Why We Suffer

Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa on Sura Luqman – On Faith and Belief

Sura Luqman emphasizes tarbiya, or spiritual growth, and is named after a great sage. In this series, Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa explores the meanings of this chapter.

Sura Luqman has 34 verses. Some say that all 34 verses were revealed in Mecca, while others say that all but two or three verses were revealed in Mecca. Regardless, it is classed as a Meccan sura because most of it was revealed there. This is significant, because Mecca was the place that the believers were spiritually raised, while Medina was the corroboration of the time in Mecca. As a reflection of this, the Meccan suras often had the theme of spiritual development, with reminders to remember Allah, as well of the afterlife. In contrast, the suras revealed in Medina focuses on various laws.Surah Luqman

As a Meccan sura, Sura Luqman touches on subjects relating to spiritual development. This makes it a good lesson for parents and caregivers, as many of these lessons are directly connected to child-rearing themes.

In fact our mother Aisha, Allah be pleased with her, who was raised in the environment of Mecca, said, “We first learned faith, and then we learned the Qur’an, (meaning the laws defined in the Qur’an), and it increased us in faith.” She also said in another narration, “Had we learned law before faith, we would have disbelieved or become hypocrites.”

In our times, there is often an overwhelming focus on implementation of the law, before faith has taken root. This is a dangerous approach, because it can distance the person from faith.

It is important point to remember for anyone supporting a person in their spiritual development, whether they be a friend, a parent, a child, or an extended family member. When helping someone, one should try their best to nourish them spiritually, rather than simply throwing the law onto them.

With gratitude to Greensville Trust.

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