Surah An-Naml >> Currently viewing Surah An-Naml Ayat 22 (27:22)

Surah An-Naml Ayat 22 in Arabic Text

فَمَكَثَ غَيْرَ بَعِيدٍۢ فَقَالَ أَحَطتُ بِمَا لَمْ تُحِطْ بِهِۦ وَجِئْتُكَ مِن سَبَإٍۭ بِنَبَإٍۢ يَقِينٍ
Famakasa ghaira ba’eedin faqaala ahattu bimaa lam tuhit bihee wa ji’tuka min Sabaim binaba iny-yaqeen

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 22

Sahih International
But the hoopoe stayed not long and said, “I have encompassed [in knowledge] that which you have not encompassed, and I have come to you from Sheba with certain news.

Yusuf Ali
But the Hoopoe tarried not far: he (came up and) said: “I have compassed (territory) which thou hast not compassed, and I have come to thee from Saba with tidings true.

Abul Ala Maududi
Not before long the hoopoe came up and said: “I have obtained a knowledge which you could not. I have brought for you sure news about Sheba.

Muhsin Khan
But the hoopoe stayed not long, he (came up and) said: “I have grasped (the knowledge of a thing) which you have not grasped and I have come to you from Saba’ (Sheba) with true news.

Pickthall
But he was not long in coming, and he said: I have found out (a thing) that thou apprehendest not, and I come unto thee from Sheba with sure tidings.

Dr. Ghali
Yet he stayed (a while) without being far away, then said, “I have encompassed that which you have not encompassed, and I have come from Sabaة to you with a tiding of certitude.

Abdel Haleem
But the hoopoe did not stay away long: he came and said, ‘I have learned something you did not know: I come to you from Sheba with firm news.

Quran 27 Verse 22 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah An-Naml ayat 22, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(27:22) Not before long the hoopoe came up and said: “I have obtained a knowledge which you could not. I have brought for you sure news about Sheba.[29]


29. Sheba were a well-known commercial people of southern Arabia, whose capital city of Marib lay about 55 miles to the north east of Sana, the present capital of Yaman. They rose to power after the decline of the Minaean Kingdom in about 1100 B.C. and flourished for a thousand years in Arabia. Then in 115 B.C. they were replaced by the Himyarites, the other well-known people of southern Arabia, who ruled Yaman and Hadramaut in Arabia and Habash in Africa. The Sabaeans controlled the whole trade that passed between eastern Africa, India, the Far East and Arabia, as well as Egypt, Syria, Greece and Rome. That is why they were famous for their wealth in the ancient times; so much so that according to the Greek historians they were the richest people of the world. Besides trade and commerce, another great reason for their prosperity was that they had built dams here and there in their country to store rainwater for irrigation purposes, which had turned their whole land into a veritable garden. The Greek historians have made mention of the unusual greenery of their country; and the Quran also refers to it in (Surah Saba: Ayat 15). The statement of the hud-hud, “I have obtained knowledge of things of which you have no knowledge”, does not imply that the Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) was wholly unaware of Saba. Obviously, the ruler of Syria and Palestine whose kingdom extended to the northern shores of the Red Sea (Gulf of Aqabah), could not be unaware of a people who ruled the southern shores (Yaman) of the same Red Sea, and who also controlled an important pan of the international trade. Moreover, according to Psalms, Solomon’s father, Prophet David (peace be upon them), knew Saba. We find the following words of his prayer in Psalms.

“Give the king thy judgment, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son (i.e. Solomon). The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba (i.e. of Yaman’s and Habash’s branches) shall offer gifts.”

Therefore, what the hud-hud means to say is this: “The knowledge of the things I have seen with my eyes in the central city of the Sabaeans has not yet reached you.”

Ibn-Kathir

22. But (the hoopoe) stayed not long, he said: “I have grasped which you have not grasped and I have come to you from Saba’ with true news.” 23. “I found a woman ruling over them, she has been given all things, and she has a great throne.” 24. “I found her and her people worshipping the sun instead of Allah, and Shaytan has made their deeds fair seeming to them to prevent them from the way, so they have no guidance.” 25. So they do not prostrate themselves before Allah, Who brings to light what is hidden in the heavens and the earth, and knows what you conceal and what you reveal. 26. Allah, La ilaha illa Huwa, the Lord of the Supreme Throne!”


How the Hoopoe came before Sulayman and told Him about Saba’

Allah says:

﴿فَمَكَثَ غَيْرَ بَعِيدٍ﴾

(But (the hoopoe) stayed not long,) meaning, he was absent for only a short time. Then he came and said to Sulayman:

﴿أَحَطتُ بِمَا لَمْ تُحِطْ بِهِ﴾

(I have grasped which you have not grasped) meaning, `I have come to know something that you and your troops do not know.’

