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The Queen of Sheba in Shi'a Hadith

From: Journal of Shi'a Islamic Studies
Volume 5, Issue 4, Autumn 2012
pp. 423-440 | 10.1353/isl.2012.0054



The story of the Queen of Sheba, known as Bilqis in the Islamic tradition, is a significant narrative in the Holy Qur'an with strong implications on the Qur'anic view of gender and leadership and the nature of femininity. Her story is also related in the Old Testament and was retold in many forms throughout the Near East and Africa. Few hadith in the Sunni or Shi'a canons give details about who Bilqis was as a person. However, Shi'a hadith about the story of Bilqis take a distinctly Shi'a approach and use her story to demonstrate the supremacy of Ahl al-Bayt. In doing so, they reinforce the importance of the feminine in Shi'a spiritual cosmology and provide a model for female followers of the Imams to share in wilayah.