Luqman's advice to his son are the things that we as parents should teach to our children. I'd realised this when I'd recently hosted a Quran Journaling Challenge on my Instagram account @muslim.parenting in which participants had to journal about the ayats relating to Luqman's advice to his son in the Quran (31:13-19). We had to read the tafsir of the ayats and then reflect on what it means to us and how we can apply it to our lives.
1. Teach Your Child Tawheed
O my son, do not associate anything with Allah. Indeed, associating partners with Allah is a great injustice. (Quran, Luqman 31:13)The first thing that Luqman calls his son's attention to is to worship Allah only and not assign partners to Him. This is tawheed. This is the most important concept in Islam: that Allah is One. He has no partners. If partners are ascribed to Allah then it is called shirk, and shirk is the biggest sin that Allah does not forgive.
Tawheed and it's opposite shirk are very important for us to understand. A good book to read on this is Kitab at-Tauhid, it goes into details about what tawheed is and then all the things that are shirk. There are subtle things that we might not think as shirk but in reality they are.
To teach your child about tawheed when they are young, you can help them memorise surah Ikhlas (112). You can do so by reciting it every night before bed (along with the other bedtime surahs and supplications) and you can play it in the car as you travel. Recite it in Arabic then say it in your language: "Allah is One" and point your index finger and say "ahad".
When your child is older, remind them to seek help from Allah, ask only of Allah and rely only on Him. Have them learn about the different types of shirk in order to avoid them.
2. Teach Your Child To Be Dutiful To Parents
And We have enjoined upon man care for his parents. His mother carried him in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the final destination.
But if they endeavour to make you associate with Me that which you have no knowledge, do not obey them but accompany them in this world with appropriate kindness and follow the way of those who turn back to Me (in repentance). Then to Me will be your return and I will inform you about what you used to do. (Quran, Luqman 31:14-15)
When Allah mentions the belief in the Oneness of Allah, He also mentions to honour parents. These two are often mentioned together in the Quran which shows how important it is to treat parents right. Even if your parents are non-Muslims and try to make you follow their religion, you still treat them well with kindness and respect. Of course you don't follow them. You're allowed to not obey them in this area but do so with kindness.
The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "He is doomed, he is doomed, he is doomed." It was said, "Who, O Messenger of Allah?" He said, "The person whose parents, one or both of them, reaches old age during his lifetime but he does not enter Paradise." (Muslim)
What this means to us parents is to of course respect our own parents and model this for our children. But also to teach and remind our children to treat us kindly and with respect. Don't just demand it and assume that they know what respect means because your child may not know but teach it to them explicitly.
3. Teach Your Child About Allah's Infinite Knowledge
O my son, indeed if wrong should be the weight of a mustard seed and should be within a rock or in the heavens or in the earth, Allah will bring it forth. Indeed, Allah is Subtle and Acquainted. (Quran, Luqman 31:16)
Allah knows everything that we do. We can't hide our bad deeds from Allah. Even the tiniest of sin will be brought out to be weighed on the Day of Judgement.
Parents need to remind themselves of this and teach it to their child. Every once in a while remind them again of this so they can be aware of their actions and resist any wrongdoings no matter how little.
4. Teach Your Child To Pray, To Do Good, To Forbid Wrong and To Be Patient
O my son, establish prayer, enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong, and be patient over what befalls you. Indeed, that is of the matters requiring determination. (Quran, Luqman 31:17)
Teach your child to pray regularly and on time. Have them understand that our prayers are one of the first things that we will be asked about in the grave.
The next thing that your child should know is to do good deeds and to stop bad deeds. Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "Whoever among you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand, and if he cannot then with his tongue, and if he cannot then with his heart and that is the weakest of faith." (Muslim)
5. Teach Your Child To Be Humble and Not Arrogant
And turn not your face away from man with pride nor walk in insolence through the earth. Verily, Allah likes not any arrogant boaster. (Quran, Luqman 31:18)Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "Whoever has the weight of a seed of arrogance in his heart will not enter Paradise...Arrogance means rejecting the truth and looking down on people." (Reported by Abdullah ibn Masud in Muslim)
Whatever we have or can do is from Allah. It is He who gave it to us or gave us the ability to do it. It is not from ourselves. This is such an important concept for children to understand.
If my child does well and gets an A grade then I remind him to praise Allah for the ability to learn, understand and put in the effort. I don't want him to attributeit to his ability and effort becuse that could lead to arrogance.
I want him to understand that the source of that ability and effort is from Allah. I want him to know that whatever strengths he has is a gift from Allah. God-willing, this will keep him grateful to Allah and keep him humble so he doesn't walk the earth with pride.
6. Teach Your Child To Be Moderate and Lower Their Voice
And be moderate in your pace and lower your voice; indeed, the most disagreeable of sounds is the braying of donkeys. (Quran, Luqman 31:19)As parents, we are oftenguilty of raising our voices to our children when they haven't listened to us. But do we realised that we are sounding like braying donkeys when we scream and yell?
The more we scream and yell then the louder our household will get because children will often copy the way we talk (or yell). To remind ourselves to talk in lowered tones we need to picture ourselves as braying donkeys the next time we want to scream and yell. In sha Allah, it will stop.
The advice that Luqman gave were to have these character strengths:
These are some of the character strengths that you might like to nurture in your child.
Below were some of the entries to this Quran Journaling Challenge. For more details and to enjoy the other entries' creativity and to read their reflections, go to Instagram and click the hashtag #parentingquranjournaling look for Luqman's Advice entries.
If you'd like to Quran journal but don't know where to start then follow this Luqman's Advice journal. There are prompts to help you journal about Luqman's advice.
If you'd like to join me on a Quran Journaling Challenge then follow me on Instagram @muslim.parenting There will be other challenges through the year, in sha Allah.