An account of Sulayman
Allah says, “And (We made subservient) to Sulayman, the wind blowing violent, pursuing its course by his command to the land which We had blessed and we are knower of all things: And of the rebellious people there were those who dived for him and did other work besides that; and we kept guard over them;” “And Sulayman was Dawud’s heir, and he said, O men! we have been tangent the language of birds, and we have been given all things; most surely this is manifest grace.” “And (we made) the wind (subservient) to Sulayman, which made a month’s journey in the morning and a month’s journey in the evening and we made a fountain of molten copper to flow out for him; and of the jinn there were those who worked before him by the command of his Lord; and who ever turned aside from Our Command from among them, We made him taste of the punishment of burning. They made for him what he pleased of fortresses and usages, and bowls (large) as watering troughs and cooking pots that will not move from their place; give thanks, O family of Dawud! and very few of My Servants are grateful.” “And certainly We tried Sulayman and we put on his throne a (mere) body, so he turned (to Allah). He said, My Lord! do Thou forgive me and grant me a kingdom which is not fit for (being inherited by) anyone after me; surely Thou art the great Giver. Then We made the wind subservient to him; it made his command to run gently wherever he desired, And the Shaitans, every builder and liver, And others fettered in chains, This is Our free gift, therefore give freely or with hold, with out reckoning.” (38:34-39)
Shaykh Tabarsi has narrated that Shaitans had made for Sulayman a one parasang long platform of gold and silk, and also made a pulpit in middle of the platform full of gold on which he used to sit and around him, there were 3000 chairs of gold and silver. In those days, the Prophets used to sit on golden chairs and Ulama on silver chairs. Around them all humans, Shaitans and jinn stood. Birds shaded them with their wings.
The breeze ‘Saba’ carried it according to the capacity in the sky for one month from morning to evening and for another month from every to morning.
In another tradition, it is narrated from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir that Allah had given the kingdom to Sulayman from East to West. He ruled for 700 years and 7 months. Every man and Jinn, Satan and devil, birds, and wild animals were subservient to his command, and Allah had given him knowledge of each and everything. In his times, amazing and wonderful miracles occurred that were etched is in the memory of the people.1
Sulayman’s army was about 100 parasang (3500 miles long). 25 parasang were human, 25 parasang Jinn, 25 parasang dessert animals, 25 parasang birds. One thousand houses of glass were made above wood. In them 300 wives and 700 slave-girls lived. Sulayman used to order strong winds to lift the house and ordered soft wind to move the house slowly. Therefore Allah revealed to him when he was between heavens and earth, “I have increased your kingship in such a way that if anybody speaks in any part of your kingdom, the wind will make his conversation reach towards you.”
Thalabi narrates that when Sulayman traveled on movable equipments he used to take along his household, his army, his servants, his accountants and his scribes. They used to sit on the roof next to each other at one corner. The kitchen of Sulayman also used to be with him having a large vessel, in which, at a time, 120 camels could be cooked. In front of there was a ground for the quadrupeds, where they used to graze. Chefs were busy in cooking and the artisan busy in their craft. And the horses were tied in front of him and the Basaat was flying. One day he traveled from the outskirts of Shiraz towards Yemen and passed Madinah. Sulayman said, “This is the place of Hijrah of the Last Prophet, what a good person is he who will believe in him and follow him.” When he was passing from Makkah he saw idols around the Ka‘bah.
On seeing Sulayman, Ka‘bah started weeping. Allah asked Ka‘bah why it was weeping? The Ka‘bah said, “O creator! One of Your Prophet and his people passed me, neither did they stop nor performed prayers near me. And the polytheists have kept idols around me.” Allah said, “Do not lament. Very soon I will fill your land with worshippers and will reveal Qur’an. And in the last era send a Prophet who is above all other Prophets. And I will appoint a large group make hajj compulsory on them so that they come towards you from different parts of the world as the birds return to their nests. And in a way that she-camel cares for her young one, I will clean and purify you from idols and idol worshippers.” It is narrated that when Sulayman became the king after his father he ordered for a very rare and beautiful throne, so that he sits on it and give judgment. And the false witness and wrong doer would get scared from coming near it. The throne was made of ivory, and rubies, emeralds and different types of jewels were fixed on it. Four golden chandeliers with bunches of red rubies and emeralds were fixed around it. And on two of them were fixed two golden peacocks on opposite pair were golden vultures. On both sides, two golden lions were fixed. On its head was mace of emerald color, and around it was a tree of Red grapes and its bunches of red rubies. The branches of grapes shaded the seat.
Whenever Sulayman went to sit on the throne, the first step on the stairs made the seat roll out, the vulture, the peacock fluttered their wings, and the lion kept all its four legs on ground touching the stomach and wagged their tails. So as he climbed the steps the action was performed by these things, until Sulayman seated himself. Then the vultures kept the crown on his head and the throne along with trees and birds used to circle and the birds showered Musk and Amber on him. The pigeon, which was made of gold and jewels would convey and give Sulayman Torah and Sulayman recited it before the people. Then people used to enter and the nobles of The Israelites sat on his right on golden chairs. The birds shaded them with their wings. Then if there was litigant entered or if someone was summoned by Sulayman, the throne rotated and all the things performed their motions in such tandem that the person would be baffled. Thus, they could not say anything but truth.2
According to Imam as-Sadiq images that are associated with Sulayman as mentioned by Allah in Qur’an were not human images. They were images of trees and similar things.
According to correct chain of narrators, it is narrated from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir that Sulayman’s kingdom was from the city Istakhar to Damascus.3
According to a reliable chain of narrators it is narrated from Musa ibn Ja‘far that Allah had not raised any Prophets, but he was from intellectuals. And some Prophets were more perfect than others. Sulayman was made Caliph and Prophet after he was tested by Dawud. When Sulayman became the caliph he was thirteen years old, and his rulership was for forty years. When Dhu’l-Qarnayn became the king, he was only twelve years old and he ruled for 30 years.
It is narrated that people asked Imam as-Sadiq regarding the ayah “O! sons of Dawud be thankful.” Imam said, “Progeny of Dawud consisted of eighty males and seventy females and none of them had even a slight difference in their worship. After Dawud, Sulayman became king, he said, “O people! Allah, has taught me the language of birds, and has made people and Jinn my followers.” Whenever Sulayman heard of any other king land he used to take his army and put him under his control and also made them follow his religion. Allah made the wind subservient to Sulayman. Whenever he was present in a gathering, birds would shadow him with their wings and humans and jinn would line up to serve him.”
Whenever he use to go with his army for a war, at the edge of the Basaat a wooden place was prepared for him. And on that platform weapons, army, animals and other necessary things were made available. Then Sulayman would order the strong winds to go beneath the platform and lift it up and would take it to whichever place he wanted. It would fly in the mornings for a month and then in the evening for one month.
According to trustworthy and correct chain of narrators it is narrated from ‘Ali, that one day Sulayman came out of Jerusalem and sat on his platform. On his right were 300000 people on chairs and on the left 300000 jinn. And according to the order of Sulayman, birds had shadowed all of them. Sulayman ordered the wind, and it lifted the platform and brought it to Madyan. Then lifted from Madyan and waited the whole night at outskirts of Shiraz. In the morning, it flew to the island of Bargaawan. Then according to order of Sulayman it flew at such a low level that the legs were touched the water. Some of them remarked that people had never seen such a kingship before. An angel called out from the heavens, “O people! If one says Subhanaallah with sincerity, it is greater and than this kingship.”
