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Islamic view of Solomon

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Sulayman (circa 985 BC - 932 BC)[1] [2], (Arabic: سليمان‎) is a prophet in the Qur'an who is known as King Solomon from the Bible. Judging from the similarities, the Qur'an and the Bible apparently describe the same person, however the accounts differ on a number of aspects. It is believed that Prophet Sulayman lived only for 53 years.[3] [2]

The Arabic version of the name may also be transliterated into Latin alphabet in various languages as Sulaiman, Suleyman, Sulayman or Suleiman and may be seen in English language texts in these forms as well.

The story of Solomon, as told by Qur'anic verses

In the Qur'an, Sulayman is a son of the Prophet Dawud (King David in Bible). He is told to have learned much from his father, and subsequently made a prophet by Allah and given power over all creatures. Ruling a large kingdom that extended south into Yemen, he was known throughout the lands for his wisdom and fair judgements.

Sulayman's court

Sulayman is said to have been given control over various elements, such as the wind and transportation. In addition he had excellent relations with the Jinn as well as animals. Thus the Quran says,

And to Solomon (We made) the Wind (obedient): Its early morning (stride) was a month's (journey), and its evening (stride) was a month's (journey); and We made a Font of molten brass to flow for him; and there were Jinns that worked in front of him, by the leave of his Lord, and if any of them turned aside from our command, We made him taste of the Penalty of the Blazing Fire. [Qur'an 34:12]
And before Sulayman were marshalled his hosts,- of Jinns and men and birds, and they were all kept in order and ranks. [Qur'an 27:17]

And Sulayman was accordingly grateful of Allah, he says

"O ye people! We have been taught the speech of birds, and on us has been bestowed (a little) of all things: this is indeed Grace manifest (from Allah)." [Qur'an 27:16]

Sulayman and Saba (Sheba)

A well-known story of Sulayman involves his interactions with the Queen of Sheba, Bilqis. Sulayman comes to know about the ruler through a talking hoopoe who states:

"I found (there) a woman ruling over them and provided with every requisite; and she has a magnificent throne.[Qur'an 27:23]

According to the story, she was a wise ruler, but her people worshipped the sun. Sulayman invites her to submit to "Allah, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful". Upon receiving such a letter she requests advise from her chiefs, who are most willing to make war. The Queen, however, responds:

"Kings, when they enter a country, despoil it, and make the noblest of its people its meanest thus do they behave. But I am going to send him a present, and (wait) to see with what (answer) return (my) ambassadors." [Qur'an 27:34] and [Qur'an 27:35]

And so the Queen sends gifts to Sulayman. These gifts offend Sulayman, who was satisfied with that which Allah had granted him, and he began to make preparations for war. Meanwhile, the envoys of the Queen returned with the gifts, and the Queen decided to personally visit Sulayman. At this point Sulayman decided to test the Queen. He ordered to bring the Queen's throne from her palace before she reaches Sulayman's court. A proud Jinn claimed he could bring the throne before him (Sulayman) before he (Sulayman) stood up. But a man stood up and said he could bring the throne before the "twinkling of an eye" and as soon as he said it the throne was there. Before the Queen arrived, Sulayman asked to disguise her throne in order to test her. Upon her arrival, she was asked to identify the throne and whether it was hers. The Queen replied

"It was just like this; and knowledge was bestowed on us in advance of this, and we have submitted to Allah (in Islam)." [Qur'an 27:42]

She was then asked to enter his palace, in which the floor was made of transparent glass built above flowing water. The Queen had not seen or known about glass before, and thinking that her clothes will get wet, she uncovered her legs before taking her steps. To this, Sulayman explained to her what she saw before her and she had by now submitted to God and the two kingdoms were at peace.

The Qur'anic account of the story of Sulayman and the Queen of Sheeba ends here. There are several stories (from the Old and New Testaments, among others) about Sulayman and the Queen that do not appear in Islamic traditions. The Islamic position on all such stories neither confirms nor denies them.

Death of Solomon

According to the Quran, the death of Sulayman was a lesson to be learned,

Then, when We decreed (Solomon's) death, nothing showed them his death except a little worm of the earth, which kept (slowly) gnawing away at his staff: so when he fell down, the Jinns saw plainly that if they had known the unseen, they would not have tarried in the humiliating Penalty (of their Task). [Qur'an 34:14]

When Sulayman was to die, he stood up in prayer holding his cane. There he silently died, but, by Allah's will, did not fall. He remained in this position, and everyone including the Jinns thought that he was still alive. Finally Allah ordered a termite to weaken the cane so that the body of Sulayman fell. It was thereafter believed that the Jinn (along with all humans) did not know everything and only Allah had knowledge of all.

References to Solomon in the Qur'an

Notes

  1. The Truth of Life
  2. 2.0 2.1 :: www.zainab.org
  3. The Truth of Life
az:Süleyman peyğəmbər

bs:Sulejman (islam) dv:ސުލައިމާނުގެފާނު id:Sulayman ms:Nabi Sulaiman a.s. ru:Сулейман sv:Sulayman

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