Islam-beliefs

Story of Sulaiman AS – All about Magic and Jinns

Few Important Lessons from this story

A good number of lessons may be extracted from the story of Sulaiman AS that all of us should be aware of:

  1. Black Magic exposed
    1. Fact about the angels Harut & Marut
    2. What is magic and how is it dangerous
    3. What happened to the magic books in the time of Sulaiman AS
  2. Animals and Insects are intelligent (even our skins) and may work as evidence against / in favour of us.
  3. Intelligent and Diplomatic approach to deal with war expecting situation of the Queen of Sheba
  4. Characteristics, Powers and Limitations of Jinns explained
    1. Power to take the form of other creatures (including human being)
    2. Transportation and transformation of materials
  5. No one knows about the Unseen except Allah(swt) – so don’t be fooled.

The Ayats to start with

This story must be started with the following Ayats:

And they followed [instead] what the devils had recited during the reign of Solomon. It was not Solomon who disbelieved, but the devils disbelieved, teaching people magic and that which was revealed to the two angels at Babylon, Harut and Marut. But the two angels do not teach anyone unless they say, “We are a trial, so do not disbelieve [by practicing magic].” And [yet] they learn from them that by which they cause separation between a man and his wife. But they do not harm anyone through it except by permission of Allah . And the people learn what harms them and does not benefit them. But the Children of Israel certainly knew that whoever purchased the magic would not have in the Hereafter any share. And wretched is that for which they sold themselves, if they only knew.

And if they had believed and feared Allah, then the reward from Allah would have been [far] better, if they only knew.

{Surah Baqarah; Ayat: 102-3}

These 2 verses clearly mention the overall scenario of innocence of Sulaiman AS and that Magic amounts to Disbelief and these disbelievers have no share in the hereafter.

Summary of the above Ayats:

  • Sulaiman AS didn’t disbelieved by practicing Magic – All his power was granted by Allah(swt) in response to one dua
  • Harut and Marut are the two angels who taught Magic to humanity
  • These two angels used to warn people saying “do not disbelieve [by practicing magic]” before teaching them Magic
  • Practicing magic amounts to disbelief and whoever practices magic does not have any share in the Hereafter
  • The effect of Magic happens with the permission of Allah(swt) – so it is not beyond His control, however it is a form of test for both the magician and the victim.

Further details of Magic is mentioned in another article. Click here for more.

Harut and Marut Came to Babylon and taught Magic to Humanity

There are many versions of stories regarding these two angels of Allah(swt) named Harut and Marut, who came to humankind and taught magic in the city of Babylon.

At first, we need to understand that Angels can not disobey Allah(swt):

…Angels … do not disobey Allah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded. {Surah At-Tahrim; Ayat: 6}

…and the Angels [as well], and they are not arrogant. They fear their Lord above them, and they do what they are commanded. {Surah An-Nahl; Ayat: 49-50}

The Quran mentions that Harut and Marut were angels, so any story that illustrates them to have disobeyed Allah(swt) should be disregarded. They came and taught human magic with the permission of Allah(swt). In additional to that, they used to warn everyone before teaching them magic, that they were sent as a test from Allah(swt) and practicing magic results to disbelieve. If they would disobey Allah(swt) and taught people magic they wouldn’t have warned them — simple logic.

Wisdom of Sulaiman AS since Childhood

Sulaiman AS was the youngest son of Dawud AS and was born in Jerusalem. He had wisdom and sound intellect since childhood. The Quran mentions an example where Sulaiman AS resolved one complicated case which came in front of his father Dawud AS and he was witnessing the event. In that case Sulaiman AS proved his extraordinary ability to make fair judgement.

Fact of the Complicated Case

Two people came with their case in front of Dawud AS in the presence of Sulaiman AS. One of them was a Farmer and the other was a poor Shepherd. The Farmer complained that, the sheep of the poor Shepherd grazed over his farm and caused significant damage. The Farmer requested compensation from the Shepherd. Dawud AS ordered the Shepherd to give all of his sheeps to the Farmer as the compensation.

Sulaiman AS, with due respect towards his father’s judgement, took permission and humbly suggested another option. He suggested that, the poor Shepherd should take the farm and cultivate it and the Farmer should keep the sheep and use their milk and wool. When the farm is restored to its original condition, the Farmer should take back the farm and the sheep must be returned back to the Shepherd again. Dawud AS was amazed by the solution and appreciated it and didn’t hesitate to accept suggestion from the child.

And [mention] David and Solomon, when they judged concerning the field – when the sheep of a people overran it [at night], and We were witness to their judgement.

And We gave understanding of the case to Solomon, and to each [of them] We gave judgement and knowledge. And We subjected the mountains to exalt [Us], along with David and [also] the birds. And We were doing [that]. {Surah Al-Anbya; Ayat: 78-9}

And We had certainly given to David and Solomon knowledge, and they said, “Praise [is due] to Allah, who has favored us over many of His believing servants.” {Surah An-Naml; Ayat: 15}

Inheritance of Kingdom from his Father (Dawud AS)

After the death of Dawud AS, Sulaiman AS took over his father’s kingdom and prophethood. A point to note here is that, this was not a material inheritance, as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, the prophets’ property are not inherited and anything left behind are used as charity {Sahih al-Bukhari; Hadith:6727}.

Few Characteristics of Sulaiman AS

Wisdom since Childhood and Intelligent power of Judgement

This has been already discussed above. Later on, he was found to use these characteristics in his great Leadership.

Sulaiman AS used to Repent a lot

Allah(swt) mentioned this wonderful characteristic in the Quran and praised him, because he was very obedient & worshipping to Allah(swt) and always found turning to Allah(swt) in repentance.

And to David We gave Solomon. An excellent servant, indeed he was one repeatedly turning back [to Allah ]. {Surah Sad; Ayat: 30}

Sulaiman AS used to Love Horses

During the time of Sulaiman AS, horses were the common mode of transportation and war. The animals were well cared for and well trained. One day, Sulaiman AS was reviewing a parade – the fitness, beauty and posture of the horses fascinated him so much that it occupied his mind for sometime – which somehow affected his worship to Allah(swt). This made him realize that, worldly things might affect the remembrance of Allah(swt) – which realization is captured in the Quran.

[Mention] when there were exhibited before him in the afternoon the poised [standing] racehorses.

And he said, “Indeed, I gave preference to the love of good [things] over the remembrance of my Lord until the sun disappeared into the curtain [of darkness].”

{Surah Sad; Ayat: 31-32}

Dua of Sulaiman AS for an Ever-Unique-Kingdom

Once Sulaiman AS was put on a test(fitnah) by Allah(swt). After this, he repented and made a Dua to Allah(swt) to grant him such a kingdom that no one after him would ever have, and Allah(swt) accepted that Dua. Besides wisdom and knowledge, Allah(swt) had blessed Solomon AS with the greatest Kingdom in human history with many extraordinary powers, as discussed below.

Wind was made subservient to Sulaiman AS

He was granted with the power to command and control the winds and he could easily travel long distance within a very short period of time with the help of wind. Probably he was awarded with a better mode of transportation than that of the horses.

So We subjected to him the wind blowing by his command, gently, wherever he directed. {Surah Sad; Ayat: 36}

And to Solomon [We subjected] the wind, blowing forcefully, proceeding by his command toward the land which We had blessed. And We are ever, of all things, Knowing. {Surah Al-Anbya; Ayat: 81}

And to Solomon [We subjected] the wind – its morning [journey was that of] a month – and its afternoon [journey was that of] a month, and We made flow for him a spring of [liquid] copper… {Surah Saba; Ayat: 12}

Sulaiman AS could understand the language of the Animals, Birds and Insects

He was also given the power to understand the speech of Animals, Birds and Insects. He had the capability to even talk to them (the Quran at least confirmed regarding his conversation to a bird).

And Solomon inherited David. He said, “O people, we have been taught the language of birds, and we have been given from all things. Indeed, this is evident bounty.”

And gathered for Solomon were his soldiers of the jinn and men and birds, and they were [marching] in rows. {Surah An-Naml; Ayat: 16-17}

Once Sulaiman AS was marching with his army and heard a conversation among terrified ants rushing toward their holes with the fear of being trampled and crushed under the feet of the army. Sulaiman AS, hearing the cry of an ant, smiled. He was glad that the ant already knew him to be a prophet who would not intentionally harm Allah’s (swt) creation.

