سورة النحل   

Surah Name: An-Nahl Meaning: The Bee

  • Revealed at Makkah
  • This Surah, also revealed in Makkah, carries on the discussion initiated in the preceding Surah, extending it to the evidence or the inevitability of the Day of Judgement. It also presents the various creations of Allah-SWT as testimony to His-SWT Unity: amongst them the honeybee has been especially mentioned. This is why the Surah is named An-Nahl.
  • Total Number of Rukū / Sections 16
  • Total Number of Āyāt / Parts 128
  • Sūrah / Chapter number 16
  • Rukū / Section 10 contains Āyāt / Parts 6
  • Siparah/ Volume 14


وَاللّهُ فَضَّلَ بَعْضَكُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ فِي الْرِّزْقِ فَمَا الَّذِينَ فُضِّلُواْ بِرَآدِّي رِزْقِهِمْ عَلَى مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُمْ فَهُمْ فِيهِ سَوَاء أَفَبِنِعْمَةِ اللّهِ يَجْحَدُونَ

Wa(A)llahu faddala baAAdakum AAala baAAdin fee a(l)rrizqi fama allatheena fuddiloo biraddee rizqihim AAala ma malakat aymanuhum fahum feehi sawaon afabiniAAmati Allahi yajhadoon(a)

And Allaah-SWT has preferred some of you over some others in provision; then those who are preferred are not going to hand over their provision to those whom their right hands possess, so as to be their equal in that respect. Do they then deny the Favour of Allaah-SWT ?


وَاللّهُ جَعَلَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا وَجَعَلَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَزْوَاجِكُم بَنِينَ وَحَفَدَةً وَرَزَقَكُم مِّنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ أَفَبِالْبَاطِلِ يُؤْمِنُونَ وَبِنِعْمَتِ اللّهِ هُمْ يَكْفُرُونَ

Wa(A)llahu jaAAala lakum min anfusikum azwajan wajaAAala lakum min azwajikum baneena wahafadatan warazaqakum mina a(l)ttayyibati afabi(a)lbatili yuminoona wabiniAAmati Allahi hum yakfuroon(a)

Allah-SWT has made for you of yourselves spouses, and from your spouses. He-SWT has made for you sons and grandsons; and He-SWT has provided you with clean foods. Do they then believe in falsehood and disbelieve in Allah-SWT's Favour?


وَيَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللّهِ مَا لاَ يَمْلِكُ لَهُمْ رِزْقًا مِّنَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ شَيْئًا وَلاَ يَسْتَطِيعُونَ

WayaAAbudoona min dooni Allahi ma la yamliku lahum rizqan mina a(l)ssamawati wa(a)lardi shayan wala yastateeAAoon(a)

And they worship, besides Allah-SWT, what does not and cannot own for them any provision from the heavens and the earth.


فَلاَ تَضْرِبُواْ لِلّهِ الأَمْثَالَ إِنَّ اللّهَ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ

Fala tadriboo lillahi alamthala inna Allaha yaAAlamu waantum la taAAlamoon(a)

Do not propound then similitudes for Allah-SWT; verily Allaah-SWT Knows and you do not.


ضَرَبَ اللّهُ مَثَلاً عَبْدًا مَّمْلُوكًا لاَّ يَقْدِرُ عَلَى شَيْءٍ وَمَن رَّزَقْنَاهُ مِنَّا رِزْقًا حَسَنًا فَهُوَ يُنفِقُ مِنْهُ سِرًّا وَجَهْرًا هَلْ يَسْتَوُونَ الْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ بَلْ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ

Daraba Allahu mathalan AAabdan mamlookan la yaqdiru AAala shayin waman razaqnahu minna rizqan hasanan fahuwa yunfiqu minhu sirran wajahran hal yastawoona alhamdu lillahi bal aktharuhum la yaAAlamoon(a)

Allah-SWT Propounds a similitude: there is a bondman enslaved who has not power over anything, and there is one whom We-SWT have provided from Ourselves-SWT with goodly provision and he spends out of it in private and public; can they be equal? Praise be to Allaah-SWT . But most of them do not know.


