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Offline Student

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27:40 Throne carrier?
« on: August 14, 2018, 07:50:37 AM »
Salaamun Alaykum,
Dear members/Sir Joseph,

Who brought the throne of the queen in the blink of an eye? Was person with the "knowledge of the Book" was Sulaiman AS himself? If so, does Quran's language support such claim? I was given reference that Fakhruddin Raazi hold this view and made some arguments including grammar to throw support to this view. Kindly share your thoughts.

Thanks,
Thanks,
~ Student

Offline Aijaz

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Offline Athman

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Re: 27:40 Throne carrier?
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2018, 08:11:38 PM »
Dear Student,

As-salaam aleikum,

From my humble view, I first share with Br. Joseph the following sentiment to you from a thread [1] below.

Arguably, whether the need to elicit finer details beyond the narratives present is relevant to future generations of believers can be argued as moot (debateable).

With such Qur’anic narratives that seem to be devoid of details of some aspect as like that of a particular figure in 27:40, I would advise one to heed whatever wisdom extractable and avoid dwelling on details that the Qur’an deemed not relevant for future guidance. This is with recognition that nowhere else in the Qur’an is such an identity hinted despite the spectacular event associated with them.

On the other hand, apart from the various debates amongst traditional muslims concerning such an identity as to whether they were a ‘human being’ or a ‘jinn,’ others have even suggested that it was an ‘angel.’ Some specific human identity of such a personality commonly alluded to by various scholars and traditional muslims goes by the name ‘Asif Bin Barkhiya, an alleged pious person from the Bani Isra’eel, believed to be Prophet Sulaiman’s (pbuh) minister and in fact his sister’s son[2]. Those who understand it to be a reference to a ‘jinn’ personality do seek support from the preceding verse 27:39 which mentions of an ‘ifrit’ among the ‘jinn’ hence reading 27:40 within the same context of ‘among the jinn.’ For some who propose an ‘angelic’ personality, they do identify him as the ‘angelic messenger’ sent to Prophet Musa (pbuh), allegedly ‘Khidri.’

As regards to what you cite as suggestion made by the late scholar Fakhruddin Razi from what was referenced to you, unless you present here the claimed grammatical argument from the reference, I personally can’t find an interpretation that would extract such an understanding from 27:40. In fact, it is clear from the verse that two different 'persons' were involved, the one [Person 1] who volunteers to go fetch the throne and the one [Person 2] to whom the throne is to be presented. Since Prophet Sulaiman (pbuh) happens to be the one who requested for a volunteer to fetch him the throne, hence the one to whom the throne is to be presented [Person 2], he can’t again be the one who volunteered to fetch the same throne [Person 1]. See below an illustration of mine (black box-bracketed) for the same:

"Said one [Person 1] who had knowledge from the Scripture, 'I [Person 1] will bring it to you [Person 2] before your [Person 2] glance returns to you [Person 2].' And when [Person 2] saw it placed before him [Person 2], he [Person 2] said, 'This is from the favor of my [Person 2] Lord to test me [Person 2] whether I [Person 2] will be grateful or ungrateful. And whoever [Person 'Any'] is grateful - his [Person 'Any'] gratitude is only for [the benefit of] himself [Person 'Any']. And whoever [Person 'Any'] is ungrateful - then indeed, my [Person 2] Lord is Free of need and Generous.' "(Qur'an, An-Naml 27:40)

In my humble view, the identity could either be of a ‘jinn’ or a ‘human being.’ Firstly, we note from 27:17 that Prophet Sulaiman’s (pbuh) troops were comprised of ‘al-jinni,’ human beings (al-insi) and birds (at-thwayri). In 27:38, he is addressing the ‘notables’ (al-malau) among his army members. From this, any ‘angelic’ personality is ruled out. Again, the ‘one who had knowledge of the Book’ (alladhi indahu ‘ilmun mina al-kitabi) - 27:40 could not be from among the ‘birds’ since birds do not read of ‘scripture.’ We however are sure about ‘jinn’ (46:30, 72:1) and ‘human beings’ (7:174) as being the subjects of revelations as reminders for the sole purpose of 'Ibada (51:56). Thus, from among Prophet Sulaiman’s (pbuh) troops notables, we are only left with the possibility of either a ‘human being ‘or a ‘jinn.’

