Sulaiman (AS)

Spoke to Animals

Sulaiman (AS)

Sulaiman (AS) was a prophet of Allah and the son of the Prophet Dawud (AS). Dawud (AS) was a wise King of Israel and a noble Prophet of Allah (SWT). Sulaiman (AS) learned from his fathers knowledge and judgment by often joining his father during hearings.

One day, Prophet Dawud (AS) called his 19 sons in front of chiefs and academic scholars of his kingdom. He asked 9 questions:

  1. Which thing is closest (nearest) to man?
  2. Which is the farthest thing?
  3. Which two things are attached to each other?
  4. Which is the most awe-creating thing?
  5. Which two things remain unchanged?
  6. Which two things are always different?
  7. Which two things are opposed to each other?
  8. What is the action the result of which is good?
  9. What is that action the result of which is bad?

The sons of Prophet Dawud (AS) became fluters and were unable to answer the questions. Except for the youngest son, Suleiman (AS) stood up and gave the following answers:

  1. The nearest things to a man is the hereafter (Life and Death – as one may die any moment);
  2. The farthest things is the time which has passed away (which is not to come again);
  3. The two things that are attached to each other is man’s body with the soul;
  4. The most awe-creating is the man’s body (dead) without soul;
  5. The two things which remain the same are the sky and the earth;
  6. The two things which are different are the day and night;
  7. The two things which are opposed to each other are life and death;
  8. The action – the end of which is good – is patience and forbearance at the time of anger;
  9. The action – the end of which is bad is haste at the time of anger.

Prophet Dawud (AS) was impressed by these answers and appointed Suliman (AS) to be in charge upon his death. So, with the passing of time and the death of Dawud (AS), Sulaiman (AS) inherited the kingdom of Israel and was elected by Allah to continue in his Prophethood.

He asked Allah to grant him a kingdom like no other. A kingdom that would occur to none after him. Allah granted Sulaiman (AS) his wish and westward many blessings and miracles upon him, this included:

  • The ability to control the wind and travel at incredible speeds.
  • To have Hints under his command
  • A copper mine which was used to make weaponry.
  • The ability to communicate with animals.

In his mission as a prophet of Allah, he built a prominent place of worship, this was the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. From there Suliman (AS) and his followers made pilgrimage to Makkah. On completion of their Hajj, they travelled to Yemen, where Suliman witnessed the Yemeni’s incredible water channeling mechanism and desired to replicate this system in his own land, but he knew he had insufficient springs.

He was determined to find a way and set out looking for a Hoopoe bird. Hoopoe birds had the ability to detect water underground, but such bird was nowhere in sight. Sulaiman grew increasingly impatient, and exclaimed, “Why do I not see the Hoopoe bird– or is he among the absent? I will surely punish him with a severe torment, or slaughter him, unless he brings me a clear reason!”

Before long, the Hoopoe bird returned to his master with great news, but the hoopoe did not stay long and said, “I have encompassed [in knowledge] that which you have not encompassed, and I have come to you from Sheba with certain news. Indeed, I found [there] a woman ruling them, and she has been given of all things, and she has a great throne. I found her and her people prostrating to the sun instead of Allah, and Satan has made their deeds pleasing to them and averted them from [His] way, so they are not guided, [And] so they do not prostrate to Allah, who brings forth what is hidden within the heavens and the earth and knows what you conceal and what you declare -Allah – there is no deity except Him, Lord of the Great Throne.”. Surah Naml Ayat 22-26

Prophet Sulaiman (AS) said, “We will see whether you were truthful or were of the liars. Take this letter of mine and deliver it to them. Then leave them and see what [answer] they will return.” Surah Naml Ayat 27-28

The Hoopoe bird flew back to Bilkis’s palace and dropped Sulaiman’s (AS) letter before her. He soon hid and watched what happened. Having noticed the letter, Bilkis began reading it, “ Verily! It is from Solomon. It reads: ‘In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful; be you not exalted against me, but come to me as Muslims.”.

Bilkis immediately summoned her chiefs and asked for their advice. They replied, “We have great strength, and great ability for war, but it is for you to command; so think over what you will command.” However, Bilkis was not in favor of war, as they were unaware of the size of Sulaiman’s (AS) army. She answered, “Verily! Kings, when they enter a town, they despoil it, and make the most honourable amongst its people low.” She decided, as a token of friendship, to send Sulaiman (AS) some valuable gifts through her messengers, who could also bring back information about Sulaiman’s (AS) army.

