BISMILLĀHIR RAHMĀNIR RAHĪM
Glory to Allāh and Salutations on Rasulullāh Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam.
“And (when) he (Nabi Sulaimān) inspected the birds, he exclaimed: ‘Why do I not see Hud-Hud, or is he among the absentees? Either he brings to me a valid proof (explanation) or I shall most certainly give him a severe punishment or slaughter him. The Hud-Hud stayed away for just a short time. (Upon his return) he said: ‘I have discovered what you have not discovered, and I come to you from (the land of) Saba’ with reliable information. Verily, I found a woman ruling over people. She has been given everything (of worldly wealth) and she has a wonderful throne. I have found her and her people prostrating to the sun besides Allāh. Shaitān has adorned for them their deeds and has prevented them from the Path of Allāh, hence they do not derive guidance.” (Surah Namal, Āyat 20 – 24)
These are the Qur’ānic aayaat commencing the story of Nabi Sulaimān (‘alayhis Salām) and Queen Bilqees, the ruler of Yemen at that time. The story begins with an inspection of the birds by Nabi Sulaimān (‘alayhis Salām). Allāh Ta’ala had bestowed to Nabi Sulaimān (‘alayhis Salām) the ability to understand and speak the variety of languages of even the birds. Mentioning this, the Qur’ān Majeed records the statement of Nabi Sulaimān (‘alayhis Salām) who said: “O people, we have been taught the speech of the birds and have been granted from everything. Verily, this is a clear bounty (of Allāh).” – Āyat 16, Surah Namal
On his expedition from Baitul Maqdis (Jerusalem) to Yemen, at one stage his army requested for water. There was no water in sight and the soldiers were extremely thirsty. Nabi Sulaimān (‘alayhis Salām) ordered the variety of birds to form their rows for an inspection. The purpose of the inspection was to issue a command to the bird Hud-Hud. What bird is the Hud-Hud?
Pankaj, my friend of 20 years, asked me, “Does God exist?” I replied, “Yes, he does.” Pankaj continues, “I don’t believe it. I am an atheist. If God really exists, prove it to me.”
So I continue “Well, it’s very easy to prove it . . .”
. . . And I embark upon a dedicated effort, “God is someone or something that we cannot physically locate. Perhaps that is the reason why some of us tend to resign to the notion that He does not exist. As human beings we are naturally inclined to explore. And hence we must try to find God wherever He exists. But does He give us a chance to do so? Where do we start looking? Should we try to find Him in the heavens above? Should we look for Him in the skies, in the sun, in the moon, our own planet or should it be in inanimate objects such as trees, idols, or in living beings such as animals or gurus or even ourselves?
Pankaj intervenes, “Hey man, don’t beat around the bush. Come to the point. Prove it!”