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  • Writer's pictureFolkloristan

Bilquis and Suleman

Updated: Aug 14, 2023


The Jinn Princess, Baltaqa


In Muslim tradition, the legendary Queen of Sheba stands as one of the most captivating and enigmatic figures. As both the wife of King Solomon and a queen in her own right, her story brims with mystery and encounters with Jinn.


The core narrative of the Queen of Sheba and her extraordinary meeting with Solomon finds its place in the sacred Quran (27:20-44). It all begins when a wise hoopoe brings news of a mighty queen whose people worship the sun. Upon hearing this, Solomon sends a message to the queen, inviting her to come before him and receive the word of God.Displaying her wisdom, the queen accepts Solomon's invitation and sets out to meet him.


Determined to showcase his divine power, Solomon commands his servants to bring the queen's magnificent throne to him. Here is where the encounter with the jinn adds an element of mystique to the tale. One of the jinn steps forward, promising to swiftly bring the throne, but another servant, wise and learned, asserts that he can transport the throne before Solomon in the blink of an eye. As promised, the throne is brought before Solomon and placed on a great glass or mirrored floor.


When the queen arrives and beholds the sight of her resplendent throne, she is astonished to see what appears to be a pool of water surrounding it. Curious and fascinated, she decides to lift her skirt and wade into the pool. However, Solomon reveals to her that the "pool" is, in fact, a wondrous glass, and not water at all.


In awe of the demonstration of Solomon's power and wisdom, the queen is deeply impressed. In this moment, her heart is touched, and she embraces Islam, converting to the faith. Eventually, she marries Solomon, sealing their bond of love and divine connection.


The tale of the Queen of Sheba and her encounter with Solomon stands as a testament to the mystique and wonder present in Islamic narratives. It captures the essence of wisdom, power, and the intrigue of jinn, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of those who hear this fascinating tale. More so, as the tale narrative is extended even further in the realms of commentaries and extra-Quranic accounts.


In the stories that followed, the young King Al Hadhad of Yemen, was once out hunting when he encountered a family of deer. Moved by compassion, he refrained from raising his hunting bow. His act of mercy did not go unnoticed, and he was rewarded by the king of the jinn, Sakan, who bestowed upon him a Jinn wife, the Jinn princess known as Baltaqa or Ruwaha. Bilqis, is their daughter, making her part-Jinn and part-human royalty.


Solomon's vizier, through knowledge of the Secret Name of God, displayed the true wisdom of Solomon to Bilqis. He demonstrated his power by making her throne sink into the ground and reappear before Solomon.


Even before her encounter with Solomon, Bilqis's rule was marked by prosperity and greatness. Under her wise governance, her kingdom flourished. She was renowned for her intelligence, virtue, wisdom, and strength.


In an older legend recounted in the Kitab al Tijan, Bilqis did not ascend the throne directly after her father's reign. Instead, the throne passed on to a tyrant who oppressed his subjects. Fueled by her desire to liberate her people, she made overtures to the tyrant, pretending to marry him. However, on their wedding night, she beheaded the tyrant, and his vile head was displayed on the gates. Witnessing her act of courage and liberation, the kingdom rallied behind her, vowing allegiance.


After marrying Solomon, Bilqis ruled as his equal, commanding the jinn like him. With her guidance, the jinn Zawbah undertook great feats, building the mighty palace of Aden and fortresses at Sirwah and Marah.


In another demonstration of her equal status, Solomon sent his powerful ring to Bilqis. He directed a bird-like jinn to deliver it to her. However, the confused creature lost its way and accidentally dropped the ring into the sea, where it transformed into Cumoro Island.


The Queen of Sheba's remarkable story showcases how she is allusively referenced in the Quran, while her narrative is expanded and enriched through commentaries and influences from Jewish sources and Yemeni legends. It is a testament to the blending of older tales into the Islamic fold, preserving the essence of her character while adding new thematic elements.


Beyond being a captivating figure in legends, the Queen of Sheba also holds an essential geographical role, being celebrated as a legendary Queen of Yemen and East Africa, embraced as part of the rich tapestry of the Islamic world.


Thus, the story of the Queen of Sheba, in all its intricate layers, continues to inspire and enthrall, offering glimpses into the mysteries of the past and the realms of the supernatural, woven together to form an enduring tale of wisdom, power, and love.


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