the one who complained

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari on Women of the Qur’an: Bilkees, Queen of Sheba

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, in partnership with Muslimah Media, speaks in a 6-part series about women who are documented in the Quran.

Bilkees, Queen of Sheba

The Queen Bilkees is another woman mentioned in the Qur”an with a fascinating story. So fascinating, in fact, that scholars wondered whether she was, in fact, a human, or whether she was something more.

However, Bilkees was a human woman, who ruled over present-day Yemen. She had a vast kingdom, and she lived during the time of the Prophet Sulaiman. She was a female ruler who ruled with no consort, and she was also very wise. She had appointed a group of advisors whom she would consult, although the practice was that the king would rule alone.

The Prophet Sulaiman heard about her when one of his servants, the Hoopoe bird, returned from a prolonged absence. The bird spoke about her great kingdom and wealth, and about her magnificent throne.

The Prophet Sulaiman sent her a message, telling her about Islam. In her wisdom, she did not want to provoke conflict, and took the way of diplomacy. Eventually, she was invited to visit Sulaiman’s palace. There, she found her own throne, which Sulaiman had miraculously been able to summon. He also showed her the miracles in his palace, including a floor of glass which ran over a river.

A Deeply Spiritual Woman

When she realized that the way she had following was wrong, and that Prophet Sulaiman was teaching the true religion, she said, “Verily I have oppressed myself.” Thus, when she realized her previous mistakes, she as astute enough to admit them and change her ways. She knew that it wasn’t because he was a man and she was a woman, but rather it was a case of him being a Prophet of Allah.

She accepted Islam, and some day that she married Prophet Sulaiman as well. Regardless, she is documented in the Qur’an in her own right, as a wise, strong, and pious woman.

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