Word by Word
the One Who
and the earth
the One Who
and the earth
"(Kept them away from the Path), that they should not worship Allah, Who brings to light what is hidden in the heavens and the earth, and knows what ye hide and what ye reveal.
to prostrate themselves to God (allaa yasjudoo should be read as an yasjudoo: the laa is extra and with it has been assimilated the noon of an, similar to [the construction] where God says, li-allaa ya'lama ahlu'l-kitaabi, so that the People of the Scripture may know [Q. 57:29]; the sentence functions as the direct object of yahtadoona, 'guided', whose ilaa, 'to', has been omitted); [He] Who brings forth the hidden (al-khab' is a verbal noun, with the same meaning as al-makhboo', 'that which is hidden') of rain and plants, in the skies and the earth, and He knows what they conceal, within their hearts, and what they proclaim, with their tongues.
Dawud and Suleiman (peace be upon them), the organization of Suleiman's Troops and His passage through the Valley of the Ants
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 Suleiman (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.
وَلَقَدۡ اتَيۡنَا دَاوُودَ وَسُلَيۡمَانَ عِلۡمًا وَقَالَا الۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي فَضَّلَنَا عَلَى كَثِيرٍ مِّنۡ عِبَادِهِ الۡمُوۡمِنِينَ
And indeed We gave knowledge to Dawud and Suleiman, and they both said:
All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has preferred us above many of His believing servants!
وَوَرِثَ سُلَيۡمَانُ دَاوُودَ
And Suleiman inherited from Dawud.
means, in kingship and Prophethood.
What is meant here is not wealth, because if that were the case, Suleiman 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:
نَحۡنُ مَعَاشِرَ الاَۡنۡبِيَاءِ لَا نُورَثُ مَا تَرَكۡنَاهُ فَهُوَ صَدَقَة
We Prophets cannot be inherited from; whatever we leave behind is charity.
And (Suleiman) said:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ عُلِّمۡنَا مَنطِقَ الطَّيۡرِ وَأُوتِينَا مِن كُلِّ شَيۡءٍ
O mankind! We have been taught the language of birds, and we have been given from everything.
Here Suleiman 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 Suleiman to understand what the birds said to one another as they flew through the air, and what the different kinds of animals said.
عُلِّمۡنَا مَنطِقَ الطَّيۡرِ وَأُوتِينَا مِن كُلِّ شَيۡءٍ
(We have been taught the language of birds, and we have been given from everything).
i.e., all things that a king needs.
إِنَّ هَذَا لَهُوَ الۡفَضۡلُ الۡمُبِينُ
This, verily, is an evident grace.
means, `this is clearly the blessings of Allah upon us.'
وَحُشِرَ لِسُلَيۡمَانَ جُنُودُهُ مِنَ الۡجِنِّ وَالاِۡنسِ وَالطَّيۡرِ فَهُمۡ يُوزَعُونَ
And there were gathered before Suleiman his hosts of Jinn and men, and birds, and they all were set in battle order.
means, all of Suleiman'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.
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.
حَتَّى إِذَا أَتَوۡا عَلَى وَادِي النَّمۡلِ
Till, when they came to the valley of the ants,
meaning, when Suleiman, the soldiers and the army with him crossed the valley of the ants,
قَالَتۡ نَمۡلَةٌ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّمۡلُ ادۡخُلُوا مَسَاكِنَكُمۡ لَاا يَحۡطِمَنَّكُمۡ سُلَيۡمَانُ وَجُنُودُهُ وَهُمۡ لَاا يَشۡعُرُونَ
one of the ants said:O ants! Enter your dwellings, lest Suleiman and his armies should crush you, while they perceive not.
Suleiman, peace be upon him, understood what the ant said
فَتَبَسَّمَ ضَاحِكًا مِّن قَوۡلِهَا وَقَالَ رَبِّ أَوۡزِعۡنِي أَنۡ أَشۡكُرَ نِعۡمَتَكَ الَّتِي أَنۡعَمۡتَ عَلَيَّ وَعَلَى وَالِدَيَّ وَأَنۡ أَعۡمَلَ صَالِحًا تَرۡضَاهُ
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.'
وَأَنۡ أَعۡمَلَ صَالِحًا تَرۡضَاهُ
and that I may do righteous good deeds that will please You,
means, `deeds that You love which will earn Your pleasure.'
وَأَدۡخِلۡنِي بِرَحۡمَتِكَ فِي عِبَادِكَ الصَّالِحِينَ
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.'