Imam Muhammad al-Baqir said that Sulayman had a fort built by jinn. It had a thousand rooms, and in each and every room, there was a wife. Three hundred by Marriage and seven hundred were Egyptian slave girls. Allah had given Sulayman power equal to forty men. Sulayman came to his women every day and night and fulfilled their desires. Sulayman had ordered the Shaitans to transport stones from one place to another. Iblis came to them and asked, “What is your condition?” All of them replied, “Our strength has vanished.” He said, “When you carry the stones, do you return back without any load?” They said, “Yes!” He said, “Then you comfortable at that particular moment.” The wind conveyed this conversation to Sulayman. Sulayman ordered when the Shaitans carry the stones to the appointed place they should carry an equal amount of mud from there and put it where they had lifted the stones. Iblis again asked of their condition. They all said that the condition has deteriorated. He asked them, “Do you not sleep at night?” “Why not?” they replied. Iblis said, “Then you are comfortable at night.” The wind again carried the conversation to Sulayman. Sulayman said, “Now they should work day and night.” In this way, a few years passed, then Sulayman passed away from this world.4
According to a reliable tradition from Imam al-Ridha an old woman came to Sulayman and complained about the wind. Sulayman called the wind and asked why it caused harm to this old lady. Wind said, “Allah had ordered me to save the ship from sinking. There was a ship about to sink so I came up with strength to save the people on the ship. This old woman was on the roof. She fell and broke her hand (so what is my fault)?” Sulayman prayed, “O Allah what judgment shall I pass?” It was revealed, “Order the people of the ship to compensate for this woman. As wind had gone to save them, but from My side there is no injustice inflicted.” (Therefore, compensation should be from the side of the people of the ship).5
It is narrated from Imam as-Sadiq that Sulayman; due to worldly kingship (as per his wish) will be the last among Prophets to enter heaven.
In another reliable tradition it is said that the first person who weaved the cloth of Ka‘bah was Sulayman. Sulayman with human, Jinn and birds along with wind went for hajj. At that time, the cloth was Egyptian. And in one tradition, it is explained that Sulayman was born circumcised.6
Sulayman’s ring had the following inscription: “Purified is the Lord! Who has controlled the jinn with His words.”
In another reliable tradition it is narrated from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir that one night ‘Ali after sleeping for some time woke up and came out in the courtyard of his house and said, “Your Imam has come to you wearing the dress of Adam, ring of Sulayman and (holding) the staff of Musa.”
It is narrated that one day Sulayman with his grandeur and dignity passed by a worshipper of The Israelites. The worshipper said, “O Son of Dawud I swear by Allah, Allah has given you this kingship.” The wind took the conversation to Sulayman. Sulayman replied, “I swear by Allah! One action of a believer- a word (SubhanAllah) and its reward is much better than the kingship of the son of Dawud, because whatever is given to him will one day be useless and the reward of this Tasbih will remain forever.”
It is narrated that every morning Sulayman used to pass by rich people and when he was passing by poor, he used to sit down with them and say: One needy is sitting with another needy person. Although he was a king he wore a soft dress and at night tied his hand to his neck and stand like this until morning, weeping. He used to weave baskets and sell in the market and by that, he earned his livelihood. He had asked for kingship so that he may conquer the kings of the world and bring them into the fold of Islam (And make them obedient towards Allah).
According to reliable chain of narrators it is narrated that a person came to Imam Muhammad al-Taqi and said, “People talk about the your age and say how a child of nine years can become an Imam?” Imam said, “Allah revealed to Dawud to make Sulayman his caliph and Sulayman was a child and a shepherd. Sulayman became a Caliph but intellectuals and common people of The Israelites did not accept him. Then it was revealed to Dawud to collect the branches of Sulayman and others in a room and ask them to lock the room. ‘And you also put a lock. Next day you open and see the are which has leaflet. That person will be My Caliph.’ When Dawud informed them of divine command they were happy with this judgment and worked out accordingly. Then a leaflet was found on the staff of Sulayman. Then they accepted the successorship of Sulayman and became obedient to him.”
In a reliable tradition it is narrated that a person asked Imam Ja‘far as-Sadiq how Shaitans go towards heavens although they are creatures and unclean like humans. And if they are not so, how did they work for Sulayman? And worked harder than human could? Imam said, “The body of Shaitans are pure and their food is air. And due to this they move towards heavens but when Allah made them obedient to Sulayman He made their body pure (full of Matter) and fat so that they are able to work.”
According to a reliable tradition ‘Ali bin Yaqtin asked Imam Musa al-Ka¨im whether it was allowed for (any) Prophet of Allah to be stingy. Imam said, “No.” Then he again asked as to how Sulayman prayed to Allah to forgive him and give him such a kingdom that after him none should have it?” Imam said, “Kingship is of two types, one which is achieved by tyranny and oppression and another from Allah, like progeny of Ibrahim, Talut, Dhu’l-Qarnayn’s kingship. Sulayman had said, ‘O Allah give me the kingship, after me which is not achievable by tyranny and oppression,’ so that people think that kingship of Sulayman was above the capacity of human beings and it was a miracle and it proved his truthfulness and his Prophethood. But Sulayman did not mean that Allah should not give Prophets and successors the kingship in a proper way. Allah made wind obedient to him and it took him wherever he commanded. And every day it traveled a distance of two months. Allah also made Shaitans obedient to Sulayman so that they built structures for him and also dived for pearls. Allah also gave him knowledge of the languages of birds so that people think that during his period of kingship and after him the kingship is not similar with those kings who oppress and conquer the people?”
Imam said, “I swear by Allah whatever Allah bestowed to Sulayman is given to us also. And whatever was not given to Sulayman and others, like power and strength is given to us. Allah says regarding Sulayman, “O Sulayman this kingship is given to you without any accountability and you are free whether you give it to anybody or preserve it.” But for Muhammad Allah said, “(O Muslims) whatever Prophet gives you keep it and from whatever he stops you, refrain from it.” Complete command of world and hereafter is given only to the Prophet from Arabia.”7
In a reliable tradition it is narrated that people asked Imam Ja‘far as-Sadiq, “Did Allah give Sulayman whatever he had asked in this Ayat?” Imam said, “Yes, and after him none was given such a kingdom. But Allah bestowed the Last Prophet with all this. He conquered the Satan and its neck was tied to a pillars of mosque and pulled in such a way that his tongue came out.” Then Imam said, “If I hadn’t in mind the Dua of Sulayman I would have shown it to you.”
Ibn Babawayh in a reliable chain of narrators narrates from Imam Ja‘far as-Sadiq that when Allah revealed to Dawud to appoint his Caliph, the people of The Israelites created hue and cry and said, “How could a child become our Caliph although we are much older than him?” When Dawud heard this, he called the chief of the Israelites and said, “I am aware of whatever you say regarding the successorship of Sulayman. You all bring your sticks and everyone should write their names on their sticks. We will keep the sticks along with the staff of Sulayman at night in a room. In the morning, we will take them out. Whosever’s staff has a leaflet and a flower will be rightful for successorship.” The people agreed and sticks were kept in a room and the Israelites guarded it. In the morning Dawud finished his prayers, opened the door and took out sticks. The Israelites saw that Sulayman’s staff had a green leaflet and so they were content with his successorship. Then Dawud examined Sulayman before The Israelites. He asked, “O Son! What is it that is very cold and sweet?” Sulayman said, “Allah who forgives the sins of this servants and people overlooking each others mistake and crimes.”
