The Prophets Da’ud and Sulayman

The Qur’an records the rejection, humiliation and banishment which the Prophets and Messengers suffered at the hands of the communities to which they were sent. It also mentions the punishment, the destruction and ruin that came upon these communities when they rejected their Messengers, mocked them, and conspired against their lives, as you have read in the stories of the Prophets we have already recounted.

The Qur’an mentions Allah’s blessings

The Qur’an frequently mentions Allah’s blessings and speaks, sometimes at length and sometimes briefly, about the numerous blessings which He conferred on many of the Prophets, including Da’ud, Sulayman, Ayyub, Yunus, Zakariyya and Yahya.

Allah made Da’ud and Sulayman strong in their land and gave them a great kingdom. He gave them knowledge, teaching them many things which other people did not know. Strong and insolent men and animals and objects that were not easy to deal with were subjected to them.

He said: ‘We gave Da’ud and Sulayman knowledge.’ They said: ‘Praise belongs to Allah who has

preferred us over many of His believing slaves.’ Sulayman was Da’ud’s heir and said: ‘People, we have been taught the speech of birds and we have been given abundance of every thing. This is the clear bounty.’ (27: 16)

Allah’s blessing to Da’ud

As for Da’ud, Allah subjected to him the mountains and the birds, which echoed His praises and answered him in glorious song. He taught him the craft of making coats of mail and made ironwork easy for him. We gave Da’ud bounty from Us: ‘O mountains! Echo Allah’s praises with him, and you birds.’ We made iron soft for him. ‘Fashion coats of mail and measure the links well. Act righteously. I see what you do.’ (34: 10)

And He also says: ‘We subjected the mountains with Da’ud to glorify, and the birds, and We were the Doer. We taught him the craft of fashioning garments for you to protect you against your violence. Will you then not be thankful?’ (21: 79-80)

His gratitude for this blessing

Although Da’ud owned a wide kingdom with power and authority that he used well, he was still a humble, penitent slave of Allah. He constantly remembered Allah and spent long periods praying to Him and glorifying Him. He was a just ruler and an impartial judge who gave judgement between people according to the truth. Allah says: ‘O Da’ud, We have made you a successor (khalifa) in the land, so judge between people according to the truth. Do not follow caprice so that it leads you astray from the way of Allah. Those who go astray from the way of

preferred us over many of His believing slaves.’ Sulayman was Da’ud’s heir and said: ‘People, we have been taught the speech of birds and we have been given abundance of every thing. This is the clear bounty.’ (27: 16)

Allah’s blessing to Da’ud

As for Da’ud, Allah subjected to him the mountains and the birds, which echoed His praises and answered him in glorious song. He taught him the craft of making coats of mail and made ironwork easy for him. We gave Da’ud bounty from Us: ‘O mountains! Echo Allah’s praises with him, and you birds.’ We made iron soft for him. ‘Fashion coats of mail and measure the links well. Act righteously. / see what you do.’ (34: 10)

And He also says: ‘We subjected the mountains with Da’ud to glorify, and the birds, and We were the Doer. We taught him the craft of fashioning garments for you to protect you against your violence. Will you then not be thankful?’ (21: 79-80)

His gratitude for this blessing

Although Da’ud owned a wide kingdom with power and authority that he used well, he was still a humble, penitent slave of Allah. He constantly remembered Allah and spent long periods praying to Him and glorifying Him. He was a just ruler and an impartial judge who gave judgement between people according to the truth. Allah says: ‘O Da’ud, We have made you a successor (khalifa) in the land, so judge between people according to the truth. Do not follow caprice so that it leads you astray from the way of Allah. Those who go astray from the way of

preferred us over many of His believing slaves.’ Sulayman was Da’ud’s heir and said: ‘People; we have been taught the speech of birds and we have been given abundance of every thing. This is the clear bounty.’ (27: 16)

