Prophet Sulaiman (AS) (Solomon) was the son of Prophet Dawud (AS) (David). They were descendents of Prophet Ibrahim (AS)(Abraham).
Jews and Christians consider Sulaiman only a king and not a prophet. In Quran it is clearly mentioned that he was a prophet chosen by Allah (SWT). An-Nisa #163
Verily, We have sent the revelation to you (O Mohammad SAS) as We sent the revelation to Nuh (Noah) and the Prophets after him; We (also) sent the revelation to Ibrahim (Abraham), Isma’il (Ishmael), Ishaq (Isaac), Ya’qub (Jacob), and Al-Asbat [the offspring of the twelve sons of Ya’qub (Jacob)], ‘Isa (Jesus), Ayyub (Job), Yunus (Jonah), Harun (Aaron), and Sulaiman (Solomon); and to Dawud (David) We gave the Zabur (Psalms).
Prophet Sulaiman (AS) was very witty from the very childhood. Allah (SWT) has described it in Al-Anbiya # 78-79
And (remember) Dawud and Sulaiman, when they gave judgement in the case of the field in which the sheep of certain people had pastured at night; and We were witness to their judgement. And We made Sulaiman to understand (the case); and to each of them We gave Hukm (right judgement of the affairs and Prophethood) and knowledge. And We subjected the mountains and the birds to glorify Our Praises along with Dawud. And it was We Who were the doer (of all these things).
Abdullah Ibn Masood (RU), and Abdullah Ibn Abbas (RU) said that two persons came to Prophet Dawud (AS) with a dispute. The claimant said that the sheep of the other person had completely destroyed his crop. Prophet Dawud (AS) said that the cost of his crop is equivalent to the flock of sheep. Hence the claimant should take over the flock of sheep as compensation for his crop. Sulaiman (AS) was only eleven years old and happened to be sitting next to his father at that time. Sulaiman (AS) said, “Although it is a very fair decision but I humbly suggest that the flock of sheep should be given to the claimant temporarily to use their milk and wool. In the meanwhile the other person should work in the field of the claimant to bring about new crop. When the new crop fully revives, the flock of sheep should be returned to the real owner of the sheep. Prophet Dawud (AS) loved this witty decision of his son.
Imam Baghvi said that Prophet Dawud (AS) died when Sulaiman (AS) was only thirteen years old. Allah (SWT) bestowed upon Sulaiman (AS) the kingdom and Prophethood of his father. Sulaiman (AS) ruled for forty years and he started the construction of Bait-ul-Quds during the fourth year of his kingship.
Allah (SWT) gave Prophet Sulaiman (AS) unique distinction in certain areas some of them are mentioned below.
1. Like his father Dawud (AS) he could understand the language of birds and animals. An-Namal # 15-16
And indeed We gave knowledge to Dawud and Sulaiman, and they both said: “All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has preferred us above many of His believing slaves!” And Sulaiman inherited (the knowledge of) Dawud. He said: “O mankind! We have been taught the language of birds, and on us have been bestowed all things. This, verily, is an evident grace (from Allah).”
2. Winds were put under complete control of Prophet Sulaiman (AS).
Al-Anbiya # 81
And to Sulaiman (We subjected) the wind strongly raging, running by his command towards the land which We had blessed. And of everything We are the All-Knower.
and in Sad # 36
So, We subjected to him the wind; it blew gently by his order whithersoever he willed,
and also in Saba # 12
And to Solomon (We subjected) the wind, its morning (stride from sunrise till midnoon) was a month’s journey), and its afternoon (stride from the midday decline of the sun to sunset) was a month’s journey i.e. in one day he could travel two months’ journey).
Here Quran has mentioned three things:
First of all the winds were under his control. Secondly even the severe and strong winds were very smooth and comfortable for Sulaiman (AS). Thirdly, in spite of this soft and soothing effect, the winds were so fast that they enabled him to travel one month’s journey during one morning only. Similarly he could travel one month’s journey in one evening only.
3. Sulaiman (AS) loved to build magnificent buildings and castles. Allah (SWT) facilitated it for him by providing him fountains of molten copper. Saba # 12
And We caused a fountain of (molten) copper to flow for him, and there were jinn that worked in front of him, by the leave of his Lord. And whosoever of them turned aside from Our command, We caused him to taste of the torment of the blazing Fire.
Ibn-e- Kathir said that these fountains were in Yemen.
4. Another distinct feature of the Sulaiman’s (AS) kingdom was that Allah (SWT) put all animals, birds and even Jinns in his control. In fact Sulaiman (AS) requested Allah (SWT) to bestow upon him a kingdom such as shall not belong to any other after him. Sad # 35
He said: “My Lord! Forgive me, and bestow upon me a kingdom such as shall not belong to any other after me: Verily, You are the Bestower.”
Allah (SWT) granted his prayer. Jinns used to do all kind of jobs for Sulaiman (AS). Saba # 12-13
And there were jinn that worked in front of him, by the leave of his Lord. And whosoever of them turned aside from Our Command, We caused him to taste of the torment of the blazing Fire. They worked for him as he desired, (making) high rooms, images, basins as large as reservoirs, and (cooking) cauldrons fixed (in their places). “Work you, O family of Dawud, with thanks!” But few of My slaves are grateful.
One important work assigned to the Jinns was to build Masjid
al-Aqsa in a very magnificent and elaborate manner. It must be mentioned here that Sulaiman (AS) only rebuilt this mosque just like Ibrahim (AS) rebuilt Masjid-al-Haram in Makkah. The following hadith will be very pertinent here.
One time Abu Dhur Al-Gaffari (RU) asked Prophet Mohammad (SAS) “Which mosque was built first in this world?” Prophet Mohammad (SAS) said “Masjid-al-Haram.” Abu Dhur (RU) asked which was the second mosque build in this world? Mohammad (SAS) said “Masjid al-Aqsa”. Finally Abu Dhur (RU) asked, “How much time elapsed between these two events?” Mohammad (SAS) said, “Forty years.”
(Bukari and Muslim)
5. An interesting conversation of ants is mentioned in Quran.
An-Namal # 16 -19
And Sulaiman inherited (the knowledge of) Dawud. He said: “O mankind! We have been taught the language of birds, and on us have been bestowed all things. This, verily, is an evident grace (from Allah).” And there were gathered before Sulaiman his hosts of jinn and men, and birds, and they all were set in battle order (marching forward). Till, when they came to the valley of the ants, one of the ants said: “O ants! Enter your dwellings, lest Sulaiman and his hosts should crush you, while they perceive not.” So he (Sulaiman) smiled, amused at her speech and said: “My Lord! Grant 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 good deeds that will please You, and admit me by Your Mercy among Your righteous slaves.”
In this way Allah (SWT) has demonstrated to the reader the miracles bestowed upon Dawud (AS) and Sulaiman (AS). They could even understand the language of such a tiny insect as Ant from even a long distance. This was a Sign of Allah (SWT) and a miracle of Sulaiman (AS). This strengthens the faith of the reader in the power of Allah (SWT) and the favors He can bestow upon his chosen people. This event is so important that this chapter of the Quran is called ‘An-Namal’ or ‘The Ant’.
Finally it should be noted that many shameful stories are fabricated about Sulaiman (AS) and Dawud (AS) during the translations of various Bibles available these days. May Allah (SWT) guide these storytellers to the uncorrupted guidance of Allah (SWT) in the form of Quran and the authentic sayings of the Prophet Mohammad (SAS). (Ameen).