Prophet Sulayman [Solomon] (Peace be upon him)
He (Sulayman) said "O my Lord! Forgive me, and grant me a Kingdom which (it may be), suits not another after me: for Thou art the Grantor of Bounties (without measure)."
Then We subjected the Wind to his power, to flow gently to his order, whithersoever he willed―
As also the evil ones, (including) every kind of builder and diver―
As also others bound together in fetters. (Sa’d, 35-38)
THE PROPHET SULAYMAN (SOLOMON)
The Prophet Dawud had 19 sons. Sulayman was one of them.1
Allah Almighty made him the successor of Hz. Davud as a ruler and prophet among these 19 brothers.2
Therefore, the Prophet Dawud loved his son, Sulayman a lot and gave great importance to his education and upbringing. Hz. Davud made his son sit on the right of him beginning from his early ages to enable him to see the cases and to learn how to decide justly between people.
Once, two men came into the presence of Hz. Dawud and asked him to settle their disagreement. Hz. Sulayman was next to his father as usual.
One of the men said,
"This man's sheep entered my field and destroyed my crops. I want my right from him." The Prophet Dawud asked the owner of the sheep,
"Is he telling the truth?" He said,
"Yes, O Dawud! He is right. I will accept your decree."
Hz Dawud asked how much damage the sheep caused in the field. The total damage was equal to the value of the sheep. Thereupon, Hz. Davud decreed as follows:
"The owner of the field will get your sheep. Thus, you will be even."
Upon this decree, the owner of the sheep started to brood over the issue. He had nothing other than his sheep. How was he going to look after his family if he gave them to the man? How was he going to earn his living?
Just then, Hz. Dawud's son, Hz. Sulayman intervened:
"Dear Dad! I have a different idea regarding the issue. The owner of the sheep will look after the field until it returns to its previous state. During this period, the owner of the field will make use of the milk and lambs of the sheep. When the field returns to its previous state, the owner of the sheep will give the field back to its owner and receive his sheep back. Thus, nobody will lose anything."
This decree pleased both parties; Hz. Dawud also liked it. He decreed in accordance with his son's suggestion and settled the issue.3
This incident showed that Hz. Sulayman became mature enough to decide about the cases of the people.
As a matter of fact, one year after this incident, Hz. Dawud died. His son, Sulayman, who was 12 years old, replaced him.
A UNIQUE SULTANATE
Hz. Sulayman was a skilled and intelligent person in terms of administration. He started to rule his country with justice after his father.
When he ascended the throne, Allah said to him,
"I will give you anything you wish." Hz. Sulayman said,
"O Lord! Then, give me a sultanate that nobody can reach. You are the best of those who grant." Thus, he wanted a unique sultanate.4
Allah accepted this prayer of Sulayman's. He put the wind under his command. The wind blew in the direction that Hz. Sulayman ordered.5 It blew so fast that it covered a distance of two months from the morning to the evening.6
Thanks to the knowledge and art granted by Allah Almighty to scholars and artisans, molten copper spring flowed in the country of Hz. Sulayman.
The tafsir scholars state that the molten copper spring flowed for three days and that the spring was in San'a Yemen.7
Another bounty given to Hz. Sulayman was that jinn and devils were chained and put under his command. They were artisans like builders of buildings and palaces, divers extracting oysters and corals.8 They had to work in the presence of Hz. Sulayman. Anyone who kept away from working was punished severely. If they moved away from the place they had to work a bit, they would find themselves near a burning fire.9
Upon the request of Hz. Sulayman, the jinn made castles, sculptures, big pools, pots and pans, big and heavy cauldrons.10
It was not forbidden to make sculptures during the reign of Hz. Sulayman. They made sculptures of prophets and righteous people. People worshipped like them by seeing them. It is understood from verse 13 of the chapter of Saba that big dinner tables were prepared during the reign of Hz. Sulayman and that the arts related to copper and other metals and the art of architecture were advanced. The other verses related to Hz. Sulayman indicate it clearly.
Allah Almighty granted Hz. Sulayman some other bounties too. He taught Sulayman the language of birds. He gave all of the things and more of what was given to prophets and kings. Jinn, people and birds were soldiers of his army.11
Hz. Sulayman collected all of the books related to magic and talismans and stored them in a depot. Thus, the jinn and people who were occupied in magic lost their strength. During the life of Sulayman, they had to serve him unavoidably.12
THE MAGNIFICENT ARMY OF HZ. SULAYMAN
Hz. Sulayman established a magnificent army from the birds, jinn and people that were put under his command. This army was very disciplined. The soldiers were classified and ranked based on their duties.13 Hz. Sulayman, who established full authority on his land, travelled to other places with this army, which was not given to any other prophets. Since Allah Almighty had given the wind under his command, he sat on the wind with his throne and covered the distance of two months from the morning to the evening.14
IN THE VALLEY OF ANTS
After completing the construction of Masjid al-Aqsa, Hz. Sulayman set off for Makkah for hajj with his magnificent army. After staying there for a while, he headed for Yemen.15 According to a narration, when he arrived in the Valley of Ants,16 the following incident took place:
The hardworking ants had spread all over the valley to find food. The head of the ants was the queen ant.17 When she saw that Hz. Sulayman's army was coming, she addressed the other ants politely as follows:
"O ants! Get into your habitations lest Sulayman's army should crush you without knowing it.”18
Hz. Sulayman, who knew the language of ants as a grace of Allah, smiled when he heard the queen ant. Hz. Sulayman liked it when he saw that the ants worked in unity and systematically and that the queen ant did not think of bad things about him and his army.19
Hz Sulayman felt moved when he understood the speech of the queen ant with the permission of Allah Almighty. He started to pray his Lord in order to thank Him for this bounty:
"O my Lord! So order me that I may be grateful for your favors which you have bestowed on me and on my parents and that I may work the righteousness that will please you. Admit me by your grace to the ranks of your righteous servants.”20
THE NEWS BROUGHT BY HUDHUD, THE WATER ENGINEER
After crossing the Valley of Ants with his army, Hz. Sulayman arrived in San'a near Yemen. He encamped there because he liked the land. However, there was no water there. The hoopoe called Hudhud in the army of Hz. Sulayman was in charge of finding water in the desert. Every soldier, including animals, had a duty in the army of Hz. Sulayman. The duty of Hudhud was to find water.
Whenever Hudhud found water, it would fly in circles over the place where it found water.
When the army needed water, Hz. Sulayman looked for Hudhud but could not find it. For, when Hz. Sulayman entered the desert, Hudhud saw another hoopoe in the air and went near it. That bird gave him some information. They flew away together in order to see what the other bird narrated.21
When Hz. Sulayman did not see Hudhud, he asked,
"Does anybody know where Hudhud is?" They said,
"We do not know." When he heard this answer, he felt annoyed.
The army could have been left thirsty. Hudhud violated the military discipline by leaving without permission. Its punishment was severe. Due to this disobedience of Hudhud, Hz. Sulayman spoke as follows: in order to intimidate the others:
"If Hudhud does not bring me any news that will compensate this unpermitted leave, I will punish him severely. I may even have it slaughtered.”22
Soon, Hudhud arrived. He went into the presence of Hz. Sulayman to tell him about its excuse. He started to talk in excitement:
"I found out something that you do not know. I brought you some true and important news from the nation of Saba (a nation called by the name of their ancestors in Yemen).”23 Then, he spoke as follows:
"I found a woman ruling over them. She was provided with every requisite. She has a magnificent throne. Unfortunately, I found her and her people worshipping the sun besides Allah: Satan has made their deeds seem pleasing in their eyes, and has kept them away from the Path; so they receive no guidance. Allah!― there is no god but He!― Lord of the Throne Supreme!”24
The queen mentioned by Hudhud was Balqis, the queen of Saba'.(*) His father's name was Sharahil. He had no sons; therefore, his daughter, Balqis ascended to the throne after his death. She ruled the country very well for twenty years. This country was on the east of the city of San'a with a distance of about three days. Its capital city was Ma’rib.25
Hz. Sulayman listened to what Hudhud said until it finished its words. It had uttered strange things. He did not decide at once. He thought, "Hudhud might have wanted to hide the crime of leaving without permission." He decided to search about it.(*) He said to Hudhud,
"We will see whether you are telling the truth or not." Then, he wrote a letter. He gave the letter to Hudhud and said,
"Take this letter to Saba'. Give it to them. Then, leave them alone and wait in order to get their answer.”26
THE ANSWER OF BALQIS
Hudhud picked the letter with its beak and flew to the country of Balqis. It left the letter in Balqis's room where she could see it. Then, it moved back and started to watch what would happen.
* * *
Balqis ruled her country in a way close to democracy. She had a consultation assembly consisting of 312 members. She convened this assembly regarding important issues about the state and asked the opinions of the members. She did not rule the country based on her own opinion. However, the assembly did not have a binding function. It was a kind of consultation assembly. Balqis always had the last word.27
* * *
When Balqis saw the seal of Hz. Sulayman on the letter, she started to shiver from fear. She convened the assembly immediately. She opened the session by saying,
"Dear members of the assembly! I received a very important letter today."
Then, she read the letter to them. The following was written in the letter:
"This letter is from Sulayman and starts in the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful:
Do not be arrogant against me, but come to me in submission (to the true Religion)."28
After reading the letter, she asked them about their opinions. She said that she always consulted them regarding state affairs and that she never decided something without asking their opinions.29 With those words, she honored an complimented them.
Indeed, a successful administrator does not attribute the achievements and good deeds to himself/herself only; he/she also attributes them to the staff working under his/her command. This style gives more enthusiasm to the staff, makes them work harder and connects them to him/her more. This was the secret of the success of Balqis's administration.
The members of the consultation assembly answered Balqis as follows:
"We are a strong country. We do not avoid fighting. We accept your order. We will do whatever you order.”30
When similar ideas continued to be expressed, Balqis understood that the majority wanted to fight. However, she did not agree with them. She intervened in order to control the situation:
"No, I do not think it is a good idea. War is a disaster that destroys everything. If we are defeated, we will lose everything and be destroyed. For, the winning side has the right to do whatever they want to the defeated side. They will kill, imprison or enslave us. We cannot risk those disasters and misfortunes."31
What Balqis said panicked the assembly. They asked in fear,
"Then, what do you find it appropriate for us to do?" Balqis told them about her suggestion:
"I think we had better send him some valuable presents. The envoy that will take our presents to him will give us some sound information about the power of Sulayman. We can think about what to do better then."32
Everybody accepted Balqis's idea.
