The Prophet Solomon (as)
The Prophet Solomon (as) was Given Unprecedented Wealth
He (Solomon) said: 'My Lord, forgive me and give me a kingdom the like of which will never be granted to anyone after me. Truly You are the Ever-Giving.' (Surah Sad: 35)
Allah responded to his prayer by giving him great blessings and knowledge, as well as bestowing upon him a magnificent dominion and powerful authority. In the verses that recount his life, many details are offered about his wealth, authority, and how he used his knowledge.
The Prophet Solomon (as) Communicated with Birds
Allah taught the Prophet Solomon (as) the language of birds, and he used this knowledge to form orderly ranks of birds (Surat an-Naml:17). He communicated with birds and ruled them as he saw fit. This situation occurred as a result of Allah's favor on him.
(Solomon said:) O mankind, we have been taught the speech of birds and have been given everything. This is indeed clear favor. (Surat an-Naml: 16)
We can derive important conclusions from this account:
- Birds have a special way of communicating with each other on a frequency beyond the range of human hearing. The Prophet Solomon (as) was given a special skill that allowed him to understand this language. This might have happened through a technological innovation.
- Using this skill, he gave orders to the birds so they might fulfill his wishes (Allah knows the truth).
- He sometimes used birds to send news and collect intelligence. This method was very successful. His knowledge made it easier for him to communicate with other countries, and effectively brought distant lands within his reach (Allah knows the truth).
- This verse might be drawing our attention to technological advances that will be used in the End Times. Perhaps it is not speaking of birds, but rather of unmanned aircraft in use today.
- It might have been that he placed transmitters on the birds to gather intelligence about his enemies. This way he might have obtained both audio and visual records, which he used to rule his nation.
- He also had great control over jinns and satans. As stated in the Qur'an, Allah said, 'And some of the jinns worked in front of him by his Lord's permission' (Surah Saba, 12) and 'And some of the satans dived for him and did other things apart from that. And We were watching over them' (Surah al-Anbiya'). If we think about this aspect, birds might symbolize an army of jinns.
- Another possibility is that the birds are led by jinns. The Prophet Solomon (as) might have commanded birds to perform certain tasks through using jinns.
- Allah made the Qur'an humanity's holy book until the Last Day. Thus, incidents similar to those related about the Prophet Solomon (as) might occur in the End Times. These verses might signal to us that during this time Allah might place satans and jinns at humanity's beck and call, or that humanity will use and benefit greatly from advanced technology at that time. (Allah knows the truth.)
The Prophet Solomon (as) Communicates with a Female Ant
(Solomon) smiled, laughing at its words, and said: 'My Lord, keep me thankful for the blessing You have bestowed on me and on my parents, and keep me acting rightly, pleasing You, and admit me, by Your mercy, among Your servants who are righteous.' (Surat an-Naml: 19)
- The Prophet Solomon (as) could hear the speech of ants, and this may be pointing to the existence of advanced computer technology in the End Times.
- Today, California's Silicon Valley is known as the capital of the technological world. It is very striking that the account of the Prophet Solomon (as) speaks of the Ant Valley. Allah might be pointing to an advanced technology that will appear in the End Times.
- Moreover, ants and other insects are used extensively in high technology. Robot projects developed by studying these creatures closely have advanced a number of fields, including technology and the defense industry. The verse might be pointing to this fact as well.
Blessings Relevant to The End Times
The Prophet Solomon's (as) and Hazrat Dhu'l-Qarnayn's (as) dominion over the world is good news indeed for all Muslims, for these narratives contain significant signs for the End Times. Truly, Muslims who preserve Allah's limits, work hard to spread Islamic morality worldwide, and refuse to shrink in the face of hardship will prevail in all eras of history. Allah's help and support will always be with them. Both of these blessed individuals, due to their above-mentioned abilities (and, of course, many other blessings of Allah), exercised a strong dominion in the world. This same dominion will certainly happen during the End Times.
The great dominion of Islamic morality, as we emphasized earlier, was defined in the hadiths through similar incidents during the dominion of these two blessed servants of Allah. Some of these are as follows:
Hazrat Mahdi (as) will rule the world just like the Prophet Solomon (as) and Hazrat Dhu'l-Qarnayn (as). (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, p. 30)
There are four rulers on earth in total. Two are from the believers and two from the unbelievers. The believers are the Prophet Solomon (as) and Hazrat Dhu'l-Qarnayn (as). The unbelievers are Nimrod and Nebuchadnezzar. ONE FROM MY PEOPLE WILL RULE THE WORLD AS THE FIFTH. In other words, HAZRAT MAHDI (AS). (Imam Rabbani, Letters of Rabbani, 2/251)
The Situation Before Hazrat Mahdi's (as) Emergence
• In the End Times, my community will suffer severe strong troubles because of their sultans, so that all places will be confining for Muslims. (Al-Burhan fi `Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p. 12)
This hadith points out that before Hazrat Mahdi (as) comes, those who lack religious morals and have a cruel and merciless character will come to power in some Muslim countries. As a matter of fact, some contemporary Muslim rulers oppress Muslims and crush people with their oppressive and despotic regimes. In other countries, people are subjected to trouble because their rulers are unqualified to rule. Muslims in some countries, particularly Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Tunisia, and Djibouti, are oppressed by their respectives, and so are subjected to various hardship and problems. Muslims are prevented from practicing their religion and worshipping, and economic difficulties make life harder.
• There will be a dusty and smoky tribulation like patches of dark night... (Hadith from Jalaladdin as-Suyuti, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman, p. 26)
The word 'tribulation (fitnah)' implies anything that turns peoples' reason and hearts away from the true path, or war, incitement, disorder and conflict. The tribulation in the hadith will leave smoke and dust behind it, we learn.
Furthermore, the way that tribulation is described as 'darkness' in the hadith can be seen as an indication that its origins are unclear, that it is unexpected. Looking at it from that regard, it is probable that the hadith is referring to one of the world's worst terrorist attacks, on the cities of New York and Washington, DC in the United States on September 11, 2001.
Therefore, this most terrible act of terror, which caused the lives and injuries of thousands of innocent people, may well be that 'tribulation like patches of dark night' foretold in the hadith as the sign of Hazrat Mahdi's (as) emergence.
• Hazrat Mahdi (as) will only appear at a time when people are experiencing great fear and are afflicted by disturbances and civil war and other disasters. (Reported by Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn 'Ali)
Most hadiths about Hazrat Mahdi's (as) advent focus on the prophecy that turmoil, insecurity, and disorder will rule the world before his coming. Massacres, wars, and confrontations are one of the major features of such a period. Besides, the hadith draws attention to the fact that massacres will occur all over the world.
During the two world wars of the twentieth century, an estimated 65 million people were killed. The number of the civilians slaughtered for political reasons during the same century is estimated to be well over 180 million. This is an extraordinarily high figure compared with previous centuries.
• Hazrat Mahdi (as) will not appear until innocent people are slaughtered. He will appear when those on Earth and in the skies can no longer bear the killing... (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, p. 37)
While the hadiths about his emergence mention such massacres as commonplace, they also emphasize that such massacres will target innocent people. As we discussed earlier, almost all of the wars today target people. So, civilians and such innocent people as children, the elderly, and women are slaughtered. Targeting these defenseless people in particular has resulted in more comprehensive massacres, while the number of people dying as a result continues to climb.
Since terror seeks to spread fear and horror, the very group on which such attacks focus are often innocent civilians.
• Such a strife will appear that nowhere will be spared. When it ends in one place, it will immediately spread to another... (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, pp. 21-22)
The term 'corruption (fitnah)' also means 'war, disorder, quarrel, dispute.' Thus, civil and other wars and disorder, 'which spreads to another place from where it stays,' continues unceasingly all over the world during the current century. In particular, the twentieth century is remembered as 'the century of wars.' And, this new century again started off with wars and terror that continues.
