The Holy Prophet (s) said: Allah has appointed an angel in the seventh heaven, who is known as al-Dā‘ī. When the month of Rajab enters, that angel announces every night of the month till daybreak: blessings be on those who remember Allah; blessings be on those who are the obedient! And Allah, the Exalted, says: I am in the company of the one who sits in My presence, I respond to the one who obeys Me and forgive the one who seeks My forgiveness. This month is My month, and the servant is My servant, and the mercy is My mercy. So, whoever calls upon Me in this month, I will answer him; whoever asks Me, I will give him; whoever seeks My guidance, I will guide him. And I have made this month a rope between Myself and My servants. So, whoever holds on to it will reach Me.
(Ibn Tāwūs, Iqbāl, p. 628; Majlisī, Bihār 95:377)
قَالَتْ رَبِّ إِنِّي ظَلَمْتُ نَفْسِي وَأَسْلَمْتُ مَعَ سُلَيْمَانَ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
Qālat rabbi innī zalamtu nafsī wa-aslamtu ma‘a sulaymana lillāhi rabbil-‘ālamīn
She said, ‘My Lord! Indeed, I have wronged myself, and I submit with Sulayman to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds.
(Sūrat al-Naml, No 27, Āyat 44)
This verse recounts the words of Queen Bilqīs when she accepted the belief in One God. After seeing the greatness and nobility of Prophet Sulayman ‘alayhis-salām, the Queen realizes that he truly is a Messenger of Allah, ‘azza wajall. She accepts his message and declares her submission to One God. But before submitting to Almighty God, she acknowledges the wrong she had done in worshipping other than Allah in the past.
It is a sign of her humility and faith that she first acknowledged the wrong she had done and then declared her submission. She pleaded with God about the wrong she had done by not submitting to Him earlier. It was an oppression on her soul. There are many types of oppression and the most serious is that which is done against one’s own self. What she regretted was the worship of other than Allah, as well as wasting her time in false glories of wealth and possessions and thinking that she had incredible power. Now she knew different. She was aware that there was more to the world than material wealth and that there was a Lord who created and controlled all things
Note that she used the word ‘with’ Prophet Sulaymān rather than ‘to’ when talking about her submission. It was to show that she believed in the same pure form of Tawhīd that the Prophet believed. It was not just the Oneness of God that she was declaring, but also His rububiyat – that is He alone is the Lord and nurturer of the worlds.
The queen showed through her actions that accepting the truth is a form of freedom, not weakness. There are no chains that should tie a person to falsehood when its falsity becomes evident. The idea of letting her people down, or fear of their reaction, did not deter the queen. She did not hesitate or say she would have to consult her ministers as she had done earlier. People must be free and independent in their submission and obedience to God. No creature should have control over that relationship.
The queen did not just say she believed. She said she submitted. Prophet Sulaymān had also asked that of her earlier in his letter when he wrote: exalt not yourselves against me and come to me in submission (Q 27:31). Submission is to consider oneself a servant of God and be ready to obey Him unequivocally. Islam is a religion of submission and expects its followers who believe in God to follow the laws of God. It is not worthy of faith to say one will believe but at the same disobey God. Faith and submission go together. There is trust that Allah subhānahu wata‘ālā commands only that which is good for the human being and so there is no inclination to disobey. The Holy Prophet explains this in a hadith where he says: O servants of Allah, you are like the patients and the Lord of the worlds is like the doctor. The well being of the patient lies in what the doctor knows and diagnoses, not in what the patient desires and suggests. So, submit what is His work to Allah, you will be from the successful ones (Bihār al-Anwār, v.81, p.61).
Let us remind ourselves of the importance of two qualities of a believer that are evident in this verse: repentance for past wrongs and submission to Allah. During this month of Rajab wherein the Divine mercy pours in plenty, we can try to increase in both these qualities and inshāAllah achieve the pleasure of Allah.
Sources: Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (Ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūneh; Āghā Muhsin Qarā’atī, Tafsīr Nur