Anyway, and when the righteous man prayed to Allah Almighty to help him bring the throne from Yemen to Palestine, he used Allah’s Greatest Name. Most interpreters say that, besides the man’s righteousness, this is the reason why he was able to bring the throne.
Nonetheless, I believe that he also used his “knowledge from the book”, otherwise mentioning “the knowledge from the book” in the verse would be irrelevant; that is, if he did not use the knowledge that he acquired from “the book” for the purpose of bringing the throne, the mention of “the knowledge from the book” would be out of context.
In other words, praying to Allah Almighty using His Greatest Name (though sufficient) may not be the only reason that enabled the righteous man to bring the throne from Yemen to Palestine “within the twinkling of an eye”.
And even if we accept the view that praying to Allah using His Greatest Name was the decisive factor, the fact that we, the nation of Muhammad, were not taught Allah’s Greatest Name indicates that ‘true knowledge from our Book’ may be sufficient if we “are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind”.
Also, not knowing Allah’s Greatest Name should not be a source of frustration and discouragement. Probably, Allah wanted us to believe that all His Names are Greatest Names, and so wanted us to seek mercy, forgiveness, sustenance, ability, healing, etc… using all His Names.
In other words, concealing Allah’s Greatest Name is basically similar to not revealing the exact date of laylatu-lqadr “The Night of Power/Revelation”, because Allah wanted us to seek it in all the odd nights in the last third of Ramadhan, and so to end up doing more to get even more from Allah.
The other view is that the man with knowledge from the book is Prophet Solomon himself, and that he is the one who brought the throne from Sheba to Palestine “within the twinkling of an eye”, using his knowledge of “the Book” as well as Allah’s Greatest Name.
And although we are not supposed to say that a prophet is of a higher status than another, given prophet Muhammad’s Hadeeth “Never claim superiority among prophets”, the fact that prophet Muhammad is the last of prophets and his Book is the last Message from the Creator and his people are the best people evolved for mankind can arguably enable us to say that he or his Book (Quran) is probably a better candidate for including knowledge of this sort.
And I believe it includes this kind of knowledge! The fact that we still do not see it does not mean that it is not there. It is basically the fact that Quran is very hard to absorb when we do not devote enough effort and thinking into understanding it and implementing its wisdom in our lives.
This line of thought is at least logical, and it can be supported by other evidence from the Holy Quran. This is seen in the verse 66 in surat al-Ma’idah ‘the Table’, where Allah Almighty talks about the people of the Book (Jews and Christians).
“If only they had stood fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that was sent to them from their Lord, they would have enjoyed happiness from every side.”
Actually, the verse says ‘… they would have eaten from above them and from beneath them’, as a sign for having power over their surroundings, over nature, over life, in a way similar to being able to bring a throne from Yemen to Palestine.
All this leads us to believe that Quran has power that goes beyond the obvious gains of adhering to it in our daily life and implementing it in our dealings with other nations.
Holding fast to Quran can give us control over the world, but before that we need to “know” it well enough to control ourselves, our desires, our greed, our quest for material, our passion for authority, our love for power, wealth, fame, and influence, after we have elevated our spirits to the extent that enables us to inhale and digest the Divine Message the way it should be inhaled and digested. This is what happened when Muslims held fast to Quran (and Sunnah), which is the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the Orthodox Caliphs.
Besides referring to these wonders of the Holy Message, which many of us unintentionally overlook, this article is also meant to be a sincere invitation to all those of us who find peace and tranquility (and those who don’t) in the reading of Quran in this Holy Month to try and contemplate the meaning and wisdom of the verses of the Holy Book. Wishing all a more fruitful reading!
Dr Rashid al Balushi –
Dr Rashid al Balushi is an Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the Sultan Qaboos University. This is the last part of two-part series.