Dawud and Sulayman (peace be upon them), the organization of Sulayman’s Troops and His passage throu

Here Allah tells us about the great blessings and favors which He bestowed upon two of His servants and Prophets, Dawud (David) and his son Sulayman (Solomon), peace be upon them both, and how they enjoyed happiness in this world and the Hereafter, power and authority in this world, and the position of being Prophets and Messengers. Allah says:

﴿وَلَقَدْ ءَاتَيْنَا دَاوُودَ وَسُلَيْمَـنَ عِلْماً وَقَالاَ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِى فَضَّلَنَا عَلَى كَثِيرٍ مِّنْ عِبَادِهِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ﴾

(And indeed We gave knowledge to Dawud and Sulayman, and they both said: “All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has preferred us above many of His believing servants!”)

﴿وَوَرِثَ سُلَيْمَـنُ دَاوُودَ﴾

(And Sulayman inherited from Dawud.) means, in kingship and prophethood. What is meant here is not wealth, because if that were the case, Sulayman would not have been singled out from among the sons of Dawud, as Dawud had one hundred wives. Rather what is meant is the inheritance of kingship and prophethood, for the wealth of the Prophets cannot be inherited, as the Messenger of Allah said:

«نَحْنُ مَعَاشِرَ الْأَنْبِيَاءِ لَا نُورَثُ، مَا تَرَكْنَاهُ فَهُوَ صَدَقَة»

(We Prophets cannot be inherited from; whatever we leave behind is charity.) And Sulayman said:

﴿يأَيُّهَا النَّاسُ عُلِّمْنَا مَنطِقَ الطَّيْرِ وَأُوتِينَا مِن كُلِّ شَىْءٍ﴾

(O mankind! We have been taught the language of birds, and we have been given from everything.) Here Sulayman was speaking of the blessings that Allah bestowed upon him, by giving him complete authority and power, whereby mankind, the Jinn and the birds were subjugated to him. He also knew the language of the birds and animals, which is something that had never been given to any other human being — as far as we know from what Allah and His Messenger told us. Allah enabled Sulayman to understand what the birds said to one another as they flew through the air, and what the different kinds of animals said. Sulayman said:

﴿عُلِّمْنَا مَنطِقَ الطَّيْرِ وَأُوتِينَا مِن كُلِّ شَىْءٍ﴾

(We have been taught the language of birds, and we have been given from everything.) i.e., all things that a king needs.

﴿إِنَّ هَـذَا لَهُوَ الْفَضْلُ الْمُبِينُ﴾

(This, verily, is an evident grace.) means, `this is clearly the blessings of Allah upon us.’

﴿وَحُشِرَ لِسْلَيْمَـنَ جُنُودُهُ مِنَ الْجِنِّ وَالإِنْس وَالطَّيْرِ فَهُمْ يُوزَعُونَ ﴾

(And there were gathered before Sulayman his hosts of Jinn and men, and birds, and they all were set in battle order.) means, all of Sulayman’s troops of Jinn, men and birds were gathered together, and he rode with them in a display of might and glory, with people marching behind him, followed by the Jinn, and the birds flying above his head. When it was hot, they would shade him with their wings.

﴿فَهُمْ يُوزَعُونَ﴾

(and they all were set in battle order.) The first and the last of them were brought together, so that none of them would step out of place. Mujahid said: “Officials were appointed to keep each group in order, and to keep the first and the last together so that no one would step out of line — just as kings do nowadays.”

﴿حَتَّى إِذَآ أَتَوْا عَلَى وَادِى النَّمْلِ﴾

(Till, when they came to the valley of the ants,) meaning, when Sulayman, the soldiers and the army with him crossed the valley of the ants,

﴿قَالَتْ نَمْلَةٌ يأَيُّهَا النَّمْلُ ادْخُلُواْ مَسَـكِنَكُمْ لاَ يَحْطِمَنَّكُمْ سُلَيْمَـنُ وَجُنُودُهُ وَهُمْ لاَ يَشْعُرُونَ﴾

(one of the ants said: “O ants! Enter your dwellings, lest Sulayman and his armies should crush you, while they perceive not.”) Sulayman, peace be upon him, understood what the ant said,

﴿فَتَبَسَّمَ ضَـحِكاً مِّن قَوْلِهَا وَقَالَ رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِى أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ الَّتِى أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَىَّ وَعَلَى وَالِدَىَّ وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَـلِحاً تَرْضَـهُ﴾

(So he smiled, amused at her speech and said: “My Lord! Grant me the power and ability that I may be grateful for Your favors which You have bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds that will please You, ) meaning: `inspire me to give thanks for the blessings that You have bestowed upon me by teaching me to understand what the birds and animals say, and the blessings that You have bestowed upon my parents by making them Muslims who believe in You.’

﴿وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَـلِحاً تَرْضَـهُ﴾

(and that I may do righteous good deeds that will please You,) means, `deeds that You love which will earn Your pleasure.’

﴿وَأَدْخِلْنِى بِرَحْمَتِكَ فِى عِبَادِكَ الصَّـلِحِينَ﴾

(and admit me by Your mercy among Your righteous servants.) means, `when You cause me to die, then join me with the righteous among Your servants, and the Higher Companion among Your close friends.’

﴿وَتَفَقَّدَ الطَّيْرَ فَقَالَ مَالِيَ لاَ أَرَى الْهُدْهُدَ أَمْ كَانَ مِنَ الْغَآئِبِينَ – لأُعَذِّبَنَّهُ عَذَاباً شَدِيداً أَوْ لاّذْبَحَنَّهُ أَوْ لَيَأْتِيَنِّى بِسُلْطَـنٍ مُّبِينٍ ﴾

(20. He inspected the birds, and said: “What is the matter that I see not the hoopoe Or is he among the absentees”) (21. “I will surely punish him with a severe torment or slaughter him, unless he brings me a clear reason.”)

