Prophet Sulaymaan (AS) was the youngest son of Prophet Dawood (AS) and inherited him. Allah granted him the greatest kingdom that any king has ever ruled over. He had control over the wind and could use it do direct his throne through the air. Both men and jinn served him faithfully and he could order the birds to carry out his commands by speaking to them in their own language. As a result of these special blessings, Prophet Sulaymaan's (AS) kingdom was very powerful and many countries were under his control. When the army of Prophet Sulaymaan (AS) marched on a mission, it was an awe-inspiring sight. The Holy Qur'an describes one such episode as follows:
Sulaymaan's army consisting of men, jinn and birds were gathered together in his presence in ranks. When they arrived in the valley of the ants, an ant said (to the others), "O ants, enter your dwellings lest you will be crushed by Sulaymaan and his army by mistake." (Qur'an 27:17-18)
Prophet Sulaymaan (AS) heard the warning of the chief of the ants and asked it to come forward. He said to it, "Did you think that a Prophet of Allah would ever harm any of His creatures?" The ant replied, "No I did not, but I was worried that when my fellow ants would see the grandeur of your army, they would underestimate their own bounties from Allah and become ungrateful. It is for this reason that I asked them to hide out of sight."
Prophet Sulaymaan (AS) and Hud Hud
One day Prophet Sulaymaan (AS) noticed that his messenger bird, Hud Hud (a Hoopoe bird) was missing. The Holy Qur'an says: And (Sulaymaan) inspected the birds and said, "How is it that I cannot see Hud Hud. Is he absent? I shall certainly punish him severely or slaughter him unless he has a good reason (for his absence)." (Qur'an 27:20-21)
It was not long before Hud Hud appeared, saying, "I have been to a country about which you may know nothing. The country is Saba ( Sheba ) and it is ruled by a woman who has complete control over her people. Her throne is especially grand. However, they all worship the sun and have forsaken Allah."
Prophet Sulaymaan (AS) sent a letter to Bilqees, the Queen of Saba, saying, "In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent the Most Merciful. Do not rebel against me and come towards me in submission to Allah." When Bilqees received the letter, she asked her ministers about their opinion on the matter. They replied that they had powerful armies and they were not afraid to go to war, but the final decision was in her hands.
Bilqees wanted to settle the matter peacefully so she sent her messengers to Prophet Sulaymaan (AS) with costly gifts and waited for his reaction. When the representatives of Saba arrived in the kingdom of Prophet Sulaymaan (AS), they were amazed to see the splendor of his buildings and palace.
Prophet Sulaymaan (AS) welcomed them and asked for the reply to his letter. When they presented him with the gifts, he impatiently put them aside, and told them, "What are these riches? I have been given such bounties from Allah that are possessed by none. Return to your country and inform your Queen that I am sending such an army towards Saba that no one will be able to withstand."
Bilqees embraced Islam
When Bilqees received this message and the report about Prophet Sulaymaan's (AS) power, she decided to submit herself before him and accept his invitation to embrace Islam. When Prophet Sulaymaan (AS) learnt that she was coming to his kingdom, he turned to his people and said, "Who amongst you can bring me the throne of the Queen of Saba before she herself gets here?" One jinn said, "I will bring it before you rise from your place." But Aasif-e-Barqiyah, who had been taught the special Name of Allah by Prophet Sulaymaan (AS), said, according to the Holy Qur'an: Said he who had some knowledge of the Book, "I will bring it to you before your eye blinks", and when he (Sulaymaan) saw the throne settle beside him, he said, "This is by the Grace of my Lord so that He may test whether I am grateful or ungrateful... (Qur'an 27:40)
In preparation for the arrival of Bilqees, Prophet Sulaymaan (AS) had ordered a palace of glass to be built. Under the glass floors, there was a pool of water with various kinds of fish swimming in it. When Bilqees arrived, he took her to the palace. The Holy Qur'an says: She was told, "Enter the palace"; but when she saw it she thought there was a pool of water and bared her legs. (Sulaymaan) said, "Indeed this is but a place of glass." (She) said, "My Lord! Verily I have been unjust to myself. I submit with Sulaymaan to Allah, the Lord of the worlds." (Qur'an 27:44)
Intelligence of Prophet Sulaymaan (AS)
Bilqees was fooled by the appearance of water and hitched up her dress to her knees to save it from getting wet. When she realized her mistake, she at once understood the subtle point that Prophet Sulaymaan (AS) was making to her. He was showing her that things are not always what they seem, and even if the sun she worshipped was the most powerful force she could see, there was another, more powerful force behind it. The intelligent lady understood the message and turned to Allah in repentance and faith.
Prophet Sulaymaan (AS) then returned her to Saba and allowed her to rule in his name. Prophet Sulaymaan (AS) ruled over his people with justice for a long time. His power extended across most of the known world. This unique blessing was in response to his prayer which is recorded in the Holy Qur'an: He said, "O my Lord! Forgive me and grant me a kingdom such as shall not befit anyone after me, verily You are the Granter of bounties (without measure)." (Qur'an 38:35)