Lessons from King David, King Solomon, Ant, and Hoopoe Story

King Solomon and Ant

But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. {Khalil Gibran}

At Christmas, I am always struck by how the spirit of togetherness lies also at the heart of the Christmas story. A young mother and a dutiful father with their baby were joined by poor shepherds and visitors from afar. They came with their gifts to worship the Christ child. {Queen Elizabeth II}

There is no heavy burden when we together lift it. Get organized and work together, so everything will be lighter.

Before we go to the main topic of this article, I’d like to share my experience being a member of some organizations. It’s specifically about collaboration or teamwork, generally about togetherness.

I was joining some organizations several years ago: Writers Organization, English Learners Organizations, Students Organizations, etc. Sometimes I thought that I could do something alone and wanted to get away from those organizations. The reason was because of too many problems. “Everybody is different,” that’s the thing that caused the problems. I had a lot of debates with other members, especially the seniors.

In an organization, a member commanding others is common. “I will do it, you do that,” means they work together. One thing made me got fired when I was assigned to work with unskilled members. I preferred to work alone in such a situation, to make everything done quickly. I was always in hurry at that time.

However, I got a lot of valuable things from being a member of those organizations. Now I know one thing that usually breaks up relationships, based on my experience. Some organizations I joined have no longer existed. It is not only because of the trouble makers but those who cannot tolerate other members who make mistakes as they are not angels. I found this as a big problem when I was in those organizations. Tolerance is important as the entire members of the organization are human. But, do not over tolerant.

I moved to another town and did not join any organization. I did everything alone. Until now I do not join any organization. Then, now I understand how important togetherness is.

I have just listened to a speech about Achieving Unity. There is a great story in that speech. It was the story about King David, King Solomon, Ants, and Hoopoe. They made interaction though they were different creatures: humans and animals. This story was written in a holy book Quran, start from the verse fifteenth.

A King and His entire army stopped marching because of an ant.

Quran An Naml (The Ant) 

15) And We had certainly given to David and Solomon knowledge, and they said, "Praise [is due] to Allah, who has favored us over many of His believing servants."

16) And Solomon inherited David. He said, "O people, we have been taught the language of birds, and we have been given from all things. Indeed, this is evident bounty."

17) And gathered for Solomon was his soldiers of the jinn and men and birds, and they were [marching] in rows.

18) Until, when they came upon the valley of the ants, an ant said, "O ants, enter your dwellings that you not be crushed by Solomon and his soldiers while they perceive not."

19) So [Solomon] smiled, amused at her speech, and said, "My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to do righteousness of which You approve. And admit me by Your mercy into [the ranks of] Your righteous servants."

20) And he took attendance of the birds and said, "Why do I not see the hoopoe - or is he among the absent?

21) I will surely punish him with a severe punishment or slaughter him unless he brings me clear authorization."

22) But the hoopoe stayed not long and said, "I have encompassed [in knowledge] that which you have not encompassed, and I have come to you from Sheba with certain news.

23) Indeed, I found [there] a woman ruling them, and she has been given of all things, and she has a great throne.

"On another day while sailing over a valley where there were many swarms of ants, Solomon heard one ant say to the others, 'Enter your houses; otherwise Solomon's legions will destroy you.'... (jewishencyclopedia.com)

The lesson from this story is Unity (Togetherness), Nashihah (Advice), Caring, Love, Tolerance.

Unity (Togetherness)

King Solomon and his entire army were united. His army consists of different creatures: jinn, men and birds, but they lived and worked cooperatively. They follow the leader. The colony of ants also have a leader who led them. Their lives well-managed in unity.

Nashihah (Advice)

If you cannot see any harm behind you, your friends see it. That is the simple illustration of collaboration. When King Solomon and His entire army reached the valley, not all ants knew and realized it. But, the leader gave a warning (advice). In daily life, it can be parents or teachers say, “Don’t do it, it’s not good for your future.” The parent and the teachers know more about the harmful thing than the kids.

Caring and Love

They care for each other. If they did not care for each other, no need to warn friends that there was something harmful coming. And the Hoopoe brought important news to King Solomon. This Hoopoe would do it because of care. He knew what King Solomon did not know, and he told Him. Because they love each other.


Tolerance means giving other people a chance to do or to have something. The entire ants were giving one ant authority upon them. They did not respond by saying, “What the hell are you saying…!” So did King Solomon, He allowed the Hoopoe to tell the news, though he had been suspected of the one which was absent.

The story may be not really meaningful for some people. I got this story several years ago in Islamic class, but I had just got the lessons after listening to a speech “Achieving Unity” by Mufti Ismail Menk years later. For me, and for some readers, this story is really meaningful.

King David and King Solomon had the ability to understand animal language, but they did not arrogant. They did not feel like being above others and claiming others as lower class. They did not claim the ability to understand animal language as their greatness, but they admit it as a bounty from their Creator.




Mufti Ismail Menk YouTube Channel

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