Thus, Balqis wanted to find out whether Sulayman, who threatened her, was someone that could be dissuaded by presents or not and whether he was determined to fight or not.
A military and political principle is shown here: Rejecting war unless it is obligatory; sending envoys or even presents between two sides before war or peace and settling the disagreement.”
A committee of envoys was formed. Balqis gave the necessary instructions to the head of the committee and said to him,
"I am sending you to Sulayman with these valuable presents. Observe everything carefully. Tell me what you see when you return." After that, the envoys set off.
THE ENVOYS OF BALQIS
As soon as Hudhud found out what happened in the palace, it returned fast and told Hz. Sulayman about what happened there.
Hz. Sulayman wanted to show the envoys of Balqis the magnificence of his sultanate. He gave orders and had the place where the envoys were going to be met decorated. He arranged armies of people, jinn and birds in ranks. Thus, he showed his grandeur and sultanate.
Eventually, the envoys arrived. They were astounded by the magnificent scene. They started to shiver from fear.
Hz. Sulayman was sitting on his throne; his armies were standing in front of him. The birds were flying over his head to cast shade.
When the envoys saw this grandeur, they realized that their presents were simple. However, they had to fulfill their duty. They gave the presents sent by Balqis to Hz. Sulayman. Hz. Sulayman rejected the presents.
"I will not accept these presents. You can see that Allah gave me much more than you brought to me. I do not need your presents. Besides, you boast about your presents.
Then, he turned toward the head of the envoys and spoke in an angry voice as follows:
"Return to your queen and tell her exactly what I will say to you:
Tell her to stop worshipping the sun and start worshipping Allah. If they do not accept my offer, I swear by Allah that I will attack with my armies and humiliate all of them. I will destroy her country.33
The envoys took back the presents that they had brought arrogantly and returned meekly. When they returned, they told Balqis all of what they had seen and heard:
"Our presents had no value in the presence of his property. He has such a sultanate that jinn act upon his orders, birds protect him from the sun and winds blow in the direction that he wants."
Balqis asked the envoys,
"What did he tell you?" The envoys answered:
"He told us to stop worshipping the sun and start worshipping Allah, whom he worships and who is one, and that he would attack us with his magnificent army otherwise."
The issue was clear. Balqis asked the envoys,
"What is your view?" They said,
"It is impossible for us to cope with Sulayman. To fight him means to be eliminated".
Balqis thought for a long time. She realized that it was impossible to attain such a magnificent sultanate and unique facilities through human power only and that an extraordinary power was involved. She told this view of hers to the assembly and offered them to surrender to Hz. Sulayman. The members of the assembly accepted her offer.
THE THRONE OF BALQIS
Balqis wanted to go to Sulayman with a big group of commanders and state administrators and to meet him face to face. She started to make preparations. She sent a messenger to Hz. Sulayman before setting off. She wrote the following in the letter she sent:
"I am coming to you with the administrators of my nation. I want to see your sultanate and learn the religion that you want us to accept."
Balqis wanted to keep her throne, which was very valuable, in a safe place until she returned. She put it in a sound and secret place in her palace. She locked the door to keep it safe. Nobody was going to be able to find and touch it.34
When Hz. Sulayman found out that she set off with the administrators of her nation, he understood that she wanted to become a Muslim. He wanted to show the magnificence of his sultanate and to cause her to believe without hesitation through a miracle. He remembered the throne that Hudhud had praised. If he brought the throne from Saba', he would attain what he planned. He summoned the notables of the jinn and people under his command and said to them,
"Who can bring the valuable throne of Balqis before she comes here?"
There was a group of very strong and talented jinn among the army of Hz. Sulayman. They were called ifrits (demons).35 Upon this question of Hz. Sulayman, one of them said,
"I can bring it to you before you stand up. You can be sure of it." 36
Meanwhile, one of Hz. Sulayman's ministers, who was very knowledgeable and who had a strong belief in Allah intervened:
"I can bring it to you within the twinkling of an eye."37 This scholar was famous for his knowledge and skill about teleportation of things. Thereupon, Hz. Sulayman ordered him to bring the throne.
Hz. Sulayman saw the throne in front of him before he finished his sentence. The knowledgeable and religious minister kept his promise and brought the throne from Saba', a place many kilometers away, within the twinkling of an eye.
Hz. Sulayman examined the throne thoroughly. It was really beautiful. It was made of solid gold and decorated with red rubies and precious brilliants.
Hz. Sulayman thanked Allah for the great skill one of his men showed. He said to himself,
"This is definitely grace of my Lord, who tests me. He tests me whether I will thank or show ingratitude. Anybody who thanks Him thanks for himself. As for anyone who shows ingratitude, my Lord does not need his thanks."38
The Prophet Sulayman always thanked Lord for the sultanate and bounties that had not been given to anybody else and he never forgot that they were a means of testing.
According to Ibn Abbas, the scholar that brought the throne of Balqis was Asaf bin Barqiya, the minister of Hz. Sulayman.