Allah’s blessing to Da’ud

As for Da’ud, Allah subjected to him the mountains and the birds, which echoed His praises and answered him in glorious song. He taught him the craft of making coats of mail and made ironwork easy for him. We gave Da’ud bounty from Us: ‘O mountains! Echo Allah’s praises with him, and you birds.’ We made iron soft for him. ‘Fashion coats of mail and measure the links well. Act righteously. I see what you do.’ (34: 10)

And He also says: ‘We subjected the mountains with Da’ud to glorify; and the birds, and We were the Doer. We taught him the craft of fashioning garments for you to protect you against your violence. Will you then not be thankful?’ (21: 79-80)

His gratitude for this blessing

Although Da’ud owned a wide kingdom with power and authority that he used well, he was still a humble, penitent slave of Allah. He constantly remembered Allah and spent long periods praying to Him and glorifying Him. He was a just ruler and an impartial judge who gave judgement between people according to the truth. Allah says: ‘O Da’ud, We have made you a successor (khalifa) in the land, so judge between people according to the truth. Do not follow caprice so that it leads you astray from the way of Allah. Those who go astray from the way of

Allah will have a harsh punishment for that they forgot the Day of Reckoning.’ (38: 26)

Allah’s blessing upon Sulayman

To Sulayman Allah subjected the winds. They blew at his command and carried him from place to place so that he reached his destination quickly. Allah also subjected to him the strong and clever jinn and the rebellious satans. They obeyed his commands and carried out his construction plans:

And to Sulayman the wind, blowing strongly, that ran at his command to the land which We had blessed. And We had knowledge of everything. Some of the satans dived for him (for pearls) and did other work as well; and We were watching over them. (21: 81-2)

And to Sulayman the wind, its morning course was a month’s journey and its evening course was a month’s journey. We made the fount of molten brass to flow for him. Some of the jinn worked for him by the leave of his Lord, and such of them as deviated from Our command We caused them to taste the punishment of the Blazing Fire. They made for him whatever he wanted: places of worship, statues, great pots like water-troughs and boilers built into the ground. ‘Work, House of Da’ud, in thankfulness. Very few of My slaves are thankful.’ (34: 12)

Fine understanding and deep knowledge

Sulayman’s intelligence and sound judgement was shown in a case which was presented before his noble father. There was a vineyard full of grape-vines which were full of grapes. Some sheep belonging to another person

entered the vineyard and ruined it. Da’ud gave a judgement that the sheep should be given to the owner of the vines in compensation. Sulayman said: That is not the more correct judgement, О Prophet of Allah.’ Da’ud asked: ‘What should it be then?’ Sulayman said: ‘Give the vines to the owner of the sheep and let him restore them to their previous condition. Give the sheep to the owner of the vines and he can profit from them until the vines are restored to their proper condition. Then the vines will be returned to their owner and the sheep will be returned to their owner.’

Allah gave him fine understanding and deep knowledge. Allah said: ‘And Da’ud and Sulayman when they gave judgement concerning the fields, when the sheep of the people strayed there, and We were witnesses to their judgement. We made Sulayman understand it. We gave both of them judgement and knowledge.’ (21: 78-9)

Sulayman knew the language of the birds and animals

The Qur’an tells a delightful story which illustrates Sulayman’s wisdom in the management of his kingdom and his awesome power. It shows how Allah joined for him the happiness of this world and the Next World. With Sulayman, his kingdom in this world strengthened his work as Prophet and Messenger of the true religion.

Sulayman knew the language of birds and animals. Once he mustered his armies of jinn, men and birds and rode among them in splendour and might. They were perfectly organized and arranged under the command of their leaders. Sulayman passed by the Valley of the Ants. One of the ants, afraid that the hooves of the horses would crush his tribe without Sulayman and his armies being aware of it, ordered his fellow-ants to go into their dwelling-places. Sulayman heard and understood this. Being a Prophet of Allah, his response was not ruled by pride or arrogance. Rather, Sulayman was moved to praise Allah and to be grateful for His blessing. Supplication and success are part of right action and treading in the path of the righteous slaves of Allah.

