Queen Baliqis, the leader of the Sabai kingdom had been advised by her council to go ahead and face Prophet Sulaiman headlong without any fear. Their sentiments were that they were a people ” endued with strength who were also given to vehement war!”
They did not relent yet! They also did as most advisers who are after the leader’s praise, material gains and unnecessary public favour will do today, not considering the present state and exigence of time. They added to their advice a kind of emotional appeasement conceding in a subtle way, the entire power and wisdom of the land to Baliqis _, i.e as the glorious Qur’an reports :
” But the command is with you; so consider what you wish to command!” _Qur’an 27:33
As if to say that we had given you our words as demanded by you that we are a bold, fierce and knowledgeable people on war and warfare, as we are also capable in prosecuting it but the wish to go to the war lies solely in your hand; your wish is only our command!
Like most advisers of leaders of nations and countries are doing now while railroading the leaders of their nations and countries into poor policies and programs in one hands and beguiling them into giving a go ahead to war where dialogue and patience would have fitted and save the situation and lives from unnecessary death, on another hands !
Bad economic and political policies are also being foisted on nations and countries due to unthinkable suggestions of these honchos of advisers and when knowledgeable individuals in the republics raise their reasons against these their poor policies, they would be labelled as enemies of governments and good things!
Baliqis as an exemplary leader of a government did not fall for her advisers poor advice, instead she resorted to womanly tact to conciliate Sulaiman, and at the same time to pacify her warlike subjects! She sent gifts to him thinking he was a worldly King who preferred worldly things to God and His religion.
This does not say that having advisers or taking to their good advices is bad. No, having knowledgeable and sensible advisers who are at home with the situational awareness of things on which their advices are sought is an important appendage of government in Islam.
What is bad in having advisers is following their words in-to-to when situations demand they use their own discretions for the good of their nations and countries!
Prophet Suleiman ( Alehi Salam), as a wealthy and godly King , took the gift as an insult that Baliqis should send her presents instead of her submission to the true Religion! He flung back the presents at her, as much as to say, “Let these baubles delight your own hearts! Allah Has blessed me with plenty of worldly goods, and something infinitely better, Viz ; His light and guidance! ”
Gift As An Aider Of Love
No doubt, in every clime and nation, gift promotes love and softens mind already embroidered in enmity and discord with others! It is for this reason that it is prescribed in Islamic convetion that when it occurs between you and another souls hatred or discord and you desire from them love and friendship; offer them gifts or presents, you will see wonder.
Gift, I repeat, removes the hotness of the minds of those in rancour. It heals the brokenness of their souls and spreads love among them! It is a part of “what is better ” that Allah points to in His words as follows:
” Nor can goodness and evil be equal. Repel evil with what is better and when there ensues between you and him an hatred, be like you and him were friends and intimates !” _ Qur’an 41:34
The Ruling Of Taking Gift From Non-Muslims
Islamic law allows taking gift from those who are not Muslims when the object or motive of offering it to the Muslims by the non-Muslims is not the denigration and debasement of Islam or a bribe to beguile the Muslims so as to allow the continuation of evil , otherwise accepting it from them will be an express Haram!
Are they being prophet Sulaiman ( Alehi Salam) had taken the gift from Baliqis and he had been silent on the worship of the Sun Baliqis and her people were worshipping because of the gift, the gift would have been amounted to bribe which would have made her and her people remaining in the worship of what was not God. This is what had brought forth the words of Sulaiman when the gifts were brought to him thus :
Will you give me abundance in wealth? ( see) that which Allah Has given me is better than that which He Has given you! Nay it is you who rejoice in your gift!” _ Qu’ran 27:36
Yet Using A Subtle Power Which Is Not Destructive Against One Enemy Is Preferred To Using A Plain One Which Is Destructive
Enmity and war are not two permanent features of man in life. Instead, they are casual and incidental occasions in his life. They will soon go out of his life whether through a round table dialogue between him and others in disagreement or through battle or war!
This is the very reason counties in war must be careful in using weapons or warfares which damaging effects cannot be amended or corrected in a jiffy after the war which will also jeopardize the lives of remaining people after the war for long years after it had been prosecuted.
It is because of the damaging effects of war that has made Islam to rule that treasures’ sites of nations and countries in war must not be tampered with or destroy when the war is ranging. Same thing is said on economic trees, agricultural sites, children, old people and places of worship such as Synagogues and Mosques.
It was this that prophet Sulaiman ( Alehi Salam) had demonstrated in his dealing with Baliqis after he had dialogued with her to embrace Islam through his letter which she had turned down and offered him bribe instead! Sulaiman having come to the realization of the temporariness of war and its devastating tendency, instead of entering into war and occupying her land , had mobilized his armies to use the most subtle of their means of war against her with less effect than venturing to use a plain one but with a vast damaging effects!
