A person of eminence, known as Luqmanu ‘l-Hakim, or Luqman the Philosopher, mentioned in the Qur’an as one upon whom God had bestowed wisdom.
Surah xxxi. 11—19: “Of old we bestowed wisdom upon Luqman, and taught him thus— ‘Be thankful to God: for whoever is thankful, is thankful to his own behoof ; and if any shall be thankless God truly is self-sufficient, worthy of all praise!” And bear in mind when Luqman said to his son by way of warning, ‘O my son! join – not other gods with God, for the joining gods with God is the great impiety. O my son! observe prayer, and enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and be patient under whatever shall betide thee: for this is a bounden duty. And distort not thy face at men; nor walk thou loftily on the earth; for God loveth no arrogant vain-glorious one. But let thy pace be middling; and lower thy voice: for the least pleasing of voices is surely the voice of asses.’ See ye not how that God bath put under you all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth, and bath been bounteous to you of his favours, both for soul and body. But some are there who dispute of God without. knowledge, and have no guidance and illuminating Book.
Commentators are not agreed as to whether Luqman is an inspired prophet or not. Husain says most of the learned think he was a philosopher, and not a prophet. Some say he was the son of Ba’ür, and a nephew of Job, being his sister’s son; others that he was a nephew of Abraham; others that he was born in the time of King David, and lived until the time of Jonah, being one thousands years of age. Others, that he was an African slave and a shepherd amongst the Israelites. He is admitted by all Arabian historians to have been a fabulist and a writer of proverbs, and consequently European authors have concluded that he must be the same person whom the Greeks; not knowing his real name, have called Æsop i.e. Æthiops.
Mr. Sale says: “The commentators mention several quick repartees of Luqman, which (together with the circumstances above mentioned) agrees so well with what Maximus Planudes has written of Æsop, that from thence, and from the fables attributed to Luqman by the Orientals, the latter has been generally thought to be on other than the Æsop of the Greeks. However that be (for I think the matter will bear a dispute), I am of opinion that Planudes borrowed a great part of his life of Æsop from the traditions he met with in the East concerning Luqman, concluding them to have been the same person, because they were both slaves, and supposed to be the writers of those fables which go under their respective names, and bear a great resemblance to one another; for it has long since been observed by learned men, that the greater part of that monk’s performance is an absurd romance, and supported by no evidence of the ancient writers.”
Dr. Sprenger thinks Luqman is identical with the Elxai fo the Ebionites (Das Leben und die Lehre des Mohammad, vol. i. p. 34).
Luqman is the title of the XXIst Surah of the Qur’an.
Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam