Friday Sermon, 24 August 2012 / 6 Syawal 1433, Singapore
A Reminder For Parents – Lessons From The Story Of Luqman Al-Hakim
My dear brothers blessed by Allah,
Let us increase our taqwa to Allah s.w.t. Let us renew our determination to perform what has been commanded, and to leave behind what has been prohibited. Let us remain steadfast in performing our obligations with wisdom and faith.
Dear honoured jemaah,
In conjunction with this blessed month of Syawal, let us take this opportunity to foster closer relationships with our family members. Let us enliven this month of Syawal through mutual advice and reminders of good deeds, particularly among close family members. In performing this, let us be driven by encouragements of love and affection, as well as the need to touch the hearts and minds of our family members. May they accept our advice and reminders positively.
For this purpose, we can take the example of the advice given by Luqman Al-Hakim in the Al -Quran. He was a pious man and his advice was recorded by Allah s.w.t. in surah Luqman verse 13:
Meaning: “Behold! Luqman said to his son by way of instruction: "O my son! Join not in worship (others) with Allah: for false worship is indeed a great injustice.’ ”
Allah s.w.t. also commends in the same surah in verse 17:
Meaning: “O my son! Establish regular prayers, enjoin what is just, and forbid what is wrong: and bear with patient constancy whatever befalls you. Indeed, this is firmness (of purpose) in (the conduct of) affairs.”
My dear beloved brothers,
I wish to invite you to analyse the advice contained in these two verses, and the manner in which Luqman Al-Hakim conveyed them.
If we analyse, we will find that the contents of the advice given by Luqman contains three main important aspects in Islam: that is Aqidah, Amalan and Akhlak, or Faith, Practices and Moral Values. Luqman began his advice with an important topic of aqidah (faith), namely that one must never associate something with Allah. This is consistent with the approach of the Al-Quran that prioritises matters relating to aqidah through verses revealed before the emigration of the Prophet s.a.w., or commonly known as the Makkan verses.
We must ensure, my brothers, that our children must not only know that there is a God. But they also need to understand our total dependence on Allah ‘Azza Wa Jalla. Teach our children that while we sometimes rely on other people to achieve something in life, ultimately, it is Allah s.w.t. who determines that we will achieve all our hopes and our dreams.
Therefore, it is important for them to not forget to place their hopes in Allah s.w.t. Remind our children to make Allah s.w.t. the focus of all their aspirations, and there is no other god or creations that has the same ability equal to Allah s.w.t. As mentioned in Surah Al-Ikhlas verses 1-2:
Meaning: “Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, the Absolute.”
This is then followed by Luqman’s advice to his son to establish prayers and to invite goodness and forbid evil. This constitutes the practical aspect of his advice, and it comes after he has emphasised the importance of correct belief in Allah s.w.t.
In this regard, we must emphasise and cultivate our children from young the easier practices first. For example, we should familiarise our children with the concept of saving, spending and donate. We can do this by means of channelling some funds for charity, or we can make them accustomed to performing voluntary works with us. Encourage our children to help our relatives or neighbours who may be in need. By doing so, our children’s hearts will be conditioned to perform charitable deeds.
All these teachings must be accompanied with encouragements, praises and support. More importantly, good examples set by parents must be established. Our children will not appreciate performing any good deeds if they do not witness for themselves their parents doing them together.
My dear beloved brothers,
Another lesson that we can learn from the advice given by Luqman Al-Hakim is the approach in conveying his advice to his son. As a father, Luqman intimates himself to his son by expressing his love and affection to him. While advising his son, he calls him by using a sweet and loving term of that is ‘bunayya’, which means a beloved son. Observe how Luqman uses words that appeal to his son, so that he will listen and respond to the advice that his father dispenses.
Clearly, the choice of words used in calling out to our child plays an important role in the way we communicate. Similarly with time, choose an appropriate time to talk to our children. Avoid those moments when they are too tired or hungry, as they have just returned home from school.
The same goes for our child’s name. In the process of giving our views and advices to our children, why don’t we call them by using beautiful titles or nicknames that they like? It can be a name that is a doa if said repeatedly. I am convinced that if we are wise in choosing the appropriate time to give advice, deliver them in a firm manner but without our tone being too high or too low, InsyaAllah, some of the messages that we wish to give them will be positively embraced and accepted by them.
The method used by Luqman is very beneficial in helping to facilitate the understanding by the listener. This method is compatible with the ‘athar’ or words narrated by Sayyidina ‘Ali bin Abi Talib r.a. which reads:
Meaning: “And speak to the people at the level of their understanding.” [Recorded by Imam Bukhari as a ‘Taaliq’ in his Sahih Bukhari].
This is another act that we should emulate as parents. In conveying advice to our children, have we ensured that our children easily understand the language we used? Do we provide relevant examples so that they can appreciate the message that we wish to deliver?
Frequently, we wish to reprimand our children about something that they have done, but have we ensured that the manner in which we approach them is acceptable to them? Often, we have an important piece of advice to share with our family members, but due to a lack of understanding the appropriate way to deliver them, the message was not appreciated effectively.
As parents, knowledge about effective communication is extremely important so that we are able to guide and assist our children in times when they desperately needs us, whether it is during examination period, when they are approaching adolescence, or in any phase of their lives.
My dear beloved and respected brothers,
Let us cultivate a determination to learn from the pearls of wisdom of the Anbiyaa’ and the Solihin, by emulating them in the course of our daily lives. Let us enhance our parental skills, so that we can engage with our children and understand them emotionally and intellectually. May Allah help us in fulfilling our responsibilities with wisdom and may we be counselled by the guidance of Allah s.w.t. Amin Ya Rabbal ‘Alamin.