(SOLOMON THE WISE)
Prophet Suleiman is known as "Suleiman the Wise" because Allah
Almighty gave him special powers. His wisdom which showed at an early age was highly admired.
Suleiman, the son of Prophet Dawood, was born in Palestine. His
father was the Prophet and the Ruler of that area. During Prophet Dawood's reign the kingdom flourished and the people were very content.
Suleiman was unique in that he had a special upbringing. He was
raised in the household of a Prophet who was the Ruler of a thriving nation. He was endowed with an exceptional mind and a keen sense of observation. Allah gave him the
Hidaaya, meaning special spiritual care and guidance.
DID SULEIMAN OBSERVE?
Suleiman had often watched his father, Dawood, hold court—his father
would sit on his throne. Dignitaries of high level respectfully stood offering suggestions or discussing matters of importance with the king.
Suleiman had a very keen mind. He recognized that Dawood's people
were pleased with the rule and highly satisfied with his father's decisions. This was true not only in the court,
but also in the streets of the towns. Suleiman understood that the
people's happiness was because his father was extremely fair in his judgment, the way only a Prophet can be.
GIVE ME AN EXAMPLE OF HIS OBSERVATION.
It was a special day for Suleiman (Solomon). He was about eleven
years old and present in the court of his father. Suleiman was standing at a distance as the court proceeded as usual.
Two people, very angry with each other, came to the court for a
judgment. One of the two was a farmer who worked hard growing crops on his land. The crops were maturing and harvest time was soon approaching and to his dread this farmer
discovered a large flock of sheep invading his land and quickly destroying the crops. He was distraught and extremely upset over his loss. So, he demanded immediate
compensation, for he held the shepherd responsible for the destruction.
As emotional as the farmer and the shepherd were, and when the two
men finished telling their complaint, Prophet Dawood waited before passing judgment. He felt sympathetic toward the farmer because of his loss and was disturbed with the
shepherd for letting the sheep ruin the crops.
Prophet Dawood then delivered his judgment, a very simple and direct
judgment. Prophet Dawood said, "The flock of sheep must go to the farmer to compensate for his loss. The shepherd will be left with no sheep."
Silence fell upon the courtroom. The stillness was then broken by Suleiman, the eleven year
old, who wanted to speak. When he started to talk his father and the court dignitaries turned toward him in surprise. Despite his age Suleiman boldly stated that he
disagreed with his father's decision! He felt a different solution would be more fair to both the farmer and the shepherd. His suggestion was that to compensate for his
losses, the farmer would keep the sheep for one year, to benefit from their milk and wool. At the same time, the farmer would also plant his land and wait for the crops to
grow. In so doing, the shepherd would only lend his flock of sheep to the farmer rather than losing it completely. The solution therefore would satisfy the two sides, as the
losses and the compensation were equitable.
A smile drew on Prophet Dawood's face, since he immediately sensed
that his son's judgment was very reasonable. It was much better than his own judgment and impartial to both sides. The people in the court felt the same way. Prophet
Dawood then said, "Yes, your suggestion is better. Let us carry it out." This example shows us how wise Suleiman was even at a very early age, and how understanding his
DID PROPHET SULEIMAN BECOME A
Suleiman became a Prophet and a ruler too. When his father,
Prophet Dawood died, the new ruler was Suleiman. He was known to everyone to be righteous and fair-minded, and was loved and admired for these qualities. Suleiman was noted
for his wisdom and high character.
Under his rule his nation prospered even more because he was such a
Allah gave Suleiman special powers not only to understand people
well but also to understand the instincts of animals. He could understand their ways, habits, and mode of communication. In other words, Suleiman could understand the
"language" of the animals.
As a Prophet and King, Suleiman had a powerful military that was
well trained and well equipped, and the forces were very well administered under him. Suleiman had to fight a number of battles, none for revenge or lust of power, rather for
the cause of the Almighty and righteousness.
However, with the passage of time Suleiman became preoccupied with
horses as well as worldly affairs. Sensing this, a bad governor of one of the northern provinces revolted against Suleiman. The revolt spread and a fierce war erupted with
the governor leading the forces against Suleiman. The governor was not a true believer in Allah.
Suleiman and his forces could not stand in the face of the enemy
since the enemy was too strong and powerful. Suleiman lost many battles and the enemy even captured Jerusalem the capital. Suleiman and his army were left with only a small
territory of the country.
Having a keen mind, Suleiman had a jarring feeling similar to a
sudden awakening. Suleiman felt that Allah was testing him, since he was paying more attention to his worldly affairs lately instead of concentrating on work for Allah. He
prayed to Allah, powerfully so, asking His help and guidance. Suleiman became ever more determined to tend to Allah's work. He felt revitalized and confidant as if by magic
his vigor was renewed and his strength was back.
Suleiman collected his shattered forces and infused enthusiasm among
them toward serving the Almighty. With the renewed energy the forces went to battle with a zeal hard to match. They fought hard and won, the victory was theirs for the sake
of the Almighty, and Suleiman regained his throne. The kingdom was once again united, and Suleiman the Prophet was set to work for Allah in an ever more determined manner.
