After Nabi Sulaimaan (alayhis salaam ) rejected the gifts which Bilqees, the Queen of Saba’ had sent, she set out in person to meet him. Before she set out on her journey, she assembled her council members and explained that it was clear to her that Sulaimaan (alayhis salaam) was no ordinary worldly king. He was backed by divine power and confrontation with him would be disastrous.
She made extraordinary arrangements for the protection of her throne. She arranged for many more soldiers to guard the seventh chamber of the palace where the throne was. This chamber was securely locked and no one would be able to enter in her absence.
Meanwhile the Hud-Hud had informed Hadhrat Sulaimaan (alayhis salaam) of the journey of Bilqees towards him. Addressing the chiefs who consisted of men and jinn, and who were all his subordinates, Nabi Sulaimaan (alayhis salaam) enquired whether any one of them was able to bring the throne of Bilqees to him before her arrival. Present in the gathering was Ifreet, a giant and the most powerful of all the jinn. He said: “I shall bring her throne to you before you end the proceedings of your court.” Usually, Hadhrat Sulaimaan (alayhis salaam) court proceedings endured until about midday. The jinn added that he would execute the task with honesty, therefore trust should be reposed on him in this matter.
Immediately after the jinn advanced his proposal, Aasif Bin Barkhaya who was an Aalim of the Allah’s Book, and who had the knowledge of the Ism-e-A’zam (A Name of Allah Ta’ala known to only a few select Auliya), said that he would make dua to Allah Ta’ala, and he was confident that he would deliver the throne quicker than the jinn. Although some Mufassireen say that Aasif was also a jinn, the majority view is that he was a human being. The name of his mother was Baatura and she was from Bani Israaeel.
Nabi Sulaimaan (alayhis salaam) said to Aasif: ‘If you are able to accomplish this feat, you will be victorious. If you fail, you will humiliate me among the jinn although I have been appointed the ruler of men and jinn.”
Aasif renewed his wudhu, went into Sajdah, recited the Ism-e-A’zam and supplicated to Allah Ta’ala. As he supplicated, the throne of Bilqees disappeared into the earth, and instantaneously appeared outside where Hadhrat Sulaimaan (alayhis salaam) was seated on his throne. Referring to the miraculous appearance of the throne of Bilqees in the presence of Nabi Sulaimaan (alayhis salaam), the Qur’aan Majeed says:
“When he saw it (the throne) lodged firmly in his presence, He (Nabi Sulaimaan) said: ‘This is of the fadhl (grace) of my Rabb to test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful. And, whoever is grateful is grateful for his own good, and whoever is ungrateful, then verily, my Rabb is Independent (and) Gracious.” (Surah Namal, aayat 40)
Then Hadhrat Sulaimaan (alayhis salaam) ordered some changes to be effected to the throne. The purpose for this exercise was to gauge the intelligence of Bilqees to see if she recognized her throne or not. The desire to test her intelligence was because some of the jinn told Nabi Sulaimaan (alayhis salaam) that she was of defective intelligence. There are several stories surrounding this episode and the reason for this claim made by the shayaateen who were under the control of Hadhrat Sulaimaan (alayhis salaam). Some of the stories pertaining to Bilqees are weird and far-fetched. These stories are the narrations of Bani Israeel. It is alleged that her mother was a jinn. But this is not supported by reliable evidence whether narrational or rational.
Regarding the variety of queer stories related to Bilqees, Imaam Ibn Abi Shaibah (rahmatullah alayh) said: “Although the story is interesting, I have to say that it is to be rejected totally. It is extremely weird. It is the imagination of Ata Bin Saaib which constrained him to ascribe the story to Ibn Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu). In all likelihood these stories have been acquired from the volumes compiled by Bani Israaeel. These stories are unreliable. Bani Israaeel were fabricators of novelties (fairy tales). It was their profession to change, interpolate, add and delete. We are grateful to Allah Ta’ala that He has not made us reliant on them (for ascertaining the Truth). He has bestowed to us His Kitaab via His Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). He has delivered to us such information which is beneficial. This divine information transcends greatly what they (Bani Israaeel) narrate while at the same time it is very beneficial and cautious. All praise be unto Allah.”
