Father of all healers

He is the first to be summoned for help for all illnesses in Anatolia: It’s not clear whether the legendary healer Luqman is a historical figure or a myth. In any case, his name is synonymous with health and well-being.

Folk legends almost always involve an intractable or incurable problem, and more often than not, a wise person comes up with the remedy. In folk legends across the Middle Eastern, that healer, more often than not, has a name: Luqman.

His name is mentioned in the Quran, where the surah ‘Luqman’ cites that Allah had bestowed Luqman with wisdom. He is believed to have lived in Umman during the time of the prophet David. What set him apart from the other scholars was the belief that he found the secret to immortality. The legends about him are usually told through the advice he gave to his son. One legend has it that Luqman prepared a recipe for immortality; however, the paper containing the recipe was lost in the wind when he was on the Taşköprü Bridge in Adana. Another popular belief purports that the Archangel Gabriel had the recipe lost on orders from Allah. Yet another legend asserts that he wrote the formula on his hand, and then the rain wiped it off his hand. There is so much written on the healer Luqman. For instance, he was said to have known the characteristics of all flowers, herbs and plants, and could use this knowledge to prepare a medicine to treat any illness. That’s why even today, hapless lovers or those with melancholia speak their despair with the words, “Even the healer Luqman cannot find a cure for my suffering.” One other belief has it that he is the master of all healers and all of them carry a piece of his wisdom. For this reason, doctors and healers are greatly respected in Anatolia.

Commentaries on the Quran have quite different accounts of his identity with varying personal and family information. The renowned scholar Muhammad Asad provides the most scientific approach to the subject. According to Asad, Luqman is a fictional character and a prototype. As a matter of fact, the teachings he gave to his son paint such a character, of giving moral advice rather than medical information. For example, when asked how is it that he is so wise, he replied: “By being forthright and dependable, and avoiding unnecessary remarks and acts.”

Despite the belief that he found the elixir of life, Luqman’s most cited aphorism actually refers to his wisdom on facing death: “Son, if you fear death, do not go to sleep. Just as you need to sleep, you are destined to die. If you fear resurrection, don’t wake up. Just as you wake up after sleep, you will be resurrected after death.“