Solomon/Sulaiman …Queen of Sheba/Saba

Solomon inherited his father David’s kingdom. He was also a sovereign with a sense of guilt and a willingness to apologize for his mistakes. In the Qur’an, he repented for being carried away by a lust for material possessions like beautiful racehorses. In the Bible, Solomon realizes that all his achievements are only wind, and striving for them mere vanity.

Solomon did indeed achieve a great deal. God bestowed special powers on him. In the Qur’an he understands the language of animals. Surah 27 is named ants, who Solomon heard warning one another to avoid being trampled on by his army. The king also has a special power over the forces of nature, over Satan and Jinns (fiery spirits), which he was able to utilize in such projects as the laying out of beautiful gardens. The word jinn is found in English words such as engineer. Solomon is similarly famous in the Bible for his prowess as a builder, which had its zenith in the temple in Jerusalem.

The story of the queen of Sheba/Saba is told in both books. Intrigued by the rumors of the king’s wisdom and the luxury of his court, she travels from afar to visit him. In the Bible, the queen takes her leave, profoundly impressed by everything she has seen, and laden with princely gifts. In the Qur’an, the queen ultimately converts to the faith of Solomon, the belief in the one God.


King Solomon the brilliant

Then Solomon sat on the throne of his father David; and his kingdom was firmly established. 1 Kings 2:12
And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart…1 Kings 4: 29
…in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel …he began to build the house of the Lord. 1 Kings 6:1

And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished building the house of the Lord and the king’s house, and all Solomon’s desire which he wanted to do, that the Lord appeared to Solomon… and…said to him: ”I have consecrated this house which you have built…and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.” 1 Kings 9:1-3

I (Solomon ed.) communed with my heart saying, “Look, I have attained greatness, and have gained more wisdom that all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has understood great wisdom and knowledge.” Ecclesiastes 1: 16

I made my works great. I built myself houses, and planted myself vineyards. I made myself gardens and orchards…I made myself water pools from which to water the growing trees of the grove. I also gathered for myself silver and gold…So I became great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me.
Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done… There was no profit under the sun. Therefore I hated life…for all is vanity and grasping for the wind.

Ecclesiastes 2: 4-6, 8-9, 11,17

The Queen of Sheba
But Solomon took thirteen years to build his own house…Then he made a hall for the throne, the Hall of Judgment, where he might judge…And the house… had another court inside the hall of like workmanship. 1 Kings 7:1, 7-8
Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon… she came to test him with hard questions. She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels that bore spices, very much gold, and precious stones; and…she spoke with him about all that was in her heart.

So Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing so difficult for the king that he could not explain it to her.

And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food on his table… there was no more spirit in her. Then she said to the king: “It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. However I did not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard.

Blessed be the Lord your God, who delighted in you, setting you on the throne of Israel!”

Then she gave the king one hundred and twenty talents of gold, spices in great quantity, and precious stones.

Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. Revelation 4: 6

Now King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired, whatever she asked, besides what Solomon had given her according to the royal generosity. So she turned and went to her own country…1 Kings 10: 1-7, 9-10,13


Solomon asks for forgiveness

And Solomon was David’s heir.

27 The Ants, 16

To David We gave Solomon (for a son) – how excellent in Our service! ever did he turn (to Us)! Behold, there were brought before him, at eventide, coursers ( horses ed.) of the highest breeding, and swift of foot;

And he said: “Truly do I love the love of Good, with a view to the glory of my Lord…”

And We did try Solomon… but he turned (to Us in true devotion): He said: “O my Lord! Forgive me…

38 Saad, 30-32, 34-35
…and there were Jinns (spirits ed.). that worked in front of him, by the leave of his Lord… They worked for him as he desired, (making) Arches, Images, Basins as large as Reservoirs, and (cooking) Cauldrons fixed (in their places). 34 The City of Saba,12-13

Then We subjected the wind to his power, to flow gently to his order, whithersoever he willed – As also the evil ones, (including) every kind of builder and diver – As also others bound together in fetters. 38 Saad, 36-38

And Solomon…said:

“O you people! We have been taught the speech of Birds, and on us has been bestowed (a little) of all things: this is indeed Grace manifest (from Allah).”

And before Solomon were marshaled his hosts – of Jinns and men and birds, and they were all kept in order and ranks. At length, when they came to a (lowly) valley of ants, one of the ants said: “O you ants, get into your habitations, lest Solomon and his hosts crush you (under foot) without knowing it.” So he smiled, amused at her speech…

27 The Ants,17-19

A Queen converted
And he took a muster of the Birds; and he said: “Why is it I do not see the Hoopoe (a desert bird ed.) ? Or is he among the absentees? But the Hoopoe did not tarry far: he (came up and) said: “…I have come to you from Saba with true tidings. I found (there) a woman ruling over them and provided with every requisite; and she has a magnificent throne. I found her and her people worshipping the sun besides Allah. Satan has made their deeds seem pleasing in their eyes, and has kept them away from the Path, – so they receive no guidance.”
(Solomon) said… “You go, with this letter of mine, and deliver it to them: then draw back from them, and (wait to) see what answer they return”…

(The Queen) said: “You chiefs! Here is – delivered to me – a letter worthy of respect. It is from Solomon, and is (as follows): …‘You be not arrogant against me, but come to me in submission (to the true Religion).’

But I am going to send him a present, and (wait) to see with what (answer) (my) ambassadors return.”

Now when (the embassy) came to Solomon, he said: “Will you give me abundance in wealth? But that which Allah has given me is better than that which He has given you! Nay it is you who rejoice in your gift!
..she was (sprung) of a people that had no faith. She was asked to enter the lofty Palace: but when she saw it, she thought it was a lake of water, and she (tucked up her skirts), uncovering her legs.

He said: “This is but a palace paved smooth with slabs of glass.” She said: “O my Lord! I have indeed wronged my soul: I do (now) submit…with Solomon, to the Lord of the Worlds.” 27 The Ants, 20, 22-24, 27-31,35-36, 43-44

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