اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ بِجَمِیعِ مَحَامِدِه کُلِّهَا عَلَی جَمِیعِ نِعَمِهِ کُلِّهَا… اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ مالِکِ الْمُلْکِ مُجْرِی الْفُلْکِ مُسَخِّرِ الرِّیاحِ فالِقِ الاْصْباحِ دَیّانِ الدّینِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمینَ اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ عَلی حِلْمِهِ بَعْدَ عِلمِهِ وَالْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ عَلی عَفْوِهِ بَعْدَ قُدْرَتِهِ وَالْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ عَلی طُولِ اَناتِهِ فی غَضَبِهِ وَهُوَ قادِرٌ عَلی ما یُریدُ
All praise be to Allah with full gratitude for all His bounties. … All praise be to Allah: the master of the sovereignty, Who allows arks to flow [on seas], Who controls the winds, Who causes the day to break, Who administers the authority, and Who is the Lord of the worlds. All praise be to Allah for His forbearance despite His full knowledge. All praise be to Allah for His amnesty despite His full power. All praise be to Allah for the length of His respite during His wrath, while He is able to do whatever He wills.
و نشهد أن لا اله الا الله وحده لا شریک له، و أَنَّ محمداً عبده و رسوله ارسله بالهدی و دین الحق لیظهره علی الدین کله و لو کره المشرکون
We bear witness that there is no god but Allah. He is one and has no partners. We bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger, whom He sent with guidance and the religion of truth that He may make it prevail over all religions, though the polytheists should be averse.
اوصیکم عبادالله و نفسی بتقوی الله و اتباع امره و نهیه، و اخوفکم من عقابه
I enjoin you, servants of Allah and myself, to have fear of God and comply with His commands and forbiddances, and warn you against His retribution.
Solomon’s Character in the Quran and the Two Testaments
One challenge posed by the Biblical accounts of prophets is that they often portray these revered figures as having imperfections and being susceptible to sins, polytheism, and disbelief, rather than presenting them with a purely sacred character.
Regarding Prophet Solomon, there are accounts found in various sections of the Bible that appear to contradict the divine character attributed to this esteemed prophet. According to the Biblical account, during the later years of his life, Solomon deviated from obedience to God, engaged in idolatry, and ultimately passed away with a state of disbelief:
King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done.
On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods.
The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. (Kings 11:1-12)
Similar allegations of disbelief and disobedience against Solomon can be found in various other sections of the Bible, including the following:
Among the many nations there was no king like him. He was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel, but even he was led into sin by foreign women. (Nehemiah 26:13)
However, in its portrayals of all the prophets, the Quran emphasizes their purity and infallibility. Regarding the accusation of disbelief against Solomon and his disobedience of divine commandments, the Quran explicitly states:
وَاتَّبَعُوا مَا تَتْلُو الشَّيَاطِينُ عَلَى مُلْكِ سُلَيْمَانَ، وَمَا كَفَرَ سُلَيْمَانُ وَلَكِنَّ الشَّيَاطِينَ كَفَرُوا
And they followed what the devils pursued during Solomon’s reign —and Solomon was not faithless but it was the devils who were faithless. (Al-Baqara, 102)
Rumi recounts a tale in which a man sought refuge with Solomon to evade Azrael, the angel of death. Solomon aided the man and made arrangements for his escape from Azrael’s grasp.
A noble man once barged in through the crowd
In Solomon’s famed court, and cried aloud;
His face was white with fear, his lips were blue.
Solomon asked, ‘Friend, what is wrong with you?’
‘It’s Azrael––he gave me such a stare
That showed more rage than any man could bear!’
Solomon said, ‘Whatever you want, just ask!’
He pleaded, ‘Please assign the wind this task:
To transfer me to India with its breath
So, over there, I might escape my death.’
People will run away from deprivation
To be devoured by greed and expectation;
His fright was like the fear of feeling need,
His flight to India represents his greed.
Solomon told the wind to make this trip,
To take this man to India’s southern tip.
The next day at exactly the same time
He questioned Azrael right at the chime:
‘Angel of death, did you drive that good man
From home and family––was that your plan?’
He answered, ‘Now you know I wouldn’t lie,
I just looked on amazed as he strolled by,
For God had said today he would be dead
Not over here, but India’s tip instead––
Even with wings to take him through the air
I thought he was too far to die down there!’
Even if this tale is not based on historical events, it carries a Quranic message within its narrative:
أَيْنَمَا تَكُونُوا يُدْرِكْكُمُ الْمَوْتُ وَلَوْ كُنْتُمْ فِي بُرُوجٍ مُشَيَّدَةٍ
Wherever you may be death will overtake you, even if you were in fortified towers. (Al-Nisa, 78)
Solomon’s own death was of a similar nature. Imam ʿAli, may peace be upon him, states:
فَلَوْ اَنّ اَحَداً یجِدُ اِلَی الْبَقاءِ سُلَّماً، اَوْ لِدَفْعِ الْمَوْتِ سَبِیلاً، لَکانَ ذلِکَ سُلَیمانَ بنِ داوُدَ، اَلَّذِی سُخِّرَ لَهُ مُلْکُ الْجِنِّ وَ الْاِنْسِ مَعَ النُّبُوَّه وَ عَظِیمِ الزُّلْفَه، فَلَمّا اسْتَوْفی طُعْمَتَهُ وَ اسْتَکْمَلَ مُدَّتَهُ، رَمَتْهُ قِسِی الْفَناءِ بِنِبالِ الْمَوْتِ
If there was anyone who could secure a ladder to everlasting life or a way to avoid death it was Sulayman ibn Dawud (p. b. u. h. ) who was given control over the domain of the jinn and men along with prophethood and great position (before Allah), but when he finished what was his due in food (of this world) and exhausted his (fixed) time the bow of destruction shot him with arrow of death. (Naj al-Balagha, sermon 182)
Various narratives exist regarding the death of Solomon. Rumi recounts a tale in which the growth of a plant within al-Aqsa Mosque (Jerusalem) served as a sign for Solomon, indicating the approaching end of his life and the timing of his death:
A new plant rising like an ear of corn
Was noticed in a nook by Solomon.
It was a very rare plant, fresh and green,
And this plant had a brightly dazzling sheen.
It greeted Solomon who then replied,
While by its beauty he was stupefied:
‘What’s your name? Speak without a tongue!’ he said.
‘“Carob,” this world’s best king and greatest head.’
He asked, ‘What is your special quality?’
‘I ruin places that have nurtured me.
I’m carob, wrecker of your buildings and
Destroyer of foundations in the land.’
Solomon quickly understood that now
The journey would reveal itself somehow
On this account, Solomon returned to his place of worship and peacefully passed away while standing, leaning on his staff. For a period of time after his passing, Solomon remained in the same posture, and his subordinates continued their work, unaware of his departure, believing that he was still alive and observing their actions. Solomon’s profound presence and awe inspired a sense of reverence and prevented anyone from daring to approach him without proper permission. Eventually, termites consumed the insides of his staff, causing it to break, and Solomon fell to the ground. It was at that moment that everyone became aware of his passing.