For a ‘man,’ we can possibly attribute the immense power to bring the throne from that far distance in an eye’s blink moment to his wisdom as from his ‘knowledge of the Book.’ Beyond that, nothing else is hinted from the verse concerning his capacity. However, from 2:102, we learn that those ‘shayathwin - wicked’ (could be ‘men’ or/and ‘jinn’) learnt some powerful knowledge from Harut and Marut which, coupled with ‘black magic’ (sihra), could cause spousal separation. This knowledge which was also taught to ‘human beings’ (an-nasa) was also a ‘fitnah’ and thus could possibly be utilized wickedly at volition. One can also surmise that if used wisely, it could do great things. If we allow the possibility that the personality in 27:40 was a man that had this ‘knowledge’ (2:102) apart from the ‘knowledge of the Book’ (27:40), we can see a greater possibility of him to have swiftly brought the throne that fast. However, not only does such an approach entail a mere extrapolation of the verse (27:40) but also employs a far-fetched idea.

As regards to the personality of a ‘jinn,’ as stated earlier, reading 27:40 as a continuation of the context of 27:39, we see a possibility of the identity as that of one ‘among the jinn.’ Again, this one could possibly also be an ‘ifrit’ and in addition, ‘well versed with the Book.’ Also, though we see the general inference in 21:82 and 38:37-38 of those who worked for Prophet Sulaiman (pbuh) as ‘shayathwin - wicked,’ we can infer from  34:12-13 where we see the ‘jinn’ the ones tasked in making and handling huge and heavy structures. In 72:6, we are informed of some ‘men’ (rijalun mina al-insi) who used to seek power through some ‘male jinn’ (rijalun mina al-jinni) hence supporting the idea that ‘jinn’ possessed some more powerful capacity than their counterpart ‘men.’ We also see from the previous verse (27:39) the prowess and capacity of such typical ‘jinn’ i.e, ‘ifrit.’ Coupled with the ‘knowledge of the Book,’ this lends support to the suggestion that the identity of 27:40 could be that of a ‘jinn.’

In the main, as believers, we ought to take heed of the wisdom imparted in 18:22 staying cautious on matters that are not clear. The spiritual wisdom one could extract from 27:40 especially as regards what is uttered by Prophet Sulaiman (pbuh) is very obvious "this is from the favor of my Lord to test me whether I will be grateful or ungrateful. And whoever is grateful - his gratitude is only for [the benefit of] himself. And whoever is ungrateful - then indeed, my Lord is free of need and Generous." This is despite either knowing or not knowing the exact identity of the figure referred to in 27:40.

As to the idea of inquiry into the details of the incident, one could in turn ask several questions regarding the same. For instance people ask; what exact typical knowledge did the figure in 27:40 possess for them to bring the throne in that shortest time possible? What Book did he have some knowledge of? Some suggest the Book sent to Prophet Musa (pbuh), some refer to the reference in 43:4. One could even ask as to why Prophet Sulaiman (pbuh) asked for a volunteer to go bring him the throne while he himself possessed such wisdom (21:79) and knowledge (27:15), majesty, might and power to even command the wind (21:81, 38:36) by God’s leave (34:12). Some suggest that it was a way to point out to his heir. However, all these suggestions cannot be directly substantiated from a Qur’anic perspective.

Therefore, instead of dwelling on details that are not deemed relevant as to the overall purport of the verse (27:40) and such-like ones in the Qur’an, it is better to extract the best available meaning and wisdom possible. After all, God knows best.

I hope that somehow helps God willing.

Regards,
Athman.


REFERENCES:

[1]. Cleansing Power Of The Rain, in Qur'an 8:11?
http://quransmessage.com/forum/index.php?topic=2464.0
[2]. https://www.al-islam.org/enlightening-commentary-light-holy-quran-vol-13/section-3-solomon-and-queen-sheba

Offline Student

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Re: 27:40 Throne carrier?
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2018, 12:47:55 AM »
Walekumus salaam,
Dear Athman,

Thanks again for sharing your understanding and parting wisdom. My argument was exactly as yours:

"Said one [Person 1] who had knowledge from the Scripture, 'I [Person 1] will bring it to you [Person 2] before your [Person 2] glance returns to you [Person 2].' And when [Person 2] saw it placed before him [Person 2], he [Person 2] said, 'This is from the favor of my [Person 2] Lord to test me [Person 2] whether I [Person 2] will be grateful or ungrateful. And whoever [Person 'Any'] is grateful - his [Person 'Any'] gratitude is only for [the benefit of] himself [Person 'Any']. And whoever [Person 'Any'] is ungrateful - then indeed, my [Person 2] Lord is Free of need and Generous.' "(Qur'an, An-Naml 27:40)

And my Arabic grammar is at ABC level  ;) but sometimes it is exactly what one needs - perhaps  :)

Jazak Allah Khair.
Thanks,
~ Student