• Allah will send Hazrat Mahdi (as) when people are in despair and say, "There is no Mahdi"… (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p. 55)
This hadith informs us that one sign of the End Times is the people's despair of Hazrat Mahdi's (as) coming.
People who struggle with war, starvation, injustice, epidemics, and all forms of depravity in the End Times lose their hope that such disasters will ever end. Many Muslims start to despair that Islamic morality will ever prevail and believe that evil will spread even further.
Indeed in our day, we frequently see the examples of this spirit. Despite the existence of countless hadiths about Hazrat Mahdi's (as) coming and the Golden Age marked with great blessings, many people believe that such a period will never come.
This assumption is also a sign of the End Times. In a time of despair, people will enjoy the benefits of the prevalence of the morality of the Qur'an, thanks to Allah's mercy on people.
• People will prosper until the ninety-fifth year, that is, their business will prosper. In the ninety-seventh and the ninety-ninth year, their possessions will go to waste... (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar, p. 54)
It is highly probable that this refers to the year 1995, a period when people had a relatively better life and its conditions have not become so difficult. Indeed, as described in the hadith, in this year, people had enough income to earn a living and have some possessions. However, 1997 and 1999 was a period during which the economy deteriorated and poverty spread. In this time, possessions lost their value. Such an event can happen very quickly, as exemplified by Argentina's economic crisis and the recent global financial crisis.
• The inhabitants of Egypt and Sham will kill their ruler and his commanders... (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar, p. 49)
When we examine Egypt's recent history, we see that a ruler was killed: Anwar Sadat, who ruled Egypt from 1970-81, was killed by his opponents during a military review in 1981. Other Egyptian leaders who have been killed include Prime Ministers Boutros Ghali (1910), and Mahmoud Nukrashy Pasha (1948).
The word 'Sham' is not only used for Damascus, for it also means 'left' and has long been used to refer to those countries to the left of the Hijaz (where the cities of Makka and Madina stand). Many leaders have been killed in the region, among them former Syrian prime ministers Salah al-Deen Beetar (1920), Droubi Pasha (1921), and Muhsin al-Barazi (1949), King Abdullah of Jordan (1951), and Lebanese Phalange leader Bashir Gemayel (1982).
• The people of Sham will take prisoner the tribes of Egypt... (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi 'Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar, p. 49)
Today, the states in the region in question include Israel. That is why the hadith could be pointing to the war between the State of Israel and Egypt, and the invasion of Egyptian territory.
• People will compete with one another in constructing high buildings. (Bukhari)
Time will pass quickly. (Bukhari)
Great distances will be traversed in short spans of time. (Ahmad, Musnad)
The Hour will not take place before time shrinks. One year will be like a month, one month will be like a week, a week will be like a day, and a day will be like an hour; and an hour will be like a burning flame. (Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad)
The century we are living in has seen the capability of constructing supersonic aeroplanes, and the ability, by means of trains and other improvements in means of transport, to make journeys in a few minutes that would once have taken months, and in great comfort. What this hadith indicates is also taking place in this manner.
Communication between continents would take weeks hundreds of years ago, but is now a matter of seconds, by way of the Internet and improvements in technology. Goods that used to take weeks to arrive, following a long journey, can now be delivered at a moment's notice. Billions of books can now be printed in the time it would take to write a single letter just a few centuries ago. As well, other technological developments have meant that we no longer waste large amounts of time on cooking, cleaning and child minding.
One could go on citing similar examples. Yet, the important thing here, of course, is that the signs of the End Times, as set out by the Prophet (saas) in the seventh century, are now happening one by one.
