We can now turn to verse 12: وَلِسُلَيْمَانَ الرِّ‌يحَ غُدُوُّهَا شَهْرٌ‌ وَرَ‌وَاحُهَا شَهْرٌ‌ (And for Sulayman: (We subjugated) the wind; its journey in the morning was (equal to the journey of) one month, and its journey in the afternoon was (equal to the journey) of another month). After having mentioned the blessings bestowed upon Sayyidna Dawud (علیہ السلام) ، the text refers to Sayyidna Sulayman (علیہ السلام) . It was said that the way Allah Ta’ ala had subjugated mountains and birds for Sayyidna Dawud (علیہ السلام) ، similarly, the Wind was subjugated for Sayyidna Sulayman (علیہ السلام) . It would take the throne of Sayyidna Sulayman (علیہ السلام) on which he was seated with a large number of his courtiers to wherever he wished always under his command. Early exegete, Hasan al-Basri (رح) has said that the miracle of the subjugation of the Wind was bestowed upon Sayyidna Sulayman (علیہ السلام) in return for what he had done once while inspecting his stable of horses. So engrossed he became in this activity that he missed the Salah of al-'asr. Since the horses became the cause of this negligence, Sayyidna Sulayman (علیہ السلام) decided to eliminate the very cause of negligence. He sacrificed these horses by slaughtering them (since the sacrifice of horses was also permissible in the law of Sayyidna Sulayman (علیہ السلام) very much like the cows and oxen) and since these horses were owned by Sayyidna Sulayman (علیہ السلام) the question of bringing loss to the Baytul-Mal simply does not arise, and the doubt of wasting personal property because of the sacrifice also does not hold good. Full relevant details about it will appear in the commentary on Surah Sad (38:30-40, appearing later in this very Volume VII). In short, because Sayyidna Sulayman (علیہ السلام) sacrificed the horses he rode, Allah Ta’ ala blessed him with a better ride. (Qurtubi)

In the other part of the verse taken up immediately earlier: غُدُوُّهَا شَهْرٌ‌ وَرَ‌وَاحُهَا شَهْرٌ‌ (34:12), the word: غُدُوُّ (ghuduww) means moving in the morning and the word: رَ‌وَاحُ (rawah) means moving in the evening. Thus, the sense of the verse comes to be that this throne of Sulayman (علیہ السلام) perched on the wings of the wind from the morning to the afternoon would cover the travel distance of one month, and then, from early evening to late night, that of another one month. In this way, it used to cover the travel distance of two months in one full day.

According to Hasan al-Basri (رح) ، Sayyidna Sulayman (علیہ السلام) would leave Baytul-Maqdis in the morning, reach Istakhr by afternoon and had his lunch there. Then he would leave after Zuhr and by the time he got to Kabul, it would be night. The travel distance between Baytul-Maqdis and Istakhr is something a swift rider could cover in a month. Similarly, the travel distance from Istakhr to Kabul is also what a swift rider could cover in a month. (Ibn Kathir)

To explain the next sentence of verse 12: وَأَسَلْنَا لَهُ عَيْنَ الْقِطْرِ‌(And We caused a stream of copper to flow for him), it can be said that Allah Ta’ ala made a metal as hard as the copper turn into a liquid flowing like water, even gushing forth like a stream of water, and was not hot either – so that, utensils and other things of need could be easily shaped from of it.

Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas ؓ said that this stream started flowing as far as it would take a travel of three days and three nights to cover that distance. And this was located in the land of Yemen. Then, in the narration of Mujahid, it appears that this stream started from San'a' in Yemen and continued to flow like a stream of water up to a travel distance of three days and three nights. Famous grammarian, Khalil Nahwi said that the word: قِطر (qitr) mentioned in this verse means molten copper. (Qurtubi)

The next sentence: وَمِنَ الْجِنِّ مَن يَعْمَلُ بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ (And there were some Jinns who worked before him by the leave of his Lord - 34:12) is also connected with the ellipsis (مَحذوف : mahdhuf) of سَخَّرنَا (sakhkharna: We subjugated). The sense is that 'We subjugated for Sulayman (علیہ السلام) such people from among the Jinns who would do the chores he assigned to them before him - as commanded by their Lord. The addition of the expression: بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ (baiyna yadaiyhi: before him) may, perhaps, be there to make it clear that the subjugation of Jinns was not of the kind mentioned in the Qur'an where the text talks about harnessing the Moon and the Sun into the service of human beings. Instead, this subjugation was in the nature of mastery over the Jinns who worked before him like vassals busy doing chores assigned to them.

