Sūra Sabaʾ (Arabic: سورة سبأ) is the thirty forth sura of the Qur'an. It is a Makki sura located in juz' twenty two. This sura is named Saba' because of mentioning the history of the people of Saba' in this sura. It is one of the five suras of the Qur'an which begin with the praise of God. Different issues are discussed in this sura, all of which can be categorized under three general titles of the Unity of God, prophethood and Resurrection.
Verse twenty two about intercession and verse twenty eight about prophethood for all are two of the famous verses of this sura. The consonance of the mountains and birds with Prophet David (a), his armor-making, Arm flood in the gardens of Saba', jinns' servitude to Solomon (a) and his control of the wind are among historical stories of this sura.
The name of this sura is adopted from its verse fifteen which is about the history of the people of Saba'. The word "Saba'" is mentioned twice in the Qur'an (once in in this sura and the other time in Qur'an 27). The other name of this sura is "David" because some of the miracles of Prophet David (a) are mentioned in verses ten and eleven of this sura.
- Order and Place of Revelation
- Number of Verses and Other Features
Sura Saba' has fifty four verses comprised of 3596 letters. Regarding volume, it is considered among Mathani suras and almost small suras, a little more than one hizb. Some considered verse six of this sura revealed in Medina. The number of verses of this sura is fifty four and according to reciters of Syria, they are fifty five, but the first number is more famous. Only five suras in the Qur'an begin with the praise of God, and in three suras of Saba', Qur'an 35 and Qur'an 6, it is for the creation of the sky and the earth and other creatures.
Some exegetes believe that God ended Qur'an 33 (the sura before sura Saba') with mentioning the goal of obligation and rewarding good-doers due to their deeds and punishment of sinners because of their sins; therefore, He begins sura Saba' with the praise of God's blessings and mentioning His Unlimited power. Some exegetes, considered revelation of this sura after Qur'an 31.
Like many Makki suras, this sura too discusses about the three principle beliefs in Islam; the Unity of God, prophethood and the Resurrection. Then, it mentions the punishment of those who reject these principles or spread doubts about them and then it discusses the ways of removing those doubts by wisdom, advice and debate. This sura discusses about the resurrection at the beginning and at the end of the sura more than other principles of belief. Secondary issues discussed in this sura are:
- Signs of God in the creation and His attributes
- Reasoning and debate of the subjugated with dictators on the Day of Judgment
- Mentioning some miracle of previous prophets such as Prophet David (a)
- Destiny of grateful and ungrateful ones in the story of Prophet Solomon (a)
- Story of the people of Saba', their gardens and a devastating flood which overtook them due to disobedience of God
- Mentioning some of the blessings of God
- Inviting people to thinking, reflection, faith and righteous deeds
Stories and Historical Accounts
- Granting blessings to David (a), the consonance of the mountains and birds with him and his armor-making. (Verses 10-11)
- Controlling the wind by Solomon (a), melting copper, Jinns' obedience to Solomon (a) and making buildings and dishes, the death of Solomon (a), knowing the death of Solomon (a) after his walking stick was eaten by termites (Verses 12-14)
- The story of people of Saba', their developed gardens and happening of Flood of Arim to them due to the ingratitude of blessings (Verses 15-19)
- Dialogue of the subjugated with dictators on the Day of Judgement (Verses 30-31)
Intercession by Divine Permission
|— Qur'an 34:23|
This verse is a rejection of the action of polytheists in worshipping idols which they considered a way for getting close to God; while in this verse, God mentions that He accepts no intercession except from those to whom He has given permission for it and only conditional intercession of some creatures is approved.
Coverage of the Prophethood
|— Qur'an 34:28|
From this verse, some exegetes have deduced the coverage of the mission of the Prophet (s) over all the people of the world. Allama Tabataba'i quoted from al-Raghib al-Isfahani who considered the word "kāffa" to mean "reject and prevent" regarding which, the meaning of the verse would be "We did not send you except that you prevent all mankind from sinning while you are a bearer of good news and warner". From the verse, he deduced the coverage of the mission of the Prophet (s) by others limited to the Lordship of God, explaining that, if there was another god, sending one messenger for all creatures would not be possible.
Merits and Benefits
Different hadiths are mentioned about the merits of recitation of this sura that anyone suggesting that whoever recites the Qur'an 34, all prophets will be his friends and companions on the Day of Judgement. Also, it is transmitted from Imam al-Sadiq (a) that anyone who recites at night, the Qur'an 34 and Qur'an 35 which begin with the word "hamd", he will be protected by God all that night, and if he recites them during daytime, he will receive no pain on that day and will be given so much blessings in this world and in the hereafter that he had never thought of or wished for.
- Khamagar, Muhammad, Sakhtar-i suraha-yi Qur'an-i karim, Mu'assisa-yi Farhangi-yi Qur'an wa 'Itrat-i Nur al-Thaqalayn, Qom: Nashra, ed.1, 1392 Sh.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from سوره سبأ in Farsi Wikishia.