The Absence of the Hoopoe

Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr and others narrated from Ibn `Abbas and others that the hoopoe was an expert who used to show Sulayman where water was if he was out in open land and needed water. The hoopoe would look for water for him in the various strata of the earth, just as a man looks at things on the surface of the earth, and he would know just how far below the surface the water was. When the hoopoe showed him where the water was, Sulayman would command the Jinn to dig in that place until they brought water from the depths of the earth. One day Sulayman went to some open land and checked on the birds, but he could not see the hoopoe.

﴿لأُعَذِّبَنَّهُ عَذَاباً شَدِيداً أَوْ لاّذْبَحَنَّهُ أَوْ لَيَأْتِيَنِّى بِسُلْطَـنٍ مُّبِينٍ ﴾

(I will surely punish him with a severe torment or slaughter him, unless he brings me a clear reason.) The hoopoe said, “Then I am saved.”

﴿فَمَكَثَ غَيْرَ بَعِيدٍ فَقَالَ أَحَطتُ بِمَا لَمْ تُحِطْ بِهِ وَجِئْتُكَ مِن سَبَإٍ بِنَبَإٍ يَقِينٍ – إِنِّى وَجَدتُّ امْرَأَةً تَمْلِكُهُمْ وَأُوتِيَتْ مِن كُلِّ شَىْءٍ وَلَهَا عَرْشٌ عَظِيمٌ – وَجَدتُّهَا وَقَوْمَهَا يَسْجُدُونَ لِلشَّمْسِ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَزَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الشَّيْطَـنُ أَعْمَـلَهُمْ فَصَدَّهُمْ عَنِ السَّبِيلِ فَهُمْ لاَ يَهْتَدُونَ – أَلاَّ يَسْجُدُواْ للَّهِ الَّذِى يُخْرِجُ الْخَبْءَ فِى السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا تُخْفُونَ وَمَا تُعْلِنُونَ – اللَّهُ لاَ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ رَبُّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ ﴾

(22. But (the hoopoe) stayed not long, he said: “I have grasped which you have not grasped and I have come to you from Saba’ with true news.”)

(23. “I found a woman ruling over them, she has been given all things, and she has a great throne.”)

(24. “I found her and her people worshipping the sun instead of Allah, and Shaytan has made their deeds fair seeming to them to prevent them from the way, so they have no guidance.”)

(25. So they do not prostrate themselves before Allah, Who brings to light what is hidden in the heavens and the earth, and knows what you conceal and what you reveal.)

(26. Allah, La ilaha illa Huwa, the Lord of the Supreme Throne!”)

(27. (Sulayman) said: “We shall see whether you speak the truth or you are (one) of the liars.”)

(28. “Go you with this letter of mine and deliver it to them, then draw back from them and see what they return.”)

(29. She said: “O chiefs! Verily, here is delivered to me a noble letter, ”)

(30. “Verily, it is from Sulayman, and it (reads): `In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;’)

(31. `Be you not exalted against me, but come to me submitting (as Muslims).’ ”)

(32. She said: “O chiefs! Advise me in case of mine. I decide no case till you are present with me.”)

(33. They said: “We have great strength, and great ability for war, but it is for you to command; so think over what you will command.”)

(34. She said: “Verily, kings, when they enter a town, they destroy it and make the most honorable among its people the lowest. And thus they do.”)

(35. “But verily, I am going to send him a present, and see with what (answer) the messengers return.”)

(36. So, when (the messengers with the gift) came to Sulayman, he said: “Will you help me in wealth What Allah has given me is better than that which He has given you! Nay, you rejoice in your gift!”)

(37. “Go back to them. We verily, shall come to them with armies that they cannot resist, and we shall drive them out from there in disgrace, and they will be abased.”)

(38. He said: “O chiefs! Which of you can bring me her throne before they come to me surrendering themselves in obedience (as Muslims)”)

(39. An `Ifrit from the Jinn said: “I will bring it to you before you rise from your place. And verily, I am indeed strong and trustworthy for such work.”)

(40. One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture, said: “I will bring it to you within the twinkling of an eye!” Then when he saw it placed before him, he said: “This is by the grace of my Lord — to test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful! And whoever is grateful, truly, his gratitude is for himself; and whoever is ungrateful, certainly my Lord is Rich, Bountiful.”)

(41. He said: “Disguise her throne for her that we may see whether she will be guided, or she will be one of those not guided.”)

(42. So when she came, it was said, “Is your throne like this” She said: “As though it were the very same.” And he said, “Knowledge was bestowed on us before her, and we had submitted to Allah (as Muslims).”)

(43. And Saddaha that which she used to worship besides Allah has prevented her (from Islam), for she was of a disbelieving people.)

(44. It was said to her: “Enter As-Sarh,” but when she saw it, she thought it was a pool, and she (tucked up her clothes) uncovering her legs. Sulayman said: “Verily, it is a Sarh Mumarrad of Qawarir.” She said: “My Lord! Verily, I have wronged myself, and I submit, together with Sulayman to Allah, the Lord of all that exits.”

(It was said to her: “Enter As-Sarh” but when she saw it, she thought it was a pool, and she (tucked up her clothes) uncovering her legs.) Sulayman had commanded the Shayatin to build for her a huge palace of glass beneath which water was flowing. Anyone who did not know the nature of the building would think that it was water, but in fact there was a layer of glass between a person walking and the water.





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