Fatwa ID: 04894
Answered by: Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Hazrat, I was narrating the incident of Hazrat Sulaiman’s (PBUH) death to a non-Muslim girl. She suddenly asked me that how could it possible that no one from his household had noticed that Hazrat Sulaiman (as) is sitting in a place for a year because after his death he was in the same position for a year then the termites had eaten the wood of his stick and he fell down so she started asking me why his family was not taking care of him and why no one asked him that why are you sitting for one year in the same position? Where was his family?
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
In the Holy Quran, it is mentioned,
Then when we decreed death for him (Sulaman Alayhis Salam), nothing informed them (jinns) of his death except a little worm of the earth, which kept (slowly) gnawing away at his stick, so when he fell down, the jinns saw clearly that if they had known the unseen, they would not have stayed in the humiliating torment. (Surah Saba v.14)
Sulaiman Alayhis Salam lived amidst glory, and all creatures were subjected to him. Then Allah (SWA) ordained for him to die. His death, like his life, was unique. The people had to learn that the future is known neither by the jinns nor by the prophets, but by Allah alone. Sulaiman Alayhis Salam effort in this direction did not end with his life, for even his death became an example.
He was sitting holding his staff, overseeing the jinns at work in a mine. He died sitting in this position. For a long time, no one was aware of his death, for he was seen sitting erect. The jinns continued with their strife and toil, thinking that Sulaiman Alayhis Salam was watching over them.
Many days later, a termite began nibbling Sulaiman Alayhis Salam staff. It continued to do so, eating the lower part of the staff, until it fell out of Sulaiman Alayhis Salam hand, and his great body fell to the ground. People hurried to him, realizing that he had died a long time ago and that the jinns did not perceive the unseen, for had the jinns known the unseen, they would not have kept working, thinking that Sulaiman Alayhis Salam was alive. (Maariful Quran p.282 v.7 & Ibn Kathir’s Stories of the Prophets)
There are two ways of looking at your question. One answer I will give is that we as Muslims should never underestimate the power and ability of Allah (SWA). He can give death to people in various different and strange ways. Also as I explained before he gives death to people in various ways for a particular purpose and the purpose here was so that everyone is aware that only Allah is the knower of the unseen and no one else.
A second rationale answer to your objection is that Sulaiman Alayhis Salam had the entire world under his dominion. It is possible that Sulaiman Alayhis Salam may have been in one part of the world where none of his family members were present when his death occurred.
Only Allah Knows Best
Written by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham