Further supporting the thesis is the fact that in the Islamic conception of Sulayman, we notice that he possessed mystical powers that enabled him to rule over the Jinns, decipher the language of animals, birds and insects, and was able to grasp that which is beyond sensory perception. He possessed these special powers apart from his ability to move wind. As Abdul Haleem’s translation of the Holy Koran notes,
“And to Solomon (We made) the Wind (obedient): Its early morning (stride) was a month’s (journey), and its evening (stride) was a month’s (journey); and We made a Font of molten brass to flow for him; and there were Jinns that worked in front of him, by the leave of his Lord, and if any of them turned aside from our command, We made him taste of the Penalty of the Blazing Fire. (034.012) They worked for him as he desired, (making) arches, images, basons as large as reservoirs, and (cooking) cauldrons fixed (in their places): “Work ye, sons of David, with thanks! but few of My servants are grateful!”(034.013)”
On a broader view, what is also evident from the relevant passages is the fundamental thrust of the two great religions. Although both Christianity and Islam are monotheistic, the latter is not rooted on individual personalities. For example, while Jesus Christ was the Son of God, Prophet Mohammad was only the messenger carrying God’s words to the faithful. And the two texts in question show their different stances on the veneration of the individual. This fact is a contributing factor to the importance each associate to the story of Solomon/Sulayman. In the case of the Bible, King Solomon is shown to be an example of the consequences of God’s wrath upon deviants and digressors. And it strongly resonates with the concept of Hell, as purported by Christianity. This is probably the reason why emphasis has been laid on the historicity of King Solomon and his kingdom – the supporting proof of which can translate into authenticity for the religion as a whole. In Christian theological journals and magazines of recent times, sections are dedicated to covering topics of historicity. What we could deduce from the varying treatment of the story of Solomon is the originating period of the two religions. Christianity precedes Islam by thirteen centuries and as time has gone by the Holy Bible has acquired elaboration and lyrical ornamentation not usually seen in the latter. The story of King Solomon is a good example of this point. And all these minor and major differences in the depiction of Sulayman/Solomon go on to strenghthen the stated thesis that “ the portrayal of Sulayman in the Holy Koran is more generous and reverential when compared to that of Holy Bible”.
Abdel Haleem’s translatin of the Holy Qu’ran, published by Oxford University Press.
The New International Version of the Holy Bible, retrieved from http://www.biblegateway.com/ on 16th September, 2010