The thirty-first chapter of the Qur’an is named after Luqman. Luqman was not a Prophet, but he was a wise man. He lived before the advent of Islam, having been born possibly in ancient Sudan. He gave some advice to his son, a part of which is as follows: ‘O my son! Though it be but the weight of a grain of mustard seed and though it be hidden in a rock, or in the heavens or on the earth, God will bring it forth…Say your prayers, and enjoin good, and forbid evil, and endure patiently whatever may befall you. Surely, this is something that requires firm resolve. Do not avert your face from people out of haughtiness and do not walk with pride on the earth: for, behold, God does not love arrogant and boastful people. Walk modestly and lower your voice, for the ugliest of all voices is the braying of the ass.’ (31:16-19)
This advice can be summarized thus: God is all-knowing; He knows everything, both hidden and open. This belief inculcates a strong sense of accountability in every man and woman. It motivates everyone to adopt a disciplined life and to follow the guidance of the Creator, because he believes that, if he
fails, he will be punished by God. Then there is a prayer to God. Prayer is not simply a set of rituals; it is rather a way of acknowledging God’s greatness. This acknowledgment makes one realistic and honest. This differentiates the human being from the animal. An animal cannot demonstrate a sense of gratitude, but man does have this special gift. It is also everyone’s duty to be watchful of others and tell them about good behavior and bad behavior. It is an expression of well-wishing towards other human beings. An honest person cannot afford to live as an indifferent member of society. Patience is a very important human quality; without keeping one’s patience, no one can be good in his behavior in life. It is also required that everyone be determined, for, without determination, no one can unflaggingly follow the path of truth. The greatest minus point in an individual is arrogance, while the greatest plus point is modesty. The ass has the bad habit of disturbing others. Man must refrain from this bad habit.