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How the Throne of Bilqis was brought in an Instant Print E-mail
Written by Ibn Kathir   
Friday, 10 November 2006

How the Throne of Bilqis was brought in an Instant

Muhammad bin Ishaq reported from Yazid bin Ruman: "When the messengers returned with word of what Sulayman said, she said: `By Allah, I knew he was more than a king, and that we have no power to match him, and that we can gain nothing by being stubborn with him. So, she sent word to him saying: "I am coming to you with the leaders of my people to see what you will instruct us to do and what you are calling us to of your religion.'' Then she issued commands that her throne, which was made of gold and inlaid with rubies, chrysolite and pearls, should be placed in the innermost of seven rooms, one within the other, and all the doors should be locked. Then she told her deputy whom she was leaving in charge, "Take care of my people and my throne, and do not let anyone approach it or see it until I come back to you.'' Then she set off to meet Sulayman with twelve thousand of her commanders from the leaders of Yemen, under each of whose command were many thousands of men. Sulayman sent the Jinn to bring him news of her progress and route every day and night, then when she drew near, he gathered together the Jinns and humans who were under his control and said:

[يأَيُّهَا الْمَلأ أَيُّكُمْ يَأْتِينِى بِعَرْشِهَا قَبْلَ أَن يَأْتُونِى مُسْلِمِينَ]
(O chiefs! Which of you can bring me her throne before they come to me surrendering themselves in obedience (as Muslims)).''

[قَالَ عِفْرِيتٌ مِّن الْجِنِّ]
(An `Ifrit from the Jinn said: ) Mujahid said, "A giant Jinn.'' Abu Salih said, "It was as if he was a mountain.''

[أَنَاْ ءَاتِيكَ بِهِ قَبْلَ أَن تَقُومَ مِن مَّقَامِكَ]
(I will bring it to you before you rise from your place.) Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "Before you get up from where you are sitting.'' As-Suddi and others said: "He used to sit to pass judgements and rulings over the people, and to eat, from the beginning of the day until noon.''

[وَإِنِّى عَلَيْهِ لَقَوِىٌّ أَمِينٌ]
(And verily, I am indeed strong and trustworthy for such work.) Ibn `Abbas said: "Strong enough to carry it and trustworthy with the jewels it contains. Sulayman, upon him be peace, said, "I want it faster than that.'' From this it seems that Sulayman wanted to bring this throne as a demonstration of the greatness of the power and authority that Allah had bestowed upon him and the troops that He had subjugated to him. Power such as had never been given to anyone else, before or since, so that this would furnish proof of his prophethood before Bilqis and her people, because this would be a great and wondrous thing, if he brought her throne as if he were in her country, before they could come to it, although it was hidden and protected by so many locked doors. When Sulayman said, "I want it faster than that,

[قَالَ الَّذِى عِندَهُ عِلْمٌ مِّنَ الْكِتَـبِ]
(One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture said: ) Ibn `Abbas said, "This was Asif, the scribe of Sulayman.'' It was also narrated by Muhammad bin Ishaq from Yazid bin Ruman that he was Asif bin Barkhiya' and he was a truthful believer who knew the Greatest Name of Allah. Qatadah said: "He was a believer among the humans, and his name was Asif.''

[أَنَاْ ءَاتِيكَ بِهِ قَبْلَ أَن يَرْتَدَّ إِلَيْكَ طَرْفُكَ]
(I will bring it to you within the twinkling of an eye!) Meaning, lift your gaze and look as far as you can, and before you get tired and blink, you will find it before you. Then he got up, performed ablution and prayed to Allah, may He be exalted. Mujahid said: "He said, O Owner of majesty and honor.'' When Sulayman and his chiefs saw it before them,

[قَالَ هَـذَا مِن فَضْلِ رَبِّى]
(he said: "This is by the grace of my Lord...'') meaning, `this is one of the blessings which Allah has bestowed upon me.'

[لِيَبْلُوَنِى أَءَشْكُرُ أَمْ أَكْفُرُ وَمَن شَكَرَ فَإِنَّمَا يَشْكُرُ لِنَفْسِهِ]
(to test whether I am grateful or ungrateful! And whoever is grateful, truly, his gratitude is for himself;) This is like the Ayat:

[مَّنْ عَمِلَ صَـلِحاً فَلِنَفْسِهِ وَمَنْ أَسَآءَ فَعَلَيْهَا]
(Whosoever does righteous good deed, it is for himself; and whosoever does evil, it is against himself.) (41:46)

[وَمَنْ عَمِلَ صَـلِحاً فَلاًّنفُسِهِمْ يَمْهَدُونَ]
(and whosoever does righteous good deed, then such will prepare a good place for themselves.) (30:44).

[وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ رَبِّى غَنِىٌّ كَرِيمٌ]
(and whoever is ungrateful, certainly my Lord is Rich, Bountiful.) He has no need of His servants or their worship.

