n Journal for Semitics - Bilqis - a Qur'?nic model for leadership and for Islamic feminists

Volume 13 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1013-8471


The Queen of Sheba (popularly known in Muslim tradition as Bilqis) is presented in the Qur'?n as a model woman and model leader - even before she had embraced the monotheism of Solomon. Although the Qur'?n never names the queen, she stands out as a useful archetype for the struggle for Muslim women's rights particularly as far as the question of leadership is concerned.

This paper will counterpose the conservative and fairly popular Muslim notion that women are not allowed to attain to leadership with the Bilqis paradigm in the Qur'?n, and argue that in Bilqis a weapon for Muslims struggling for gender justice is to be found. Further, I will argue that while the Qur'?n does not give believers specific political models for governance, in Bilqis it presents an example of governance to be aspired to. This paper will also briefly interrogate the demonisation of Bilqis in later narratives.

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