• The Last Hour will not come before the end of a man's whip speaks to him. (Tirmidhi)
The whip is known as a tool used in earlier times when riding or guiding pack animals such as horses or camels. When we look closely at this hadith, we can see that the Prophet (saas) is making a comparison. Let us ask people living at the present time a question, 'Is there a modern implement that talks and resembles a whip?'
The most logical reply to that question is the mobile telephone, with its long antenna, or similar communications equipment. If we bear in mind that mobile or satellite phones are comparatively recent developments, then the wisdom behind the Prophet's (saas) description of 1,400 years ago is even clearer. That is just one more indication that we are living through the End Times.
• There will be no Judgment Day ... until a person's own voice speaks to him. (Mukhtasar Tazkirah al-Qurtubi, p. 471)
The message in the hadith is quite clear: A person's hearing the sound of his own voice is another sign of the End Times. There is no doubt that in order to hear the sound of one's own voice, one first needs to record it, and then to play it back to himself. Sound recording and reproduction equipment are products of the twentieth century. That development marked a scientific turning point, and led to the birth of the communications and media industries. Sound reproduction is nearly perfect now, by means of computer and laser technologies.
In short, the electronic gadgets of our time, microphones and speakers, allow us to record sound and play it back, and are also manifestations of that related in the above hadith.
• ... At that time [of the appearance of Hazrat Mahdi (as)] a hand will be seen revealing itself from the sky... (Hadith Collected by Jalaluddin As-Suyuti, Portents of the Mahdi of the End Times, Ali Ibn Hasamaddin Al Muttaki, p. 51)
Conflict and disputes will persist until a hand appears from the sky and a voice cries "Hazrat Mahdi (as) is your amir." The sign of that day: A hand will extend from the sky and people will look at and see it. (Ahmad Ibn Hajar al-Makki (Haytami), Portents of the Anticipated Mahdi, Al-Qawl Al-Mukhtasar Fi alamat Al-Mahdi Al-Muntazar, p. 53)
These hadiths transmitted from our Prophet (saas) speak of a "hand" being seen in the sky, and say that this is a portent of the coming of Hazrat Mahdi (as). It appears that disputes will continue until that time and that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will constantly be a matter of discussion, i.e. through means of communication such as radio, television and the Internet. A picture of space taken by NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory shows a mass of neutron stars shaped like a hand appearing to close round another star mass. The reference to a hand in the hadith may be suggestive of this image in the indicated meaning, described by NASA as the "hand of God," giving rise to a celestial phenomenon. (Allah knows the truth.)
The shape of a hand formed by the stellar mass is in complete agreement with the description of its extension as given in the hadith. The photograph taken by NASA shows a hand stretching out somewhere. In addition, the way that people were able to see and observe this celestial phenomenon by means of telescopes by means of the advanced space and astronomical technology in the time of Hazrat Mahdi (as) is also in complete agreement with the expressions employed in the hadith.
• Life spans will grow longer. (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi 'Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar, p. 43)
Fourteen centuries have passed since the Prophet (saas) brought forward that news. The average expected lifespan is much higher now than it has been at any other time in recent history. A great difference can be seen even between the figures for the beginning and the end of the twentieth century. For instance, it is estimated that a baby born in 1995 will live some 35 years longer than one born around 1900.10 Another striking example on the same subject is that in the past very few people lived to be 100, whereas now it is a great deal more common.
Similarities Between Hazrat Mahdi's (As) Time and Those of The Prophet Solomon (as) And Hazrat Dhu'l-Qarnayn (as)
Hazrat Mahdi (as) is the rebirth of the noble ethics of the Prophet Solomon (as) and Hazrat Dhu'l-Qarnayn (as) in the End Times, but on a different and larger scale. Their noble ethics' spiritual, rational, social, and mental manifestations will reappear in the End Times.