Again Dawud asked, “O Son! What is most sweet?” He replied, “Love and friendship and this is a Mercy of Allah between them.” After listening Dawud smiled and became happy and said to people of The Israelites. “After me he is the Caliph among you.” After this Sulayman used to keep his matters secret and married a woman. And for few years he was hidden from his friends (Shi‘ah). His wife said to him one day, “May my parents be sacrificed on you. By your good behavior and habit, you do not make me uncomfortable except that your expenses are upon my father. Go to the market and get sustenance; and I hope that Allah will not make you hopeless.” Sulayman said, “By Allah I haven’t work in this world nor I know anything.”
Then he went to the market and searched for work the whole day, but could not get anything. Everyday he came back and said, “I couldn’t get anything today.” The wife said, “Doesn’t matter tomorrow you will get it.” Next day again this was repeated. Again, the wife consoled. On the third day, he reached the river bank and saw a person fishing. He said to him, “Shall I help you and in return of two fishes?” The man agreed. So Sulayman helped him in catching the fish. The fisherman gave him two fishes as his wage and Sulayman thanked Allah. When he cut open the fish, he found a ring in its stomach. He kept it aside and thanked Allah. Then he cleaned the fish and brought it home. The wife became very happy and said, “I wish to call my parents and show them that you have worked hard and earned sustenance.” The fish was cooked and Sulayman called his in-laws and they ate from the fish. Sulayman said to them, “Would you recognize me?”
They said, “No, we haven’t seen you at all.” Sulayman took out the ring and wore it. At that moment, all the birds and jinn came to him and became obedient to him acknowledging his kingship. He brought his wife along with her parents to the city Istakhar and all his Shi‘ahs gathered around him and became very happy. Their difficulties of his absence vanished. He ruled for a long period. When the day of death approached, he appointed Asif bin Barkhiya by the order of Allah as his successor. His followers always referred to Asif and solved their problems. Asif was hidden by Allah from them for a very long period. Then again, he appeared and stayed with them for a long time. Then Asif did farewell to them. They asked him when they were going to meet him again. He said, “On the day of judgment near Sirat.” And so he vanished, and in his disappearance, the people of The Israelites were inflicted with many calamities and a person named overpowered them and oppressed them in every way.
Shaykh Tabarsi in Amali narrates from the same Imam that when the kingship of Sulayman was taken away he came out of the city and became guest of one of an old man. He welcomed Sulayman and behaved in an excellent manner with him and also respected him a lot. Then he married his daughter to Sulayman. One day his wife said to Sulayman, “Your behavior and morals are so high but only thing is that your expenses are upon my father.” Sulayman thought of it and one day he reached the river and helped a fisherman. The fisherman gave him a fish and he found the ring in it and again he regained his throne.
It should be clear that there is a great differences between Shi‘ah and Sunni in this regard. Allah says in Qur’an,
And We gave to Dawud Sulayman, most excellent the servant! Surely, he was frequent in returning (to Allah). When there were brought to him in the evening (horses) still when standing, swift when running. (38:30-31)
It is narrated that Sulayman received a thousand horses from Dawud in legacy. Some say they were domesticated horses that were taken out from river for Sulayman .
Then he said: Surely I preferred the good things to the remembrance of my Lord — until the sun set and time for Asr prayer was over, (he said): Bring them back to me; so he began to slash (their) legs and necks. And certainly We tried Sulayman, and We put on his throne a (mere) body, so he turned (to Allah)..” (38:32-34)
‘Ali ibn Ibrahim under the explanation of this ayah says that Sulayman was very much inclined towards the horses. And again and again asked them to be showed to him. One day, while inspecting the horses he got so much involved that the Sun set and his Asr prayers were missed, and due to this, he became very much sad and annoyed on himself. Then he prayed to Allah to return the Sun back so that he can fulfill his prayers. The sun returned and he completed his prayers. Sulayman called for the horses and with a sword cut off their necks and legs until all they were finished. As Allah had said in the above verses.
In the account of the examination of Sulayman, it is mentioned that when Sulayman married a tall woman and she bore a child. Sulayman used to love the child very much. The angel of death frequently visited Sulayman and used to eye the child. Sulayman feared and said to the mother of the child that the angel of death eyes this child in a harsh manner. “I fear that he is about to take his soul.” So he asked jinn and shaitans if they knew of a way to save his life? One of them said, “I shall hide him at the spring of the Sun in the East.” Sulayman said that the Angels of death reached every corner of the earth. Another said, “I shall take him into the atmosphere and hide him in a cloud.” The angel of death captured his soul in the atmosphere and threw his dead body on the throne of Sulayman. At that time, Sulayman realized that he had committed a mistake. He sought divine forgiveness and prayed that Allah give him such a kingdom as none have it.
He said: My Lord! do Thou forgive me and grant me a kingdom which is not fit for (being inherited by) anyone after me; Then We made the wind subservient to him; it made his command to run gently wherever he desired, And the shaitans, every builder and diver, And others fettered in chains. This is Our free gift, therefore give freely or withhold, without reckoning. And most surely, he had a nearness to Us and an excellent resort. (38:35-40)
And these were few shaitans that Sulayman had imprisoned and tied them with one another because they had disobeyed him. Then the kingship was taken away from him.
It is narrated from Imam as-Sadiq that the kingship of Sulayman was hidden in the ring by Allah. Whenever he used to wear it the Jinn, human, birds and animals obeyed him. Then he used to sit on the throne and Allah would send a wind which would take him for a ride along with all Jinn, human and Shaitans, birds, quadrupeds wherever Sulayman wanted. In this manner, Sulayman used to recite morning prayers in Damascus and Zahra in Persia. And he would order Shaitans to pick up stones from Persia to Damascus and there he use to sell them. When he killed the horses, Allah took away the kingdom from him.
Whenever Sulayman would go for answering nature’s call, he would remove the ring and give it to one of his servants. One day the Shaitans fooled the servant and took away the ring and wore it themselves. At the same moment all jinn, humans, Shaitans, birds and animals came to his presence and obeyed his orders. When Sulayman came out of the toilet, he could not find his ring and saw that the kingship was taken away. So he left that place and came at the shore of the river. People of The Israelites saw the behavior of Satan which was different from Sulayman (but he had changed his face to Sulayman’s face and was also claiming to be Sulayman) and had a doubt. And people came to the mother of Sulayman and said, “Do you observe the behavior of your son, how he had changed.”
She said, “He was very good and very obedient to me but now he opposes me.” Then they asked the wives and slave girls of Sulayman. They said Sulayman never fulfilled his desire when they were in menstruation, now he did so.” So the Satan was frightened and said to him, “It should not happen that this secret become apparent and I get caught, so he threw the ring into the river and ran away.” Allah commanded a fish to swallow the ring. People of The Israelites were anxious for forty days and were searching for Sulayman. Sulayman walk to the shore seeking Allah’s forgiveness. After forty days, he met a fisherman and they agreed that if he helped him in fishing, he would be paid. So he started fishing with the fisherman.
