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Sheba

Balkis was the Queen of Sheba and wife of Solomon. In some accounts, she was said to be the daughter of a jinni and had legs like a donkey. Some sources suggesting a jinni named Rayḥāna was her mother.

She is said to have been the daughter of a South Arabian king and a female jinn named Rihana bt. al-Sakan.

Balkis and SolomonEdit

One day, a hoopoe bird arrived from Saba and brought Solomon word of the beautiful and powerful Bilqis. Intrigued by descriptions of her, he invited her to travel to Jerusalem, and she accepted the invitation.

Bilqis journeyed to the country of the famed Solomon and decided to stay for some time in order to learn more about the wise king and his all-powerful God. The king and the queen found each other fascinating and gradually began to fall in love. This worried the captive jinn, who feared that if Solomon and Bilqis married and had a son, the jinn would be forced to continue in service for another generation, and perhaps much longer, never again tasting freedom. A jinn named Zabwa warned Solomon: ‘O prophet of God, a son by this woman will be cruel, sharp, and hot in body and soul.’ Zabwa and his fellow jinn spread rumors that Bilqis was one of their own – which indeed was partly true – and as such had a jinn’s tell-tale hairy legs and donkey feet.

Solomon was troubled by the rumors that Sheba had jinn blood coursing through her veins . To find out if the rumors were true, Solomon devised a test for Bilqis. In his private quarters he had an expansive glass floor constructed, with water and fish beneath it. Waiting on the far side of the glass floor, he beckoned to Bilqis to cross the room and join him. Mistaking the glass for a fish pond, the queen lifted her skirts to walk through the water. The king saw her legs and looked away. He finally confessed to Bilqis: ‘Lo! It is a floor, made of smooth glass.’

What exactly did Solomon see? The sources are unclear. Most agree that Bilqis’s feet were not hooved but that her legs were quite hairy. Solomon was alarmed by this discovery. His jinn rejoiced, but only for a brief moment, for the king commanded them to prepare a lotion of slaked lime and ash to remove the queen’s leg hair. At this point Bilqis said, ‘O my Lord! I have indeed wronged my soul: I do [now] submit [in Islam], with Solomon, to the Lord of the Worlds’ (Qur'an 27:44).

Accepting monotheism, Bilqis married Solomon and bore him a son called Rehoboam, whose arms were said to reach down to his knees – a sure sign of leadership, according to the belief of the time. Bilqis remained with Solomon for seven years and seven months and then died. Solomon buried her beneath the walls of Palmyra in Syria.

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