Allah Ta‘ala had blessed Nabi Sulaimaan (‘alaihis salaam) with many bounties. Together with being an illustrious Nabi, he was also a very powerful king. In fact, he was one of the four kings who ruled the entire world. Moreover, he was blessed with great wisdom and knowledge as well. From the various types of knowledge that he was blessed with, was the ability to understand the language of the animals.

On one occasion when Nabi Sulaimaan (‘alaihis salaam) was travelling with his huge army in a certain area, one of the ants that was present in that area feared that the army might unknowingly trample them and thus urged the other ants to take cover in their anthills. With the will and permission of Allah Ta‘ala, Nabi Sulaimaan (‘alaihis salaam) was able to understand the speech of this ant and it caused him to smile.

This then reminded him of the various favours and bounties of Allah Ta‘ala that he was enjoying, and he thus made the following du‘aa:

رَبِّ أَوۡزِعۡنِی أَنۡ أَشۡكُرَ نِعۡمَتَكَ ٱلَّتِیۤ أَنۡعَمۡتَ عَلَیَّ وَعَلَىٰ و⁠لِدَیَّ وَأَنۡ أَعۡمَلَ صَـٰلِحࣰا تَرۡضَىٰهُ وَأَدۡخِلۡنِی بِرَحۡمَتِكَ فِی عِبَادِكَ ٱلصَّـٰلِحِینَ​

“O my Rabb, enable me to (perpetually) be grateful for Your favour that You have bestowed on me and on my parents, and to do good deeds which You are pleased with and admit me, through Your mercy, among Your righteous servants.” (Surah Naml v19)

When a human does a favour to a person, his natural instinct will cause him to express gratitude to him. Hence, Allah Ta‘ala, the Being Who is showering us with bounties every second, is much more worthy of us expressing our shukr (gratitude) towards Him. Furthermore, shukr is a guaranteed method of securing and retaining any bounty. Being such a great personality, Nabi Sulaimaan (‘alaihis salaam) understood the importance of shukr in his life. However, just like other good deeds, the ability to make shukr and appreciate the bounties of Allah Ta‘ala comes from Allah Ta‘ala Himself. Hence, Nabi Sulaimaan (‘alaihis salaam) asks Allah Ta‘ala to grant him the taufeeq and ability to constantly be grateful for His favours upon him.

In the second part of the du‘aa, Nabi Sulaimaan (‘alaihis salaam) is beseeching Allah Ta‘ala to give him the ability to do good actions which are pleasing to Him, i.e. good actions which are accepted by Allah Ta‘ala. A ‘good’ action does not necessarily mean an ‘accepted’ action, since acceptance has other criteria and conditions. Hence, when carrying out a good action, one should be greatly concerned that it meets the acceptance of Allah Ta‘ala.

In the third part of the du‘aa, Nabi Sulaimaan (‘alaihis salaam) asks Allah Ta‘ala to shower His mercy upon him and admit him into Jannah together with His high ranking pious servants, i.e. the Ambiyaa (‘alaihimus salaam) and the close friends of Allah Ta‘ala. Entry into Jannah will only be through the mercy of Allah Ta‘ala, and not due to a person’s actions, as explained by Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) in a hadeeth (Saheeh Bukhaari #5673). Therefore, Nabi Sulaimaan (‘alaihis salaam) begged for Jannah through the mercy of Allah Ta‘ala. In a like manner, a believer should always be begging Allah Ta‘ala for His mercy and entry into Jannah.

Being gathered with the pious servants of Allah Ta‘ala was also the du‘aa of Nabi Yusuf (‘alaihis salaam) towards the end of his life (Surah Yusuf v101), as well as the very final du‘aa of our Rasul (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) before leaving this world (Saheeh Bukhaari #4449). Despite Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) being the leader of all the pious, he made this du‘aa to teach his Ummah the importance of good company. In order to be gathered with the pious in the Hereafter, a person must remain in their company in this world.