Hz. Sulayman himself could have brought the throne of Balqis. That he made one of his men do it shows the majesty and uniqueness of his sultanate. The incident would have been a miracle for the Prophet Sulayman but it became a karamah for his minister.39
As a result of the technological developments in this century, man has been able to approach the miracle of teleportation and has been able to do similar things. Sound and image are transferred in a second from thousands of kilometers away. They take place as a result of the scientific discovery of some laws imposed by Allah Almighty in the universe. Acting upon the sound and image transportation by telephones, wireless, telegram, radio, television, etc, it is possible to say that things can be teleported in the future.40
The Prophet Sulayman ordered his men to make a crystal mansion. He also ordered them to make a big pool in the yard and fill it with water before Balqis came. He also had fish and similar creatures put in it. He had it covered with transparent glass.41
He had some small changes made on the throne of Balqis in order to test Balqis’s intelligence and understanding. Then, he had the throne placed on the pool. It looked as if it was standing on water.
Finally, Balqis arrived with her men. The Prophet Sulayman welcomed them. They walked toward the crystal mansion together. Hz. Sulayman showed Balqis her throne and asked her,
"Is your throne like that?"
Balqis looked at the throne in surprise. It was like her own throne. There were only a few minor changes. Was it possible? She had hidden her throne in a secret room in her palace and had locked the door. Therefore, she answered Hz Sulayman in an astonished way:
"Yes, it is just like my throne." Hz. Sulayman said,
"Yes, it is your throne. I had it brought from your country. If you want, you can approach it and look at it carefully."
Balqis started to roll up her skirt thinking that it was standing on water. Hz. Sulayman told her about it by smiling:
"Do not fear! The water is covered by glass. You will not get wet. Balqis approached the throne and saw that it was her own throne. She said,
Yes, it is my throne. I have no doubt about it now. She realized that Hz. Sulayman was a messenger of Allah and that she was wrong to have worshipped the sun. She turned her face toward the sky and said,
"O Lord! I have indeed wronged my soul: I do now submit in Islam with Sulayman to the Lord of the Worlds."42
After Balqis's belief, the administrators with her also believed in Allah. Then, the people of Saba' also believed. They stopped worshipping the sun and started to worship Allah.
According to some narrations,43 Hz. Sulayman married Balqis and sent her back to her country as the ruler of it.
HZ. SULAYMAN’S LOVE OF HORSES
After the Queen of Yemen, Balqis talked to Hz. Sulayman and believed in him, many rulers from the east and the west came and obeyed Hz. Sulayman; they sent him many presents.44
Hz. Sulayman had about one thousand horses; he received some of them as presents and some of them as booty after wars. They were purebred Arab horses stepping on three feet and one hoof; they were very fast. They were noble animals with beautiful postures. Hz. Sulayman loved them very much and took care of them. Hz. Sulayman’s love toward horses was not due to his soul. He regarded them as Allah's creatures created with distinguished characteristics. Indeed, the horse was a symbol of heroism, victory and conquest for warriors. Hz. Sulayman was also a warrior.
The horse is one of the distinguished creatures used as a means of vow in the Quran by Allah:
“By the (Steeds) that run, with panting (breath),
And strike sparks of fire,
And push home the charge in the morning,
And raise the dust in clouds the while,
And penetrate forthwith into the midst (of the foe) en masse―”.45
Once, it was about the evening.
Hz. Sulayman wanted his best and fastest horses to be brought. He loved and patted them. He stated the following lest those near him should think he loved them for his soul:
"Truly do I love the love of good horses with a view to the glory of my Lord.”46
After that, he released them. They started to run fast leaving a dust of cloud behind.
Hz. Sulayman left the horses free for a while. Then he ordered his servants to bring them back. When the horses came, he passed his hand over their legs and their necks.47 Thus, he taught his nation about the importance of horses. For, at that time, people generally used horses to fight the enemy, to carry things and to do some other things.
As a matter of fact, the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Good things are written on the foreheads of horses up to the Day of Judgment. They are used in many ways.”48
The following is stated in the Quran:
“Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies of Allah and your enemies.”49
DEATH OF THE PROPHET SULAYMAN
This magnificent and pompous sultanate of the Prophet Sulayman's lasted for 40 years.50 He never stopped thanking his Lord during this period. He did not feel spoiled and he did not deviate relying on his power and wealth.
Allah Almighty made the most evil jinn work under the command of Hz. Sulayman under torture during this 40-year period. This was a power and sultanate that had not been given to any human being. Hz. Sulayman forced the jinn to work in various jobs like building cities and palaces, extracting oysters and corals from the sea. He also forced the jinn to make castles, sculptures, pools, pots and pans, big and heavy cauldrons.
The jinn had to work under the command of the Prophet Sulayman whether they liked it or not. Anyone who loafed around was punished severely.
People generally accepted that jinn knew about the future and the unknown things. Jinn also thought that they knew the unknown. Allah Almighty showed their weaknesses and unimportance during the reign of Hz. Sulayman. Allah was going to show that they did not know about the unknown through the death of Hz. Sulayman too.
Hz. Sulayman started the construction of a big temple during the last years of his reign. The jinn worked very hard in the construction of this temple called Masjid al-Aqsa (the Farthest Mosque) and Bayt al-Maqdis (the Holy House), which is regarded as the holiest temple after the Kaaba.
