The Quran

Commentaries for 27.34

An Naml (The ant) - النمل

27.34 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
Then she pronounced words of wisdom. (She said: Lo! Kings) worldly kings, (when they enter a township) by force in instances of war and fighting, (ruin it) destroy it (and make the honour of its people shame) by beating, killing and exposing them to other things. (Thus will they do) Allah said: this is how worldly kings behave because of arrogance.
27.34 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
She said, ‘Indeed kings, when they enter a town, ruin it, with destruction, and reduce the mightiest of its inhabitants to the most abased. That is what they too will do, namely, the senders of this letter.
27.32-35 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Bilqis consults with Her Chiefs
When she read Sulayman's letter to them and consulted with them about this news, she said:
يأَيُّهَا الْمَلأ أَفْتُونِى فِى أَمْرِى مَا كُنتُ قَـطِعَةً أَمْراً حَتَّى تَشْهَدُونِ
("O chiefs! Advise me in (this) case of mine. I decide no case till you are present with me.'') meaning, `until you come together and offer me your advice.'
قَالُواْ نَحْنُ أُوْلُواْ قُوَّةٍ وَأُولُو بَأْسٍ شَدِيدٍ
(They said: "We have great strength, and great ability for war...'') They reminded her of their great numbers, preparedness and strength, then they referred the matter to her and said:
وَالاٌّمْرُ إِلَيْكِ فَانظُرِى مَاذَا تَأْمُرِينَ
(but it is for you to command; so think over what you will command.) meaning, `we have the power and strength, if you want to go to him and fight him.' The matter is yours to decide, so instruct us as you see fit and we will obey. Ibn `Abbas said: "Bilqis said:
إِنَّ الْمُلُوكَ إِذَا دَخَلُواْ قَرْيَةً أَفْسَدُوهَا وَجَعَلُواْ أَعِزَّةَ أَهْلِهَآ أَذِلَّةً
(Verily, kings, when they enter a town, they destroy it and make the most honorable amongst its people the lowest.) And Allah said:
وَكَذلِكَ يَفْعَلُونَ
(And thus they do. ) Then she resorted to peaceful means, seeking a truce and trying to placate Sulayman, and said:
وَإِنِّى مُرْسِلَةٌ إِلَيْهِمْ بِهَدِيَّةٍ فَنَاظِرَةٌ بِمَ يَرْجِعُ الْمُرْسَلُونَ
(But verily, I am going to send him a present, and see with what the messengers return.) meaning, `I will send him a gift befitting for one of his status, and will wait and see what his response will be. Perhaps he will accept that and leave us alone, or he will impose a tax which we can pay him every year, so that he will not fight us and wage war against us.' Qatadah said: "May Allah have mercy on her and be pleased with her -- how wise she was as a Muslim and (before that) as an idolator! She understood how gift-giving has a good effect on people.'' Ibn `Abbas and others said: "She said to her people, if he accepts the gift, he is a king, so fight him; but if he does not accept it, he is a Prophet, so follow him.''
27.32-35 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
The words used in the Text are: hatta tash-hu-dun (unless you are present, or unless you bear witness). That is: "I regard your presence necessary when I take a decision in important matters, and also that whatever decision I take you should be there to testify that it is right and correct." This shows that though the system of government among Saba' was kingship, it was not tyrannical; but the ruler of the time decided matters in consultation with the important people in the government.
In this one sentence a thorough criticism has been made of imperialism. The kings' invasion of the other countries and the victorious nations' violence against the oppressed nations has never been for the sake of reform and goodwill. 'fire object has been to control and exploit the means and resources of sustenance granted to the other nation by God, and make it so helpless that it should never be able to rise in resistance and demand its share. For this purpose they block up all it, means of prosperity, power and honor, crush down all self respecting elements, instill in its members attitudes of slavery, flattery, treachery and spying against one another, imitation of the conqueror and respect for his civilization, contempt of their own civilization and other such mean qualities of character. Thus, gradually they bring them down to such a low level of character where they may not hesitate even to sell off any of their most sacred objects of heritage and be ready to perform any wretched service on payment.
This sentence has two meanings and both are equally probable: (1) It may be a part of the queen of Sheba's speech, which she might have added in order to emphasize her foregoing words; and (2) it may be Allah's words which have been added as a parenthesis in support of the queen's speech.