Knowledge, Authority & Wisdom

There are many lessons in Sura 27, The Ant/Al-Naml, regarding Solomon and the understanding between knowledge, authority, and wisdom.

The first thing we learn about Solomon was that he was bestowed with knowledge.

[27:15] We endowed David and Solomon with knowledge, and they said, “Praise GOD for blessing us more than many of His believing servants.”

The second thing we learn about Solomon was that he was the heir of David, making him a king, along with some of the knowledge that was bestowed upon Solomon.

[27:16] Solomon was David’s heir. He said, “O people, we have been endowed with understanding the language of the birds, and all kinds of things have been bestowed upon us. This is indeed a real blessing.”

We then see that Solomon had a vast army of jinns, humans, and birds at his disposal.

[27:17] Mobilized in the service of Solomon were his obedient soldiers of jinns and humans, as well as the birds; all at his disposal.

So far we see the that Solomon had knowledge and authority, but it is not until his interaction with the ants do we see his first sign or wisdom.

[27:18] When they approached the valley of the ants, one ant said, “O you ants, go into your homes, lest you get crushed by Solomon and his soldiers, without perceiving.” [27:19] He smiled and laughed at her statement, and said, “My Lord, direct me to be appreciative of the blessings You have bestowed upon me and my parents, and to do the righteous works that please You. Admit me by Your mercy into the company of Your righteous servants.”

This is evident that despite having knowledge and authority that he was still concerned with the well being of the smallest of creatures and even more-so that he does not take such blessings for granted.

There is a correlation with power and unappreciation. We see this throughout the Quran that the more God gives his servants the more unappreciative they become.

[74:11] Let Me deal with one I created as an individual. [74:12] I provided him with lots of money. [74:13] And children to behold. [74:14] I made everything easy for him. [74:15] Yet, he is greedy for more.

[16:112] GOD cites the example of a community that used to be secure and prosperous, with provisions coming to it from everywhere. But then, it turned unappreciative of GOD’s blessings. Consequently, GOD caused them to taste the hardships of starvation and insecurity. Such is the requital for what they did.

We also see this proven in countless studies.

But there is another mechanism at work that causes people to become unappreciative. Typically, people who are wealthier are busier, and place have a higher value on their time. Therefore, they are more likely to prioritize their own concerns above the concerns of others. This can cause people to become self-centered and less sympathetic to the needs of others. A famous example of this was the good samaritan experiment.

In the case of Solomon, despite having tremendous authority and wealth he still paused to listen to the concerns of single ant, and used that moment to reflect on God for all the blessings that He bestowed upon him.

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