Did Prophet Solomon slash his horses’ legs, & did he command the sun to return? (38: 31-33)


In regards to the ayat of Surat Saad: 38:31-33, some interpretations have been offered, some supported by narrations. These include the following:

• Prophet Sulayman was distracted by the beauty of his horses. When he realised he had been distracted from the remembrance of Allah (SWT), he slaughtered the horses and severed their legs.

• Prophet Sulayman was distracted by the beauty of the horses, such that he did not perform his salat until the sun set. He then ordered for the sun to be returned, then performed Wudhu and prayed.

Are either of these interpretations for these Ayat feasible?


As for the first interpretation, it clearly does not befit a Prophet of Allah (SWT) to viciously slaughter horses because of his own supposed mistake. If it were the Prophet who was distracted, why should the horses suffer?

Furthermore, interpreting

فَطَفِقَ مَسْحًا بِالسُّوقِ وَالْأَعْنَاقِ

to mean slaughtering goes against the apparent meaning of this Qur’anic expression.

As for the second interpretation, the following points need to be noted:

1.  These narrations are Morsal and besides their theological problems, don’t match the wording of the Quran.

2.  The pronouns in the ayah all refer to the feminine, ‘Fast running horses’ الصافنات الجیاد, which are mentioned explicitly in those ayat. No ‘Sun’ is mentioned to refer the pronouns to it.

3.  It is very common in Arabic to refer to ‘horse’ as ‘good’. An Arabic proverb says:

الخیر معقودبنواصی الخیل یوم القیامۀ

“Goodness is tied to the horses’ necks on the day of judgment.”

4.    ردوها: Return them to me: is a command. It is impossible that Prophet Sulayman commands God to return the sun to him.

5.    So, the story simply was that: horsemen were marching before the King Solomon. Being impressed by his army he said that he likes his army and the horses for the sake of God and as Remembrance of God. He was in this thought until they (horses and the army) disappeared from his sight.

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei