Download PDF: [S] The Story of the Ants

Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam is the son of Nabi Daud ‘Alayhis Salaam. Like his father before him, Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam was also given complete rule over the entire world in his era and was also blessed with the station of Prophethood. He ruled the earth for 40 years. All living things such as people, the Jinn, the animals, the birds, etc. were under his dominion. Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam also understood the language of each and everything. At the same time, many unusual inventions and products came into existence. In Surah Naml (27), verse 16 it is mentioned that:


وَوَرِثَ سُلَیۡمٰنُ دَاوٗدَ وَقَالَ یٰۤاَیُّہَا النَّاسُ عُلِّمْنَا مَنۡطِقَ الطَّیۡرِ وَ اُوۡتِیۡنَا مِنۡ کُلِّ شَیۡءٍ ؕ اِنَّ ہٰذَا لَہُوَ الْفَضْلُ الْمُبِیۡنُ ﴿۱۶﴾


“And Sulaiman became the successor of Daud and said, O people, ‘We have been taught the language of birds, and we have been bestowed of everything. Undoubtedly, this indeed is a manifest grace.”


Another amazing story is mentioned. As Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam was travelling one day with his entire army of men and Jinn, they approached a valley of the ants. This was either in Syria or Taif. Just before they were about to walk over a large ant colony the queen ant of the ant colony, who was lame, informed the entire colony of the impending danger and that they should enter their ant holes.


It should be borne in mind that this command and conversation between the ants and their leader took place nearly three miles away. However, Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam heard this conversation and smiled. This is mentioned in Surah Naml (27) verse 18,19:


حَتّٰۤی اِذَاۤ اَتَوْا عَلٰی وَادِ النَّمْلِ ۙ قَالَتْ نَمْلَۃٌ یّٰۤاَیُّہَا النَّمْلُ ادْخُلُوۡا مَسٰکِنَکُمْ ۚ لَا یَحْطِمَنَّکُمْ سُلَیۡمٰنُ وَ جُنُوۡدُہٗ ۙ وَ ہُمْ لَا یَشْعُرُوۡنَ ﴿۱۸﴾

فَتَبَسَّمَ ضَاحِکًا مِّنۡ قَوْلِہَا وَ قَالَ رَبِّ اَوْزِعْنِیۡۤ اَنْ اَشْکُرَ نِعْمَتَکَ الَّتِیۡۤ اَنْعَمْتَ عَلَیَّ وَ عَلٰی وٰلِدَیَّ وَ اَنْ اَعْمَلَ صٰلِحًا تَرْضٰىہُ وَ اَدْخِلْنِیۡ بِرَحْمَتِکَ فِیۡ عِبَادِکَ الصّٰلِحِیۡنَ ﴿۱۹﴾


“Until when they came to the valley of the ants, and said, ‘O ants, enter your houses; lest Sulaiman and his armies may crush you unknowingly. There upon he smiled at her words, and said, ‘O my Lord, grant me guidance that I may be grateful for Your favour which You have bestowed upon me and my parents and that I may do such good works as would please You and admit me out of Your Mercy among Your those slaves who deserve Your proximity.”


Important lesson learnt from this story


  1. To be able to listen to a conversation from nearly three miles away, and that too between one of the smallest creatures, is certainly a miracle of Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam. We realise clearly from this that the powers of hearing of a Prophet and a normal human being is certainly not the same. It also proves to us that the powers of listening, speaking and talking of a Prophet is completely different to that of a normal human.
  2. The words of the ant also proves to us that they believed that no Prophet or pious servant of Allah azza wajal would ever oppress anything or anyone deliberately. The reason is that the words used by this leader of the ants is “unknowingly.” In other words, if they were to crush the ants as they walked along, they would do so without intent to kill or oppress. This again proves that even the ants knew that a Prophet was sinless.


However, sadly the Shia has gone one further. In fact they have nothing even in common with an ant because they believe that the special servants of Allah azza wajal, the companions of the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam, can actually deliberately harm and oppress the blessed daughter of the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam !

  1. Another important point which we come to know is that the most a Prophet does is smile and not laugh out aloud.


Was the leader of the ants a male or female?


It is mentioned that once Hadrat Qatadah Radi Allahu ‘Anhu, who was considered a great scholar of Hadith and an ocean of knowledge, arrived in Kufah to deliver a series of talks. There was also no one in that period that could match his encyclopaedic knowledge. In one of his speeches, he kept saying, “Ask me, whatever you wish I will answer your question.”