The eras of Hazrat Mahdi (as) and these two blessed personages are times when the noble Islamic morality is practiced widely. All three of these eras are pleasing to Allah. The Qur'an and the Prophet's (saas) hadiths also refer to the periods of Nebuchadnezzar, Nimrod, and Pharaoh, which are times of wickedness and unbelief. Immediately after these evil periods, Allah made Islamic morality prevail. Similarly, our Lord will offer a time ruled by Islamic morality in the End Times: the Golden Age.
This Golden Age will be a grander reflection of the Prophet Solomon's (as) and Hazrat Dhu'l-Qarnayn's (as) times. Mahdism means the prevalence of peace, happiness, love, brotherhood, graciousness, sacrifice, humane behavior, and the spirit of cooperation.
Here are some examples of the similarities between these two blessed personages' times and the Golden Age.
Hazrat Mahdi's (as) Worldwide Rule
As stated earlier, the Prophet Solomon (as) and Hazrat Dhu'l-Qarnayn (as) made Islamic morality rule the world. They ruled wide territories and had very powerful armed forces. This shows a similarity to the Golden Age.
During the Golden Age, Islamic morality also will rule the world. People will convert to Islam in great numbers, while ideologies that deny Allah will wither away and Islam will be practiced as it was in the time of our Prophet Muhammad (saas). Some of the hadiths describe the Golden Age as follows:
Hazrat Mahdi (as) will own the entire world. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi `Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman, p. 10)
Hazrat Mahdi (as) will (spiritually) conquer the East and West… (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, p. 57)
Hazrat Mahdi's (as) Rare and Noble Knowledge Bestowed upon The Prophet Solomon (as) and Hazrat Dhu'l-Qarnayn (as)
Earlier we mentioned the knowledge Allah bestowed upon the Prophet Solomon (as), such as the ability to rule jinns and devils, speak with birds, hear the ants' communication, and had power over the wind and used copper as he wished. Each of these skills separates him from ordinary people. Of Hazrat Dhu'l-Qarnayn (as), Allah says in the Qur'an: 'Our knowledge encompasses all that happened to him' (Surat al-Kahf: 91). He was one of the people blessed by knowledge.
Hazrat Mahdi (as) also will have certain special skills. In his book Mevzuatu'l ulum (11/246), Taskopruluzade Ahmet Efendi wrote that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will possess ilm-e-jafr (the art of divination through numbers). Another account says that:
He is called Hazrat Mahdi (as), for he is the holder of a secret power nobody is able to know. (Al-Barzanji, Al-Isha'ah li-ashrat al-sa'ah, p. 77)
Our Prophet (saas) said that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will understand the language of animals and have dominion over people and jinns, just like the Prophet Solomon (as) did.
Hazrat Mahdi (as) is a person who speaks the language of birds and other animals. Therefore, his justice will manifest itself over all people and jinns. (Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Rasul Barzanji, Al-Isha'ah li-ashrat al-sa'ah, p. 188)
Their Support for Peace and Preference for Diplomacy
The Prophet Solomon (as) was very peaceful, loving, compassionate, and forgiving in his relations with neighboring countries. He preferred to solve problems through diplomacy and used democratic means. The Prophet Solomon (as) created a superior culture and strengthened his dominion through diplomacy, art, and culture. Despite his irresistible and overwhelmingly powerful armies, however, he never used military force. Hazrat Dhu'l-Qarnayn (as) was also known as the 'person who prevents strife and disorder,' and brought peace and calm to people. Therefore, the times of these two personages look strikingly similar to the Golden Age.