The story of the hoopoe

The hoopoe was Sulayman’s scout and his eyes to seek out for him watering places and camp sites for the army. On one occasion, Sulayman could not locate the bird and this annoyed him. The hoopoe was away for quite a time before finally returning with this news for Sulayman: ‘I have learned something that neither you nor your armies know. I have brought you true information about the kingdom of Sheba. It is a great and a vast state. But in spite of the intelligence and skill of the people, and their good leadership, I found them to be ignorant and foolish. They prostrate to the sun instead of Allah. They have no understanding and will not be guided to the worship of Allah alone/

Sulayman calls the Queen of Sheba to true religion

It grieved the Prophet of Allah to learn of such a kingdom, with a people he had not known about. His call had not been able to reach these people so they still worshipped the sun. The zeal of Prophethood moved him to write to their idol-worshipping Queen, calling her to Islam and submission, before he advanced with his powerful armies to conquer her land. He wrote her an eloquent letter in which he called on her to enter Islam and submit to him. The letter, which was polite but firm, expressed prophetic humility as well as kingly honour.

The Queen consults the leaders of her kingdom

The Queen of Sheba was intelligent and not given to hasty judgements. She had great experience of the conduct of kings and the history of conquerors. However, her intellect had deceived her as she had failed to recognize Allah and worship Him. She told her most intelligent counsellors that she had received a letter, different from all other letters. It was from the greatest king of that time who was a Prophet calling people to Allah. She asked for their advice.

The leaders in her kingdom began to vaunt their strength and the size of their armies. That is what companions of kings and rulers do in every time and place. The Queen did not agree with what they were doing, so they left the decision to her. She warned them about coming to a bad end. She reminded them how victorious kings despoil nations they have conquered, and humiliate even the noblest of people. She told them: ‘I will send him some splendid gifts in order to test him. If he accepts the gifts, then he is a king and we will fight against him. If he does not accept them, then he is a Prophet and we will follow him.’

A bargained gift

She sent a delegation with gifts of great value as befits a king. When the gifts reached Sulayman, he refused to accept them, saying: ‘Are you trying to use wealth to bargain with me so that I should leave you to hold your kingdom and your people in idol-worship? The kingdom, property and armies that Allah has given me are better than those you have. This is no light matter, but a serious and solemn call to true religion. It is a case of being summoned and of submitting, and not to be haggled over/ He sent the delegation back, declaring that he would march against their kingdom.

The Queen comes in submission

When the delegation returned to the kingdom of Sheba and gave the Queen Sulayman’s message, she and her people decided they should obey. In submission she set out to meet Sulayman with her armies. When Sulayman learned of the decision, he was pleased and praised Allah. He wanted to show her a sign to illustrate the power of Allah and His blessings to Sulayman. He decided to present her with her own throne which was guarded by her strong, trustworthy men. He asked his Council to bring her throne to him before the Queen’s great retinue arrived.

The throne was brought miraculously to Sulayman in the shortest possible time. Then, Sulayman commanded some of the finer details of the throne to be altered so that he could test whether the Queen would recognize it when she saw it. If she did not recognize it, that would prove that she was short-sighted in still finer matters that are even more difficult to grasp.

A great pavilion of glass

Sulayman commanded his builders, both jinn and men, to build a great pavilion with water flowing under a glass floor. Anyone who did not know the truth of the matter would have thought that they were really stepping into water. The Queen would surely assume that it was water and raise the hem of her dress above the water, and her mistake would be clear. She would then realize that she was short-sighted and had been deceived by outward appearances. She and her people were bowing to the sun because it was the clearest source of light and life, which are but two of Allah’s attributes. Then the veil would fall from her eyes and she would realize that just as she had made a mistake in assuming the glass to be water when she raised the hem of her dress, so too she had been mistaken when she treated the sun as the Creator by prostrating to it and worshipping it.

The Queen surrenders with Sulayman to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds

All of that indeed happened. The Queen fell into this absurd error in spite of her cleverness. She thought that the glass was flowing, glistening water. She raised the hem of her dress above what she thought was the water.