In the first place, the object of power of Balqis and the seat of her government had been targeted by Sulaiman in lieu of ordering his birds to destroy the people of Sabai or calling the heavy Wind in his control to destroy her kingdom.
Besides, when he had demanded from among his lieutenants who was capable of bringing to him her throne and a large powerful jinn had indicated that he could bring it to him “before you ( Sulaiman) rise from your Council”, he had not subscribed to the use of the power of this powerful jinn for he knew that jinn could be destructive and destruction of Baliqis’ power was not his focus but her and her people submission to Allah, the Creator and Lord of the glory!
In the words of Yusuf Ali ( 1986), he says :
” If Sulaiman had been ungrateful to Allah , i.e, if he had worked for his own selfish or worldly ends, he could have used the brute strength of ‘Ifrit’ ( the jinn) to add to his worldly strength and glory. Instead of it , he uses the higher wonder of the Book,_ of the Spirit_ to transform the throne of Balqis for her highest good , which means also the highest good of her subjects, by the divine light”
As noted above, Sulaiman had the two alternatives, and he had chosen the better, and thus showed his gratitude to Allah for the grace He had given him. At such, he had allowed the ‘one who had knowledge of the Book’ who had the power to bring the throne from Sabai to Palestine in a jiffy ( before the king retuned his glances) to do the job. And Alas! The one with the knowledge of the Book had brought the book without let or hindrance in minutes with the power of the name of God.
Most scholars among the exegete of the glorious Qur’an had it that the ‘one with the knowledge of the Book’ among Sulaiman’s warriors was Aasif Bn Barhaya. He was of the tribe of children of Israeli and a truth-personified character who was noted for conserving greatest names of Allah that which when one begs Allah with it He will obliges or if one prays with it, it will be answered!. ( Al-Qurtabiy: 2010)
Aisha ( Radiya-llahu anha) , the beloved wife of the prophet said that the prophet ( salla-llahu alehi wasalam) said:
” Indeed, the greatest names of Allah employed by Aasif Bn Barhaya were :” Yah_ Ayyu Ya_Qayyum! ( Qurtabiy : 2010)
It is pertinent to suggest here that it is good for the leadership of a government or a country to agglomerate or gather from within or outside it permitted power that will be of aids to it now or in the future as prophet Sulaiman had prepared for in the beginning of his power by begging Allah to grant him power which He would not grant anybody beside him again!
Not only that, prophet Sulaiman had demonstrated the power of God in his possession to Baliqis and her people so that they would come to their sense and see the errors in what they were worshipping beside Allah, their real Creator and Provider of sustenance in another two ways.
One, he ordered that Baliqis’ center of power ,the throne, be disguise by changing some parts of it which made it more beautiful than before. Secondly, she was directed to enter into Sulaiman’s lofty Palace which was made of slabs of smooth polished glass that glistened like water!
All these were ways of showing to Baliqis that what she was having as a pagan was too smaller compared to what was in the hands of King Sulaiman,a believer and that whatever she might have in her possession now as a non-believer would be a pittance to what Allah could give her when she embraced Islam!
This is also a lesson in positive deployment of power that a caller to the way of God must treat those he is calling with care and respect. He must honour those he calls to Islam in a befitting manner as it commensurate with their positions , so that they will not see the embracing of Islam as a way of snatching the honours they have been used to hitherto!
Baliqis, having been received with honour on her arrival to Sulaiman’s Palace instead of humiliation for turning down his invitation to Islam then, and having accepted the transformation of her throne, placed presumably in an outer building of the palace , had acknowledged for herself and her people, with gratitude, the light which was given to them by Allah by which they recognized Allah’s prophet in Sulaiman, and received the true religion with all their will and heart and soul.
Prophet Suleiman ( alehi salam) too, had shown gratitude to God for giving him power, the knowledge of using it and for making him his apostle who invited others to Islam by saying:
” This is by the grace of my Lord to test me whether I will be grateful or ungrateful! And if any is grateful, truly he is grateful for his own soul ; but if any is ungrateful, truly my Lord is free of all needs, He is Supreme in Honour ” _ Qu’ran 27:40
One can say in conclusion that indeed, in the stories of the prophets are lessons and wisdoms for the leaders and followers of nations and countries of the world. Besides, from their stories, it is crystal clear that if leaders and followers alike see power, knowledge, being subjects and other paraphernalia of leadership and followership as tests, as Sulaiman and Baliqis had seen them; and if they are grateful on them, there is preponderance of deploying them to good use for the betterment of man through which Allah will bless them the more, with abundance.
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