There was such an air of awe in this gathering that no one dared to ask him any question. In this gathering, Imam Abu Hanifah Radi Allahu ‘Anhu was also present and he was still a very young man at that stage. Imam Abu Hanifah Radi Allahu ‘Anhu then asked the people around him to ask this great scholar a question. The only reason that he did not ask the question himself was because of the respect he had for this eminent scholar. Imam Abu Hanifah Radi Allahu ‘Anhu asked whether that the ant which appears in the story of Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam was a male or female ant.


When Hadrat Qatadah Radi Allahu ‘Anhu was asked this question, he remained absolutely silent and could not answer. However, everyone then turned to Imam Abu Hanifah Radi Allahu ‘Anhu and asked him this question. He replied that it was a female ant.


When Imam Qatadah Radi Allahu ‘Anhu asked Imam Abu Hanifah Radi Allahu ‘Anhu the proof for this, he replied that the words of the Qur’an are, “Qaalat Namlatu” and this is a feminine scale which is been used and if the ant leader was a male, the words would have been “Qaala Namlatu.”


Imam Qatadah Radi Allahu ‘Anhu then accepted the intelligence of this young person and was surprised at his grasp of the Qur’an at such a young age. Hadrat Qatadah Radi Allahu ‘Anhu also felt ashamed of his statement of asking people to ask him anything they wished.


Where did the Hud Hud disappear to?


It is reported that all the animals and birds were always obeying the command and instructions of Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam, but the Hud Hud (Hoopee, woodpecker) was in a class of its own. It was highly noted for always obeying the command of Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam. Bear in mind that this was the bird who had initially informed Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam of the throne of Bilkis and that she had a large and powerful throne under her control. Bilkis also was someone who had all the needs and items any person would wish for. However, she and her subjects were people who worshipped the sun.


The letter that was sent to Bilkis and which is mentioned in the Qur’an was also carried by Hud Hud. This is mentioned in Surah Naml (27) verses 28-31:


اِذْہَبۡ بِّکِتٰبِیۡ ہٰذَا فَاَلْقِہۡ اِلَیۡہِمْ ثُمَّ تَوَلَّ عَنْہُمْ فَانۡظُرْ مَاذَا یَرْجِعُوۡنَ ﴿۲۸﴾

قَالَتْ یٰۤاَیُّہَا الۡمَلَؤُا اِنِّیۡۤ اُلْقِیَ اِلَیَّ کِتٰبٌ کَرِیۡمٌ ﴿۲۹﴾

اِنَّہٗ مِنۡ سُلَیۡمٰنَ وَ اِنَّہٗ بِسْمِ اللہِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ ﴿ۙ۳۰﴾


“Take my this edict (letter) and cast it to them, then moving aside from them see what answer they return. The woman said, ‘O chiefs, undoubtedly, there has been cast a noble letter towards me. Undoubtedly, it is from Sulaiman and it is by the name of Allah, the Most Affectionate, and the Merciful. That you seek not exalt-ness against me and come to me submitting.’”


When Bilkis presented this letter to her advisor’s and other ministers, they started to explain about their military powers and made it clear that they were ready for war. However, since Bilkis was an intelligent person, she made it clear that war at this stage was not the best of options. One of the reasons she felt this way was because wars causes major disruptions and death and completely destabilizes a nation. The citizens of that country also experience great loss and shame.


Bilkis then advised that gifts should be sent to Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam. This would also be a type of test for him on whether he is a real Prophet or an ordinary person who is merely a King. If he is a Prophet, he will certainly not accept her gifts but will instead call them towards his religion. And if he was a mere King, he would accept these gifts and become soft towards her.


Consequently, Bilkis sent five hundred male and five hundred female slaves, beautiful clothing, many pieces of jewellery, various fragrances and also a letter. This was all seen by Hud Hud who then returned to Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam. He also informed the great Prophet of all that he had seen and heard.


When the delegation of Bilkis reached a few days later in the court of Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam, he was extremely angry. Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam then informed the emissary and this is mentioned in Surah Naml (27) verse 36,37:


فَلَمَّا جَآءَ سُلَیۡمٰنَ قَالَ اَتُمِدُّوۡنَنِ بِمَالٍ ۫ فَمَاۤ اٰتٰىنَِۧ اللہُ خَیۡرٌ مِّمَّاۤ اٰتٰىکُمۡ ۚ بَلْ اَنۡتُمۡ بِہَدِیَّتِکُمْ تَفْرَحُوۡنَ ﴿۳۶﴾

اِرْجِعْ اِلَیۡہِمْ فَلَنَاۡتِیَنَّہُمْ بِجُنُوۡدٍ لَّا قِبَلَ لَہُمۡ بِہَا وَ لَنُخْرِجَنَّہُمۡ مِّنْہَاۤ اَذِلَّۃً وَّ ہُمْ صٰغِرُوۡنَ ﴿۳۷﴾


“Then when he came to Sulaiman he said, ‘do you help me with wealth? But that which Allah has given me is better than that which He has given to you. Nay, it is you who rejoice in your gift. Return to them, we shall therefore, bring that army to them against which they will have no power and we shall necessarily turn them out of the city disgraced in a manner that they will be humbled.”