Till, when they came to the valley of the ants, one of the ants said: “O ants! Enter your dwellings, lest Sulaiman (Solomon) and his hosts crush you, while they perceive not.”

So he (Solomon) smiled, amused at her speech and said: “My Lord! Inspire and bestow upon me the power and ability that I may be grateful for Your Favours which You have bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds that will please You, and admit me by Your Mercy among Your righteous slaves.”{Surah: An-Naml; Ayat: 18-19}

Jinns (evil ones) were made subdued to Sulaiman AS

This is the most crucial part of this discussion. Sulaiman AS was the only person to whom Allah(swt) had granted the power to control Jinns. He could command them and utilize them for his service he could even make them suffer for disobedience.

…And among the jinn were those who worked for him by the permission of his Lord. And whoever deviated among them from Our command – We will make him taste of the punishment of the Blaze. {Surah Saba; Ayat: 12}

And gathered for Solomon were his soldiers of the jinn and men and birds, and they were [marching] in rows. {Surah An-Naml; Ayat: 17}

Sulaiman AS and the Queen of Sheba

Let us consider this story in stages:

News from the bird named Hud-Hud

One day, Sulaiman AS had gathered his army consisting of humans, animals, birds, jinns and of course wind. The sharp eyes of Sulaiman AS noticed the absence of one hoopoe bird (hud-hud) in the huge gathering. Sulaiman AS decided to severely punish or imposing death penalty to the bird as a non-disciplinary action, but he gave the bird a chance to explain the reason behind its absence.

And he took attendance of the birds and said, “Why do I not see the hoopoe – or is he among the absent?

I will surely punish him with a severe punishment or slaughter him unless he brings me clear authorization.” {Surah An-Naml; Ayat: 20-21}

The hoopoe soon returned to Sulaiman AS and explained the reason for its delay. The bird reported that, beyond the knowledge of Sulaiman AS, there is a kingdom named Sheba, which was being ruled by a Queen named Bilqis, who owned lots of things including a splendid Throne.

But the hoopoe stayed not long and said, “I have encompassed [in knowledge] that which you have not encompassed, and I have come to you from Sheba with certain news.

Indeed, I found [there] a woman ruling them, and she has been given of all things, and she has a great throne. {Surah An-Naml; Ayat: 22-23}

The bird also informed that, the people of Sheba was worshipping the Sun instead of Allah(swt) and Shaitan made their activity beautiful to them. A good point to note is that, a bird could closely scan and observe the overall scenario and comment even over the way the people was thinking at that point of time.

I found her and her people prostrating to the sun instead of Allah, and Satan has made their deeds pleasing to them and averted them from [His] way, so they are not guided {Surah An-Naml; Ayat: 24}

Sulaiman AS responded, let’s check whether you are speaking the truth or not. He sent one letter to Sheba with the help of the bird and waited for their response.

[Solomon] said, “We will see whether you were truthful or were of the liars.

Take this letter of mine and deliver it to them. Then leave them and see what [answer] they will return.” {Surah An-Naml; Ayat: 24}

The letter of Sulaiman AS

The letter was written for the people of Sheba mentioning: “Do not to be arrogant and submit to the Almighty Allah(swt)”. The Quran captures the contents of the letter as follows.

…In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful,

Be not haughty with me but come to me in submission [as Muslims].

{Surah An-Naml; Ayat: 30-31}

The queen of Sheba (Bilqis) was really intelligent. After receiving the letter, she discussed the matter with her chiefs and sought their counsels, the chiefs suggested that they are powerful enough to fight back in response. But, Bilqis reasoned not to declare war because, most of the time, wars results destruction to towns/cities. Instead, she decided to send some valuable gifts and observe the situation. This is a sign of her great diplomatic approach to handle situation with intelligence and not with arrogance of strength & power.

She said, “O eminent ones, advise me in my affair. I would not decide a matter until you witness [for] me.”

They said, “We are men of strength and of great military might, but the command is yours, so see what you will command.”

She said, “Indeed kings – when they enter a city, they ruin it and render the honored of its people humbled. And thus do they do.