SULEIMAN BUILDS A TEMPLE:
Having much wealth, being wise and a good administrator, Suleiman
began to build a unique temple for the worship of Allah Almighty. Thousands, if not tens of thousands were employed including the best of craftsmen. (Surah
27: Ayah 17-19). They worked very hard and step by step the beautiful temple was built as a masterpiece
and a beauty to behold. It took a number of years before it was finished.
What a beautiful feeling it was to glorify and worship Allah (swt)
in the new temple! The building was huge, magnificent in design, and very attractive. The temple gave a sense of awesome depth and grandeur with many arches supporting its
high ceiling. It was adorned by many ornaments, with brass statues among others. Even the floor did not escape detail as it consisted of special glass to make one feel like
walking on water.
The temple became a central theme, and he who worshipped in it was struck by its beauty and
splendor. This was especially true of Balkees, the Queen of Sheba.
WHO IS QUEEN BALKEES?
Quite famous, Balkees was a queen of the land called Sabaa
or Sheba (now Yemen). She ruled a rich and powerful country. Her throne was famous for being magnificent and renowned for its splendor.
Suleiman's secret agent (Hud'hud is a hoopoe, a special species of bird. See Surah 27: Ayah 20)
noted that the people of Sabaa' were worshipping the sun, the moon, and the stars. This mode of worship was not unusual in these ancient times.
But Balkees was a queen of remarkable intellect and was endowed with
good sense. She was fair, and reputed to consult her trusted ones.
WHAT DID HUD'HUD DO?
Having left the land of Sabaa' Hud'hud headed for Palestine, to tell
Prophet Suleiman about his discoveries—of Balkees and her countrymen worshipping the sun, moon, and the stars.
It was distressful to all, especially to Prophet Suleiman, to hear what Hud'hud had to say.
Having heard of the upsetting news, Prophet Suleiman sent emissaries to Balkees, with a firm but friendly message. The message was frank and to the point—it called Queen
Balkees and her community to the belief in the Oneness of Allah and to follow His directives.
WHAT DID QUEEN BALKEES DO?
For some time Balkees had heard about Suleiman's faith, the Oneness
of God and the remarkable teachings. Although the faith was appealing, yet everyone in her country continued to worship the sun as their giver of life!
But now, having formally received a request toward the Truth from
Prophet Suleiman, Queen Balkees held a council. The matter was serious, and though appealing it had to be thoroughly discussed. After much deliberation the council decided
to send gifts to entice Prophet Suleiman and gain his friendship—jewelry, gold, and precious stones. They wrongly thought Prophet Suleiman was interested in material riches,
little did they realize the seriousness of Suleiman's religious call.
Prophet Suleiman felt very offended once he found out about the
gifts from the Queen. He assumed Balkees has misinterpreted his message, and to correct any confusion, arrangements were made for the Queen of Sheba to visit Prophet
Suleiman. "Let her come and see," was the suggestion, "Let her council and dignitaries be the guests of Jerusalem, we will answer all their questions." (Surah
27: Ayah 39)
BALKEES VISIT SULEIMAN?
Balkees and her council lost no time in preparing for the trip to
visit Suleiman. The journey was very long and tiresome as Jerusalem was more than 1500 miles north. Traveling on camels, wind storms, and meager food caused their traveling
to be difficult and lengthy. The terrain was mostly vast desert with occasional rugged mountains dispersed along the way. The journey took a few months, and the travelers
were weary before reaching Jerusalem. Finally, Balkees and her court set foot in Jerusalem safe and sound.
They received a warm welcome. "A nice way to be received," the
impressed Balkees thought. The host country under the leadership of Prophet Suleiman welcomed everyone very warmly.
WHAT DID BALKEES SEE?
Having rested for a short period Balkees and her court were anxious
to see the famous temple as they heard so much about it, the grand temple of Suleiman. They wanted to see its beauty, its architecture, and everything in it.
A very large crowd gathered to welcome the Queen. She, along with
King Suleiman, were at the head of a long procession. The people were excited and curious. The procession proceeded slowly and it finally arrived.
The temple was a delightful surprise, it was simply magnificent.
It was majestic, elegant, and so beautiful. It was big and well proportioned, ornate and refined. Its majestic elegance forced Balkees to gape at the surrounding beauty.
The queen climbed some steps and as she went inside she was
startled! She thought she was wading through water and reflexly raised her garment exposing her legs! This was regarded as very undignified, especially for a queen. Queen
Sheba, out of embarrassment, became red in the face.
Seeing what happened, Suleiman immediately explained to her that the
temple's floor was made of glass in such a way as to make a person think he is walking on water! (Surah
27: Ayah 44) This, he proclaimed, was one of the wonders of the temple.
Queen Sheba felt better, and continued her enjoyment of the temple,
admiring its design, high ceilings, mirrors, bronze statues, and rugs. The temple, she felt, was an inspiration for anyone who wanted to worship the Almighty.