He gave a fish to Sulayman. When he cut open the fish, he found the ring inside. He took it out and wore it. At that moment all Shaitans, Jinn, human etc. came together. So Sulayman sat in his palace and caught the Satan along with his army and imprisoned them. From them few were imprisoned between water and some between stone in the name of Allah. And they all will be imprisoned like this and chastised until day of judgment When Sulayman came back to his kingdom. He reprimanded Asif bin Barkhiya his prime minister and in whose favor Allah has said in the book that some knowledge is given to him, and he had also brought the throne of Bilquis with a blink of an eyelid in front of Sulayman. Sulayman said to him, “I consider people helpless because they do not understand Satan whereas how come I forgive you because you knew and recognize Satan.”
Asif replied, “I swear by Allah I know the fish which had swallowed your ring, and all its ancestors but it was Allah’s order. The Satan told me to write edicts as I wrote for you but I said my pen shall not write anything unjust so he told him to sit quiet. I therefore kept quiet. But O Sulayman! Why do you befriend the hoopoe. Although it is a wretched and smelly bird. Sulayman said, “Because it sees water beneath the stone. But a trap under of handful of dust is not seen by it and it gets trapped. Whenever any affair is destined, you become blind. The tradition of ‘Ali ibn Ibrahim ends.
Sunnis narrate that there is a city is in the middle of the sea. Sulayman arrived with his army is on the wind to this city. He conquered that city and killed the King. He had a daughter, very beautiful and glamorous and her name was Khabrawa. He made her a Muslim and married her. Sulayman loved her very much. Khabrawa wept for her father much so Sulayman ordered Satan to make an image of her father. Khabrawa made different kind of dress for her father’s image. Every morning and evening, she took along with her maids, and they all prostrated in front of the image. Asif informed Sulayman regarding this. Sulayman broke the idol and punished that woman. Then he sat on ground and started weeping. Sulayman had a slave girl, Amena. Whenever he went to toilet took off the ring and hand it over to her. One day when he went a Satan the leader of the Shaitans of Sea came with the face of Sulayman and took the ring from her and went and sat on the throne. All jinn, humans and animals obeyed him. Sulayman face was changed. When he came to Amena and asked for the ring, she did not recognize him and scolded him and pushed him away.
Sulayman thought that it is due to the sin which was performed in his house by his wife (idol worship). Sulayman went to his slave girls and wife but they did not recognize him and pushed him away. Sulayman came out and went towards the sea and started working with a fisherman on daily wages. He use to carry fish to their houses and in return he get two fishes everyday. Forty days passed, which was equivalent to forty days of idol worship in his house. When Asif and people of The Israelites saw the manner of Satan different from the behavior of Sulayman they asked the wives. They said that he was coming to them even in their periods and not even performed Ghusl afterwards. Some said that the order of Satan was accomplished by others except the wives. He could not control the wives.
Afterwards the Satan threw the ring into the river and it was found by Sulayman in the fish. He wore it and once again, the kingship returned to him. So he captured the Satan and imprisoned him between two stones and lowered him into the sea. This saying of Allah refers that we examined Sulayman and put one body on his chair. This body refers to the body of Satan which had attained the face of Sulayman and had sat on his chair These two traditions are rejected by all Shi‘ah Ulama and theologians and said that Sulayman was Prophet of Allah. He is safe and pure from such sort of sins, as he is away from prayers and without any fault detaches the necks of horses and cut their legs. Nor is Prophethood or kingship is attained by a ring that he wore. And if Satan has such power that they change their faces to Prophets then definitely there would not have been any sort of reliability on their saying.
Secondly, if Satan is so powerful on the friends of Allah then definitely he would not have allowed anyone of them in this earth to be alive. He would have burned their books. He would have destroyed their houses and he would have accomplished all the action which is performed against an enemy. And how is it possible that Allah gives such strength to a Kafir so that he overcomes the Prophets. And also touches their wives. Fourthly if idol worship was due to the permission and satisfaction of Sulayman then how is a Kafir and Kufr is allowed for Prophet of Allah. And if idol worship was without his permission, then what is the fault of Sulayman so that he is to be punished. It should be clear that under the interpretation of this ayah Shi‘ah researchers have narrated lot of reasoning. And some of them we discuss so that the doubts of people are cleared (Author).
Regarding horses and causing prayers to be missed. There are few reasons to it.
Firstly, Ibn Babawayh in his book Man laa Yahzarul Faqeeh according to correct chain of narrators relates from Zurarah and Fadhl ibn Yasaar that both went to Imam Muhammad al-Baqir and asked about the tafsir of this ayah.
Surely prayer is a timed ordinance for the believers. (4:103)
Imam said ‘Manqoot’ means compulsory, and Wajib, this does not mean that time of prayers helplessly leaves or prime time is passed and prayers are recited. For then it becomes void. If it would have been so, then Sulayman ibn Dawud would have been destroyed because his prayers (in its timing) was left. (Rather it is so) that if one forgets and when he remembers it, he can recite. So ibn Babawayh after this tradition notes that the ignorant of Sunnis says that one day Sulayman was busy in examining the horses, the sun was set, so he ordered the horses to be presented. Then he cut off their necks and legs and said that these horses had made me forgetful of Allah. As they say it is not so because their lies no fault of the horses because they themselves did not approach Sulayman. They were animals. And the correct reason is narrated from Imam as-Sadiq that one day Sulayman was busy in inspecting the horses and the sun set so he asked angels to bring back the sun so that he recites prayers on time. Then the angels brought the sun back. Sulayman rubbed his head and shin of (lower legs) and necks and in his shari‘ah it was so. Then Sulayman arose and performed his Salat. When he finished, the sun set and the stars were visible. This is what Allah has said in His saying. “And he did (slash) Masah of shin and necks.”
Second reason is that in both the cases it should be regarding horse means that took the horses away until they disappeared from the eyes of Sulayman then he gave the orders, then they were brought. Then put his hand on their mane and legs and washed their mane (long hair at the back of the neck of a horse) so that, his befriending them is like jihad in front of Allah and it is very much praised worthy and it is said, “I showed love towards horses because they are with me in the remembrance towards Allah or due to reason that I befriend them in Jihad, and not to satisfy my soul.”
Third reason is this that in the sun returned and in second case towards horse. Means he inspected the horses to such extent that the sun set. And due to this reason he ordered the horses to be brought back and cut off their necks and legs. It was not due to punishment rather to give away their flesh in the way of Allah and thereafter none of the reminder towards Allah have any kind of obstacle, or it is so that as though they were Sulayman most nearest wealth (in terms of love) and giving sadaqah of the most beloved is an esteem position, so he slaughtered them and distributed their meat. And this was the Tark al-Awla which was committed by Sulayman. Or it might be that he gave massage to horses and did not kill them rather freed them in the way of Allah so that those who wanted can take them.
And regarding Sulayman’s examination and calamities and the flesh which was found on his chair few reasoning are explained.
1st reason is that one day Sulayman was sitting on his throne and said that tonight I will meet 70 women and each will give birth to a son, who will fight in the way of Allah, but he did not say Inshallah and due to this except one woman who became pregnant none gave birth to son and he was too deformed. That son was brought and kept on his throne. At that particular moment, Sulayman thought and it is so because he has done Tark al-Awla and had not said Inshallah and so he went to the His Lord and repented and started seeking forgiveness.