Then the Prophet of Allah, Sulayman, informed her of her mistake, saying: ‘It is a pavilion paved with crystal.’ The veil fell from her eyes and she recognized her ignorance in taking an outward appearance at face value by worshipping the sun and prostrating to it. She was quick to exclaim: ‘My Lord, I have wronged myself! I surrender with Sulayman to Allah, the Lord of all being.’

The Qur’an tells the story of Sulayman

Read this splendid, delightful story in the Qur’an. Allah says:

He searched among the birds. Then he said: ‘How is it that I do not see the hoopoe? Or is he one of the absent? I will punish him with a harsh punishment or I will slaughter him or he will bring me a good reason.’ But he did not delay long. He said: 7 have learned what you do not know. / have brought you sure news from Sheba. I found a woman ruling over them and she has been given some of everything and she has an immense throne. I found her and her people prostrating to the sun instead of Allah. Satan has made their actions seem fair to them and has barred them from the way. They are not guided, so they do not prostrate to Allah who brings forth what is hidden in the heavens and the earth. He knows what you conceal and what you make known. There is no god but Him, the Lord of the Immense Throne.’

He said: ‘We will see if you have spoken the truth or whether you are one of the liars. Take this letter of mine and throw it to them. Then turn back from them and see how they return.’

She said: ‘O Council! a noble letter has been cast to me. It is from Sulayman. It says: “In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Do not rise up against me, but come to me in surrender.” She said: ‘O Council, give me your opinion in my affair. / am not in the habit of taking a firm decision in an affair until you bear witness to me.’

They said: ‘We possess power and great might. The affair is up to you. Consider what command you will give.’

She said: ‘When kings enter a city, they lay waste to it and make its mighty people abased. They will behave like that. / will send them a gift and see what answer the messengers bring back.’

When he came to Sulayman, he (Sulayman) said: ‘What, would you assist me with wealth when what Allah has given me is better than what He has given you? No, you delight in your gift! Go back to them. We will come against them with armies which they cannot resist and we will drive them out of there, abased and utterly humbled.’

He said: ‘O Council, which of you can bring me her throne before they come to me in surrender?’ A powerful one of the jinn said: 7 will bring it to you before you rise from your seat. I have the strength to do that and / am trustworthy.’ The one who had knowledge of the Book said: ‘I will bring it to you before your glance returns to you.’

When he saw it settled before him, he said: ‘This is part of the bounty of my Lord in order to test me to see whether I will be thankful or ungrateful. Whoever gives thanks, gives thanks for himself. Whoever is ungrateful, my Lord is Rich, Generous.’ He said: ‘Disguise her throne for her. We will see if she is guided or if she is one of those who are not guided.’

When she came, it was said: ‘Is your throne like that?’ She said: ‘It is as though the very same.’ ‘We were given the knowledge before her and we were in surrender, but what she worshipped instead of Allah prevented her (understanding) or she was one of the people who disbelieve. ‘ She was told: ‘Enter the pavilion.’ When she saw it, she supposed that it was open water and bared her legs. He said: ‘It is a pavilion covered with crystal.’ She said: 7 have wronged myself. I surrender with Sulayman to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds.’ (27: 20^4)

This was what the Prophet of Allah, Sulayman, was like. He stood firm in his call for the Oneness of Allah. He had wisdom, understanding, and strong zeal for the true religion and its purity.

Sulayman believed, but the Satans did not believe

Yet the Jews attributed to Sulayman, sorcery, disbelief, and compromise with idol-worship. They even said that his wives had been able to weaken his belief in the unity of Allah. But Allah has declared that he was innocent of all these things. Allah said: ‘Sulayman did not unbelieve. The satans unbelieved and taught people magic.’ (38: 30) And: ‘We gave to Da’ud, Sulayman. What an excellent servant he was! He was penitent.’ And: ‘He had a near place in Our presence and an excellent return.’ (38: 40)

О MUHAMMAD SALOH

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