PROPHET SOLOMON (pbuh)
SIMILARITES BETWEEN PROPHET SOLOMON (PBUH) AND
The Qur'an informs us of Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh), another Muslim leader
who ruled a great kingdom. His life was quite similar to Prophet
They Both Had Power
God gave both "power and authority in the
land" (Qur'an, 18:84). The words power and authority may
imply the great importance of their kingdom's economic, military,
and political power. Thanks to this power, Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh)
ruled over a great expanse of territory and established order therein.
(For detailed information about Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh), see Harun
Yahya, Signs of the End Times in Surat al-Kahf [New Delhi: Goodword
They Were Intelligent and Believed in God
The Qur'an states that God granted Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh) "a
way to everything" (Qur'an, 18:84). In other words, he was
a perceptive, cautious, and intelligent leader who could solve every
problem. Examples of Prophet Solomon's (pbuh) intelligence, from
his command over jinns and demons to his administration of his kingdom,
are related in the Qur'an.
Like Prophet Solomon (pbuh), Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh) also ruled a
powerful and wealthy state whose fame had spread far and wide. People
came to him seeking solutions to what they considered complex problems,
and even those nations that lived beyond his kingdom knew him as
a person who impeded corruption in the land. For example, a people
between the two mountains, scarcely able to understand speech, asked
him for help:
They said: "O Dhu'l-Qarnayn. Gog and Magog are
causing corruption in the land. Can we, therefore, pay tribute to
you in return for your constructing a barrier between us and them?"
The Qur'an, which informs us of Prophet Solomon's (pbuh) mighty
army, states that Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh) also had a powerful military
We said: "O Dhu'l-Qarnayn. You can either punish
them or else you can treat them with gentleness." He said: "As for
those who do wrong, we will punish them and then they will be returned
to their Lord. He will punish them with a dreadful punishment."
Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh) used his great military might to treat unbelievers
who brought corruption into the land with great harshness and to
defeat their plans to oppress others. Thus, a king ruling a vast
territory must have a very strong military.
They Judged with Justice
Earlier, we discussed Prophet Solomon's (pbuh) methods of treating
others justly. From the Qur'an's account of Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh),
we can see that he was also very just and fair. For example, he
was ready to help any people defend themselves against corruption
and oppression. The fact that both accounts emphasize both leaders'
just administration shows that in order to ensure global security,
happiness, justice, and stability, the existence of a very strong
legal system supported by military and police power is essential.
A calligraphic inscription in
the jali-thuluth script by
Şeyh Ali Bedevi:
Say: "O my Servants who have transgressed against their
souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah. for Allah forgives
all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
They Refused All Gifts
Prophet Solomon (pbuh) did not accept the Queen of Saba's gift,
but told her envoys to take it back and tell her:
When it reached Solomon, he said: "Would you give
me wealth when what God has given me is better than what He has
given you? No, rather it is you who delight in your gift." (Qur'an,
And Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh) told the people who offered to pay him
a tax for his help that:
"The power my Lord has granted me is better than
that." (Qur'an, 18:95)
The fact that both leaders refused these gifts and reminded those
who offered them that God was the sole owner of all possessions
shows that they were sincere Muslims. These examples contain good
advice for every Muslim leader.
Whatever you have been given is
only the enjoyment of the life of this world. What is with
God is better and longer lasting. (Qur'an, 42:36)
He bequeathed their land, their houses, and their wealth to
you, and another land you had not yet trodden on. God has
power over all things. (Qur'an, 33:27)
They Always Turned toward God
Prophet Solomon (pbuh), who had superior moral qualities and was
a faithful servant, constantly turned toward God. Whenever he was
successful or victorious, or whenever God gave him a blessing, Prophet
Solomon (pbuh) turned toward Him in worship and remembered that
all power belongs to Him. Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh) had the same moral
character. For example, when he was able to protect the people from
Gog and Magog, he praised God in the following words:
They were, therefore, unable to climb over it.