In the Golden Age, people will become Muslims out of their own will, Islamic morality will prevail worldwide, and there will be no war. Accounts of this age say:
No one will be woken up from their sleep or have a bleeding nose. (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar, p. 42)
Hazrat Mahdi (as) will follow the way of the Prophet (saas). He will not wake up a sleeping person or shed blood. (Al-Barzanji, Al-Isha'ah li-ashrat al-sa'ah, p. 163)
As these hadiths tell it, Hazrat Mahdi (as) will bring Islamic morality and peace to the entire world and therefore end all war and violence. He will work to begin a cultural transformation and lead people toward Islam's moral code. During that time, with Allah's permission, the following verse will be realized:
When Allah's help and victory have arrived and you have seen people entering Allah's religion in droves, then glorify your Lord's praise and ask His forgiveness. He is the Ever-Returning. (Surat an-Nasr: 1-3)
Urging People to Religious Morality, and Their Quick Action
The Prophet Solomon's (as) quick, rational decisions are an important example for all believers. The letters he wrote to the Queen of Saba, in which he urged her and her people to believe in Allah, showed his power of communication. His bringing the Queen of Saba's throne by using a person who possessed knowledge of the Book proved his power for quick decision-making. Hazrat Dhu'l-Qarnayn's (as) decision to build a strong wall—so strong that it would last until the Last Day—against the attacks of the Yajuj and Majuj tribes show his power and rationality. The Golden Age will witness very similar events.
During the Golden Age, people will embrace Islam, and there will be wide-ranging, sweeping activities toward this end. All nations, one after another, will adopt Islamic morality, and opposing ideologies will be wiped away intellectually through quick and lasting action. All cruel systems will be buried in the sands of time. In the words of the renowned Islamic theologian Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi:
Allah will give so much power to Hazrat Mahdi (as). He will remove cruelty from the world overnight, religion will be established, and Islam will be revived. Hazrat Mahdi (as) will restore its lost value to it, and it will come to life after its apparent demise ... Ignorant people, misers and cowards alike will be very knowledgeable, generous, and brave. ... They will practice religion as in the time of the Prophet Muhammad (saas).... (Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi, Al-Futuhat al-Makkia, p. 66; Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Rasul Barzanji, Al-Isha'ah li-ashrat al-sa'ah, p. 186)
Importance Placed on Construction
We know that the Prophet Solomon (as) focused on construction projects. He built high arches, statues, huge dishes like cisterns, and great built-in cooking vats by using the jinns and devils who did his bidding. Everybody who saw his splendid palace, including the Queen of Saba, greatly admired it. The technology that Hazrat Dhu'l-Qarnayn (as) employed to build the wall was so advanced that it cannot be destroyed, unless Allah wills it.
In the hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad (saas), we are told that construction will be important during the Golden Age. During this age, peace, tranquility and a very developed civilization will be brought to cities. For example,
Hazrat Mahdi (as) works in the construction of Constantinople and other places. (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar, p. 40)
Using Wealth and Splendor for Islam's Benefit and Allah's Good Pleasure
The Prophet Solomon (as) used his wealth to explain Allah's religion and spread Islamic morality throughout the world. In the countries he invaded, he first called on people to believe in Allah and guidance. The letter which he sent to the Queen of Saba, in which he invited both her and her people to Islam, is powerful testimony of that. Hazrat Dhu'l-Qarnayn (as) also had strong dominion, as is seen in his words: 'The power my Lord has granted me is better than that.' (Surat al-Kahf: 95). He used his great power to prevent disorder.
During the Golden Age, people will enjoy great wealth, prosperity, and peace. Hazrat Mahdi (as) will use all of his means to spread Allah's religion, and will follow the noble morality and the dictates of peace in the countries he comes victorious. His unparalleled practices will soften people's hearts and lead them to Islamic morality. Thus, within a very short time this morality will rule the world. Some of the hadiths concerning this time are as follows:
There will be in my community a Mahdi, who will reign for seven years, or eight years or nine years. My community will receive such benefits which they had never before experienced. The skies will be opened up for them. The earth will not withhold anything of its vegetation. (Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidaya Wa An-Nihaya, 1/42; Ibn Majah, Fitan, 34, H. 4083)
... Before swearing allegiance, they will flood to him in droves, and everyone who goes there will enjoy the Divine plenty. (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, p. 25)