Sulaiman AS and Bait-ul Maqdis
The Temple of Sulaiman is so legendary that it has found its way into folklore and even many movies. What made the temple significant is all the effort to build it by man and jinn, leading to a magnificent structure.
We are not given any conclusive reports of when the original foundations of the temple (located in Jerusalem) were laid, but it is understood that during his rule, Sulaiman AS expanded this temple. According to some reports, the temple houses the Ark of The Covenant, including the remnants of scrolls and other magnificent belongings of Musa AS and Harun AS, but we do not know the details of these, as this lies in the realms of Allah's knowledge alone.
According to Hadith, when Sulaiman AS completed the expansion of the temple he asked Allah for three favours, of which he was granted two. He asked for judgment which will correspond with the judgment of Allah, and Allah accepted his prayer in this respect.
He also asked for a kingdom which nobody would be given after him, and this prayer was also accepted. This includes the first constitution between man and jinn in the time of Sulaiman and revived in the time of Rasulullah SAW for us. For example, there is a Hadith which reports: "Two malicious jinn came to me last night to disturb me in my prayer. But Allah made me capture them, so I let go of them, and then I wanted to fasten them with one of the pillars of the mosque so that you may see them in the morning. But then I remember the prayer of my brother Sulaiman and let him go. " (Bukhari)
In the same Hadith, it is reported that Sulaiman AS also asked Allah that anyone who left his home only for the purpose of prayer in this masjid, that all his sins be forgiven to become like the day he was born. This prayer was not granted to Sulaiman AS, and we hope that this one will be granted to Rasulullah SAW and his followers, ameen.
In relation to the Temple of Sulaiman, the original structure, along with its contents, have disappeared in the mists of time. In its vicinity now stand Masjid Al Aqsa.
The site of Masjid al Aqsa is an effective barometer to gauge the strength or weakness of the Muslim ummah. When the ummah was pure and united, and obeyed the commandments of Allah, the guardianship of Masjid Al Aqsa by the Muslims was absolute. When the Muslim ummah has become weak, corrupted, and embroiled in oppression, selfishness, arrogance and disbelief, the hold of the Muslims over Masjid Al Aqsa weakened, which is the very condition that we are witnessing today. May Allah save us and prevent Baitul Maqdis fall into the wrong hands, ameen.
Harut and Marut
During the rule of Sulaiman AS sorcery was widespread (similar to the time of Pharaoh). As a trial from Allah, Harut and Marut (reports vary whether they were angels, men in the form or angels or pious men) were sent to ancient Babylon to teach the people about sorcery. We know somehow this was the beginning of the knowledge of sorcery to be a fitnah to mankind and causing evil, shirk and kufr.
And they followed [instead] what the devils had recited during the reign of Sulaiman ... But the two angels do not teach anyone unless they say, "We are a trial, so do not disbelieve [by practicing magic]." And [yet] they learn from them that by which they cause separation between a man and his wife.
But they do not harm anyone through it except by permission of Allah. And the people learn what harms them and does not benefit them. But the Children of Israel certainly knew that whoever purchased the magic would not have in the Hereafter any share. And wretched is that for which they sold themselves, if they only knew. (Al Qur'an 2:102)
Harut and Marut warned the people that they had been sent down as a trial and that the people were not to learn (or use) the knowledge, as this would tantamount to disbelief. They were warned that this kind of knowledge would make them lose their share in the Hereafter and doom them to eternal jahannam. This warning was ignored, and wicked people started applying the magic for evil purposes such as to cause separation between man and wife and other spiteful aims. They also began distributing this knowledge to others, and those who copied or acted upon this knowledge increased.
Sorcery is entirely forbidden in Islam, and there is no such thing as "white magic" or good sorcery. Anyone dabbling with it, regardless of whether it is for a malicious intention or to protect oneself from it, is practicing blasphemy.
Some of the reports said Sulaiman AS then collected all the literature on sorcery, and buried them under his throne so that no one could access them. Shortly after that, he passed away, and the disbelieving jinn (shaitan), liberated and no longer under his servitude, led the people to the hidden scrolls. The corrupted men and jinn also manipulated the scrolls, adding blasphemous information and writing that "this is what Sulaiman used to apply and act upon” and spread falsehood in the name of Sulaiman AS.
The ignorant and wicked among Bani Israel believed that the scrolls contained hidden scriptures, and some followed this evil knowledge. Others of Bani Israel claimed that Sulaiman AS was a disbeliever and continued to slander him with this accusation for hundreds of generations until Muhammad (SAW) was sent with the following verse which exonerated Sulaiman AS fully:
And they followed [instead] what the devils [shayateen] had recited during the reign of Sulaiman. It was not Sulaiman who disbelieved, but the devils disbelieved, teaching people magic and that which was revealed to the two angels at Babylon, Harut and Marut. (Al Qur'an 2:102)