Nor were they able to make a breach in it. He [Dhu'l-Qarnayn] said:
"This is a mercy from my Lord. But when my Lord's promise comes
about, He will crush it flat. The promise of my Lord is surely true."
They Ruled over Jinns
As we know, our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace)
said that there were two leaders in the past who had founded great
kingdoms: Prophet Solomon (pbuh) and Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh). Prophet
Solomon (pbuh) controlled some jinns; perhaps Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh)
had a similar control. The people of Gog and Magog, against whom
Dhu'l-Qarnayn's (pbuh) help was requested, may have been jinns.
In these two accounts, particularly the one about Prophet Solomon
(pbuh), the jinns are mentioned quite often. This may signify that
the End Times, when God may place the jinns and demons at the service
of human beings. (Only God knows the truth.)
The Use of Tar or Molten Copper
Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh), using a substance called alayhi qitran, made
an effective barrier against Gog and Magog:
[Dhu'l-Qarnayn said:] "Bring me ingots of iron."
Then, when he had made it level between the two high mountainsides,
he said: "Blow," and when he had made it a red hot fire, he said:
"Bring me molten copper [or tar] to pour over it." (Qur'an, 18:96)
The meaning of alayhi qitran is molten copper or tar. The Qur'an
says that this same substance was also under Prophet Solomon's (pbuh)
And We gave Solomon power over the wind-a month's
journey in the morning and a month in the afternoon. And We made
a fount of molten copper flow out for him. And some of the jinns
worked in front of him by his Lord's permission. And if a single
one of them deviates at all from Our command, We let him taste the
punishment of the Searing Blaze. (Qur'an, 34:12)
There is a noticeable similarity between the two leaders' use of
this substance. Perhaps Prophet Solomon (pbuh) used this substance
to establish his control over the jinns and the demons. Perhaps
it was tar, for Qur'an 14:50 mentions "wearing shirts of tar," which
shows that this substance is also found in Hell.
In fact, right after this verse mentions that this substance was
given on the orders of Prophet Solomon (pbuh), it says that the
jinns served him. Both Prophet Solomon (pbuh) and Dhu'l-Qarnayn
(pbuh) may have used this substance to control the jinns. Perhaps
it contained an ingredient that affected them. (God knows the truth.)
The words ayna al-qitri refer
to the molten copper or tar over which Prophet Solomon (pbuh)
and Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh) were given control. These pictures
show examples of how copper and tar are used.
Good Tidings about the End Times
The dominion exercised by Prophet Solomon (pbuh) and Dhu'l-Qarnayn
(pbuh) is very good news for all Muslims, because these accounts
contain important indications about the End Times.
Muslims who meticulously keep within the limits God established
for humanity, strive to make Islamic morality dominant in the world,
and withstand all difficulties will be superior in all periods of
history, for God will always help and support them. As both Prophet
Solomon (pbuh) and Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh) had these qualities, God
gave them authority in the land (and, of course, all of His other
spiritual graces). The same dominion will occur, with God's permission,
in the End Times, for He has promised this to believers.
TWO ADMINISTRATIONS DESCRIBED IN
The Qur'an gives two important examples of state administration:
that of the Queen of Saba and that of Pharaoh.
What happened after Prophet Solomon (pbuh) invited the Sun-worshipping
Sabaeans to the true faith gives some idea of how their kingdom
After receiving Prophet Solomon's (pbuh) letter, the Queen of Saba
assembled her advisors and asked for their opinions. In other words,
she did not have the sole right to make decisions that affected
the kingdom. The queen valued her advisors' ideas, and they respected
her and authority. This shows that Saba may have had an administrative
system that was similar to democracy.
At first sight, Pharaoh may have had a similar type of administration.
