheep. He understood that Luqman was trying to convey some deep meaning, even though he could not make out exactly what. From that moment onwards, his owner began to take more interest in Luqman and became kinder to him than before.
A few days later, Luqman was again instructed to slaughter a sheep, but this time he was asked to take the best parts of the animal to the owner. Luqman slaughtered a sheep, and to his master's amazement, again brought the same organs (the heart and the tongue). His master asked Luqman how the heart and the tongue could be both the worst and the best parts. Luqman answered that the tongue and the heart "are the sweetest parts if its owner is pure; and if he is wicked, they too are as wicked!" Thereafter, Luqman's owner held him in great respect. Luqman was consulted by many people for advice, and the fame of his wisdom spread all over the country.
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 receive some trial or test of faith, which, if accepted and borne patiently, will grant him his high status legitimately. According to the Hadith, when Luqman was teaching, he was asked, "What has brought you to be like this?", referring to his high rank. Luqman said, "Truthful speech, fulfilling the trust, and leaving what does not concern me."
Identity of Luqman
'Luqman' was the name of a figure long before the figure of Luqman appeared in the Qur'an, resulting in considerable debate of both theological and historical nature as to the relationship of the two characters.
Some[who?] maintain that the two are the same person, but others argue that they simply share the same name. In Arabic proverb collections, the two characters are fused, drawing from both the Qur'an and pre-Islamic stories, endowing Luqman with superhuman strength and lifespan. The pre-Islamic Luqman was of the Ad people, who lived in Al-Ahqaf in the Arabian peninsula, near modern-day Yemen.
- Farooqi, Sadaf. "From Where Did Luqman Hail?". aboutislam.net. Sadaf Farooqi. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
- Ibn Kathir, Hafiz, Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Dar-us-Salam Publications, 2000 (original ~1370)
- Al-Halawi, Ali Sayed, Stories of the Qurʼan by Ibn Kathir, Dar Al-Manarah
- The Book of Proverbs and Arabic Proverbial Works, Volume 74
Luqman appears in Arabic tradition as a "composite" and a "many-sided figure": (a) The pre-islamic Luqman; (b) The Qur'anic Luqman; and (c)Luqman of fables.
- Barham, Francis Foster Lokman's Arabic Fables, literally translated into English (word for word), Bath, 1869, 12mo.
- Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911. .
- The American Cyclopædia. 1879. .
- FABULAS DE LUQMAN POR M. CHARBONNEAU. PARIS . HACHETTE, 1846
- Fables de Loqman le Sage; le texte rev. de nouveau sur les mss., accompagné d'une version française et des notes, et précédé d'une introduction sur la personne de Loqman et sur l'origine de ce recueil de fables (1850)