[كَرِيمٌ]
(Bountiful) He is Bountiful in and of Himself, even if no one were to worship Him. His greatness does not depend on anyone. This is like what Musa said: p

[إِن تَكْفُرُواْ أَنتُمْ وَمَن فِى الاٌّرْضِ جَمِيعًا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَغَنِىٌّ حَمِيدٌ]
(If you disbelieve, you and all on earth together, then verily, Allah is Rich, Owner of all praise.) (14:8). It is recorded in Sahih Muslim:

How the Throne of Bilqis was brought in an Instant

Muhammad bin Ishaq reported from Yazid bin Ruman: "When the messengers returned with word of what Sulayman said, she said: `By Allah, I knew he was more than a king, and that we have no power to match him, and that we can gain nothing by being stubborn with him. So, she sent word to him saying: "I am coming to you with the leaders of my people to see what you will instruct us to do and what you are calling us to of your religion.'' Then she issued commands that her throne, which was made of gold and inlaid with rubies, chrysolite and pearls, should be placed in the innermost of seven rooms, one within the other, and all the doors should be locked. Then she told her deputy whom she was leaving in charge, "Take care of my people and my throne, and do not let anyone approach it or see it until I come back to you.'' Then she set off to meet Sulayman with twelve thousand of her commanders from the leaders of Yemen, under each of whose command were many thousands of men. Sulayman sent the Jinn to bring him news of her progress and route every day and night, then when she drew near, he gathered together the Jinns and humans who were under his control and said:

[يأَيُّهَا الْمَلأ أَيُّكُمْ يَأْتِينِى بِعَرْشِهَا قَبْلَ أَن يَأْتُونِى مُسْلِمِينَ]
(O chiefs! Which of you can bring me her throne before they come to me surrendering themselves in obedience (as Muslims)).''

[قَالَ عِفْرِيتٌ مِّن الْجِنِّ]
(An `Ifrit from the Jinn said: ) Mujahid said, "A giant Jinn.'' Abu Salih said, "It was as if he was a mountain.''

[أَنَاْ ءَاتِيكَ بِهِ قَبْلَ أَن تَقُومَ مِن مَّقَامِكَ]
(I will bring it to you before you rise from your place.) Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "Before you get up from where you are sitting.'' As-Suddi and others said: "He used to sit to pass judgements and rulings over the people, and to eat, from the beginning of the day until noon.''

[وَإِنِّى عَلَيْهِ لَقَوِىٌّ أَمِينٌ]
(And verily, I am indeed strong and trustworthy for such work.) Ibn `Abbas said: "Strong enough to carry it and trustworthy with the jewels it contains. Sulayman, upon him be peace, said, "I want it faster than that.'' From this it seems that Sulayman wanted to bring this throne as a demonstration of the greatness of the power and authority that Allah had bestowed upon him and the troops that He had subjugated to him. Power such as had never been given to anyone else, before or since, so that this would furnish proof of his prophethood before Bilqis and her people, because this would be a great and wondrous thing, if he brought her throne as if he were in her country, before they could come to it, although it was hidden and protected by so many locked doors. When Sulayman said, "I want it faster than that,

[قَالَ الَّذِى عِندَهُ عِلْمٌ مِّنَ الْكِتَـبِ]
(One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture said: ) Ibn `Abbas said, "This was Asif, the scribe of Sulayman.'' It was also narrated by Muhammad bin Ishaq from Yazid bin Ruman that he was Asif bin Barkhiya' and he was a truthful believer who knew the Greatest Name of Allah. Qatadah said: "He was a believer among the humans, and his name was Asif.''

[أَنَاْ ءَاتِيكَ بِهِ قَبْلَ أَن يَرْتَدَّ إِلَيْكَ طَرْفُكَ]
(I will bring it to you within the twinkling of an eye!) Meaning, lift your gaze and look as far as you can, and before you get tired and blink, you will find it before you. Then he got up, performed ablution and prayed to Allah, may He be exalted. Mujahid said: "He said, O Owner of majesty and honor.'' When Sulayman and his chiefs saw it before them,

[قَالَ هَـذَا مِن فَضْلِ رَبِّى]
(he said: "This is by the grace of my Lord...'') meaning, `this is one of the blessings which Allah has bestowed upon me.'

[لِيَبْلُوَنِى أَءَشْكُرُ أَمْ أَكْفُرُ وَمَن شَكَرَ فَإِنَّمَا يَشْكُرُ لِنَفْسِهِ]
(to test whether I am grateful or ungrateful! And whoever is grateful, truly, his gratitude is for himself;) This is like the Ayat:

[مَّنْ عَمِلَ صَـلِحاً فَلِنَفْسِهِ وَمَنْ أَسَآءَ فَعَلَيْهَا]
(Whosoever does righteous good deed, it is for himself; and whosoever does evil, it is against himself.) (41:46)

[وَمَنْ عَمِلَ صَـلِحاً فَلاًّنفُسِهِمْ يَمْهَدُونَ]
(and whosoever does righteous good deed, then such will prepare a good place for themselves.) (30:44).

[وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ رَبِّى غَنِىٌّ كَرِيمٌ]
(and whoever is ungrateful, certainly my Lord is Rich, Bountiful.) He has no need of His servants or their worship.

[كَرِيمٌ]
(Bountiful) He is Bountiful in and of Himself, even if no one were to worship Him. His greatness does not depend on anyone. This is like what Musa said: p

[إِن تَكْفُرُواْ أَنتُمْ وَمَن فِى الاٌّرْضِ جَمِيعًا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَغَنِىٌّ حَمِيدٌ]
(If you disbelieve, you and all on earth together, then verily, Allah is Rich, Owner of all praise.) (14:8). It is recorded in Sahih Muslim:

 
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