Prophet Solomon (‘alayhissalam).
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-‘ālamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, sallallāhu alayhi wasallam, is His Messenger.
Solomon or Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) was one of the prominent Prophets of Allah who are well known in the religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. His story, which is an interesting one, is mentioned in the Noble Quran. Sulaiman (‘alaihissalam), inherited his prophethood and dominion from his father Dawud (‘alaihissalam). This was not a material inheritance, as Prophets do not bequeath their property; rather, it may even be given away to the poor and needy that are not related to them. And indeed Prophet Muhammad (sallallāhu alayhi wasallam) said: "We (Prophets) do not inherit anything, and whatever we leave is to be used for charity." [Al-Bukhari]
In the Qur’an, Allah Almighty says what means: "And We had certainly given to Dawud and Sulaiman knowledge, and they said: 'Praise [is due] to Allah, who has favoured us over many of His believing servants.' And Sulaiman inherited Dawud. He said: 'O People! We have been taught the language of birds; we have been given from all things. Indeed, this is an evident bounty.' And gathered for Sulaiman were his soldiers of the jinn and men and birds, and they were [marching] in rows." [Al-Naml, 27:15-17]
After his father's death, Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) became king. He begged Allah for a kingdom of the stature that none after him would have, and Allah granted him his wish. Besides wisdom, Allah had blessed Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) with many abilities. He could command the winds and understand and talk to birds and animals. Allah directed him to teach both men and jinn to mine the earth and extract its minerals to make tools and weapons. He also favoured him by giving him a mine of copper, which was a rare metal in that era.
During his time, horses were the common mode of transportation. They were essential for defense, to carry soldiers, and cart provisions and weapons of war. The animals were well cared for and well trained. One day, Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) was reviewing a parade of his stable. The fitness, beauty and posture of the horses fascinated him so much that he kept on stroking and admiring them while the sun was nearly setting, and the time for the mid-afternoon prayer was passing by. When he realised this, he exclaimed (what means): "… Indeed I gave preference to the love of good [things] over the remembrance of my Lord until it [i.e., the sun] disappeared into the curtain [of darkness]." [Sad, 38:32]
Indeed, this entire story is related in the Quran as follows, the meaning of which is: "And to Dawud We gave Sulaiman. An excellent servant, indeed he was one who repeatedly turned back [to Allah]. [Mention] when there were exhibited before him in the afternoon the poised [standing] racehorses. And he said: 'Indeed I gave preference to the love of good [things] over the remembrance of my Lord until it [i.e., the sun] disappeared into the curtain [of darkness].' [He said]: 'Return them to me,' and set about striking [their] legs and necks. And We certainly tried Sulaiman and placed on his throne a body; then he returned. He said: 'My Lord! Forgive me and grant me a kingdom such as will not belong to anyone after me. Indeed, You are the Bestower.' So We subjected to him the wind blowing by his command, gently, wherever he directed, And [also] the devils [of jinn] – every builder and diver. And others bound together in shackles. [We said]: 'This is Our gift, so grant or withhold without account.' And indeed, for him is nearness to Us and a good place of return. [Sad, 38:30-40]
One day, Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) gathered his army, which had different battalions of men, jinn, birds, and animals, and marched them to Askalon (in Palestine). While they were passing through a valley, an ant saw the approaching army and cried out to warn the other ants saying what means: "…Enter your dwellings that you not be crushed by Sulaiman and his soldiers while they perceive not." [Al-Naml, 27:18] Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) hearing the cry of the ant, smiled. He was glad that the ant knew him to be a Prophet who would not intentionally harm Allah's creation. He thanked Allah for saving the ants' lives.