He appears to have had a council of prominent persons who had great
influence. But they led him astray and gave him commands that would
cause dissension and injustice. They talked to Pharaoh in the following
North Africa, twelfth century, Spink
College, London (Qur'an, 27:36-39) Surat an-Naml tells of
the meeting between Prophet Solomon (pbuh) and the Queen
of Saba, during which she saw his wealth and power.
They said: "Detain him [Moses] and his brother,
and send out marshals to the cities." (Qur'an, 7:111)
The Egyptian government at this time may be called an oligarchy,
for power was in the hands of a limited number of people. The power
of such a government is most often proportionate to its material
or military strength, and its governing body is always a tiny minority
in proportion to the people it governs. These individuals govern
the land for their own profit and pleasure. We can see from the
Qur'an that Pharaoh's system of government was an oligarchy.
As "Then We sent Moses and his brother Aaron
with Our Signs and clear authority to Pharaoh and his ruling circle.
But they were a proud and despotic people" (Qur'an, 23:45-46)
reveal, Pharaoh and his court formed a community that sought to
impose its will on others. The oligarchic class, which was composed
of Pharaoh's counselors, magicians, and soldiers, established its
intellectual dominion over the public so that the people would remain
loyal to the pharaonic system. In addition, it inculcated the masses
with the false belief that Pharaoh was a superior being. Basing
his rule upon this misguided system, Pharaoh and his circle oppressed
the people. In fact, the Qur'an states that:
No one believed in Moses, except for a few of his
people, out of fear that Pharaoh and the elders would persecute
them. Pharaoh was high and mighty in the land. He was one of the
profligate. (Qur'an, 10:83)
Another evident proof of this administration's oppressive nature
was segregating the people according to their race or religion and
deliberately oppressing the Tribe of Israel.
Pharaoh exalted himself arrogantly in the land
and divided its people into camps, oppressing one group of them
by slaughtering their sons and letting their women live. He was
one of the corrupters. (Qur'an, 28:4)
In Qur'an 7:127, we are told that Pharaoh had "absolute power."
This power came from his army. We can understand his government's
power from the commands he gave to his soldiers:
Pharaoh sent marshals into the cities. (Qur'an,
They said: "Detain him [Moses] and his brother,
and send out marshals to the cities." (Qur'an, 7:111)
As the above verses indicate, this oppressive state mechanism and
system of intelligence gathering allowed the state hierarchy to
watch over the kingdom's remotest regions. This supervision shows
the strict discipline and oppression of Pharaoh's administration.
In the Queen of Saba's meeting with Prophet Solomon (pbuh), as
well as her subsequent conversion and submission to him, there may
be an indication that Saba knew no such oppression. The Qur'an relates
She said: "My Lord, I have wronged myself, but
I have submitted with Solomon to the Lord of all the worlds." (Qur'an,
In other words, Saba's method of administration was pretty democratic
for that period of time. The people were not oppressed, the most
important decisions of state were taken after agreement was secured
among all levels of government, and there was mutual respect and
freedom of conscience. It seems to have been a model in which rights
By describing these different systems of government, God shows
us that one system opposed religious morality, whereas another one
lived quite close to that morality, even though it had not yet heard
of or embraced the true religion.
THE END OF SABA
Many verses mention that Saba had a strong army. We are told that
its commanders left the final decision to the queen, as the following
"We possess strength and great force. But the matter
is in your hands, so consider what you command." (Qur'an, 27:33)
But Saba's strong army turned out to be of no use, for despite
the prophet's warnings, the Sabaeans's continued ungratefulness
for God's blessings caused them to be punished generations later
with a disastrous flood. The Qur'an describes the places in which
the Sabaeans lived:
The 'Arim flood, which followed
the Ma'rib dam's collapse, covered Saba with water and destroyed
There was also a sign for Saba in their dwelling
place: two gardens-one to the right and one to the left. [We said
to them:] "Eat of your Lord's provision and give thanks to Him:
a bountiful land and a forgiving Lord." (Qur'an, 34:15)
The Sabaeans lived in a land of striking beauty and of fruitful
vines and gardens. Located on trade roads, they lived lives of considerable
comfort and had built one of the finest cities of that time. Given
their high standard of living and beautiful environment, it was
their duty to eat of their Lord's provision and give thanks to Him.
