Who is Solomon of the Qur’an? An Inquiry into the Pragmatic Mind of Muhammad

Mustapha Tajdin, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, Humanities and Social Sciences, UAE SA
International Conference 2021 “Giorgio La Pira” Library, Palermo, Italy
Panel 2. Characters, Narratives, and Strategies in the Qur’anic Text

It is common Knowledge that the Qur’an is replete with ancient biblical lore. In this paper, I discuss how Solomon, the biblical figure, is reformulated in the Qur’an in order to achieve some immediate goals relevant to Muhammad and his religio-political mission. I use pragmatism in its philosophical and linguistic meanings to uncover the discursive strategies the Qur’an employs for persuading its audience and refuting its opponents’ religious doctrines. Muhammad’s mindset, as expressed throughout his ministry, was highly practical and pragmatic, a fact that explains his intelligent reference to ancient biblical stories. The paper focuses on Solomon’s dealings with the queen of Sheba and demonstrates that the details in the Qur’anic story, which have no parallels in biblical or extra-biblical narratives are critical to our understanding of Muhammad’s mind and mission.