Through the Hoopoe bird, Sulaiman (AS) immediately learnt of Bilkis’s response and decided to display the might of his army to her messengers. When the messengers arrived, all of Sulaiman’s (AS) army complete with animals, such as lions and tigers, birds, men and jinn, gathered before them. Bilkis’s messengers were indeed stunned by the size and variety of Sulaiman’s (AS) battalion. His incomparable strength was eminent.

The messengers eagerly presented Bilkis’s gift to Sulaiman (AS) with a pledge of friendship. Sulaiman (AS) replied, “Will you help me in wealth? What Allah has given me is better than that which He has given you! Nay, you rejoice in your gift!” Sulaiman (AS) then turned to the chief of her messengers and instructed:“Go back to them. We verily shall come to them with hosts that they cannot resist, and we shall drive them out from there in disgrace, and they will be abased.” The messengers were shocked and soon returned to their Queen and conveyed Sulaiman’s (AS) message together with an account of the magnificence of his kingdom.

With her officials, Bilkis decided to meet Sulaiman (AS) in person. On receiving this news, Sulaiman (AS) decided to show Bilkis and her officials the power of the miracles bestowed to him by Allah. He asked his army , “Which of you can bring me Bilkis’s throne before they come to me, surrendering themselves in obedience?” Ifrit, one of the powerful jinns, immediately responded to Prophet Sulaiman (AS), “I will bring it to you before you rise from your place. And verily, I am indeed strong and trustworthy for such work.” (27:30)

But Sulaiman (AS) remained silent, awaiting a better offer. Another jinn with knowledge of the scriptures spoke up, “I will bring it to you before your glance returns to you.” And when [Solomon] saw it placed before him, he said, “This is from the favor of my Lord to test me whether I will be grateful or ungrateful. And whoever is grateful – his gratitude is only for [the benefit of] himself. And whoever is ungrateful – then indeed, my Lord is Free of need and Generous.” (27:40)

“I will bring it to you within the twinkling of an eye!” And in a split second the throne of Bilkis was brought from across 2,000 miles to Prophet Sulaiman (AS). Sulaiman (AS) himself was amazed by the miracle Allah had given him and praised his Lord immensely. Sulaiman then instructed the jinn, “Disguise for her her throne; we will see whether she will be guided [to truth] or will be of those who is not guided.” (27:41)He then ordered the jinns to build a palace with floors made of thin but solid glass, underneath through which rivers flowed.

When Bilkis arrived, her throne immediately caught her attention. Having noticed Bilkis’s reaction to the throne, Sulaiman (AS) asked, “is your throne like this?” Bilkis was thoroughly confused. She wondered if her throne actually got here or if it was possible that someone replicated it. She replied cautiously, “it is as though it was the very same.”  Sulaiman (AS) judged her to be intelligent and diplomatic so he then invited her to his palace. When Bilkis was about to enter she mistook the glass floor for water and lifted her skirts. In the Quran it says, “she thought it was a body of water and uncovered her shins [to wade through]. He said, “Indeed, it is a palace [whose floor is] made smooth with glass.” She said, “My Lord, indeed I have wronged myself, and I submit with Solomon to Allah, Lord of the worlds.”  (27:44)

Bilkis realized that Sulaiman’s (AS) kingdom was indeed unlike any palace she had seen before. She witnessed his wisdom and humility along with his mighty power and accepted him as the messenger of Allah. She repented and embraced Islam along with her nation.

Prophet Sulaiman (AS) lived and reigned in glory. Most of his public work was done by jinns; this would be as punishment for making people believe that jinns had knowledge of the unseen. Suleiman (AS) taught his people that Allah alone host such knowledge. In fact, the death of Suleiman (AS) would be a lesson in this regard.

One day, Suliman was seated and was overseeing some jinns working and would often hold and rest on his staff. The jinns where terrified of Sulaiman (AS) and were heavily focused not the building when Allah decided to take the life of Sulaiman (AS).

No one, including Jinns, were aware of his death, the jinns were so scared of him that they continued to work without any movement. From their prospective Sulaiman (AS) was alive resting his head on his staff; his eyes were even open, so they thought he was continuously watching them.

They only realized he died when ants began nibbling on his wooden staff and if broke after some time. Then the staff broke Sulaiman’s (AS) body fell to the ground. When people came to aid the prophet (AS), they realized he had been dead for a while.

This was a lesson that if the jinns possessed knowledge of the unseen, they would have realized Sulaiman (AS) had died and they would not have continued working.