DID BALKEES WORSHIP?
The occasion being proper, Prophet Suleiman lost no time to tell
Balkees about Allah and His religion. He discussed the high morals the religion requires, and how it encourages goodness and prohibits evil. Suleiman discussed the Hereafter
with her, and the rewards of those who believe in God, please Him, and abide by His teachings.
Balkees, the Queen of Sheba, was open-minded and she listened
well. The discussions went on for a number of days, and eventually excellent results emerged. Not only was she impressed by Suleiman, but more so by what he told her during
their meetings. This was also true of her entourage, those who came with her from Sabaa'.
The journey proved wonderful as Balkees the Queen, along with her
escorts decided to accept and follow the new religion! They became believers, believing in Allah and following His Directives, and living within its bounds of ethics.
DID THEY GO BACK TO THEIR COUNTRY?
Queen Balkees and her entourage returned to their country and the
whole population listened to their story. Happily, the people decided to change and believe in Allah. They wanted to learn and follow His Commands. Thus, Prophet Suleiman,
in an indirect way, changed a whole country by encouraging its Queen to become a believer.
SULEIMAN LEAVE A BOOK?
Unlike his father Prophet Dawood, Suleiman did not leave a written
Heavenly Book. The information about Prophet Suleiman comes from the Holy Quran. He is mentioned in other Holy Books but not in such detail as the Holy Quran.
Prophet Suleiman was given great powers that no one else has ever possessed.
Ø Allah (swt)
endowed Suleiman with the power to understand the instincts, habits, customs, and mode of communication of animals—so he could easily understand their language. (Surah
27: Ayah 17)
Ø Allah also
gave Suleiman the power over some atmospheric happenings, such as wind matters and other natural phenomena. (Surah
21: Ayah 81)
these phenomena Prophet Suleiman communicated with the Jinns. The Jinns are beings, not seen, who are either good or evil. When the Jinns heard that Queen Balkees had
decided to visit Jerusalem, one of them offered to Suleiman to bring her throne to Jerusalem within the blink of an eye. This
type of power is mysterious to our senses, but is mentioned in the Holy Quran. Why did Allah (swt) specify Suleiman in this favor, no one knows, but it is the Wisdom of the
Creator. (Surah 27: Ayah 17)
Prophet Suleiman died of old age, after which the Israelite
government never reached the heights of glory as it did during his times or the times of his father, Prophet Dawood.
One of the greatest Prophets was to come later, to bless the people
with Allah's teachings, and to correct numerous misconceptions and false ideas that crept into the religion. His name was Prophet Isa (Jesus), may Allah's blessings be with
him. He was called the Messiah, or Christ, meaning "The Good Teacher, the Anointed one."
Unlike the Christian views, we know Christ was only a great Prophet,
whom Muhammad (pbuh) called a brother. Jesus was a Prophet like many others before him, and he is held in great reverence for his Prophethood. He was the exalted teacher,
the outstanding one for he taught the substance religion, in its deep and pure meaning. Unfortunately, Christians twisted Jesus' teachings and ultimately deified him (made him
into a God). Much confusion resulted from Christians until, by Allah's grace, Muhammad (pbuh) was distinguish with the Prophethood, to deliver Allah's final Message.
SULEIMAN (a.s.): Outline
He manifested wisdom since he was a child
He became King after his father
He had great capacity to understand nature and the instincts of animals
He built the magnificent temple
Balkees was summoned, visited, and impressed
Balkees became a believer
Interested in horses, he lost part of country
Suleiman later regained lost territories
Suleiman, famous for his wisdom, was also renowned for the capability of
understanding nature, especially the instincts of animals and birds. Allah gave him mastery over these things, more than anyone else.
In whose house was Suleiman raised?
How old was Suleiman when he suggested a solution for the farmer and the shepherd?
What was Suleiman's suggestion about the farmer and the shepherd?
Was Suleiman anything other than a Ruler?
With what did Allah (swt) gift Suleiman?
Describe the powers over natural phenomena which Allah bestowed upon Suleiman.
What is meant by saying, "Prophet Suleiman had power over some natural phenomena"?
With what was Suleiman occupied at a certain stage in his life?
How did Suleiman almost lose his kingdom?
Describe what Suleiman built which was the pride of everyone.
Describe the floor of the temple of Suleiman.
Who was Hud'hud, and how did he help Suleiman?
Who was Balkees?
What did the people of Sabaa' worship?
What was Suleiman's reaction in receiving the gifts from Balkees?
Did Balkees decide to visit Suleiman?
Explain Balkees' reaction when she visited the temple.
Describe the ornaments in the temple of Suleiman.
What did Balkees do when she entered the temple?
Did Balkees convert to Suleiman's faith right away?
Balkees and her court came to visit Suleiman, did her court convert too?
How far is Sabaa' from Jerusalem?
Did Suleiman leave a Holy Book, and if yes what is its name?
What kind of a ruler was Suleiman?
How were the conditions of the country during Suleiman's reign?