Monday, December 14, 2015

Sulayman ('alayhissalaam) and the Queen of Sheba ('alayhassalaam)

Sulayman ('alayhissalaam) and the Queen of Sheba ('alayhassalaam)

The story of Sulayman ('alayhissalaam) and the Queen of Sheba ('alayhassalaam) has always stood out in my mind because of how beautifully she is described in the Qur'an and how dignified the interaction between her and Sulayman is. Bilqees' intellect, wisdom, and quick wit are highlighted - as is her willingness to accept truth.

What really catches my attention is that when she declares her Islam, she says it in the following terms: {"My Lord, indeed I have wronged myself, an...d I submit with Solomon to Allah, Lord of the worlds."}
There is no arrogance whatsoever - no stubbornness or reluctance to admitting previous wrongdoing, just honesty. As well, she submits *with* Sulayman ('alayhissalaam) *to* Allah - the submission of equals before their Lord. There is a sense of dignity to it all, a powerful aura of respect.
What's really amazing about how Allah tells the story in the Qur'an is that it ends with her declaration of faith in Him, with such grace. A lot of people turn it into a romance story or argue that she gave up her queendom to Sulayman, but none of that is even hinted at in the ayaat that speak about her.
Allah so clearly brings our attention to a woman who had both power & wisdom; who didn't allow herself to be swayed by fear, but who was determined to make her decisions based upon actual experience. She demonstrates to us the attitude that we should all have - a willingness to go out there and seek knowledge and experience for ourselves; to be cautious but not stubborn; open-minded but not easily dazzled... and above all, the ability to acknowledge that we have done wrong, & to turn to Allah with a heart full of faith and repentance - and dignity.
The Queen of Sheba is the perfect example of how submitting ourselves to Allah does not bring us down, but simply raises us higher.
The relationship between Sulayman (as) & Bilqees (as), as hinted at from that final declaration of Bilqees, also encapsulates (to me) the ideal relationship between men and women; that they both be seen as individuals capable of authority, and of humility at the same time.

Most importantly, that each party respects the other - acknowledging their strengths and seeking only to assist each other in improving as human beings, and above all, to support each other in turning to Allah and worshiping Him alone.
The image we are left with in the Quran is that of Sulayman (as) & Bilqees (as), king and queen, submitting themselves equally as slaves to Allah alone. How much more beautiful could their relationship be


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