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Offline Mubashir

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Lifeless body on a throne??
« on: September 03, 2012, 11:50:53 AM »
Salam Friends

Verse 38:34 has been translated in a variety of ways by diferent people:

[Asad] But [ere this], indeed, We had tried Solomon by placing upon his throne a [lifeless] body; and thereupon he turned [towards Us; and]

[Picktall] And verily We tried Solomon, and set upon his throne a (mere) body. Then did he repent.

[Wahiduddin Khan] We tried Solomon by placing upon his throne a [lifeless] body; and thereupon he turned towards Us].

[Al-Muntakhab] We decided to try Sulayman like We tried the other Messengers and test his true inclination worldly and spiritually, We seated a phantom on his throne. No sooner did it come to his mind that he was tried than he in lowliest plight repentant stood.

[Muhammad Sarwar] We tested Solomon by (causing death to his son) and leaving his body on Solomon's chair. Then he turned to Us in repentance

[Dr. Munir Munshey] We certainly put Sulaiman through a test. We raised (his heir) to the throne to be just a figure _ just a body (inept and incompetent). Then He repented and turned back (from his desire to bequeath the throne to one of his own descendants).

[Yusuf Ali] And We did try Solomon: We placed on his throne a body (without life); but he did turn (to Us in true devotion):

(Many, many  more translations can be read at http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/38/34/default.htm )
-------------------------

Can anybody explain what really happened? Thanks.

Offline HOPE

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Re: Lifeless body on a throne??
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2012, 10:10:08 PM »
Salaam brother,

We know that Solomon was an excellent servant who always turned to God for repentance. verse 30.  We also know from 2:102 that he was a believer but the shaytans used by him in construction did not, taught people sorcery and how to harm people.  I am assuming that they caused some kind of fitnah: revolution, chaos, upheaval. As a result Solomon either lost his throne for a while or his powers were stripped and was like a jasad, a puppet.

We know from 42:20 that anyone who wants worldly kingdom, he will be given some; if he desires to cultivate the Next World, his earthly cultivation will be increased.  Solomon must have asked for the future kingdom since he was given the wind to control in this life in addition to getting his throne back.  Shaytans were chained.
"Hope is like a bird that senses the dawn and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark"

Offline Mubashir

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Re: Lifeless body on a throne??
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2012, 03:54:15 AM »
Salam

Sharing an interesting response by another brother:

There is nothing perplexing in the episode. The point in time is when he was a Prince, not King. The princely activities are mentioned by instance of his interest in horses, resulting in slackening in time management. He himself realized it, and then checked himself.

Allah the Exalted subjected him to an irking experience by causing the placement of a dummy on his Chair. It was even otherwise a point of concern, security lapse---how a dummy got on the chair of the Prince despite security circles around his palace.

He reflected. What does the presence of a dummy on one's Chair--that symbolizes power and authority reflect? A Monotonous king!! routine affairs of rulres assigning much time in seeing and enjoying horses at the cost of losing time management?

Thereafter, see what he is asking after turning from his reflective time period.

Know the fact that We had indeed subjected Sulie'maan [alai'his'slaam] to an irking experience.
We had caused placing a dummy upon his Seat.

Afterwards having reflected he had turned to us, praying;

"O my Sustainer Lord, I request you the Exalted to overlook for my slackening in time management.

And unlike dummy-monotonous kingdoms, you the Exalted grant me unique kingship which might not be possible for a single one after me to acquire it.

Undeniably, You the Exalted are certainly the Benefactor-the One Who bestows". [38:34-35]

Offline HOPE

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Re: Lifeless body on a throne??
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2012, 02:18:36 PM »
Peace Mubashir,

Thanks for sharing an interesting interpretation.  I do not share his view that Solomon was into materiality. His love for horses serve for his remembrance of God. Anything I like or appreciate always reminds of God Subhanallah!
"Hope is like a bird that senses the dawn and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark"

Offline Mubashir

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Re: Lifeless body on a throne??
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2012, 03:15:25 PM »
Just thought I would add the footnote by Asad included with this translation:

38:30 But [ere this], indeed, We had tried Solomon by placing upon his throne a [lifeless] body; and thereupon he turned [towards Us; and]*

* To explain this verse, some of the commentators advance the most fantastic stories, almost all of
them going back to Talmudic sources. Razi rejects them all, maintaining that they are unworthy of
serious consideration. Instead, he plausibly suggests that the "body" (jasad) upon Solomon's throne
is an allusion to his own body, and - metonymically - to his kingly power, which was bound to remain
"lifeless" so long as it was not inspired by God-willed ethical values. (It is to be borne in mind
that in classical Arabic a person utterly weakened by illness, worry or fear, or devoid of moral values,
is often described as "a body without a soul".) In other words, Solomon's early trial consisted in
his inheriting no more than a kingly position, and it rested upon him to endow that position with
spiritual essence and meaning.

Offline HOPE

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Re: Lifeless body on a throne??
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2012, 07:18:48 PM »
Peace,

Sorry for dragging this issue but for some reason I feel compelled to be King/Prophet Solomon's advocate because as the Quran says he was a servant of God.   I respect Asad very much yet I do not agree with the characterization that Solomon  may be lacking ethical values in his governance. his kingly power, which was bound to remain "lifeless" so long as it was not inspired by God-willed ethical values[/color] [/color]

The impression I get is that his trial was regarding his attachment to worldly power and wealth.  After he loses the throne, he begs forgiveness for  any sins he may have committed knowingly or unknowingly. Negative portrayal of him is usually based on OT. Another thing is the impression given by the translators that He did slash the horses' legs when they were brought back to him.  He appreciated their beauty and skill which increased his awareness of God's artistry in creation.  Someone who was chosen as a prophet of God would not kill innocent animals.  Supposedly he did that because they were the cause of him missing his prayer time.  Always get rid of temptation instead of turning to your Lord for help in conquering your undesirable impulses.  Same mentality that sees the female gender as a temptation and cover them up instead of you controlling  yourself.
"Hope is like a bird that senses the dawn and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark"

Offline Truth Seeker

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Re: Lifeless body on a throne??
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2012, 08:08:53 PM »
Salaam,

I am not sure why Solomon was considered to be a prince because he was involved with horses? Also in the explanation that Mubashir puts forward of another brother it states :

"O my Sustainer Lord, I request you the Exalted to overlook for my slackening in time management."

This is not in the Arabic ! It only says " Oh my Lord forgive me and grant  me a kingdom....."


Also I find the concept that a 'dummy' was placed on the throne strange.


Offline Truth Seeker

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Re: Lifeless body on a throne??
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2012, 08:19:22 PM »
Salaam Hope,

I think that a great disservice has been done to prophet Solomon (pbuh) regarding the translations about his horses.

He never slashed their legs: this is from external sources. To include that in the translation is wrong. Also there is no reference in the Quran that he missed his prayer because he was admiring the horses.