Although wisdom as a term may conjure up images of an elderly sage sharing insightful nuggets, contemporary “wisdom” is being savvy, experienced, intelligent, switched on or on-the-money.

But what truly embodies wisdom and how do you become wise?

A story is narrated of one of the wisest men who lived, by the name of Luqman, when he shared his crystallised advice with his son. It is narrated that this wisdom was intrinsically linked to his gratitude to His Creator, Allah. And this gratitude benefitted him first as he appreciated the favours of His Lord.

Imagine that you as a parent shower your child with gifts daily ranging from food and clothing to love and belonging. Similarly, our Lord blesses us with health and a family, care and affection as well as giving us the ability to have a child and offer them all these blessings. Then, after a lifetime of dedication towards your child, if they turn out to be ungrateful and cut off ties with you attributing their success to a partner, an employer or even themselves, you would be deeply hurt as this betrayal is unfair and unwarranted.

Similarly, Luqman the Wise explains how the most foolish thing one can do is to deny the One who we owe everything by associating partners to Him. He nurtured us and provided for us when we lay in the ICU unit at the hospital, as we fell off our first bike, solved our first problem and earned our first wage. Read the beginning of Luqman’s advice below as quoted in the 31st surah of the Qur’an.

Lesson: Be grateful for what you have and show due respect to the One who has given it to you. In this is true wisdom.

And We had certainly given Luqman wisdom [and said], “Be grateful to Allah .” And whoever is grateful is grateful for [the benefit of] himself. And whoever denies [His favour] – then indeed, Allah is Free of need and Praiseworthy.
And when Luqman said to his son while he was instructing him, “O my son, do not associate [anything] with Allah . Indeed, association [with him] is a great injustice.” <<Surah Luqman : Ayaat 13-14>>

What is wisdom?