﴿وَجِئْتُكَ مِن سَبَإٍ بِنَبَإٍ يَقِينٍ﴾

(and I have come to you from Saba’ with true news.) meaning, with true and certain news. Saba’ (Sheba) refers to Himyar, they were a dynasty in Yemen. Then the hoopoe said:

﴿إِنِّى وَجَدتُّ امْرَأَةً تَمْلِكُهُمْ﴾

(I found a woman ruling over them,) Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, “This is Bilqis bint Sharahil, the queen of Saba’.” Allah’s saying:

﴿وَأُوتِيَتْ مِن كُلِّ شَىْءٍ﴾

(she has been given all things,) means, all the conveniences of this world that a powerful monarch could need.

﴿وَلَهَا عَرْشٌ عَظِيمٌ﴾

(and she has a great throne.) meaning, a tremendous chair adorned with gold and different kinds of jewels and pearls. The historians said, “This throne was in a great, strong palace which was high and firmly constructed. In it there were three hundred and sixty windows on the east side, and a similar number on the west, and it was constructed in such a way that each day when the sun rose it would shine through one window, and when it set it would shine through the opposite window. And the people used to prostrate to the sun morning and evening. This is why the hoopoe said:

﴿وَجَدتُّهَا وَقَوْمَهَا يَسْجُدُونَ لِلشَّمْسِ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَزَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الشَّيْطَـنُ أَعْمَـلَهُمْ فَصَدَّهُمْ عَنِ السَّبِيلِ﴾

(I found her and her people worshipping the sun instead of Allah, and Shaytan has made their deeds fair seeming to them, and has prevented them from the way,) meaning, from the way of truth,

﴿فَهُمْ لاَ يَهْتَدُونَ﴾

(so they have no guidance.) Allah’s saying:

﴿وَزَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الشَّيْطَـنُ أَعْمَـلَهُمْ فَصَدَّهُمْ عَنِ السَّبِيلِ فَهُمْ لاَ يَهْتَدُونَأَلاَّ يَسْجُدُواْ للَّهِ﴾

(and Shaytan has made their deeds fair seeming to them, and has prevented them from the way, so they have no guidance, so they do not prostrate themselves before Allah.) They do not know the way of truth, prostrating only before Allah alone and not before anything that He has created, whether heavenly bodies or anything else. This is like the Ayah:

﴿وَمِنْ ءَايَـتِهِ الَّيْلُ وَالنَّهَارُ وَالشَّمْسُ وَالْقَمَرُ لاَ تَسْجُدُواْ لِلشَّمْسِ وَلاَ لِلْقَمَرِ وَاسْجُدُواْ لِلَّهِ الَّذِى خَلَقَهُنَّ إِن كُنتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ ﴾

(And from among His signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Prostrate yourselves not to the sun nor to the moon, but prostrate yourselves to Allah Who created them, if you indeed worship Him.) (41:37)

﴿الَّذِى يُخْرِجُ الْخَبْءَ فِى السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ﴾

(Who brings to light what is hidden in the heavens and the earth,) `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said: “He knows everything that is hidden in the heavens and on earth.” This was also the view of `Ikrimah, Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Qatadah and others. His saying:

﴿وَيَعْلَمُ مَا تُخْفُونَ وَمَا تُعْلِنُونَ﴾

(and knows what you conceal and what you reveal.) means, He knows what His servants say and do in secret, and what they say and do openly. This is like the Ayah:

﴿سَوَآءٌ مِّنْكُمْ مَّنْ أَسَرَّ الْقَوْلَ وَمَنْ جَهَرَ بِهِ وَمَنْ هُوَ مُسْتَخْفٍ بِالَّيْلِ وَسَارِبٌ بِالنَّهَارِ ﴾

(It is the same whether any of you conceals his speech or declares it openly, whether he be hid by night or goes forth freely by day) (13:10). His saying:

﴿اللَّهُ لاَ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ رَبُّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ ﴾

(Allah, La ilaha illa Huwa, the Lord of the Supreme Throne!) means, He is the One to be called upon, Allah, He is the One other than Whom there is no god, the Lord of the Supreme Throne, and there is none greater than Him in all of creation. Since the hoopoe was calling to what is good, and for people to worship and prostrate to Allah alone, it would have been forbidden to kill him. Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Prophet forbade killing four kinds of animals: ants, bees, hoopoes and the sparrow hawks. Its chain of narration is Sahih.

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