But they did not do this, for they were ungrateful:
But they turned away. So, We unleashed against
them the flood from the great dam and exchanged their two gardens
for two others containing bitter-tasting plants, tamarisk, and a
few lote trees. That is how We repaid them for their ingratitude.
Are any but the ungrateful repaid like this? (Qur'an, 34:16-17)
The Sabaeans thought that their success and wealth came from their
own effort. As these verses say, God willed His retribution, in
the form of a great flood, to fall upon them and destroy them. Those
who are ungrateful for God's blessings, who do not follow the way
shown by the prophets, and who ignore the revealed Books that He
has sent down will receive their reward for their actions both in
this world and in the world to come. This is God's law, for He decrees:
That is some of the news of the cities that We relate
to you. Some of them are still standing, while others are now just
stubble. We did not wrong them; rather, they wronged themselves.
The deities they called upon besides God did not help them at all
when God's command came upon them. They did nothing but increase
their ruin. (Qur'an, 11:100-01)
Saba Destroyed by the 'Arim Flood
to historical sources, Saba was one of the four great civilizations
of southern Arabia. Its inhabitants were a sophisticated people
who had reached a high level of technology, as we can tell from
the Ma'rib dam, one of their most important achievements. As the
Sabaeans were establishing their civilization, they built this dam
and began to irrigate the surrounding land, and develop a very comfortable
The Ma'rib dam was 16 meters (52 feet) high, 60
meters (196 feet) wide, and 620 meters (2,034 feet) in length. Scholars
estimate that it irrigated 9,600 hectares of land: 5,300 hectares
on the southern plain and 4,300 hectares on the northern plain.
Sabaean inscriptions sometimes refer to these two plains as "Ma'rib
and the two plains."11 So, the Qur'anic expression
of "two gardens-one to the right and one to the left" probably means
these vines and gardens that stretched across two valleys. This
dam, as well as the irrigation water it supplied to the surrounding
land, made the area famous as the best irrigated and most productive
land in southern Arabia.
The extensive repairs made during the fifth and sixth centuries
CE did not prevent its collapse in 542. The ensuing flood, which
the Qur'an calls the Arim flood, destroyed the Sabaeans' vineyards,
gardens, and farms that they had cultivated for centuries. The Saba
kingdom then entered a period of rapid decline and gradually disappeared.
Archeological finds and historical sources corroborate this event.
The Qur'an speaks of the Sayl al-'Arim (i.e., the 'Arim flood).
The word 'arim can mean dam or barricade. So, Sayl al-'Arim indicates
that the flood happened because the dam collapsed.
German archeologist Werner Keller, author of Und
die Bible Hat Doch Recht (The Holy Book Was Right), accepted the
Qur'anic account of this flood and wrote that the existence of such
a dam and the destruction of the whole kingdom by its collapse proves
that the Qur'an's example of the people of the garden was indeed
The Ma'rib dam, which now has become a desolate ruin, is a lesson
for all people who, like the Sabaeans, are ungrateful for God's
blessings and so deserve His punishment. In a moment, all of their
wealth was gone. (For a detailed discussion, see Harun Yahya, The
Perished Nations [Ta Ha Publishers, Ltd.: 2002].)
11. "Marib", Islam Ansiklopedisi:
Islam Alemi, Tarihi, Cografya, Etnografya ve Bibliyografya Lugati
(Encyclopedia of Islam: Historical, Geographical, Ethnographical
and Bibliographic Dictionary of the Islamic World), vol. 7, 323-39.
12. Werner Keller, Und die Bibel hat doch recht (The Bible as History;
a Confirmation of the Book of Books) (New York: William Morrow,