The matter of the subjugation of Jinns

As for the subjugation of Jinns (for Sulayman علیہ السلام) mentioned at this place, it was by the command of Allah Ta’ ala and there can be no doubt about its possibility. Similarly, what has appeared in some narrations about some noble Sahabah that they had Jinns made subservient to them, it was the same kind of subjugation by the leave of Allah with which they were blessed as a Karamah. It was not based on any act or recitation (Wazifah) on their part - as mentioned by 'Allamah Sharbini in Tafsir As-sirajul-Munir under his commentary on this verse. He has cited several events relating to Sayyidna Abu Hurairah, 'Ubaiyy Ibn Ka'b, Mu` aclh Ibn Jabal, ` Umar Ibn al-Khattab, Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, Zayd Ibn Thabit and others ؓ which prove that the Jinns used to be at their service. But, it was nothing but the grace and mercy of Allah Ta’ ala that, like Sayyidna Sulayman علیہ السلام ، He made some Jinns subservient to these blessed souls.

But, the particular 'subjugation' through incantations and correlated sets of self-invented actions popular among عَامِل 'amils or practitioners of this line of activity is something one should take with a pinch of salt and first find out the Islamic rule of guidance in this matter. Qadi Badruddin Shibli al-Hanafi who is one of the scholars of the eighth century has written a book, 'Akam- ul-Marjan fi Ahkam- il-Jann' on this subject. According to him, it is Sayyidna Sulayman علیہ السلام who has been the first one to have the Jinn into his service with the leave of Allah and as a miracle. And the people of Persia attribute this to Jamshaid Ibn Onjahan as being served by the Jinns. Similarly, there are events on record about 'Asif Ibn Barkhiya and others who were connected with Sayyidna Sulayman (علیہ السلام) which indicate that they too had Jinns subservient to them. Then, the most famous among Muslims are Abu Nasr Ahmad Ibn Hilal al-Bukail and Hilal Ibn Wasif attributed to whom there are many unusual events of the subservience of the Jinns to them. Hilal Ibn Wasif has written a full book in which he has put together what the Jinns said to Sayyidna Sulayman (علیہ السلام) and the pledges Sayyidna Sulayman (علیہ السلام) took from them.

Qadi Badruddin has written in this very book that generally the 'amils who do their thing to subjugate the Jinns use shaitanic words of infidelity (Kufr) and sorcery (Sehr) liked by infidel Jinns and shaitans. The secret of why they would accept to become their vassals is nothing but that they stand placated by their deeds soaked in kufr and shirk and go on to do a few jobs for them by way of bribe. This is the reason why in doing things of this nature, they would write the Holy Qur'an with blood and other impurities. Hence, the disbelieving Jinns and shaitans, pleased with their evil offering, would do what they want them to do. However, about a person named Ibn al-Imam, he has written that he lived during the period of Khalifah Mu'tadid bil-lah and he had subjugated the Jinns through the effective use of Divine Names. As such, there was nothing in his recitations that would go counter to the Shari` ah. ('Akam-ul-Marjan, p. 100)

In short, if the Jinns get subjugated for someone, without his own intention or motivated action, solely being something from Allah, as it stands proved in the case of Sayyidna Sulayman (علیہ السلام) and some noble Sahabah of the Holy Prophet ﷺ ، then, that is included under Mu'jizah (miracle shown at the hands of a prophet of Allah) or karamah (working of wonder in the nature of a miracle shown at the hands of men of Allah). And such subservience when achieved through bland pragmatism of formula incantations (` amaliyat) would be judged on the basis of its active content. If it contains words of Kufr, or deeds of kufr, it will be nothing but kufr (disbelief, infidelity) - and if it is composed of disobedience or sin only, then, it is a major sin. Then, there are strange words used in such formula invocations and actions. Their meanings are not known. These too have been classed by Muslim jurists as impermissible on the basis that the possibility of such words being loaded with words that contain kufr, shirk and sinfulness cannot be ruled out. In 'Akam-ul-Marjan, Qadi Badruddin has written that the use of words the meanings of which are not known is also impermissible.

And if this act of subjugation be through Divine Names or Qur'anic Verses and there also be no such sin like the use of impurities in it, then, it is permissible with the condition that the aim thereby should be to remain personally safe against harm caused by the Jinns, or save other Muslims from it. In other words, the aim should be to remove harm, and not to secure benefits, because if it is adopted as a profession to earn money, it amounts to the enslavement of someone created free and to exacting forced labour without remuneration, hence prohibited (haram). Allah knows best.

The last sentence of verse 12 is: وَمَن يَزِغْ مِنْهُمْ عَنْ أَمْرِ‌نَا نُذِقْهُ مِنْ عَذَابِ السَّعِيرِ‌ (And whoever of them would deviate from Our command, We would make him taste the punishment of the blazing fire.) Most commentators have taken this to mean the punishment of Jahannam (Hell) in the hereafter. Some others have said that, in this world as well, Allah Ta’ ala had set an angel upon them who, in case they fell short in obeying Sayyidna Sulayman (علیہ السلام) ، would beat them with burning lashes and force them to work. (Qurtubi) The doubt that the Jinns are made of fire after all and the fire would hardly affect them is not worth entertaining here. The reason is that the Jinns are made of fire in the same sense as man is made of dust. It means that the preponderant element of man is dust. Still if man were to be hit by a clod of clay, or stone, it would hurt him. Similarly, the preponderant element of the Jinns is fire. But, pure and potent fire would burn them too.