Thereafter, the emissary returned to Bilkis and informed her everything he had seen. Bilkis then went to Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam and when she saw for herself everything around her, she realized that indeed this was a mighty Prophet.


Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam presented her with Islam and she readily accepted. She later married Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam and lived in his Palace.


At this stage, the various stories of the Hud Hud is certainly among the amazing things which occurred in history. This can also be classified as being among the miracles of Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam.


The throne of Bilkis


The throne of Bilkis was said to be 80 feet in length and 40 feet in width. It was studded with diamonds, pearls and other precious stones. When Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam requested her to come to his Palace and come with the intention of becoming a Muslim, he also wanted to bring this mighty throne of hers to his Palace even before she could arrive.


The following conversation then took place between him and subjects, which is mentioned in Surah Naml (27) verse 38,39:


قَالَ یٰۤاَیُّہَا الۡمَلَؤُا اَیُّکُمْ یَاۡتِیۡنِیۡ بِعَرْشِہَا قَبْلَ اَنۡ یَّاۡتُوۡنِیۡ مُسْلِمِیۡنَ ﴿۳۸﴾

قَالَ عِفْرِیۡتٌ مِّنَ الْجِنِّ اَنَا اٰتِیۡکَ بِہٖ قَبْلَ اَنۡ تَقُوۡمَ مِنۡ مَّقَامِکَ ۚ وَ اِنِّیۡ عَلَیۡہِ لَقَوِیٌّ اَمِیۡنٌ ﴿۳۹﴾


“Sulaiman said, O chiefs, ‘which of you who may bring her throne to me before they come to me submitting? One big evil Jinn said, ‘I will bring you that throne before you rise from your sitting; and undoubtedly, I am powerful over that, trust worthy.”


The power and miracle of a saint


However, after listening to the answer of the Jinn, Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam mentioned that he wanted this throne to appear in front of him much quicker than that.


Hadrat Asif bin Bakhiyah, who was someone who had learnt the Ism-e-Azam, and who was present there, declared as is mentioned in Surah Naml (27) verse 40:


“One who had knowledge of the Book said, ‘I shall bring it to you before

the twinkling of the eye.’”


Within these split seconds, Hadrat Asif bin Barkhiyah then brought the entire throne of Bilkis in front of Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam from the city of Saba to Baitul Muqaddas. When Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam saw this, he declared as is mentioned in Surah Naml, verse 40:


قَالَ الَّذِیۡ عِنۡدَہٗ عِلْمٌ مِّنَ الْکِتٰبِ اَنَا اٰتِیۡکَ بِہٖ قَبْلَ اَنۡ یَّرْتَدَّ اِلَیۡکَ طَرْفُکَ ؕ فَلَمَّا رَاٰہُ مُسْتَقِرًّا عِنۡدَہٗ قَالَ ہٰذَا مِنۡ فَضْلِ رَبِّیۡ ۟ۖ لِیَبْلُوَنِیۡۤ ءَاَشْکُرُ اَمْ اَکْفُرُ ؕ وَمَنۡ شَکَرَ فَاِنَّمَا یَشْکُرُ لِنَفْسِہٖ ۚ وَمَنۡ کَفَرَ فَاِنَّ رَبِّیۡ غَنِیٌّ کَرِیۡمٌ ﴿۴۰﴾


“Then when Sulaiman saw the throne set before him, he said, ‘this is of the grace of my Lord that He may try me whether I am grateful or ungrateful.’ And whosoever is grateful is grateful for his own good. And whosoever is ungrateful, then my Lord is Self-Sufficient, All Gracious.”


This Qur’anic verse clearly proves that without doubt Allah azza wajal in His Infinite Mercy and Grace has certainly bestowed great physical and spiritual powers on the Awliya. This example of bringing a throne from many miles away in a split second is one proof. At the same time, he did not even move from his place while he performed this miracle.


In like manner, when we see the stories of the Awliya over the years, we will see many examples of them bringing people and even animals from great distances in a few seconds. This is the great power which Allah azza wajal has bestowed upon His special servants. Therefore, one must be extremely cautious and not to think of these great Saints as if they are equal to them. Their physical powers are different, their spiritual powers are different, their entire life is different from ordinary humans, and hence people are certainly foolish who consider these special servants of Allah azza wajal as equal to them or as ordinary humans. To think in this fashion is the quickest way of becoming misguided.


