The name “Luqman” is mentioned in two verses of the Quran in Surah Luqman, and there is no explicit evidence in the Quran to determine whether he was a prophet or not. The style of the Quran regarding Luqman suggests that he was not a prophet. In the Quran, the discourse about prophets usually revolves around their message, the call to monotheism, fighting polytheism, and deviations in society, not demanding any reward or compensation, and also about giving good tidings and warnings to nations. However, none of these aspects are mentioned in relation to Luqman, who is instead associated with a collection of special advices to his son – despite their universality and inclusiveness. This is an indication that he was a wise man, nothing more.
In a saying from the Noble Messenger (PBUH), “Truly I say: Luqman was not a prophet, but he was a servant who reflected much, had good certainty, loved God, and God loved him and bestowed upon him wisdom.”
Some histories suggest that Luqman was a black slave from the Sudan of Egypt, but alongside his black appearance, he had a luminous heart and a pure spirit. He was truthful from the beginning, never mixing trust with betrayal, and he did not involve himself in matters that did not concern him.
Some have speculated about his prophethood, but there is no evidence to support this; on the contrary, we have clear indications otherwise.
Where did all this wisdom come from?
In some narrations, it’s mentioned that someone asked Luqman, “Didn’t you used to herd with us?” He replied, “Yes.”
The man asked, “Then where did all this knowledge and wisdom come from?”
Luqman replied, “The decree of God, fulfilling trusts, speaking the truth, and silence regarding what does not concern me.”
Also, in continuation of the narration we mentioned from the Noble Messenger (PBUH): “Luqman was sleeping half the day when he heard a call: ‘O Luqman, would you like God to make you a ruler to judge among people with truth?’ He answered the voice: ‘If my Lord gives me a choice, I would accept well-being and not accept affliction. But if He decrees it upon me, then I hear and obey, for I know if He does so, He will support and protect me.'”
The angels, unseen to him, said, “Why, O Luqman?”
He replied, “Because ruling is the most severe and firmest of stations, shrouded in injustice from every side. If one is protected, it is more likely he will be saved; if he errs, he strays from the path to Paradise. It is better to be humble in this world and honored in the hereafter than to be honored in this world and humbled in the hereafter. Whoever chooses the world over the hereafter will be consumed by the world and not attain the hereafter.”
The angels marveled at his good reasoning. Then, he slept and was given wisdom, awakening to speak it.
Stories of the Quran / by Ayatollah Sheikh Nasser Makarem Shirazi.