After Bilqees had arrived, Hadhrat Sulaimaan (alayhis salaam) asked her: “Is your throne like this?’ She said: ‘It appears to be the very one.” (Surah Namal, aayat 42) When Bilqees saw the throne whose appearance had been slightly altered, she responded with caution. She did not blurt out an emphatic affirmation to the effect that it was her throne. On the one side, she felt certain that it was her throne. However, she had left her throne securely locked and under 24 hour guarded protection. How could her throne be here? From her guarded response Hadhrat Sulaimaan (alayhis salaam) understood that she was not deficient in intelligence as claimed by the jinn.
The first and foremost proposal in his dialogue with the Queen was Hadhrat Sulaimaan’s Da’wat of Tauheed. He emphasized to her the belief in Allah Azza Wa Jal. Referring to his invitation, the Qur’aan Majeed says: “He prevented (prohibited) her from (worshipping) what she used to worship besides Allah. Verily she was from a nation of kaafireen.” (Surah Namal, aayat 43).
This dialogue took place in a glass palace which Hadhrat Sulaimaan (alayhis salaam) had ordered the jinn to construct before the arrival of Bilqees. It was a palace of exquisite beauty constructed with the highest quality glass. The floor of the main hall where visitors would enter to meet Hadhrat Sulaimaan (alayhis salaam) was made of solid glass with water flowing underneath. The water was filled with fish and other forms of sea life. The glass floor was so magnificent and transparent that it created the illusion that the entire hall was filled with water. Nabi Sulaimaan’s throne together with the seating arrangement of his courtiers and the other members of his counsel were set out in this hall.
Bilqees was told to enter. As she entered, she believed the floor was a river. Although she could not understand why Hadhrat Sulaimaan (alayhis salaam) had instructed her to walk through water, she nevertheless obeyed. But she raised her dress and her calves were exposed. As she did so, Nabi Sulaimaan (alayhis salaam) said: “Verily, it (the palace) is constructed of glass.’ She said: “O my Rabb! Verily, I have wronged myself. I submit with Sulaimaan to Allah, the Rabb of all the worlds.” (Surah Namal, aayat 44)
The objective of the glass palace was to impress Bilqees and to shatter the image of her own grandeur and the glory of her kingdom. When she witnessed the external/material pomp, splendour and power of Nabi Sulaimaan (alayhis salaam) she understood the inferiority of her own kingdom. This had convinced her that Hadhrat Sulaimaan (alayhis salaam) was indeed the Nabi of Allah Ta’ala, hence she readily accepted Islam and surrendered her kingdom to him.
According to some narrations, Nabi Sulaimaan (alayhis salaam) married Bilqees while according to other versions he did not. However, he had entrusted a kingdom to her. In all likelihood it was Saba’ in Yemen which she had ruled. But now she ruled as a vassal of Nabi Sulaimaan (alayhis salaam).
Hadhrat Sayyid Abdul Qaadir Jilaani (rahmatullah alayh) states in his famous book, Ghunyatut Taalibeen: “Sulaimaan (alayhis salaam) married Bilqees. A son was born and named Daawood. However, this child died during the lifetime of Nabi Sulaimaan (alayhis salaam). After a short while, Nabi Sulaimaan (alayhis salaam) also died. A month thereafter, Bilqees too departed from this world. Hadhrat Sulaimaan (alayhis salaam) would visit her once every month in the kingdom which was assigned to her.”
His monthly journeys were made possible by a wonderful Mu’jizah (Miracle) which Allah Ta’ala had bestowed to him. Describing this Mu’jizah, the Qur’aan Majeed say:
“We made subservient to Sulaimaan the wind. (Its travel) in a morning was the equivalent of a month’s journey, and (its travel) in the evening was the equivalent of a month’s journey.” (Surah Saba’, aayat 12)
Nabi Sulaimaan (alayhis salaam) would command the wind to transport him and his entourage along with his throne wherever he wished to go. In a single morning or evening he would accomplish a journey which would normally take a month. Hadhrat Hasan Basri (rahmatullah alayh) narrated that Hadhrat Sulaimaan (alayhis salaam) would depart from Damascus in the morning and reach Istakhar by the evening. From there he would reach Kabul by the next morning. At times he would have breakfast in Ray and supper in Samarqand. (Ma’aalimaatut Tanzeel)