Quranic Reflection No 687. Āyat 27:30 – The Impact of a Message


The queen of Sheba is the only woman mentioned in the Quran as a ruler. She was regarded as among the wisest women of her time. She ruled her people with good leadership. Her story in the Quran brings out the wise qualities which made her a good ruler. The story has been used to prove the role and active presence of women in society at that time. The above verse talks about the letter she received from Prophet Sulaymān ‘alayhis-salām.

Conveying important messages through letters was a common form of communication in the past. The Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa ālihi wasallam wrote letters to rulers in other parts of the world to invite them to Islam. Imam Ali ‘alayhis-salām wrote many letters of advice to his governors which can be found in the second section of Nahjul Balāghah. The Imams communicated with their followers through letters and many of these letters have been preserved in the books of history. The importance of letters can also be seen in the story of Karbala with the sending of some 12,000 letters from the people of Kufa to Imam Husayn ‘alayhis-salām

When the queen of Sheba received the letter from Prophet Sulaymān (a) she went through the contents and realized it was a serious message. It had three main points: 

1) Mention of Allah and His qualities. 

2) Advice to not be arrogant and resist the truth. 

3) An invitation to submit to Allah ‘azza wajall.

There was nothing extra or unnecessary. It was focused and to the point. That is how a message should be. When speaking or writing, the effect is greater when the message is concise and free of unnecessary details.

The contents of a letter or message is an indication of the personality who wrote it. Imam Ali (a) says: Your messenger is the interpreter of your intelligence while your letter is more eloquent in expressing your true self. (Nahjul Balāghah, Saying 301). Imam also emphasized in other hadith the importance of going through your letter before sending it. Once a message is sent it becomes sealed and a proof for or against you.

Letter writing is an art that is becoming increasingly uncommon. But people do convey messages in different forms. It is important to know that messages must be conveyed in a focused manner for it to have a greater impact. It can be used to invite towards good and dissuade evil, to strengthen relationships, to comfort others, and generally to do God’s work on earth. It can be considered next in importance to speaking, both being forms of communication that the Almighty has blessed the human being with. Both need to be carried out with caution and wisdom.

Sources: Ayatullah Nasir Makarim Shirazi (Ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūneh; Imam Ali bin Abu Talib (a), Nahjul Balāghah; https://vista.ir/m/a/7ox78