رَبِّ أَوۡزِعۡنِي أَنۡ أَشۡكُرَ نِعۡمَتَكَ الَّتِي أَنۡعَمۡتَ عَلَيَّ وَعَلَى وَالِدَيَّ وَأَنۡ أَعۡمَلَ صَالِحًا تَرۡضَاهُ وَأَدۡخِلۡنِي بِرَحۡمَتِكَ فِي عِبَادِكَ الصَّالِحِينَ
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.
The Absence of the Hoopoe
He inspected the birds,
Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr and others narrated from Ibn Abbas and others that the hoopoe was an expert who used to show Suleiman 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, Suleiman would command the Jinn to dig in that place until they brought water from the depths of the earth.
One day Suleiman went to some open land and checked on the birds, but he could not see the hoopoe.
فَقَالَ مَا لِيَ لَا أَرَى الۡهُدۡهُدَ أَمۡ كَانَ مِنَ الۡغَايِبِينَ
and (Suleiman) 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.
لَاأُعَذِّبَنَّهُ عَذَابًا شَدِيدًا
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.
أَوۡ لَيَأۡتِيَنِّي بِسُلۡطَانٍ مُّبِينٍ
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, Suleiman has vowed to shed your blood.
The hoopoe said:Did he make any exception (did he say `unless!').
They said, Yes, he said:
لَاأُعَذِّبَنَّهُ عَذَابًا شَدِيدًا أَوۡ لَاأَذۡبَحَنَّهُ أَوۡ لَيَأۡتِيَنِّي بِسُلۡطَانٍ مُّبِينٍ
(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.
How the Hoopoe came before Suleiman and told Him about Saba'
فَمَكَثَ غَيۡرَ بَعِيدٍ
But (the hoopoe) stayed not long,
meaning, he was absent for only a short time.
Then he came and said to Suleiman:
أَحَطتُ بِمَا لَمۡ تُحِطۡ بِهِ
I have grasped which you have not grasped,
meaning, `I have come to know something that you and your troops do not know.'
وَجِيۡتُكَ مِن سَبَإٍ بِنَبَإٍ يَقِينٍ
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
إِنِّي وَجَدتُّ امۡرَأَةً تَمۡلِكُهُمۡ
I found a woman ruling over them,
Al-Hasan Al-Basri said,
This is Bilqis bint Sharahil, the queen of Saba'.
وَأُوتِيَتۡ مِن كُلِّ شَيۡءٍ
she has been given all things,
means, all the conveniences of this world that a powerful monarch could need.
وَلَهَا عَرۡشٌ عَظِيمٌ
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
وَجَدتُّهَا وَقَوۡمَهَا يَسۡجُدُونَ لِلشَّمۡسِ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَزَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الشَّيۡطَانُ أَعۡمَالَهُمۡ فَصَدَّهُمۡ عَنِ السَّبِيلِ
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,
فَهُمۡ لَا يَهۡتَدُونَ
so they have no guidance.
وَزَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الشَّيۡطَانُ أَعۡمَالَهُمۡ فَصَدَّهُمۡ عَنِ السَّبِيل
فَهُمۡ لَا يَهۡتَدُونَ
أَلاَّ يَسۡجُدُوا لِلَّهِ
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:
وَمِنۡ ءَايَـتِهِ الَّيۡلُ وَالنَّهَارُ وَالشَّمۡسُ وَالۡقَمَرُ لَا تَسۡجُدُواۡ لِلشَّمۡسِ وَلَا لِلۡقَمَرِ وَاسۡجُدُواۡ لِلَّهِ الَّذِى خَلَقَهُنَّ إِن كُنتُمۡ إِيَّاهُ تَعۡبُدُونَ
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)
الَّذِي يُخۡرِجُ الۡخَبۡءَ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالاَۡرۡضِ
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.
وَيَعۡلَمُ مَا تُخۡفُونَ وَمَا تُعۡلِنُونَ
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:
سَوَاءٌ مِّنۡكُمۡ مَّنۡ أَسَرَّ الۡقَوۡلَ وَمَنۡ جَهَرَ بِهِ وَمَنۡ هُوَ مُسۡتَخۡفٍ بِالَّيۡلِ وَسَارِبٌ بِالنَّهَارِ
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)
اللَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ رَبُّ الۡعَرۡشِ الۡعَظِيمِ
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:
the sparrow hawks.
Its chain of narration is Sahih.
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