We gave[to]David Solomon.What an excellend servant!He truly turned toward his Lord.(Qur'an,38:30)
Similarites Between Prophet Solomon (pbuh) and Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh)
The Qur'an informs us of Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh), another Muslim leader who ruled a great kingdom. His life was quite similar to Prophet Solomon's (pbuh).
They Both Had Power
God gave both "power and authority in the land"(Qur'an, 18:84). The words power and authority may imply the great importance of their kingdom's economic, military, and political power. Thanks to this power, Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh) ruled over a great expanse of territory and established order therein. (For detailed information about Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh), see Harun Yahya, Signs of the End Times in Surat al-Kahf [New Delhi: Goodword Books, 2004].)
They Were Intelligent and Believed in God
The Qur'an states that God granted Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh) "a way to everything"(Qur'an, 18:84). In other words, he was a perceptive, cautious, and intelligent leader who could solve every problem. Examples of Prophet Solomon's (pbuh) intelligence, from his command over jinns and demons to his administration of his kingdom, are related in the Qur'an.
Like Prophet Solomon (pbuh), Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh) also ruled a powerful and wealthy state whose fame had spread far and wide. People came to him seeking solutions to what they considered complex problems, and even those nations that lived beyond his kingdom knew him as a person who impeded corruption in the land. For example, a people between the two mountains, scarcely able to understand speech, asked him for help:
They said: "O Dhu'l-Qarnayn. Gog and Magog are causing corruption in the land. Can we, therefore, pay tribute to you in return for your constructing a barrier between us and them?" (Qur'an, 18:94)
Superior Military Power
The Qur'an, which informs us of Prophet Solomon's (pbuh) mighty army, states that Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh) also had a powerful military force:
We said: "O Dhu'l-Qarnayn. You can either punish them or else you can treat them with gentleness." He said: "As for those who do wrong, we will punish them and then they will be returned to their Lord. He will punish them with a dreadful punishment." (Qur'an, 18:86-87)
Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh) used his great military might to treat unbelievers who brought corruption into the land with great harshness and to defeat their plans to oppress others. Thus, a king ruling a vast territory must have a very strong military.
They Judged with Justice
Earlier, we discussed Prophet Solomon's (pbuh) methods of treating others justly. From the Qur'an's account of Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh), we can see that he was also very just and fair. For example, he was ready to help any people defend themselves against corruption and oppression. The fact that both accounts emphasize both leaders' just administration shows that in order to ensure global security, happiness, justice, and stability, the existence of a very strong legal system supported by military and police power is essential.
A calligraphic inscription in the jali-thuluth script by Kazasker Mustafa Izzet Efendi: "Our Lord, do not make our hearts swerve aside after You have guided us. And give us mercy from You. You are the Ever-Giving." (Qur'an, 3:8)
They Refused All Gifts
Prophet Solomon (pbuh) did not accept the Queen of Saba's gift, but told her envoys to take it back and tell her:
When it reached Solomon, he said: "Would you give me wealth when what God has given me is better than what He has given you? No, rather it is you who delight in your gift." (Qur'an, 27:36)
And Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh) told the people who offered to pay him a tax for his help that:
"The power my Lord has granted me is better than that…" (Qur'an, 18:95)
The fact that both leaders refused these gifts and reminded those who offered them that God was the sole owner of all possessions shows that they were sincere Muslims. These examples contain good advice for every Muslim leader.
A calligraphic inscription by Sheikh Ali Bedevi in jali-thuluth script: "Say [from me]: 'O My servants, you who have transgressed against yourselves, do not despair of the mercy of God. Truly God forgives all wrong actions. He is the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.'" (Qur'an, 39:53)
They Always Turned toward God
Prophet Solomon (pbuh), who had superior moral qualities and was a faithful servant, constantly turned toward God. Whenever he was successful or victorious, or whenever God gave him a blessing, Prophet Solomon (pbuh) turned toward Him in worship and remembered that all power belongs to Him. Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh) had the same moral character. For example, when he was able to protect the people from Gog and Magog, he praised God in the following words:
They were, therefore, unable to climb over it. Nor were they able to make a breach in it. He [Dhu'l-Qarnayn] said: "This is a mercy from my Lord. But when my Lord's promise comes about, He will crush it flat. The promise of my Lord is surely true." (Qur'an, 18:97-98)
They Ruled over Jinns
As we know, our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) said that there were two leaders in the past who had founded great kingdoms: Prophet Solomon (pbuh) and Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh). Prophet Solomon (pbuh) controlled some jinns; perhaps Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh) had a similar control. The people of Gog and Magog, against whom Dhu'l-Qarnayn's (pbuh) help was requested, may have been jinns.
In these two accounts, particularly the one about Prophet Solomon (pbuh), the jinns are mentioned quite often. This may signify that the End Times, when God may place the jinns and demons at the service of human beings. (Only God knows the truth.)
The Use of Tar or Molten Copper
Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh), using a substance called alayhi qitran, made an effective barrier against Gog and Magog:
[Dhu'l-Qarnayn said:] "Bring me ingots of iron." Then, when he had made it level between the two high mountainsides, he said: "Blow," and when he had made it a red hot fire, he said: "Bring me molten copper [or tar] to pour over it." (Qur'an, 18:96)
The meaning of alayhi qitran is molten copper or tar. The Qur'an says that this same substance was also under Prophet Solomon's (pbuh) command:
And We gave Solomon power over the wind—a month's journey in the morning and a month in the afternoon. And We made a fount of molten copper flow out for him. And some of the jinns worked in front of him by his Lord's permission. And if a single one of them deviates at all from Our command, We let him taste the punishment of the Searing Blaze. (Qur'an, 34:12)
There is a noticeable similarity between the two leaders' use of this substance. Perhaps Prophet Solomon (pbuh) used this substance to establish his control over the jinns and the demons. Perhaps it was tar, for Qur'an 14:50 mentions "wearing shirts of tar," which shows that this substance is also found in Hell.
In fact, right after this verse mentions that this substance was given on the orders of Prophet Solomon (pbuh), it says that the jinns served him. Both Prophet Solomon (pbuh) and Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh) may have used this substance to control the jinns. Perhaps it contained an ingredient that affected them. (God knows the truth.)
Good Tidings about the End Times
The dominion exercised by Prophet Solomon (pbuh) and Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh) is very good news for all Muslims, because these accounts contain important indications about the End Times.
Muslims who meticulously keep within the limits God established for humanity, strive to make Islamic morality dominant in the world, and withstand all difficulties will be superior in all periods of history, for God will always help and support them. As both Prophet Solomon (pbuh) and Dhu'l-Qarnayn (pbuh) had these qualities, God gave them authority in the land (and, of course, all of His other spiritual graces). The same dominion will occur, with God's permission, in the End Times, for He has promised this to believers.