Sulayman (Solomon), peace be upon him, crosses the valley of the ants

I take refuge with Allaah from the accursed devil.  

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ 

 Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Raheem: In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.  

Welcome to my blog and praise the Magnificent Lord as you enter: Allahu Akbar: Allah is the Greatest .

 May the Peace and Blessing of Allah Azza wa Jal, our Lord Glorified and Praised be He, be upon our beloved Prophet, his Family, and Companions.  

Sulayman (Solomon), Alaihi Salaam, Crosses the Valley of the Ants.

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

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

وَوَرِثَ سُلَيْمَـنُ دَاوُودَ وَقَالَ يأَيُّهَا النَّاسُ عُلِّمْنَا مَنطِقَ الطَّيْرِ وَأُوتِينَا مِن كُلِّ شَىْءٍ إِنَّ هَـذَا لَهُوَ الْفَضْلُ الْمُبِينُ

 (16. And Sulayman inherited from Dawud. He said: “O mankind! We have been taught the language of birds, and we have been given from everything. This, verily, is an evident grace.”)

 وَحُشِرَ لِسْلَيْمَـنَ جُنُودُهُ مِنَ الْجِنِّ وَالإِنْس وَالطَّيْرِ فَهُمْ يُوزَعُونَ

 (17. And there were gathered before Sulayman his hosts of Jinn and men, and birds, and they all were set in battle order (marching forward).)

 حَتَّى إِذَآ أَتَوْا عَلَى وَادِى النَّمْلِ قَالَتْ نَمْلَةٌ يأَيُّهَا النَّمْلُ ادْخُلُواْ مَسَـكِنَكُمْ لاَ يَحْطِمَنَّكُمْ سُلَيْمَـنُ وَجُنُودُهُ وَهُمْ لاَ يَشْعُرُونَ

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

 فَتَبَسَّمَ ضَـحِكاً مِّن قَوْلِهَا وَقَالَ رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِى أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ الَّتِى أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَىَّ وَعَلَى وَالِدَىَّ وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَـلِحاً تَرْضَـهُ وَأَدْخِلْنِى بِرَحْمَتِكَ فِى عِبَادِكَ الصَّـلِحِينَ

(19. So he (Sulayman) 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, and admit me by Your mercy among Your righteous servants.”)

Surah 27 An Naml, Verse 15-19

Tafsir Ibn Kathir

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:  

(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!”)

 (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:

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

(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:

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

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

(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.

(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.”

(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,

(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,

(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.’

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

(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

(20. He inspected the birds, and said: “What is the matter that I see not the hoopoe Or is he among the absentees”)

لأُعَذِّبَنَّهُ عَذَاباً شَدِيداً أَوْ لاّذْبَحَنَّهُ أَوْ لَيَأْتِيَنِّى بِسُلْطَـنٍ مُّبِينٍ

 (21. “I will surely punish him with a severe torment or slaughter him, unless he brings me a clear reason.”)

Surah 27 An Naml, Verse 20-21

Tafsir Ibn Kathir

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.

(and (Sulayman) said: “What is the matter that I see not the hoopoe Or is he among the absentees”) One day `Abdullah bin `Abbas told a similar story, and among the people was a man from the Khawarij whose name was Nafi` bin Al-Azraq, who often used to raise objections to Ibn `Abbas. He said to him, “Stop, O Ibn `Abbas; you will be defeated (in argument) today!” Ibn `Abbas said: “Why” Nafi` said: “You are telling us that the hoopoe can see water beneath the ground, but any boy can put seed in a trap and cover the trap with dirt, and the hoopoe will come and take the seed, so the boy can catch him in the trap.” Ibn `Abbas said, “If it was not for the fact that this man would go and tell others that he had defeated Ibn `Abbas in argument, I would not even answer.” Then he said to Nafi`: “Woe to you! When the decree strikes a person, his eyes become blind and he loses all caution.” Nafi` said: “By Allah I will never dispute with you concerning anything in the Qur’an.