But indeed, I will send to them a gift and see with what [reply] the messengers will return.”

{Surah An-Naml; Ayat: 32-35}

Sulaiman AS rejects the gifts mentioning that, Allah(swt) had blessed him with so much of kingdom and much more that he did not need any of those gifts and returned them back. He also said that, he would invade the land, if required.

So when they came to Solomon, he said, “Do you provide me with wealth? But what Allah has given me is better than what He has given you. Rather, it is you who rejoice in your gift.

Return to them, for we will surely come to them with soldiers that they will be powerless to encounter, and we will surely expel them therefrom in humiliation, and they will be debased.”

{Surah An-Naml; Ayat: 36-37}

Bilqis’ visit to Sulaiman AS and her Great Throne

The Queen then visited Sulaiman AS. But, whilst she was on her way, Sulaiman AS asked the Jinns, if anyone of them could bring the throne of the Queen to him – before she arrives. One of the powerful Jinn offered to bring it before Sulaiman AS gets up from his place. Another powerful Jinn (named Ifrit) with knowledge from the scripture offered to bring it even faster – within the blink of an eye. History reports that the distance between the Sulaiman AS’s Kingdom (Palestine) and the throne of Bilqis (Yemen) was about 2,000 miles – when Sulaiman AS saw this miracle to take place, he turned to Allah(swt) in gratitude.

[Solomon] said, “O assembly [of jinn], which of you will bring me her throne before they come to me in submission?”

A powerful one from among the jinn said, “I will bring it to you before you rise from your place, and indeed, I am for this [task] strong and trustworthy.”

Said [Ifrit] one who had knowledge from the Scripture, “I will bring it to you before your glance returns to you.” And when [Solomon] saw it placed before him, he said, “This is from the favor of my Lord to test me whether I will be grateful or ungrateful. And whoever is grateful – his gratitude is only for [the benefit of] himself. And whoever is ungrateful – then indeed, my Lord is Free of need and Generous.”

{Surah An-Naml; Ayat: 38-40}

This kind of transmission may be correlated to the transformation of materials to energy – transferring the energy at the speed of light – and reform the material back from energy – the powerful of Jinns (not all) may have this kind of ability (check here for more details).

After that, Sulaiman AS instructed the Jinns to make slight alteration to the throne in order to check whether Bilqis would be able to identify it. When Bilqis arrived, she was asked whether the throne resembles her throne or not – she replied, the throne is as if it is her own throne – but she was not quite sure because of the alteration made to it. Sulaiman AS realized her intelligence.

He said, “Disguise for her her throne; we will see whether she will be guided [to truth] or will be of those who is not guided.”

So when she arrived, it was said [to her], “Is your throne like this?” She said, “[It is] as though it was it.” [Solomon said], “And we were given knowledge before her, and we have been Muslims [in submission to Allah ].

{Surah An-Naml; Ayat: 41-42}

She was then invited to a grand palace whose floor was built of glass/crystal. Some narration reports that, the passages of glass had water-streams beneath it containing fish and other underwater creatures (just like an aquarium). She thought it was water so she lifted her skirt slightly above her heels so that they does not get wet. Sulaiman AS assured her that the floor was built of glass – some narrations says that, he told it so that Bilqis does not uncover her legs in front of Sulaiman AS thus protecting her modesty.

At this point she was amazed by the magnificence of the blessings of Allah(swt) that was granted to the Prophet (Sulaiman AS) and she realized that she and her people were wrong (by worshiping the Sun instead of the Almighty God). So she repented and surrendered to the Allah(swt).

She was told, “Enter the palace.” But when she saw it, she thought it was a body of water and uncovered her shins [to wade through]. He said, “Indeed, it is a palace [whose floor is] made smooth with glass.” She said, “My Lord, indeed I have wronged myself, and I submit with Solomon to Allah, Lord of the worlds.”

{Surah An-Naml; Ayat: 43}

The Death of Sulaiman AS

As we already know that, Sulaiman AS was blessed with the power to control the Jinns. Sulaiman AS used to command the Jinns to build publicly visible structures like arches, images, basins, and large cooking pots. These were done to show human beings that, Jinns are not all powerful and can even be made subject to slavery and punishment with their limitations – so they should not be worshipped.

