We gave Dawud Sulayman. What an excellent servant! He truly turned to his Lord. (Surah Sad, 30)
In the world to come he shall be honoured and well received. (Surah Sad, 40)
We gave Sulayman insight… (Surat al-Anbiya’, 79)
The Prophet Sulayman (as), the heir of the Prophet Dawud (as), was also a prophet who had been exalted by the material and spiritual blessings given to him by Allah. For the cause of Allah, he asked Allah for unprecedented wealth, which no soul had ever had on Earth and Allah answered this prayer. The wind that blew in the form of storm, molten brass and the jinn were dedicated by Allah to his service. Some of the verses that inform us about the blessings granted to Sulayman (as) are as follows:
And We gave Sulayman power over the wind—its stride was a month’s journey in the morning and a month’s journey in the afternoon. And We made a fount of molten brass flow out for him. And some of the jinn served him by his Lord’s permission. And if a single one of them deviated at all from Our command, We let him taste the punishment of the Searing Blaze. They made for him anything he wished: high arches and statues, basins as large as watering troughs and great built-in cauldrons. We said “Work, family of Dawud, in thankfulness!” But very few of My servants are thankful. (Surah Saba, 12-13)
Aware that everything given to him was a blessing bestowed on him by Allah, the Prophet Sulayman (as) said that he had asked for these blessings so as to earn Allah’s approval. The relevant verses read:
When his swift horses, champing at the bit, were displayed before him in the afternoon, he [Sulayman] said, “Truly do I love the love of good, with a view to the glory of my Lord”—[repeating these words as the Steeds raced away,] until they were hidden by the veil [of distance—where upon he would command], “Return them to me!” And he set about stroking their shanks and necks. (Surah Sad, 31- 33)
These words of the Prophet Sulayman (as) are an example for all. Every person of faith knows that everything on the Earth belongs to Allah and that everything he owns is a blessing granted by Allah. For this reason, at the sight of every kind of beauty, he remembers Allah and gives thanks to Him. Meanwhile, he never forgets that everything in this world is transitory and that he will possess its original in the Hereafter for all eternity.
The Prophet Sulayman (as) Summoned His People To Believe In Allah
The Qur’an informs us about the methods the Prophet Sulayman (as) used to communicate Allah’s message to the Queen of Sheba, an idolatrous nation that worshipped the sun. When the hoopoe, who was subject to the Prophet Sulayman (as), brought news from this nation, Prophet Sulayman (as) sent them a letter and summoned them to accept Allah’s religion. When the Queen of Sheba received the letter, she disclosed its contents—a summons to Allah’s religion—to the prominent people of her land, saying:
“Council! A noble letter has been delivered to me. It is from Sulayman and says: ‘In the name of Allah, the Compassionate and Most Merciful. Do not rise up against me, but come to me in submission.’” She said, “Council! Give me your opinion about this matter. It is not my habit to make a final decision until I have heard what you have to say.” They said, “We possess strength and we possess great force. But the matter is in your hands, so consider what you command.” (Surat an-Naml, 29-33)
The might and commitment of the Prophet Sulayman (as) are evident from the style of the letter. The inner circle of the Queen of Sheba grasped that they would be defeated if they opposed Sulayman (as), however, they first sent the Prophet Sulayman (as) a gift to see how he would react.
The Prophet Sulayman (as) Stated That What Was Granted By Allah To Him Was Better Than Any Gift From Them
The Prophet Sulayman (as), a man of might and honour, rejected the gifts sent by the Queen of Sheba and assumed a very resolute attitude on this matter. The Qur’an gives an account of this event as follows:
… “Would you give me wealth when what Allah has given me is better than all the riches He has given you? No, rather it is you who delight in your gift.” (Surat an- Naml, 36)
With these words, the Prophet Sulayman (as) made it clear that nothing could ever be above and beyond Allah’s approval. This attitude of the Prophet Sulayman (as), showing that he did not condescend to any worldly value, is an important point of superiority and an attribute of faith that believers should embrace.
The Prophet Sulayman (as) Tried Various Methods To Guide People To Allah’s Religion
The Prophet Sulayman (as) wanted the people of Sheba to convert to Islam. He employed a different method to show the might Allah had granted him and thereby to guide the people of Sheba to faith. For this purpose, the Prophet Sulayman (as) asked his assistants to bring Sheba’s throne to him:
[When the messenger left] He [Sulayman] said, “Council! Who among you will bring me her throne before they come to me in submission?” (Surat an-Naml, 38)
He who possessed knowledge of the Book said, “I will bring it to you in a twinkling.” (Surat an-Naml, 40)
The Prophet Sulayman (as) thereupon saw the throne right beside him. Aware that everything he possessed was given as a test from Allah, Sulayman (as) described this as a trial:
“… This is part of my Lord’s favour to test me to see if I will give thanks or show ingratitude. Whoever gives thanks has much to gain. Whoever is ungrateful… my Lord is Rich Beyond Need, and Generous.” (Surat an- Naml, 40)
When the Queen of Sheba came, she felt deeply impressed by this miracle and the glory she witnessed in Sulayman’s (as) palace. She immediately repented and turned to the faith. The conversation between her and Prophet Sulayman (as) is related in the Qur’an:
He said, “Disguise her throne. We shall see whether she is someone who is guided to the truth or not.” Then when she came, she was asked, “Is your throne like this?” She said, “It is exactly like it.” He said, “We were given knowledge before her and were already Muslims,” but what she worshipped besides Allah impeded her. She comes from an unbelieving people. She was asked to enter the lofty palace, but when she saw it she supposed it to be a pool and bared her legs. But Sulayman said, “It is a palace paved with glass.” She said, “My Lord, I have wronged myself but now I submit with Sulayman to Allah the Lord of all the worlds.” (Surat an-Naml, 41-44)
As the Prophet Sulayman’s (as) message to the people of Sheba reveals, messengers employed all their might and resources for the purpose of guiding people to faith in Allah.