Second reason is this that, when a son of Sulayman was born, Jinn and Shaitans decided that if he lives he will take from them hard work like Sulayman. So Sulayman was frightened that someone might torture him, so he left him at a place where he was fed and received training. But one day he found him dead on his throne. And so he got reprimanded that it is of no use to run from destiny. And he has to face it. So he repented and was ashamed why he had not believed in Allah and was frightened from Shaitans.
Thirdly Sulayman suffered from a severe disease and he fell down from the throne, as if there wasn’t any soul in his body. So he prayed and cried that Allah cure him. There are those reasoning that Shi‘ah Ulama and others have narrated under the interpretation of this ayah. And whatever was explained by ‘Ali ibn Ibrahim was rejected. And the first two tradition which Ibn Babawayh and Shaykh al-Tusi have narrated do not mention betrayal of Satan. It is possible that by such examination Allah promised the nation of Sulayman and himself which Sulayman had been punished as the act he performed and due to which for a certain period his kingship was taken away and he had disappeared from his nation. And again by the order of Allah he returned as mentioned earlier that many Prophets had disappeared from their nation and returned later. The ring was not the cause for kingship. Except Allah none knows as He is having knowledge of it.
Sulayman passes through the valley of ants; Miracles of Sulayman related to animals and birds
Allah says in Qur’an,
“And his hosts of the jinn and the men and the birds were gathered to him, and they were formed into groups. Until when they came to the valley of the Naml, a Namlite said, O Naml! enter your houses, (that) Sulayman and his hosts may not crush you while they do not know. So he smiled, wondering at her word, and said, My Lord! Grant me that I should be grateful for Thy favor which Thou hast bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I should do good such as Thou art pleased with, and make me enter, by Thy mercy, into Thy servants, the good ones.” (27:17-19)
Some say that this valley is situated in Taif and some say it is in Damascus.
‘Ali ibn Ibrahim have narrated that when the wind raised the throne of Ibrahim and reached the field of ants from where silver and gold comes out, as Imam as-Sadiq said, “There is one valley of Allah where silver and gold is grown and He has protected it with it weakest creatures like ants and if a powerful army wants to enter, it cannot do so.”
Ibn Babawayh according to reliable chain of narrators narrates from Imam as-Sadiq that when an ant conversed with others the wind took their conversation to Sulayman at a time when he was in the air. Sulayman asked the strong wind to stop and called out to the ant. It came to Sulayman. He said, “Don’t you know that I am Prophet of Allah and I do not oppress anybody.” Ant said, “Yes I know.” Sulayman said, “Then why did you scare others from me and ordered then to enter their holes.” Ant said, “I was scared that when their vision falls on you they will become fascinated at the beauty of this world and will be away from Allah.” The ant asked Sulayman, “Who is more honorable, you or your father, Dawud?” Sulayman said, “My father is much more esteemed and honorable than me.” Ant said, “Then why is it so that your name has one more alphabet than your father’s name?”
Sulayman said, “I don’t know.” Ant said, “Because your father did Tark al-Awla and due to that he had a injury in his heart and we cured it with the love of Allah and due to this he was called Dawud and as you are protected from this injury you are called Sulayman and the injury of your father was due to perfection and hope you will also attain the perfection.” Then the Ant asked, “Do you know why wind is made obedient to you among other creatures.” Sulayman said, “I do not know.” Ant said, “Because you should know that your kingdom will be destroyed and not rely on it and if Allah the knower of this world had made everything obedient to you then everything of this world would has escaped your prison like a wind escapes from one’s hand.” Sulayman smiled at the ant.
O friends! Pay attention to the Lord’s Grace and Generosity which He bestows to His friends and also understand how generous He is. And also through which source He makes them cautious, and in what manner He advises them. He made ant an advisor to Sulayman despite his great position so that ant of pride do not become obstacle to the honor and majesty of Sulayman. And that he should always consider himself lowly before the Almighty Allah.
Therefore, in two reliable traditions it is narrated from Imam as-Sadiq that one day Sulayman went to the desert with Jinn and men to pray for rain. He saw a limping ant had spread its limbs on the ground and raising its hands towards heaven was saying, “O Lord! We are Your creatures and in need of Your Sustenance. Do not punish and destroy us due to the inequities of the sons of Adam. And send rain for us.” Sulayman told his companions, “Let us go back, somebody else’s intercession has been accepted for you.” According to another report he said, “You have got rain due to the bounty of others.”
According to reliable chain it is narrated from Imam Zayn al-‘abidin that ringlet which is on the head of Ababeel (swallow) and ruddy goose is due to the patting of Sulayman. One day that a male bird wanted to mate. The female did not agree. He said, “Do not stop me I just desire that a son should be born that will praise Allah.” She accepted. When she was about to lay the egg, the male bird asked where she intended to lay it. She said far from the roadside. The male said that you lay it near the road “so that if anyone sees you he would not think that are laying egg think that you have come to feed.” So she laid the eggs at the side of road and sat on it. When the time of hatching of egg approached, all of a sudden the entourage of Sulayman came with full dignity and honor. Birds had shadowed him. Female bird said to the male, “See the army of Sulayman is approaching, they will break my egg.” Male said, “Sulayman is Merciful. Have you hidden anything for your young ones? She said, “Yes, a few Locusts.” She asked, “Have you also hidden something for the young ones.” He replied, “Yes, few dates which I have saved from you.” The female replied, “You take your dates and I will take Locust and then sit on the way of Sulayman and offer him these things as gift because he likes Locust much.” They reached with their gifts. When Sulayman saw them, he stretched his right hand where male perched and on the left perched the female. asked them of their condition and they replied. Then he accepted their gifts and turned the army to another side of the road so that no harm may come to their eggs. Then he softly patted their head and by its bounty, there appeared a ringlet.
In another tradition, it is said that daily expenses of Sulayman were seventy million. One day an aquatic animal emerged from the water and said, “O Sulayman feed me one day.” Sulayman ordered, and one month’s provision of the army was collected at the shore, which was as high as a mountain. The fish took out her head and gulped all the food at once, and said, “O Sulayman! This much is not sufficient even for a day.” Sulayman was surprised and asked, “Are there other animals in the sea like you?” She replied, “There are a thousand species like me.” Sulayman said, “Glory be to Allah the Great King.”
In another tradition, it is said that one day a male bird said to his female, “Why are you stopping me from fulfilling my desire? If I want I can pick the dome of Sulayman’s palace my beak and throw it in the river.” The wind carried this conversation to Sulayman. He smiled and ordered them to be brought to him. Sulayman asked the male bird, “This thing which you have claimed, can you do it practically?” It said, “No, but man shows his wife such a dream and puts it in front of her in such a magnificent manner to prove his greatness. And whatever a lover says is not condemned or insulted.” Sulayman asked the female bird she was stopping him in fulfilling his desire, although he claimed to be her lover? Female said, “O Messenger of Allah, he doesn’t befriend me, he is lying, rather he loves someone else.” When Sulayman heard this, he was moved and he wept. He did not leave his house of worship for forty days and continuously prayed, “O Allah, remove from them the love of others and limit it to their own love.”
In another tradition, it has come that one day Sulayman heard a male bird saying to his female, “Come near me so that I fulfill my desire with you. Allah might bestow us with a young one, who will worship Allah now that we have become old. Sulayman was surprised by this conversation and said that “the good intention of those birds is better than my kingdom.”
One day a nightingale was singing and dancing. Sulayman said, “She is saying that after consuming half a date she doesn’t care whether this world remains or not.”
According to Sulayman the dove says, “Alas! This creature wouldn’t have been born.” The Peacock says, “Whatever you do you will get in return.” The hoopoe said says, “Mercy is not shown to those who are nor merciful themselves.” Then shrike says, “O sinful people! Repent and seek forgiveness.” Parrot says, “One day a living being will die and old will change to new…”
‘Ali ibn Ibrahim narrates that when Sulayman sat on the throne the birds specially appointed by Allah used to shadow him and all those who were near his throne. One The hoopoe (Wood pecker) was absent and because of its absence, the Sun rays fell on Sulayman. So he raised his head and looked towards the vacant place and found the hoopoe missing. As Allah says in Surah Naml,
And he reviewed the birds, then said: How is it I see not the hoopoe or is it that he is of the absentees? I will most certainly punish him with a severe punishment, or kill him, or he shall bring to me a clear plea. And he tarried not long, and then said, I comprehend that which you do not comprehend and I have brought to you sure information from Sheba. Surely, I found a woman ruling over them, and she has been given abundance and she has a mighty throne. I found her and her people adoring the sun instead of Allah, and the Satan has made their deeds fair-seeming to them and thus turned them from the way, so they do not go aright That they do not make obeisance to Allah, Who brings forth what is hidden in the heavens and the earth and knows what you hide and what you make manifest. Allah, there is no Allah but He. He is the Lord of mighty power. He said, We will see whether you have told the truth or whether you are of the liars. Take this my letter and hand it over to them, then turn away from them and see what (answer) they return.” (27:20-27)
‘Ali ibn Ibrahim narrates that The hoopoe said that (Bilquis the queen of Saba) is sitting on a big throne and I cannot reach the throne. Sulayman said that you throw this letter from the top of the tomb. The hoopoe returned and through the chandeliers of the Bilquis dropped the letter on her lap. She read the letter and was frightened and collected the chief of the army as Allah has said,
“She said, O Chief! Surely an honorable letter has been delivered to me.”(27:29)
According to ‘Ali ibn Ibrahim it was sealed letter. It is narrated from Imam as-Sadiq that it is the greatness of Sulayman ’s letter that it always bore his seal.
So Bilquis said,
“Surely it is from Sulayman, and surely it is in the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. That exalt not your selves against me and come to me in submission she said, “O chiefs! Give me advice respecting my affair. I never decide an affair until you are in my presence.” They said, “We possess strength and mighty prowess, and the command is yours, therefore see what you will command.”(27:30-35)
Shaykh al-Tusi narrates that the army chiefs of Bilquis were 312 in numbers with whom she sought advice and every chief had a thousand men under him.
“She said, Surely the kings, when they enter a town, ruin it and make the noblest of its people to be low, And thus they (always) do.”(27:34)
‘Ali ibn Ibrahim narrates that Bilquis said to her nation that if he is a Prophet as he has claimed we cannot fight against him became he acts according to Allah’s saying.
“And surely I am going to send a present to them, and shall wait to see what (answer) the messengers bring back.”(27:35)
‘Ali ibn Ibrahim says that Bilquis said I will send a gift to him, if he is a king he would be inclined towards this world and he will accept my gift, then I will understand that he will not have any power to conquer me. A small casket was made for Sulayman in which a big pearl and precious stones were placed and it was conveyed that “Tell Sulayman to make hole in these, without the help of Iron and fire.” When it reached Sulayman and the messenger conveyed the message of Bilquis to him, he ordered a worm and it caught a thread in his month and made the hole the pearl and took out the thread from other side.
“So when he came to Sulayman, he said, What! will you help me with wealth? But what Allah has given me is better than what He has given you. Nay, you are exultant because of your present Go back to them, so we will most certainly come to them with hosts which they shall have no power to oppose, and we will most certainly expel them therefrom in abasement, and they shall be in a state of ignominy.”(27:36-37)
‘Ali ibn Ibrahim narrates that when the messenger of Bilquis returned to her and narrated the majesty and dignity of Sulayman, she understood that she hadn’t the power of waging a war therefore obeyed Sulayman and came towards him. Allah informed Sulayman that Bilquis was on the way and will soon reach him. Sulayman said to Jinn and Satan who were in his presence, “Before Bilquis reaches, get to me her throne,” Allah says,
“He said, O chiefs! Which of you can bring to me her throne before they come to me in submission? One audacious among the jinn said, I will bring it to you before you rise from your place; and most surely, I am strong (and) trusty for it. One who had the knowledge of the book said, “I will bring it to you in the twinkling of an eye.8 Then when he saw it settled beside him, he said, This is of the grace of my Lord that He may try me whether I am grateful or ungrateful; and whoever is grateful, he is grateful only for his own soul, and whoever is ungrateful, then surely my Lord is self-sufficient, Honored. He said, Alter her throne for her, we will see whether she follows the right way or is of those who do not go aright. So when she came, it was said, Is your throne like this? She said, It is as it were the same, and we were given the knowledge before it, and we were submissive. And what she worshipped besides Allah prevented her, surely she was of an unbelieving people.” (27:38-43)
‘Ali ibn Ibrahim narrates that before the arrival of Bilquis the jinn as per the order of Sulayman had constructed a palace of glass and had hidden it in water.
“It was said to her: Enter the palace; but when she saw it she deemed it to be a great expanse of water, and bared her legs. He said, Surely it is a palace made smooth with glass. She said, My Lord! Surely I have been unjust to myself and I submit with Sulayman to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.” (27:44)
‘Ali ibn Ibrahim narrates that then Sulayman married Bilquis. She was the daughter of Sarah Jasarya. Sulayman ordered Shaitans to prepare a thing by which the hair of her legs would be cleaned. Then a bath was prepared.
Imam as-Sadiq said that among the sciences that Allah bestowed to Sulayman were the languages. Sulayman even knew the languages of birds and animals and other thing etc. He used to talk in Persian when involved in a battle. And used to talk in Roman whenever he addressed the troops of his kingdom. When he used to pray, he used Arabic. Whenever he sat to dispense justice and administration, he spoke Arabic and delivered edicts in it.9
According to a reliable tradition it is narrated that a person asked Imam Musa al-Ka¨im whether all the knowledge of Prophets is given to Holy Prophet as inheritance. Imam said, “Yes, Allah hasn’t raised army Prophet more knowledgeable than the Holy Prophet.
Narrator said, “‘Isa use to enliven the dead.” Imam said, “Yes, you spoke the truth and even Sulayman knew the language of birds and Holy Prophet is powerful over all the things.” Then said, “Sulayman saw that The hoopoe was missing from its place and he became angry as Allah has mentioned. The hoopoe use to inform Sulayman regarding water that is why he became angry, because he was helpless in this matter. The hoopoe was one bird. It was given that part of knowledge which Sulayman was not knowing although wind, ants, Jinn, human, Satan, devil all were obedient to him but he was not knowing the presence of water in the air. (Because he could not see it) and The hoopoe was knowing it. Allah says: If such Qur’an would have been there by which mountains were to walk and land would have broken to pieces and dead would have become alive, then this is that same Qur’an but their knowledge is with us and we know that water is in the air (and we see it). In Allah’s book there are few Ayats that we recite to get what we desire.”
According to reliable chain of narrators Judge Yahya bin Aqsam questioned Imam Naqi that whether Sulayman was helpless of the knowledge of Asif bin Barkhiya. Imam replied that one who had some knowledge of book of Allah was Asif bin Barkliya but Sulayman wasn’t helpless of knowing and understanding what Asif knew, but he wanted that the excellence of Asif should be apparent for jinn and humans so that all of them conclude that after him, Asif is the proof of Allah and Sulayman’s caliph. And the knowledge, which Asif had, was some part which Sulayman gave to him by the order of Allah. But Allah wanted that the knowledge of Asif become apparent so that there may not arise difference in his Imamate as Dawud made Sulayman his Caliph on the reply which Sulayman gave so that the Nation after Dawud accepts his Prophethood.
According to good chain of narrators it is narrated from Imam as-Sadiq, “How could people reject the saying of ‘Ali that he said, ‘If I want I can put my legs on the chest of Muawiyah who is in Syria and can dethrone him.’ although they do not reject the miracle Asif the Successor of Sulayman when he got the throne of Bilquis in to Sulayman in the blink of an eye? Is not our Prophet the best of Prophets and his successor not the best of successors? Allah will judge between them and us, those who reject our rights and do not accept our excellences.
In another reliable tradition, it is narrated that Abu Hanifa asked Imam as-Sadiq that: “Among all birds why did Sulayman ask for The hoopoe?” Imam said, “The hoopoe could see through water as you can see oil in a bottle?” Hearing this Abu Hanifa laughed. Imam asked why he laughed. He said one who can see through water, how can he see the seed through earth and gets trapped in it. Imam said I think you do not know that predestination brilliance shuts the eyes. And it is narrated in Dua an-Noor that Allah bestowed Mercy on Sulayman ibn Dawud as He has ordered to us.
According to reliable chain of narrators it is narrated from Imam Al-Hasan al-’Askari that Allah has specialized Muhammad al-Mustafa with Surah Hamd and He did not include any other Prophet except Sulayman because in this Surah is Bismillah that given began the letter of Sulayman to Bilquis.10
“And Dawud and Sulayman when they gave judgment concerning the field when the people’s sheep pastured therein by night, and We were bearers of witness to their judgment. So We made Sulayman to understand it; and to each one We gave wisdom and knowledge.” (21:78-79)
According to a good chain of narrators, it is narrated from Imam as-Sadiq that some sheep belonging to a person went into the grape orchard of a person from The Israelites and destroyed it. The owner of the sheep was caught and brought to Dawud and justice was sought. Dawud sent them to Sulayman for justice. Sulayman said that if the sheep had destroyed trees with its root and had eaten all of them the owner of sheep should give all the sheep along with their young ones that are yet unborn to the owner of the orchard. And if they had consumed only the fruits and trees and branches are intact then instead of Sheep only the young ones be given. Dawud did not have any difference with the judgment of Sulayman. Because if they had Allah would have judged them as He says, “We were the witness of their judgment.”
In another reliable tradition, it is narrated from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir that this was not decided by only one of them. But they held consultation and were waiting for revelation. Allah informed the judgment through revelation to Sulayman to show his excellence.
According to authentic report, Imam as-Sadiq said that Imamate is a sacred post and each of the Imams is appointed by Allah Himself. The Imam does not have the right to appoint anyone of his own choice. Verily Allah revealed to Dawud to appoint his legatee from his family. “Because I have destined that every legatee of a Prophet should be from his own family.” Dawud had few sons and one of them was the one whose mother was beloved to Dawud. Dawud went to his wife and told her that, “Allah has revealed that He is going to appoint my successor from my family.” She said, “Make my sons as the successor.” Dawud said, “I also want it.” But it was in the knowledge of Allah that Sulayman was to be the Successor. So Allah revealed to Dawud not to hurry in appointing his successor “until My Order comes.”
After a few days two people came to Dawud regarding the grape orchard and sheep for justice. Allah revealed to Dawud to collect his sons and when the litigants presented their case to them Sulayman asked, “O the owner of orchard, what time did the sheep enter your grove?” He replied, “At night.” Then he said to the owner of sheep, “I order you to compensate with the young ones of the sheep and its wool for one year to the owner of the grove.: Dawud said, “Why do you not order that all sheep be given to the grove owner? As the judges of The Israelites usually decree.” Sulayman said, “Trees were not uprooted, next year fruit can be cultivated from them. Only this year’s crop is destroyed. Therefore only for this year the young ones of the sheep should be given to the orchard owner.” Allah revealed to Dawud that whatever verdict Sulayman has given is correct. “Dawud whatever you wanted was different from what I wanted.” Then Dawud went to his wife and said, “Whatever I wanted was different from what Allah desired. Whatever Allah desires, it comes to pass and we are His subjects and His obedient ones.”
According to a reliable tradition, it is narrated from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir that Sulayman said that Allah has bestowed me all those things which He had given to others. And He has also given us whatever He has not given to others. And has taught us everything which He has taught them and made them unaware. We did not find anything better than delivery to the people about fearing Allah, and to spend moderately in affluence and to speak justly when at ease and in anger and to cry and pray in front of Allah.
According to a reliable chain of narrators it is narrated from Holy Prophet who said that Sulayman’s mother said, “O Son do not sleep in excess at night rather spend your time in worshipping Allah. Because sleeping too much at night will make a person poor and troubled on the Resurrection Day. In another tradition, it is said that Sulayman said to his sons, “Never fight and dispute with the people because it is not beneficial and it is the cause of enmity between believers.”
Imam as-Sadiq said that one day Sulayman said to his companions. “Allah has given that kingdom and Kingship that none will get after me. He has made subservient to me the wind, Human beings, Jinn, birds and animals. And taught me the language of birds and bestowed me with every kind of bounty. But after having so much and I was unable to spend a single day in peace. Tomorrow I wish to ascend my gallery and view my kingdom. So do not allow anyone to come to me because if any matter is brought to me, my comfort and happiness would change to sadness and sorrow.”
People said, “It will be so.” Next day Sulayman took his staff and went to the highest position of the palace and leaning on it viewed his kingdom and was very happy to see what bounties Allah had bestowed on him. Very soon, his eyes fell on a very handsome boy wearing pure clothes and was coming towards him from a corner of the palace. Sulayman said, “Who gave you the permission to come here. Today I wanted to be all alone.” He replied, “The Creator of this palace has permitted me. And with His permission I come.” Sulayman said that the Creator of this Palace is more rightful than me. So explain to me who you are?”
The young man said, “I am the Angel of death.” Sulayman asked, “Why have you come?” He said, “To take away your soul.” He said, “Then do come and fulfill the command. As I wanted that this day to be my happiest day and Allah did not like that I should be more cheerful than this.” So the Angel of death took away Sulayman’s soul while he stood leaning on his staff. People used to see Sulayman and thought that he is alive. In that circumstance there was an argument between them. Some said, “Sulayman is standing in this position for many days and he doesn’t get tired. Nor does he sleeps or eats and drink anything. Definitely he is our god and it is compulsory that we worship him.” Another group thought Sulayman has done some magic and due to that he is still standing, the reality was something else. And the believers were saying that “he is the servant of Allah and His Prophet. Allah keeps him as He wants.”
When there erupted fight and differences among them, Allah ordered white ants to eat through the staff of Sulayman from inside and made it hallow. The Staff got broke and Sulayman fell down from the palace. Then jinn thanked the white ants and as recompense made incumbent upon themselves to provide food to them. So wherever white ants appear they provide water and mud to them.