His death was also unique, it teaches a great lesson to the humanity after him (including us) – which is also captured in the Quran. Once, he was sitting holding his stuff(a stick), supervising the Jinns (who were following his commandment) – at that moment his soul was taken and he died. The Jinns kept on doing their work for a long time, thinking that Sulaiman AS was watching over them, sitting erect over his stuff. The situation continued – till some insects came and started to eat the stuff(stick) on which Sulaiman AS was leaning on. After sometime the support broke and Sulaiman AS fell on the ground which made the Jinns realize that he actually died a long time ago. If the Jinns had the knowledge of the unseen they wouldn’t have carried on their work for such a long period of time after the death of Sulaiman AS.

They[Jinns] made for him what he willed of elevated chambers, statues, bowls like reservoirs, and stationary kettles. [We said], “Work, O family of David, in gratitude.” And few of My servants are grateful.

And when We decreed for Solomon death, nothing indicated to the jinn his death except a creature of the earth eating his staff. But when he fell, it became clear to the jinn that if they had known the unseen, they would not have remained in humiliating punishment. {Surah Saba; Ayat: 13-14}

False Acquisition to Sulaiman AS regarding the Magic Books

According to Ibn Kathir, Sulaiman AS collected various writings/books regarding the dangerous practice of Magic (which results to disbelief). He put them on a box/chest and buried them under his throne. Any devil that tried getting near to it was burned.

But after the death of Sulaiman AS, a devil came in the form of a human being and said to people, “Should I lead you to an everlasting treasure that will never be run out?”. The devil then lead these people to dig under the throne of Sulaiman AS where they found out the writings. The devil then told them that, these are the sources of the powers that Prophet Sulaiman AS was using to control the Jinns and the animals/birds – thus affecting the credibility of Sulaiman AS. Later on, with the blessed mouths of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – Allah(swt) informed us in the Quran regarding the innocence of Sulaiman AS.

Brief discussions of few Lessons from the story of Sulaiman AS

Now let’s briefly explore few lessons from the aforementioned story:

  1. The initial Dua of Sulaiman AS (regarding the ever-unique-kingdom) was actually seemed to be totally Worldly (asking for extreme power and property), but later on, the story clarifies how he actually used these power to clarify the misconceptions regarding the power of the Jinns to Human Beings. He also used these powers to spread Islam in various Kingdoms.
  2. The small hoopoe bird (hud-hud) could fly and scan over the kingdom of Sheba and witness their activities – examining so deep that it could even report how the Shaitan made their act of Worship to Sun beautiful in their minds. So do not disregard the creations of Allah(swt) animals and insects moving around you which can actually record our activities to act as witness against or in favour of us in the hereafter.
  3. A good lesson can also be learnt from the Queen of Sheba (Bilqis). When she received the letter from Sulaiman AS – just as any leader – she consulted with her advisors (the advisors recommended to fight back). But she made a great diplomatic decision not to retaliate which actually saved the whole nation from humility and bloodshed as they could never win a battle against the soilder of Sulaiman AS.
  4. Jinns can not foresee future or have any knowledge of the unseen which is known to Allah(swt) alone, Sulaiman AS being a prophet had a duty to remove such false beliefs (that is even found to exist till today among people without right knowledge). This is actually the most crucial lesson from the wonderful story of Sulaiman AS.

9 comments

  1. Assalamualaikkum varah AUDITOR NASSER SALEM. Very good opportunity to learn this subject and realize the king of Suleiman AS is the most powerful person which granted from Allah. Sukriya Allah. One more demand of my requests kindly inform the Suleiman AS Dua. We must need. Kindly forwarded and share it…

    1. There are many Duas made by Sulaiman AS (as mentioned in the quran). But probably you are looking for this particular Dua:
      قَالَ رَبِّ اغْفِرْ لِي وَهَبْ لِي مُلْكًا لَّا يَنبَغِي لِأَحَدٍ مِّن بَعْدِي ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْوَهَّابُ – 38:35
      https://quran.com/38/35

  2. What a exceptional brief description on the life of Sulaiman AS! Thanks for sharing, may you be rewarded in this life and the next.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.