What is the Islamic perspective on the Ark of the Covenant? When I was Christian, I was taught that it contained the original tablets on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed, but that they were smashed by Moses in anger. My Jewish friend confirms this belief.
And where is it? I heard that Solomon is the only one who knows where.
I saw a BBC documentary that asserts it’s at Axum, Ethiopia, home of King Negus. In that documentary, it was mentioned that the Jews call it Tabot, which is almost the same word the Quran uses to name it: At-Taaboot,
“Have you not considered the assembly of the Children of Israel after [the time of] Moses when they said to a prophet of theirs, “Send to us a king, and we will fight in the way of God”? He said, “Would you perhaps refrain from fighting if fighting was prescribed for you?” They said, “And why should we not fight in the cause of God when we have been driven out from our homes and from our children?” But when fighting was prescribed for them, they turned away, except for a few of them. And God is Knowing of the wrongdoers.
And their prophet said to them, “Indeed, God has sent to you Saul as a king.” They said, “How can he have kingship over us while we are more worthy of kingship than him and he has not been given any measure of wealth?” He said, “Indeed, God has chosen him over you and has increased him abundantly in knowledge and stature. And God gives His sovereignty to whom He wills. And God is all-Encompassing [in favor] and Knowing.”
And their prophet said to them, “Indeed, a sign of his kingship is that the Taaboot will come to you in which is assurance from your Lord and a remnant of what the family of Moses and the family of Aaron had left, carried by the angels. Indeed in that is a sign for you, if you are believers.” (2:246-248)
I doubt though that the prophet referred to in these verses was Solomon, peace be upon him, because Solomon was mentioned by name several times in the Quran, so why would he be unnamed here?
The verses quoted above from Chapter 2 clearly state that the Ark contains some items left by the families of Moses and Aaron, peace be upon them. It is therefore quite possible that it has the original tablets on which the ten commandments were inscribed. The Quran also tells us that Moses “threw” the tablets in anger at the relapse of faith of his followers (7:150), but it doesn’t say that the tablets were smashed as a result. So, they could be in one piece still.
BTW, the word means coffin or casket, so I’m not sure why it was translated in English as Ark.
Another interesting bit of information in the documentary was that Ethiopian Jews believe that the Queen of Sheba was from Abyssinia (Ethiopia) and that she married Solomon and that’s how the Ark ended up in Ethiopia and not in Jerusalem.
But the same documentary concluded that the Queen of Sheba was from Yemen.