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The Qurʾan What is This? A current English-language version of the Qur'an, published in 2004
Translation by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem

27. The Ants (15 – 40)

15We gave knowledge to David and Solomon, and they both said, ‘Praise be to God, who has favoured us over many of His believing servants.’ 16Solomon succeeded David. He said, ‘People, we have been taught the speech of birds, and we have been given a share of everything: this is a clearly a great favour.’ 17Solomon's hosts of jinn, men, and birds were marshalled in ordered ranks before him, 18and when they came to the Valley of the Ants, one ant said, ‘Ants! Go into your homes, in case Solomon and his hosts unwittingly crush you.’19Solomon smiled broadly at her words and said, ‘Lord, inspire me to be thankful for the blessings You have granted me and my parents, and to do good deeds that please You; admit me by Your grace into the ranks of Your righteous servants.’

20Solomon inspected the birds and said, ‘Why do I not see the hoopoe? Is he absent? 21I will punish him severely, or kill him, unless he brings me a convincing excuse for his absence.’ 22But 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. 23I found a woman ruling over the people, who has been given a share of everything—she has a magnificent throne—24[but] I found that she and her people worshipped the sun instead of God. Satan has made their deeds seem alluring to them, and diverted them from the right path: they cannot find the right path. 25Should they not worship God, who brings forth what is hidden in the heavens and earth and knows both what you people conceal and what you declare?26He is God, there is no god but Him, the Lord of the mighty throne.’ 27Solomon said, ‘We shall see whether you are telling the truth or lying. 28Take this letter of mine and deliver it to them, then with draw and see what answer they send back.’

29The Queen of Sheba said, ‘Counsellors, a gracious letter has been delivered to me.30It is from Solomon, and it says, “In the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy, 31do not put your selves above me, and come to me in submission to God.” ‘ 32She said, ‘Counsellors, give me your counsel in the matter I now face: I only ever decide on matters in your presence.’ 33They replied, ‘We possess great force and power in war, but you are in command, so consider what orders to give us.’ 34She said, ‘Whenever kings go into a city, they ruin it and humiliate its leaders—that is what they do— 35but I am going to send them a gift, then see what answer my envoys bring back.’

36When her envoy came to Solomon, Solomon said, ‘What! Are you offering me wealth? What God has given me is better than what He has given you, though you rejoice in this gift of yours. 37Go back to your people: we shall certainly come upon them with irresistible forces, and drive them, disgraced and humbled, from their land.’ 38Then he said, ‘Counsellors, which of you can bring me her throne before they come to me in submission?’39A powerful and crafty jinn replied, ‘I will bring it to you before you can even rise from your place. I am strong and trustworthy enough,’ 40but one of them who had some knowledge of the Scripture said, ‘I will bring it to you in the twinkling of an eye.’

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