Allah the Almighty says what means: "And gathered for Sulaiman were his soldiers of the jinn and men and birds, and they were [marching] in rows until, when they came upon the valley of the ants, an ant said: 'O ants! Enter your dwellings that you not be crushed by Sulaiman and his soldiers while they perceive not.' So [Sulaiman] smiled, amused at her speech, and said: 'My Lord! Enable me to be grateful for Your favour which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and do righteousness of which You approve. And admit me by Your mercy into [the ranks of] Your righteous servants'" [Al-Naml, 27:17-19]
In Jerusalem, on a huge rock, Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) built a beautiful temple to draw the people to worship Allah. Today, this building is known as the Dome of the Rock. From there, a large band of followers joined Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) on pilgrimage to the Holy Mosque in Makkah. After they had completed their Hajj, they traveled to Yemen and arrived in the city of San’ā. Sulaiman was impressed by the clever method of channeling water all over the cities that the Yemenis deployed. He was keen to build similar water systems in his own country but did not have enough springs.
He set out to find a hoopoe bird, which could detect water under the ground. He sent signals all over for the hoopoe to call on him, but it was nowhere to be found. In anger, he declared that unless the bird had a good reason for its absence, he would punish it severely.
The hoopoe eventually came and explained to Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) the reason for its delay. "I have discovered something of which you are not aware. I have come from Sheba (Saba') with important news," said the bird. Sulaiman became curious, and his anger subsided. The bird continued: "Saba' is ruled by a queen who has plenty of everything, including a splendid throne. But in spite of all this wealth, Satan has entered her heart and the hearts of her people. She rules their minds completely. I was shocked to learn that they worship the sun instead of Allah, the Almighty."
To verify the hoopoe's information, Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) sent a letter to the queen with the bird. He instructed the bird to remain hidden and to observe everything it saw.
The hoopoe dropped the letter in front of the queen and flew away to hide. She excitedly opened and read it: "Indeed, it is from Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam), and indeed. It is [i.e., reads]: 'In the Name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful, Be not haughty with me but come to me in submission [as Muslims].'" [Al-Naml, 27:30-31]
[Shaikh Muhammad Gemeiah's translation of 'Stories of the Prophets' by Ibn Kathīr]
The Values and Essence of the Story on Prophet Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam)
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
1. Success in This Life And The Hereafter Depends On Your Correct Decisions
Prophet Dawud (‘alayhissalam) was a Prophet of Allāh Subhānahu wata‘ala and a king. He had nineteen sons and every one of them wanted to inherit his throne. He agreed with one of his wives to nominate their eldest son to the throne. Allāh Subhānahu wata‘ala commanded him not to appoint anyone, but to wait for His order.
One day, he was asked to decide in a dispute between Elia, who was a cultivator, and his neighbor, Yohanna, who was a herdsman. Elia complained that the sheep belonging to Yohanna had grazed in his cornfield and had eaten the vegetables, causing him a great loss. Yohanna admitted that it had happened at night while he was asleep. By the command of Allāh Subhānahu wata‘ala, Prophet Dawud (‘alayhissalam) called all his sons and told them that whoever decided the case correctly, would become his heir.
Sulaiman [Solomon] (‘alaihissalam), who was the youngest son, ruled that Yohanna would have to surrender to Elia the milk and the wool that he would obtain from his sheep during that year. Prophet Dawūd (‘alayhissalam) asked him how he had decided in this manner.
Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) replied, "The sheep did not eat the plants, but only the fruits; thus only the produce from the sheep should make up for the loss."
Allāh Subhānahu wata‘ala informed the Prophet Dawud (‘alayhissalam) that the ruling given by Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) was the best and he should be made his heir. Dawud (‘alayhissalam) gathered all his sons in the presence of the learned people and chiefs of tribes and declared, by Allah's command, Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) to be a prophet of Allāh Subhānahu wata‘ala and his heir to the throne.
Prophet Dawūd (‘alayhissalam) died and Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) became a king at the age of thirteen.