In summary, we should never think of these special servants of Allah azza wajal as ordinary people. We should always respect the Awliya and believe that these special slaves of Allah azza wajal have been blessed by Special Divine Grace. These people are the true leaders of this universe. Through them, many difficulties and calamities are moved away.

We should also respect the places where they are buried because this is also the place where the Divine Mercy of Allah azza wajal descends all the time. As for those who visit these blessed places with respect and display all decorum for these great souls, they are the people who are truly blessed by these Awliya.


In the present age, the Tableeghi sect continue to spread mischief about these Saints. We should always protect ourselves and those under our care from these corrupt people. We should not be misled by their simple clothes and continuous propagation of Salaah. Their hearts are filthy and they have no Nur of Imaan in their hearts at all.


The amazing manner in which he passed away


In exactly the same spot in which Nabi Moosa ‘Alayhis Salaam had once placed his tent, Nabi Daud ‘Alayhis Salaam established the foundation of Baitul Muqaddas there on that spot. However, before he could complete this building, he had passed away. He also advised his son, Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam to complete this building. Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam then ordered the Jinn to continue construction of this building and in this way, every day the building increased in size. As time went on, his time of passing had also arrived, however, the building had not yet been completed.


Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam then made a special Du’a to Allah azza wajal not to reveal his passing away to the Jinns so that out of fear for Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam, they would continue completing this building. He then retired to the Mimbar of this Masjid and as was his normal habit, he stood inside the Mimbar with his stick as if he was in Salaah. In this condition, Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam passed away!


However, when the Jinns saw that Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam was still standing, they continued their task of completing this building. This action of his also did not look odd to them because at times he used to stand like this for one or two months in Ibadah. It is reported that Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam stood like this for one complete year until with the command of Allah azza wajal, the termites began to eat away at his sceptre. When his sceptre fell from his hands, his body also fell on the ground. Only at that time did all the Jinns and the people there became aware that he had passed away. In Surah Saba 34, verse 14 this is explained:


فَلَمَّا قَضَیۡنَا عَلَیۡہِ الْمَوْتَ مَا دَلَّہُمْ عَلٰی مَوْتِہٖۤ اِلَّا دَآبَّۃُ الْاَرْضِ تَاۡکُلُ مِنۡسَاَتَہٗ ۚ فَلَمَّا خَرَّ تَبَیَّنَتِ الْجِنُّ اَنۡ لَّوْ کَانُوۡا یَعْلَمُوۡنَ الْغَیۡبَ مَا لَبِثُوۡا فِی الْعَذَابِ الْمُہِیۡنِ ﴿۱۴﴾

“Then when We decreed death for him. We informed not the Jinns about his death but termite of the earth that used to eat his staff. So when he came down on earth, the reality of the Jinns were known if they had known the unseen, they would not have been in this degrading torment.”


The blessed bodies of the Prophets are protected


From this incident in the Qur’an, we clearly come to understand that the blessed bodies of the Prophets do not rot or whiter away after they leave this world! We have just read that for nearly one year, the blessed body of Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam stood upright without being destroyed or in any way. His body remained the same and even those who saw him every minute of the day saw the same features. This is the state and condition of every Prophet until the present day.


There is no doubt that the sand does not touch or harm their bodies in any way possible. This is also proven from the Hadith Shareef. It had been recorded in the Ibn Maja Shareef that the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam has stated that, “Without doubt, Allah azza wajal has made it Haraam upon the earth to consume the bodies of the Prophets. Therefore, the Prophets of Allah azza wajal is alive and they are given sustenance.” (Mishkat Shareef, 1/121)


In the commentary of the Mishkat, it is mentioned that, “This greatness is for every Prophet in that he is alive in his grave. Allah azza wajal also blesses them with sustenance. This is considered as a Sahih Hadith and Imam Baihaqi Radi Allahu ‘Anhu has stated that, “For a Prophet to go anywhere at any time is also proper and permissible.” (Hashiyah Mishkat, 12)


The belief of the Ahle Sunnah wa Jamaah


This is the reason that the Ahle Sunnah believes that every Prophet is alive in his grave and are also given the normal needs as when they were in this world. The corrupt Tableeghi/Wahabi sect on the other hands believes that they have died and become sand, Ma’azzallah. This is the reason that they continue to try and destroy the blessed graves of the Prophets and continue to display disrespect for these special and blessed places. They have also continued over the years to even try and destroy Masjidun Nabawi, but it is through the Divine Mercy of Allah azza wajal that they have continued to fail in this nefarious plot of theirs. There is no doubt that they will always fail in this evil scheme of theirs.


The age of Nabi Sulayman ‘Alayhis Salaam was fifty three. He received the title of King when he was only thirteen years old and he remained in this position for forty years. His grave is also in Baitul Muqaddas.