One day, Hz. Sulayman was checking their work leaning on his walking stick. The construction of the temple was about to finish. The jinn were very tired and wanted to rest.
However, Hz. Sulayman was watching them leaning on his walking stick; therefore, they did not dare to stop. Meanwhile, Hz. Azrail arrived and took his spirit. The jinn, who thought they knew about the unknown, thought he was alive and continued working although they were tired. This situation lasted for days. A woodworm started to gnaw the walking stick of the Prophet Sulayman days ago. When the construction of the temple ended, the woodworm finished gnawing the stick. The stick broke and Hz. Sulayman fell down. Only then did the people and the jinn notice that he had died. If the woodworm had not gnawed the stick, nobody would have known that he had died. Upon this incident, the jinn spoke as follows:
"If we knew the unknown, we would have known about the death of the Prophet Sulayman." It became apparent that they did not know about the unknown.51
DIVISION OF CHILDREN OF ISRAEL INTO TWO AND BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY
After the death of Hz. Sulayman, his son succeeded him. However, only the clans of Yahuda and Bunyamin from Children of Israel accepted his sultanate. The other ten clans did not accept him. They chose one of the men of Sulayman from the clan of Ephraim as their king. Thus, they established another state. The first state of Children of Israel was called Yahuda and the second was called Israel.
Making use of this division, the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar attacked Children of Israel and ruined Bayt al-Maqdis, Quds and the Masjid. He extracted the gold, silver, oysters, emeralds and other precious metals from the ceiling and walls of the Masjid and took them to his country. Nebuchadnezzar massacred some of Children of Israel in Bayt al-Maqdis. He enslaved some of them and took them to Babylon. He threw the Torah and some books that belonged to prophets and that were hidden in the sculpture into a well and made a fire in the well.
Nebuchadnezzar married Milhan, the daughter of Seltail from Children of Israel that he had enslaved. When Milhan asked him to return the enslaved Children of Israel to their homeland, Children of Israel were allowed to return to Bayt al-Maqdis led by Zerbabil, son of Seltail. They repaired and rebuilt the buildings destroyed in Quds in forty-six years. Zerbabil took out the books that Nebuchadnezzar had thrown into the well and that had not been burnt from the well. Zerbabil had the Torah and other books belonging to prophets reproduced for the first time.
Quds became the capital city of Yahuda state and the kings of this state came from the progeny of Hz. Sulayman. Their situation is similar to that of Islamic caliphs.
Yahuda state was the most legitimate and respectable state in the eye of the people because the tombs of the notables of Children of Israel, Masjid al-Aqsa, the Torah, the Staff of Moses (Musa) and some other holy things were there. The other state of Israel called "Muluk al-Asbat" formed by the other ten clans and their kings were regarded as rebels by the people. Their capital city was Nablus first; but they founded the city of Samaria, also known as Sebastia and moved the capital there. Ten clans of Children of Israel were subjects of this state but they did not apply the religious decrees properly. For a while, they stopped visiting Quds and worshipped like pagans. They started to worship the totem called Baal and deviated from the Shari'ah of Hz. Musa completely.
A kind of paganism occurred in Yahuda state too but it was minor compared to the State of Israel. Due to the scholars in Quds and the Torah read in Masjid al-Aqsa, such wrong beliefs did not develop much.
At that time, Hz. Ilyas and Hz. Alyasa were sent as prophets to Children of Israel.52
LESSONS TO BE TAKEN FROM THE STORY OF HZ. SULAYMAN
a. Hz. Sulayman became a source of consolation for the people who went bankrupt and who lost their property throughout history; he also became a lesson for those who boast about their worldly possessions. He is always mentioned in poems and tales. His exemplary life story is narrated by people all the time. Here are some couplets about him:
They say Sulayman knew the bird language
There is a Sulayman inside Sulayman.
They say Sulayman's throne travelled on air
That sultanate does not exist now.
b. Hz Sulayman covered a distance of two months by riding the wind in a very short time: from the morning till the evening. Today, humankind realized this voyage, which was realized by Sulayman as a miracle by riding the wind, by discovering the laws Allah imposed in the universe and by making some instruments and devices in accordance with those laws.
Rockets, airplanes and helicopters are the best examples to it. The Quran encouraged man to such progress when it mentioned such a miracle 1400 years ago.
This issue is explained as follows: in Sözler (Words):
“For example, the verse which describes one of Hz. Sulayman's miracles, the subjugating of the air says: 'Sulayman traversed the distance of two months in one day by flying through the air.' Thus, it is suggesting in this that the road is open for man to cover such a distance in the air. In which case, o man, since the road is open to you, reach this level and draw close to it! And in meaning Almighty Allah is saying through the tongue of this verse: 'O man? I mounted one of my servants on the air because he gave up the desires of his soul. If you too give up the soul's laziness and benefit thoroughly from certain of my laws in the cosmos, you too may mount it.”53
c. According to the statement of the Quran, one of the significant means of Hz. Sulayman's strong sultanate was melting the copper and using it in making many things. This encourages man to search ores, to process by using them in various fields; it also encourages governments and states to have strong forces. The level of the material progress of the countries whose foundations are based on industry, forging various metals and using them in various fields is clear evidence for it.