2. Say 'Insha Allah' Before Taking Any Decision.
Once, the Prophet Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) said that he would have a son from each of his wives. Since he did not leave the fulfillment of his desire upon the will of Allāh Subhānahu wata‘ala by saying Insha Allah, only one of his wives bore him a child, and even then, it was stillborn. When Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) realized his mistake, he became very sorry and asked Allāh Subhānahu wata‘ala to forgive him and to grant him a kingdom which no one else would have after him. Allāh Subhānahu wata‘ala accepted these prayers and granted him a mighty kingdom.
Prophet Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) also gave him power over the Jinn's, birds, animals, and the wind. They all had to obey his orders. Allāh Subhānahu wata‘ala also taught Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) the languages of every living creature on earth.
At the command of Sulaiman (‘alaihissalam), they built huge temples, fortresses, towers, palaces made of glass, large basins of water reserves, and immovable cooking pots.
Don't Forget the Might and Glory of Allah in any Circumstances particularly when you face so-called World Powers.
Once, Prophet Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) and his army of Jinn's and animals were passing over the valley of the ants. Seeing the pomp and glory of the army, the chief of the ants alerted all the ants to get into their holes so that the army would not trample over them. With the help of the wind, Prophet Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) heard what the chief of the ants had said. He smiled and ordered his army not to move forward until the ants had got into their holes.
Prophet Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) then addressed the chief of the ants, "How could my army harm you and your kind when we were passing well above you in the air? And don't you know that I am the prophet of Allah and would never hurt anyone unjustly?"
The ant replied, "O Prophet of Allah, I did not warn them because of any harm that they would suffer, but I was afraid they would forget the glory of Allāh Subhānahu wata‘ala after seeing your army."
3. Use Your All Powers To Bring Humankind To The Right Path.
In spite of his wealth, glory, and vast empire, Prophet Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) remained a humble and devoted servant of Allāh Subhānahu wata‘ala. He spent his nights in prayers and fasted during the days. He used his power and might only in the way of Allāh Subhānahu wata‘ala to bring humankind to the right path. For his livelihood, he used to make baskets and sell them in the market; and with the money he obtained, he bought food and shared it with the poor.
One day, when he was inspecting the birds, he noticed that a bird called Hudhud (Hoopoe) was not present. He said, "Where is Hudhud? I will punish him severely if he remains absent without a good reason."
Shortly after that, Hudhud arrived and told Prophet Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) that he had flown over the land of Saba (Sheba) where he had seen a beautiful woman ruling over the people. Her name was Balqees. She had plenty of wealth, a strong army and a throne made of gold, diamonds and other precious stones. He saw her and the people worshipping the sun, instead of Allāh Subhānahu wata‘ala.
Prophet Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) was very pleased with Hudhud and gave him a letter to deliver to Balqees. Hudhud flew to the land of Saba and dropped the letter in the lap of Balqees while she was in the palace.
When Balqees received the letter, she called her advisors and said, "I have received an honorable letter from Sulaiman. It begins In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful and it reads: "Accept Allāh Subhānahu wata‘ala and worship only Him. I am his prophet, believe in what I say and accept my command".
4. Don't Offer or Receive Bribe.
Balqees then asked her advisors to advise her as to what she should do. They replied, "We are very strong and have a powerful army to fight against Sulaiman, but the decision is yours and we will obey your order."
Bilqees was wise and decided not to fight Prophet Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) Instead, she sent him valuable gifts to see what he would do. When the messengers of Balqees arrived in the land of Prophet Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) and saw his glory and his wealth, they were struck with wonder. They thought the gifts they had brought were worthless.
Prophet Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) became very angry when he was presented with the gifts and said, "What! Do you offer me wealth? What Allāh Subhānahu wata‘ala has given me is more superior to all the wealth on this earth. Go back to your queen with her gifts and tell her that I will soon march to conquer her land with a huge army."
When Balqees heard what had happened, she decided to surrender herself to Prophet Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) and make preparations to go meet him.
5. Do Not Transgress.
Prophet Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) in response to his special prayer to Allah was granted Kingdom and was given power over the forces of nature, over the Jinns and men and devils and other living creatures. He was also endowed with knowledge of their language and could easily communicate with them.
