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Quran Chapter 31 - Luqman - Traits + Distractions, Advice to Youth, The Delusion of this World

A Meccan sura that takes its title from Luqman the Wise, whose counsel to his son is related in verses 13–19. The sura opens with a description of the believers, and it condemns those who attempt to lead others away from guidance. It extols God’s power and warns the disbelievers of the consequences of their actions. The Prophet is told not to be saddened by their disbelief.

In the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy

Traits and Distractions

1 Alif Lam Mim

2 These are the verses of the wise Scripture, 3 [with] guidance and mercy for those who do good, 4 who keep up the prayer, pay the prescribed alms, and are certain of the Hereafter: 5 these are rightly guided by their Lord, and it is they who will prosper. 6 But there is the sort of person who pays for distracting tales, intending, without any knowledge, to lead others from God’s way, and to hold it up to ridicule. [a] There will be humiliating torment for him! 7 When Our verses are recited to him, he turns away disdainfully as if he had not heard them, as if there were heaviness in his ears. Tell him that there will be a painful torment! 8 But for those who believe and do righteous deeds, there will be Gardens of bliss 9 where they will stay: that is God’s true promise, and He is the Almighty, the All Wise. 10 He created the heavens without any visible support, and He placed firm mountains on the earth––in case it should shake under you––and He spread all kinds of animals around it. We sent down water from the sky, with which We made every kind of good plant grow on earth: 11 all this is God’s creation. Now, show Me what your other gods have created. No, the disbelievers are clearly astray.

Advice to the Youth

12 We endowed Luqman with wisdom: ‘Be thankful to God: whoever gives thanks benefits his own soul, and as for those who are thankless––God is self-sufficient, worthy of all praise.’ 13 Luqman counselled his son, ‘My son, do not attribute any partners to God: attributing partners to Him is a terrible wrong.’

14 We have commanded people to be good to their parents: their mothers carried them, with strain upon strain, and it takes two years to wean them. Give thanks to Me and to your parents– all will return to Me. 15 If they strive to make you associate with Me anything about which you have no knowledge, [b] then do not obey them. Yet keep their company in this life according to what is right, and follow the path of those who turn to Me. You will all return to Me in the end, and I will tell you everything that you have done.

16 [And Luqman continued], ‘My son, if even the weight of a mustard seed were hidden in a rock or anywhere in the heavens or earth, God would bring it [to light], for He is all subtle and all aware. 17 Keep up the prayer, my son; command what is right; forbid what is wrong; bear anything that happens to you steadfastly: these are things to be aspired to. 18 Do not turn your nose up at people, nor walk about the place arrogantly, for God does not love arrogant or boastful people. 19 Go at a moderate pace and lower your voice, for the ugliest of all voices is the braying of asses.’

An Admonition

20 [People], do you not see how God has made what is in the heavens and on the earth useful to you, and has lavished His blessings on you both outwardly and inwardly? Yet some people argue about God, without knowledge or guidance or an illuminating scripture. 21 When they are told, ‘Follow what God has sent down,’ they say: ‘We shall follow what we saw our forefathers following.’ What! Even if Satan is calling them to the suffering of the Blazing Flame? 22 Whoever directs himself [c] wholly to God and does good work has grasped the surest handhold, for the outcome of everything is with God. 23 As for those who refuse to do this, do not let their refusal sadden you [Prophet]– they will return to Us and We shall tell them what they have done: God knows all that hearts contain– 24 We let them enjoy themselves for a little while, but We shall drive them to a harsh torment. 25 If you ask them who created the heavens and earth, they are sure to say, ‘God.’ Say, ‘Praise belongs to God,’ but most of them do not understand. 26 Everything in the heavens and earth belongs to God. God is self-sufficient and worthy of all praise. 27 If all the trees on earth were pens and all the seas, with seven more seas besides, [were ink,] still God’s words would not run out: God is almighty and all wise. 28 Creating and resurrecting all of you is only like creating or resurrecting a single soul: God is all hearing and all seeing.

Beware of Satan and The Delusion of this World

29 [Prophet], do you not see that God causes the night to merge into day and the day to merge into night; that He has subjected the sun and the moon, each to run its course for a stated term; that He is aware of everything you [people] do? 30 This is because God is the Truth, and what they invoke beside Him is false. He is the Most High, Most Great. 31 [Prophet], do you not see that ships sail through the sea, by the grace of God, to show you [people] some of His wonders? Truly there are signs in this for every steadfast, thankful person. 32 When the waves loom over those on board like giant shadows they call out to God, devoting their religion entirely to Him. But, when He has delivered them safely to land, some of them waver– only a treacherous, thankless person refuses to acknowledge Our signs. 33 People, be mindful of your Lord and fear a day when no parent will take the place of their child, nor a child take the place of their parent, in any way. God’s promise is true, so do not let the present life delude you, nor let the Deceiver delude you about God. 34 Knowledge of the Hour [of Resurrection] belongs to God; it is He who sends down the relieving rain and He who knows what is hidden in the womb. No soul knows what it will reap tomorrow, and no soul knows in what land it will die; it is God who is all knowing and all aware.


a. Understood to refer to al-Nadr ibn al-Harith, who bought some ancient Persian stories to distract the people of Quraysh from listening to the Quran.

b. i.e. scriptural proof.

c. Literally ‘his face’.

The Qur'an (Oxford World's Classics)

The Qur'an / a new translation by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem, copyright © 2004 Oxford World's Classics (Oxford University Press). Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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