d. Hz. Sulayman knew the language and abilities of birds as grace of Allah and used them in his army based on their abilities. For instance, Hudhud (hoopoe) was his water engineer and postman.54
It is certain that we can make use of animals in various fields by knowing them better through scientific research.
e. Hz. Sulayman put jinn, devils and dirty spirits under his command thanks to the power granted to him by Allah and got them to work to do good things. It is understood that jinn, who are also inhabitants of the world, can serve man. It is possible to contact them. Devils can be made stop enmity. They may be forced to serve man.55
As it is understood from the story of Hz. Sulayman in the Quran, it is possible to contact spirits and immaterial beings. However, there is something that is prohibited by the religion of Islam: to do it for material interest and for things that are contrary to the Islamic belief. Badiuzzaman Said Nursi states the following regarding the issue:
"Also, verses about Hz. Sulayman alluding to spirits assuming forms, and his attracting demons and subjugating them indicate both the attraction of spirits, and spirit beings assuming forms. But the attracting of good spirits alluded to here, is not in the manner of 'the cultured', to be disrespectful to spirits in that most utterly serious world and attract them to their own places and to certain playthings, but like one group of the saints like Muhyiddin al-Arabi, who, most seriously and for a serious purpose, met with spirits when they wanted, it is to be attracted to them and to form a relation, and by going to their place and to a degree drawing close to their world, to benefit from their spirituality.”
"Calling spirits (necromancy), which does not originate from religion but from the sensitivity of philosophy, is contrary to the truth and good manners. For, to bring those who are in the highest of the high and in holy levels to the table of the lowest of the low and to the board of toys, which is the place of lies, is complete betrayal and disrespect. It is like calling a king to a small hut. The truth, good manners and respect necessitate elevating like the elevation of saints like Jalaluddin as-Suyuti, Jalaluddin ar-Rumi and Imam Rabbani, approaching them and making use of them."
"This issue comes from philosophy and foreigners; therefore, it may be harmful for believers. It becomes a basis for misuse; there may be one piece of truth in it but there are also ten lies. For, there is no criterion to differentiate between the truth and falseness; so, the jinn that help dirty spirits, and Satan may harm both the heart of a person who is occupied with it and Islam through it. For, under the name of spirituality, information and knowledge contrary to the truths of Islam and general beliefs occur. Some dirty spirits may harm Islam with untrue statements by introducing themselves as clean spirits and as some great saints. They may distort the truth and deceive some gullible people.”
STORIES AND NICE SAYINGS ABOUTHZ. SULAYMAN
According to narrations, Allah will show four people as examples and evidence to people:
To the rich, Hz. Sulayman is shown as evidence. A rich person will say,
"Wealth prevented me from worshipping You." Allah will say,
"You were not richer than Sulayman. His richness did not prevent him from worshipping."
To slaves, Hz. Yusuf (Joseph) is shown as evidence. A slave will say,
"Slavery prevented me from worshipping You." Allah will say,
"Yusuf was also a slave but slavery did not prevent him from worshipping"
To the poor, Hz. Isa (Jesus) is shown as evidence. A poor person will say,
"Poverty prevented me from worshipping You." Allah will say,
"Were you or Isa poorer? Poverty did not prevent him from worshipping."
To the ill, Hz Ayyub is shown as evidence. An ill person will say,
"Illness prevented me from worshipping You." Allah will say,
"Was your illness worse than Ayyub's? His illness did not prevent him from worshipping."
Thus, nobody will have any excuses to mention in the presence of Allah.56
* * *
The following is stated in a hadith: Hz. Sulayman, who is Hz. Dawud's son, did not look upward due to his modesty until he died. He maintained this attitude though he became a king.57
* * *
According to a narration from Abu’d-Darda, one son of Hz. Sulayman died. Hz. Sulayman felt very grieved. Two angels came to him d,sguised as a defendant and plaintiff. One of the angels said,
"This man crushed my crop with his sheep. I want to sue him." The other one said,
"I was leading my sheep on the way. I had to cross his field because he added the road to his field."
Hz. Sulayman asked,
"Did you not know that the road belonged to passers-by and travelers? Why did you cultivate the road?" The plaintiff asked Hz. Sulayman,
"Do you not know that the world is the road to the hereafter? Everybody who comes to the world will pass through it. Why do you grieve so much for your dead son?"
Hz. Sulayman took his lesson from the angel's words and took refuge in Allah.
He started to show patience.58
* * *
According to a narration, Hudhud invited the female hoopoe but she feigned reluctance. She did not accept Hudhud's invitation. Thereupon, Hudhud said,
"Why are you rejecting me? I can destroy the whole world including the throne of Sulayman for you."
Hz. Sulayman heard this sentence, called Hudhud and said,
"Who are you? How can you do it? How do you dare to speak like that?" Hudhud said,
"O Prophet of Allah! The words of lovers are not taken into consideration."59
Indeed, a person who drinks from the glass of love becomes spiritually drunk. A drunken person will speak heedlessly.
Hz Sulayman had a cousin called Asaf. He was extravagant and riotous. According to a narration, Allah said to Sulayman,
"Until when will your cousin continue to rebel against me? I have given him some time but I will punish him in a way that will be proverbial if he goes on like that."