Prophet Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) once was sitting on the bank of a lake deeply engrossed in the beauties of nature around and appreciating the various forms of Allah's creation on earth.
Suddenly Prophet Sulayman (‘alayhissalam) attention was drawn towards an ant creeping forward with a grain of wheat in its mouth. As it reached near the water, a tortoise came out, opened its mouth and the ant crept into it. The tortoise closing its mouth disappeared under the water. After a while, the tortoise again sprung out of the water and standing on the bank opened its mouth and the ant came out. But this time it had no grain of wheat in its mouth.
Prophet Sulayman (‘alayhissalam) became anxious to know what had been happening under water. On inquiring, the ant explained that at the bottom of the lake, was a stone and underneath it lived a blind ant. Allah had created it there and because of blindness, it could not move about. The ant further said that I have been appointed by Allah to provide its daily sustenance with the assistance of the tortoise and hence, I do perform this duty everyday.
Let us ponder over one thing. If a tiny creature like an ant living under a stone at the bottom of a sea is not denied its sustenance, why should man the noblest of all creatures ever suspect loss of his sustenance from Almighty Allah? Isn't it foolishness to dirty one's hand in prohibited transactions for earning one's livelihood? Such persons do not get more, than what is destined and earn Allah's Wrath and Punishment in the Here-after world.
6. Seek Knowledge Wherever You Are: It Can Do Wonders.
Meanwhile, on the orders of Prophet Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam), a palace of glass was built in honor of Balqees. Even the floor was made of glass and water was put under it with different kinds of fish. The whole floor looked like a pool of water without the glass showing on top.
Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) then asked who could bring the throne of Balqees to him. Jinn stepped forward and said, "I will bring the throne before you rise from your seat." One man, who was given a little knowledge by Allāh Subhānahu wata‘ala, said, "I will bring it in the twinkling of an eye." When Prophet Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) saw the throne before him, he praised Allāh Subhānahu wata‘ala and thanked Him for His favors.
7. Admit Your Mistake Whenever You Are Wrong.
When Balqees arrived, she was amazed to see her throne and realized what power Allāh Subhānahu wata‘ala had given to Prophet Sulaiman (‘alaihissalam). She then entered the palace through the courtyard whose floor was made of glass. Thinking that it was a pool of water, she raised her clothes to pass through it. When Prophet Suliaman (‘alayhissalam) informed her, what it was, she was overwhelmed with wonder and accepted him to be a prophet of Allāh Subhānahu wata‘ala She said, "O Lord, I have wronged myself in worshipping the sun instead of you. I therefore give in myself with Sulaiman to You, the Lord of the Worlds."
Prophet Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) then married Balqees and thereafter she returned to her land, where he visited her frequently. The people of Saba who were sun-worshippers, were converted to believe in Allāh Subhānahu wata‘ala and to worship none other than Him.
8. Prepare For Death. It Can Strike Anytime.
One day, Prophet Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam), with the staff in his land, was viewing the kingdom around him, when he saw a young man approaching him. He was surprised and asked him, "Who are you and who gave you permission to enter the palace?"
The visitor replied, "I have come in with the permission of Allāh Subhānahu wata‘ala, the owner of the universe. I am the angel of death and Allah has sent me to take your life away."
Prophet Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) said, "Then allow me to go home to prepare for death and rest on my bed". The Angel said: "No".
While Prophet Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) stood leaning on his staff, his soul left him. His body remained standing for such a long time that the people and the Jinn's believed him to have become a spirit or a magician. They carried on with the work entrusted to them by Prophet Sulaiman (‘alaihissalam), until Allāh Subhānahu wata‘ala caused the ants to eat away the staff he was leaning on and his body fell to the ground. Prophet Sulaiman (‘alayhissalam) ruled for forty years and died at the age of fifty-three.
Allah the Exalted Alone Know most.
[Via Islamic Occasion Network].