In these ayats Allah says, “But when We decreed death for him, naught showed them his death but a creature of the earth that ate away his staff; and when it fell down, the jinn came to know plainly that if they had known the unseen, they would not have tarried in abasing torment.” (34:14)
Means that the work which they did after the demise of Sulayman according to his order would not have been done.
According to reliable chain of narrators it is narrated from Muhammad al-Baqir that Sulayman had ordered jinn to make a Mosque of mirror and put in the river. jinn made that Mosque and put in the river. Few days remained for its completion. Sulayman entered the mosque and taking support of the staff was reciting Zabur and the Shaitans were busy around him. So Sulayman was looking at them and they were looking at him. Suddenly Sulayman saw at the corner of the mosque a young person. He asked, “Who are you?” He replied, “I am the one who doesn’t accept bribe nor do I fear any King. I am the Angel of death.” And in that same position he took away the soul of Sulayman. People saw him in the same position and he was like this for one year. The jinn were busy in their work and did not dare to check the condition of Sulayman nor did they see any change in him until Allah sent white ants and they and ate the staff from inside. And he feel down.
Due to this the jinn thanked the white ants and wherever white ants occur they provide for them water and mud. When Sulayman expired Satan wrote a book of magic. He also wrote at the back of the book that this book is the one which Asif bin Barkhiya wrote for Sulayman and in it is the treasure and wealth of knowledge. In it he wrote that if any person wants that his such and such work done he should perform this magic and he would get his work done. And he buried this book under the body of Sulayman. And from there he took it out for the people. The unbelievers said that Sulayman ruled over us due to magic which is in this book. The believers said that he was a servant of Allah and His Prophet, and whatever he did was under the authority of Prophethood and due to power of Allah. Regarding this incident we can see the ayats in Surah Baqarah,
And they followed what the Shaitans chanted of sorcery in the reign of Sulayman, and Sulayman was not an unbeliever, but the Shaitans disbelieved, they taught men sorcery and that was sent down to the two angels at Babel, Harut and Marut, yet these two taught no man until they had said, “Surely we are only a trial, therefore do not be a disbeliever.” Even then men learned from these two, magic by which they might cause separation between a man and his wife; and they cannot hurt with it anyone except with Allah’s permission, and they learned what harmed them and did not profit them, and certainly they know that he who bought it should have no share of good in the hereafter and evil was the price for which they sold their souls, had they but known this. (2:102)
According to correct chain of narrators it is narrated from Imam as-Sadiq that Allah revealed to Sulayman, “The sign of your death is a carob tree from Jerusalem. One day Sulayman saw a tree at Jerusalem. He asked the tree, “What is your name.” It said carob.” After hearing this Sulayman came to place of his worship and took the help of a staff and stood and in the same position his soul was taken away. And the people and Jinn, as usual, were busy in their work. At last white ants ate away the staff from inside and his dead body fell down. At that same moment everyone stopped their work. Ibn Babawayh narrates according to reliable chain of narrators from Imam as-Sadiq that the Holy Prophet said, “Sulayman was 712 years old.”
According to reliable chain of narrators Imam as-Sadiq said that The Israelites asked Sulayman to appoint his son after him as his Caliph upon them. Sulayman said that they did not have the capability. When they pressurized him Sulayman said, “I will ask a few questions and if you give the correct reply I will appoint you as the Caliph.” Sulayman asked his sons “What is the taste of water and bread. What is the cause for strength and weakness of voice. And where is the seat of human intellect. By which part one attains tyranny, mercilessness, soft heartedness and mercy? And by which part does one gets tired and relief? And by which part of body does one achieve success and failure?” They could not reply.
Imam as-Sadiq replied to these questions, “Taste of water (refers to) life. Taste of Bread is strength. Strength and weakness of voice is due to the group. Aql and intellect is the brain. Do you not see whose intellect is low people say that how less intellect he has and mercy and is due to the softness and hardness of heart as Allah says: Woe be on those whose heart has become hard hearted to remembrance of Allah. Tiredness and relief of body is due to the legs. When legs are in motion continuously the body gets tired. When legs get relief it relieves tiredness and so the body gets rest. Increase in body and its decrease is due to hands. When a persons performs action with hands he receives sustenance and gets benefit from this world and hereafter. If he does not the body is deprived from this world and the hereafter.
- 1. This hadith is regarding the kingship during the time of Sulayman and it contradicts other traditions.
- 2. Some activities mentioned in this tradition are against the common belief but exegetes says that according to the shari‘ah of Sulayman, making animal statues was not Haram. However, it is Haram now.
- 3. It is possible that initially his kingship was limited to this.
- 4. It is not proper to harass people even if they are wrong-doers. It is possible that the strictness of Sulayman on Shaitans is due to their ill manner otherwise to harass them without any cause does not befit a Prophet.
- 5. By this tradition is apparent, the kingship and capacity of Sulayman and also that Allah cannot bear the injustice done on others.
- 6. Tradition regarding Sulayman is not quoted here. It is discussed along with the tradition on previous Prophets.
- 7. I have discussed this doubt my book Behaarul Anwaar with lot of reasoning. But the best reasoning is from the Holy Prophet himself. I have mentioned this reasoning here.
- 8. Asif bin Barkhiya the minister of Sulayman and he was knowing
- 9. There is controversy regarding the arrival of throne of Bilquis from such a distant place in such a short time. Some say angels brought it on wind. Some say on cloud some say that Allah had created fast motion in the throne that it itself came to Sulayman. Some say that Allah annihilated it at its place and created at Sulayman’s palace and whatever is related through reliable tradition. From those two side, one side is that Allah lowered the land which was between the land of Bilquis and Sulayman and the land which had throne of Bilquis got in motion and made the throne reach to Sulayman then later on the land came back to its original place. And the house and animals and trees which were on the lowered land what happened to them? The answer is then it is quite possible that Allah had removed it to right and left so that they do not come in the way. Or it is possible that the land would have taken the throne beneath it and made it reach below the throne of Sulayman and from there it was lifted up. This reason is quite acceptable to intellect and even other two are quite acceptable and both are noted in the reliable tradition. Therefore according to correct chain of narrator it is narrated from Imam al-Sadiq that minister and successor of record, while explaining this verse of the holy Qur’an, Imam al-Baqir said, There are seventy-three Great names of Allah. He has taught seventy-two of them to Adam which all the holy Prophets up to ‘Isa got in heritage. Allah kept one of His Holy Names secret, which He has not revealed to anybody. So the meaning of ‘Isa ’s reply would be: “I know only those 72 Great Names which You have taught me and that what is secret with You and Asif bin Barkhiya minister of Sulayman was given only one of it by which he conversed and land separated and lowered and the land which had throne of Bilquis came neck to neck of throne of Sulayman then Sulayman himself picked the throne. According to another tradition both the pieces of land came near to each other and the throne from that land came to Sulayman’s land and within the blink of an eye everything came back to its normal position and from those 73 great names Asif was knowing one. Allah has bestows us (Imams) with 72. And one Allah had specially kept for Himself and hasn’t given to any of the creatures.
- 10. This incident have lot of surprising things mentioned in it, and some of it is mentioned in my book Behaarul Anwaar. As these are not related through reliable chain of narrators I have only mentioned them in that book.