Whwn Hz. Sulayman told Asaf about it, Asaf climbed onto sand hills, turned his face and hands to the sky and prayed as follows:
"O Allah! You are You and I am me. I am a weak slave of you. If you do not grant me some opportunities and do not forgive me, how can I repent? If you do not protect me, how can I be protected and how can I turn to you?"
Thereupon, Allah Almighty said to Asaf,
"You are telling the truth. Repent and turn to me. I have forgiven you. I am the Pardoner and I have mercy.”
This statement of Asaf’s means taking refuge in Allah's mercy from His wrath. 60
* * *
According to a narration of A’mash, Azrail, who was in disguise, visited Hz. Sulayman and looked at a man who was there very carefully. The man noticed it. When Azrail left, the man asked Hz. Sulayman who he was. When he found out that he was Azrail, he said, "He looked at me as if he was going to take my soul. I am scared." Hz. Sulayman asked him, "What do you want me to do?" The man said
"Send me to the other side of India with the wind. Hz. Sulayman did what the man asked. When Hz. Sulayman met Azrail again, he asked Azrail why he had looked at that man like that. Azrail said, "I was ordered to take the soul of that man in the east of India soon. I was surprised to see him here. That is why I looked at him like that."61 Thus, what Allah had predestined took place. The man wanted to escape death but he ran to death.
* * *
Hz. Sulayman asked Azrail,
"How do you know whose souls you are going to take?"
"I do not know more than what you do regarding the issue. The names come to me in a list. I take their souls."62
* * *
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,
"Satan came while I was performing a prayer and struggled me. I caught him by his throat and I swear by Allah that I squeezed it so hard that the coldness of the water of his tongue touched my hand. I left him like that. But for my brother Sulayman's prayer, he would have stayed there like that.”
Jinn had been put under the command of Hz. Sulayman; he had made the following request from Allah in his prayer: "O Lord! Grant me something that will not be given to anyone after me." Due to this prayer, the Messenger of Allah could not bind Satan.63
According to a narration, Hz. Sulayman sent one of the demons to somewhere. Then, he sent somebody else to follow him and to report Hz. Sulayman about what he did. The person who followed the demon returned and said that the demon raised his head up into the air and shook his head by looking at the people. When the demon returned, Hz. Sulayman asked him why he did like that.
The demon said,
"I was surprised at the writing speed of the angels over the heads of the people and how fast the hearts of the people changed. That is why I shook my head."64
* * *
According to a narration, while Hz. Sulayman was going somewhere with some people and jinn on his right and left, his armies behind him and birds over him providing him shade, he visited a person from Children of Israel who was always busy with worshipping.
He said to Hz. Sulayman,
"O son of Dawud! Allah gave you tremendous wealth."
Hz. Sulayman said to him,
"On the Day of Judgment, the record of a glorification of Allah is better than the wealth of Sulayman, son of Dawud. For, the wealth of Sulayman will disappear but the reward of that glorification will not be lost."65
* * *
Hz. Sulayman treated people various food from the wealth he had but he himself ate plain bread. Showing patience during the time of abundance is more important than patience during the time of shortage.66
* * *
Once, Hz. Sulayman went up to the sky so high that he heard the glorification of the angels in the sky. Then, he came down so low that his feet started to touch the sea water. Meanwhile, he heard a voice:
"If Sulayman had the tiniest amount of conceitedness in his heart, I would have lowered him more than I had elevated him.”67
* * *
When Hz. Sulayman got up in the morning, he would go the place where the poor people gathered avoiding going to the meeting place of the heedless rich people. He said, “It fits a weak person to be with weak people.”68
* * *
Hz. Sulayman prayed Allah as follows:
O Allah! When a person comes to this mosque (Masjid al-Aqsa), look at him with mercy and forgive his sins when he leaves the mosque as if he has just been born.”
Allah accepted his request.69
* * *
Hz. Aisha narrates:
"When I was with the Messenger of Allah, I used to play with dolls. When my friends came to play with me, they refrained from him. However, the Messenger of Allah liked it when they came.
Once, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) asked me,
"What are these (toys)?" I said,
"They are my daughters." The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) asked,
"What is the one in the middle?" I said,
"It is a horse." He asked,
"What are those attached onto the horse?" I said,
"They are its wings." The Messenger of Allah asked,
"Can a horse have wings?" I said,
"Have you not heard about it? Hz. Sulayman, son of Dawud, had horses with wings."
Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah smiled showing his white teeth.70
* * *
Ibn Abbas said, "Hz Sulayman was given three choices: property, knowledge and kingdom. He chose knowledge and obtained the other two thanks to it."71
* * *
Abu Siddiq Naji of Tabiun narrates:
"Hz. Sulayman went out for rain prayer with his followers. On the way, he saw an ant lying on its back with its feet upwards. He heard the ant praying, “O Allah! I am also one of your creatures. I need your mercy and the sustenance you will give me. Do not destroy us due to others' crimes.” When Hz. Sulayman heard it, he said,
"Let us go back. The prayer necessary for rain has been made." 72
* * *
According to a narration, Hz. Sulayman was moving in front of the wind. The wind was under his command. It took him wherever he wanted. While he was riding the wind, he looked at his new shirt on him and he liked it. Meanwhile, the wind blew hard and flew the shirt away. Hz. Sulayman got angry and said, "I did not order you to do so. Why did you do that?" The wind said,
"We obey you when you obey Allah."73
* * *
Abu Hurayra narrates:
Once, there were two women each of whom had a son. While they were travelling together, a wolf came and grabbed one of the children of the women (the older woman) and ran away. She said to the younger one,
"The wolf grabbed your son." The other woman said, "No, it grabbed your son." Finally, they decided to apply to Hz. Dawud. He listened to them and decreed in favor of the older woman and gave the child to the older woman. After that, they went to Hz. Sulayman, son of Dawud and told him about his father's decree. Hz. Sulayman said, "Bring me a knife. I will divide the child into two and share it between you." Thereupon, the younger woman said, "Please do not do so. Show mercy. I do not want the child. The child belongs to the older woman." When she spoke like that, Hz. Sulayman decreed that the child belonged to the younger woman.”74 For, the real mother is the one that prefers her son to be taken away from her rather than to be cut into two.
1 Sa’d, 30; Muhammed Hamdi Yazır, V/3663
2 an-Naml, 16
3 see al-Anbiya, 78; Hasan Basri Çantay, II/592, note: 66; Baydawvi, II/88
4 Sa’d, 35.
5 Sa’d, 36
6 Saba', 12
7 Muhammed Hamdi Yazır, ibid, V/3951
8 Sa’d, 37.
9 Muhammed Hamdi Yazır, ibid, V/3952
10 Saba', 13
11 an-Naml, 16-17
12 Muhammed H. Yazır, ibid, I/440
13 an-Naml, 17; M. H. Yazır, ibid, V/3666
14 Saba', 13.
15 M.Hamdi Yazır, ibid, V/3670
16 Bk: an-Naml, 18; H.B. Çantay, II/676, note: 21.
17 H.B. Çantay, ibid, II/677, note:22
18 an-Naml, 18.
19 M.H.Yazır, ibid, V/3668
20 an-Naml, 19
21 M. H.Yazır, ibid, V/3670
22 an-Naml, 21
23 an-Naml, 22-23
24 an-Naml, 24-26
(*) According to what Ibn Abbas narrates, somebody asked the Prophet about Saba': “O Messenger of Allah! What is Saba'? Is it a man, woman or a place?" The Prophet said, “Saba' is the name of a man who had ten children. 6 of them settled in Yemen and 4 of them in Damascus. Those who settled in Yemen were Mazjih, Kinda, Azd, Ash’ariyyun, Anmar and Himyar. They are all Arabs. Those who settled in Damascus were Lahm, Juzam, Amila and Ghassan.” (at-Tirmidhzi, Q. Tafsir, Saba':15)
25 Bilmen, ibid, V, 2533
(*) Especially those who are administrators and make decisions should not believe everything that is said to them and news given to them without checking whether it is true or not. Otherwise, they may give wrong decrees and decisions without noticing. These decisions might cause irreparable harms. As a matter of fact, believers are forbidden from believing in the news given to them and acting accordingly; they are asked to check it first. (al-Hujurat, 6)
26 an-Naml, 27-28
27 Muhammed H.Yazır, ibid, V/3676
28 an-Naml, 30-31
29 an-Naml, 32, M. H. Yazır, ibid, V/3676
30 an-Naml, 33.
31 an-Naml, 34; M. H. Yazır, ibid, V/3677
32 an-Naml, 35
33 an-Naml, 36-37
34 M.H. Yazır, ibid
35 M.H.Yazır, ibid, V/3678
36 an-Naml, 39.
37 an-Naml, 40
38 an-Naml, 40
39 M. H. Yazır, ibid, V/3679-3680
40 Sözler (Words)
41 M. H. Yazır, ibid, V.3683
42 an-Naml, 44
43 M. H. Yazır, ibid, V, 3683
44 A.C.Paşa, ibid, I/34-35
45 al-Adiyat, 1-5
46 Sa’d, 32
47 Sa’d, 33.
48 Ö.N. Bilmen, ibid, VI/3036
49 al-Enfal, 60. Baydawi interprets the word power (quwwah) as anything that helps to be strong at war. In a narration mentioned in Muslim, Baydawi states that the Messenger of Allah said, "Power is to throw (shoot)"; that is, shooting (with cannon, rifle, rocket, etc). see H.B. Çantay, I/265
50 A. C. Paşa, ibid, I/35
51 Saba', 14; H.B. Çantay, ibid, II/763, note: 20
52 A.C.Paşa, ibid, I/35
53 Sözler (Words), 237
54 see Sözler (Words), 242, 243.
55 see Sözler (Words), 240
56 Tanbihu’l-Mughtarrin, 265-266
57 Tanbihu’l-Mughtarrin, 324
58 Ihya, IV, 243
61 Ihya, IV, 837
62 ibid, IV, 834
63 ibid, III, 85.
64 Ihya, III, 261.
65 Ihya, III, 456
66 ibid, III, 495
67 Ihya, III, 720
68 Ihya, III, 735
69 Ihya, II, 630
70 Ihya, II, 693-694
71 Ihya, I, 24
72 Ihya, I, 888
73 Ihya, IV, 97
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