Sura Saba

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This article is an introduction to the Sura Saba; to read its text see text:Sura Saba.
Sura Saba
Sura Number34
Revelation Number58
Verse Count54
Word Count887
Letter Count3596\

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 it contains the history of the people of Saba'. 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.


  • Naming

The name of this sura is adopted from its verse fifteen which is about the history of the people of Saba'.[1] 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.[2]

  • Order and Place of Revelation

Sura Saba' is a Makki sura and was the fifty eighth sura revealed to the Prophet (s). In the current order of compilation, it is the thirty-fourth sura of the Qur'an, located in juz' twenty two.[3]

  • 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.[4] Some considered verse six of this sura to have revealed in Medina.[5] 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.[6] 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 heaven and the earth and other creatures.[7]

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.[8] Some exegetes considered revelation of this sura after Qur'an 31.[9]


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 cast doubts on them and then it discusses the ways of removing those doubts by wisdom, advice and debate.[10] This sura discusses about the resurrection at the beginning and at the end of the sura more than other principles of belief.[11] Secondary issues discussed in this sura are:

Content of Sura Saba'[13]
Answer to polytheists' thoughts about the hereafter
First thought: verses 1-6
Impossibility of happening the Judgment Day
Second thought: Verses 7-21
The wrongness of the Prophet's (s) word about the resurrection of the dead
Third thougth: Verses 22-28
Preventing the punishment of disbelievers by partners ascribed to God
Fourth thougth: Verses 29-30
Not happening the Judgement Day because of its unknown time
Fifth thougth: Verses 31-33
Wrongness of the Qur'an's word about the hereafter
Sixth thougth: Verses 34-39
Not punishing rich disbelievers
Seventh thougth: Verses 40-42
Intercession of polytheists by angels
Eighth thougth: Verses 43-54
Falseness of the Prophet's (s) words about the hereafter
First answer: verses 1-2
Power of God for holding the Judgement Day
First answer: Verses 7-9
Power of God over destruction of disbelievers
First answer: Verses 22-23
Partners ascribed to God have no role in the management of the world
Answer: Verse 30
Happening the Judgement Day at its specified time
Answer: Verses 31-33
Regret of disbelievers in the hereafter for rejecting the Qur'an and following the leaders of falsehood
First answer: Verses 34-38
No wealth is a sign of closeness to God
Answer: Verses 40-42
Rejection of polytheists by angels on the Judgement Day
First issue: Verse 43
Polytheists' slanders against the Prophet (s)
Second answer: verse 3
Knowledge of God about holding the Judgment Day
Second answer: Verses 10-21
The necessity of happening the Judgment Day for rewarding the grateful and punishing ungrateful ones
Second answer: Verse 24
Daily sustenance of all humans is only in the hand of God
Second answer: Verse 39
Getting close to God by giving properties in His way
Second issue: Verses 44-45
Disbelievers have no arguments to oppose the Prophet (s)
Third answer: verses 4-6
Rewarding believers and punishing disbelievers in the hereafter
Third answer: Verses 25-26
Everyone will receive the rewards of his actions on the Judgement Day
Third issue: Verse 46
The Prophet's (s) duty is only warning
Fourth answer: Verses 27-28
Disqualification of ascribed partners of God for being worshipped
Fourth issue: Verse 47
The Prophet (s) expects no reward from you
Fifth issue: Verses 48-49
All the words of the Prophet (s) are true
Sixth issue: Verse 50
The Prophet (s) follows divine revelation
Seventh issue: Verses 51-54
Believe in the Prophet (s) so that you would be rescued from the punishment

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)

Famous Verses

Intercession by Divine Permission

This verse is a rejection of the action of polytheists in worshipping idols which they considered a way for getting close to God;[14] 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.[15]

Coverage of the Prophethood

From this verse, some exegetes have deduced the coverage of the mission of the Prophet (s) over all the people of the world.[16] 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".[17] 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.[18]

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.[19] 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.[20]

External Links


  1. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 18, p. 3.
  2. Ṣafawī, "Sura-yi Saba'," p. 740.
  3. Ṣafawī, "Sura-yi Saba'," p. 740.
  4. Khurramshāhī, "Sura-yi Saba'," p. 1247.
  5. Zamakhsharī, Al-Kashshaf, vol. 3, p. 566.
  6. Khurramshāhī, "Sura-yi Saba'," p. 1247.
  7. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 18, p. 7.
  8. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 8, p. 588.
  9. Mullā Ḥuwaysh, Āl Ghāzī, Bayān al-maʿānī, vol. 3, p. 494.
  10. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 16, p. 356.
  11. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 16, p. 356.
  12. Ṣafawī, "Sura-yi Saba'," p. 740; Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 18, p. 3.
  13. 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.
  14. Mughnīya, Tafsīr al-Kāshif, vol. 6, p. 261.
  15. Faḍl Allāh, Min waḥy al-Qur'ān, vol. 19, p. 39-40.
  16. Ṭūsī, Al-Tibyān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān, vol. 8, p. 396.
  17. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 16, p. 376.
  18. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 16, p. 376.
  19. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 8, p. 588.
  20. Ṣadūq, Thawāb al-aʿmāl, p. 110.


  • Khurramshāhī, Qawām al-Dīn. "Sura-yi Saba'" In Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān wa Qurʾān pazhūhī, Tehran: Dūstān-Nāhīd, 1377 Sh.
  • Zamakhsharī, Maḥmūd b. ʿUmar al-. Tafsīr al-kashshāf 'an ḥaqa'iq at-tanzīl. Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿArabī, 1407 AH.
  • Ṭūsī, Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-. Al-Tibyān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Edited by Aḥmad Qaṣīr al-ʿĀmilī. Beirut: Dār Iḥyāʾ al-Turāth al-ʿArabī, [n.d].
  • Ṣadūq, Muḥammad b. ʿAlī al-. Thawāb al-aʿmāl wa ʿiqāb al-aʿmāl. Qom: Dār al-Sharīf al-Raḍī, 1406 AH.
  • Ṣafawī, Salmān. "Sūra-yi Shu'ara'" In Dānishnāma-yi Muʿāṣir-i Qurʾān-i Karīm. Qom: Intishārāt-i Salmān Azāda, 1396 Sh.
  • Ṭabāṭabāyī, Muḥammad Ḥusayn. Al-Mīzān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Beirut: Muʾassisat al-Aʿlamī li-l-Maṭbūʿāt, 1390 AH.
  • Ṭabrisī, Faḍl b. al-Ḥasan al-. Majmaʿ al-bayān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Edited by Muḥammad Jawād Balāghī. Tehran: Nāṣir Khusru, 1372 Sh.
  • Faḍl Allāh, Sayyid Muḥammad Ḥusayn. Tafsīr min waḥy al-Qur'ān. Beirut: Dār al-Milāk li-Ṭabā'at wa al-Nashr, 1419 AH.
  • Mughnīya, Muḥammad Jawād al-. Tafsīr al-Kāshif, Qom: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmīyya, 1424 AH.
  • Makārim Shīrāzī, Nāṣir. Tafsīr-i nimūna. Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmīyya, 1371 Sh.