(I will surely punish him with a severe torment) Al-A`mash said, narrating from Al-Minhal bin `Amr from Sa`id that Ibn `Abbas said: “He meant, by plucking his feathers.” `Abdullah bin Shaddad said: “By plucking his feathers and exposing him to the sun.” This was also the view of more than one of the Salaf, that it means plucking his feathers and leaving him exposed to be eaten by ants.

(or slaughter him,) means, killing him.

(unless he brings me a clear reason.) i.e., a valid excuse. Sufyan bin `Uyaynah and `Abdullah bin Shaddad said: “When the hoopoe came back, the other birds said to him: “What kept you Sulayman has vowed to shed your blood.” The hoopoe said: “Did he make any exception [did he say `unless’]” They said, “Yes, he said:

(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

 (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.”)

 إِنِّى وَجَدتُّ امْرَأَةً تَمْلِكُهُمْ وَأُوتِيَتْ مِن كُلِّ شَىْءٍ وَلَهَا عَرْشٌ عَظِيمٌ

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

وَجَدتُّهَا وَقَوْمَهَا يَسْجُدُونَ لِلشَّمْسِ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَزَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الشَّيْطَـنُ أَعْمَـلَهُمْ فَصَدَّهُمْ عَنِ السَّبِيلِ فَهُمْ لاَ يَهْتَدُونَ

 (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.”)

أَلاَّ يَسْجُدُواْ للَّهِ الَّذِى يُخْرِجُ الْخَبْءَ فِى السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا تُخْفُونَ وَمَا تُعْلِنُونَ

  (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.)

 اللَّهُ لاَ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ رَبُّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ

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

Surah 27 An Naml 22-26

Tafsir Ibn Kathir

Allah says:

(But (the hoopoe) stayed not long,) meaning, he was absent for only a short time. Then he came and said to Sulayman:

(I have grasped which you have not grasped) meaning, `I have come to know something that you and your troops do not know.’

(and I have come to you from Saba’ with true news.) meaning, with true and certain news. Saba’ (Sheba) refers to Himyar, they were a dynasty in Yemen. Then the hoopoe said:

(I found a woman ruling over them,) Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, “This is Bilqis bint Sharahil, the queen of Saba’.” Allah’s saying:

(she has been given all things,) means, all the conveniences of this world that a powerful monarch could need.

(and she has a great throne.) meaning, a tremendous chair adorned with gold and different kinds of jewels and pearls. The historians said, “This throne was in a great, strong palace which was high and firmly constructed. In it there were three hundred and sixty windows on the east side, and a similar number on the west, and it was constructed in such a way that each day when the sun rose it would shine through one window, and when it set it would shine through the opposite window. And the people used to prostrate to the sun morning and evening. This is why the hoopoe said:

(I found her and her people worshipping the sun instead of Allah, and Shaytan has made their deeds fair seeming to them, and has prevented them from the way,) meaning, from the way of truth, 

(so they have no guidance.) Allah’s saying: 

(and Shaytan has made their deeds fair seeming to them, and has prevented them from the way, so they have no guidance, so they do not prostrate themselves before Allah.) They do not know the way of truth, prostrating only before Allah alone and not before anything that He has created, whether heavenly bodies or anything else. This is like the Ayah: 

 (And from among His signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Prostrate yourselves not to the sun nor to the moon, but prostrate yourselves to Allah Who created them, if you indeed worship Him.) (41:37)

(Who brings to light what is hidden in the heavens and the earth,) `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said: “He knows everything that is hidden in the heavens and on earth.” This was also the view of `Ikrimah, Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Qatadah and others. His saying:

(and knows what you conceal and what you reveal.) means, He knows what His servants say and do in secret, and what they say and do openly. This is like the Ayah:

(It is the same whether any of you conceals his speech or declares it openly, whether he be hid by night or goes forth freely by day) (13:10). His saying:

(Allah, La ilaha illa Huwa, the Lord of the Supreme Throne!) means, He is the One to be called upon, Allah, He is the One other than Whom there is no god, the Lord of the Supreme Throne, and there is none greater than Him in all of creation. Since the hoopoe was calling to what is good, and for people to worship and prostrate to Allah alone, it would have been forbidden to kill him. Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Prophet forbade killing four kinds of animals: ants, bees, hoopoes and the sparrow hawks. Its chain of narration is Sahih.

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