وَضَرَبَ اللّهُ مَثَلاً رَّجُلَيْنِ أَحَدُهُمَا أَبْكَمُ لاَ يَقْدِرُ عَلَىَ شَيْءٍ وَهُوَ كَلٌّ عَلَى مَوْلاهُ أَيْنَمَا يُوَجِّههُّ لاَ يَأْتِ بِخَيْرٍ هَلْ يَسْتَوِي هُوَ وَمَن يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَهُوَ عَلَى صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ

Wadaraba Allahu mathalan rajulayni ahaduhuma abkamu la yaqdiru AAala shayin wahuwa kallun AAala mawlahu aynama yuwajjihhu la yati bikhayrin hal yastawee huwa waman yamuru bi(a)lAAadli wahuwa AAala siratin mustaqeem(in)

And Allaah-SWT propounds a similitude: there are two men, one of them dumb who has no power over anything, and is a burden to his master, wherever he dispatches him he brings to him no good; is he equal to him who commands justice and is himself on the straight path?


In The Name of Allah-SWT the Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

Now ponder over your own creation, which carries extraordinary evidence of monotheism. Allaah-SWT did not create people equal in terms of affluence. Just as they are different in physical and mental capacities, so are they in monetary status. Some can afford to hire servants, possess luxuries and are rich enough to spend as they wish. Rather they serve as a means of livelihood for many others.

Then there are others who are not so privileged and are employed as labourers, servants and slaves. Does any affluent master accept his slave as an equal, or can he make him equal? Even if he gives away many things to his slave, these will still belong to the master. And if the wealth is given after freeing the slave, he may become equally rich, but no longer remains a slave. So why these polytheists accept their idols and deities, when a creation can never be equal to its Creator? How preposterous is their claim and what a sheer dissidence it is over Allaah-SWT ’s Grace, without any logic!


The Economic System of Islam

This Ayah indicates that being rich or poor is not accidental. Rather, the system of human life is based on this classification. For instance, people vary in intelligence and knowledge. A person knows how to build a wall but has no money. The other has the money but does not know how to build it. So both make a deal; the mason builds the wall, while the rich pays him the wages. Acting within this system they are also being tried for ability and virtue. But when the rules of this system were violated and the means of earning a livelihood were monopolised by a few persons or establishments, they invented oppressive ways of amassing wealth for themselves and making others dependant on them. This system is known as capitalism. Tired of this oppressive system, communism or socialism was launched to substitute it. The oppressed heard an appealing slogan that wealth would now be distributed equally amongst everyone. But once trapped by the system they discovered that it was even worse than capitalism. For despite of being poor in a capitalistic society a person managed to maintain his human dignity, which was snatched away by socialism, reducing man to a machine. All his belongings, his house, even his children were declared as the State property. He neither had any freedom of expression, nor the right to raise a voice against anything which bothered his conscience. The slightest expression of frustration by anyone would be taken as a rebellion and he will be put to death in the most brutal manner.

Islam has blessed mankind with an ideal economic system, perfectly balanced between the cruel and the foolish manipulations of capitalism and socialism. The Islamic System abolishes interest and gambling in order to uproot illegal investments. It prohibits hoardings, and all other practices which artificially create inflation and shortages. This ensures that no person or group usurps the wealth of the other. Above all, Islam enjoins charity on every affluent Muslim. It also distributes the inheritance of the deceased amongst his heirs. It declares natural springs of water, seas and oceans, natural forests growing on mountains, etc. a common property for all. All these measures are to ensure that wealth is not concentrated in a few hands. And as for the dissimilarity between people in terms of affluence, it is as natural a phenomenon as the variance of physical and mental faculties. The financial difference among people is a universal reality, and the slogan to obliterate this gradation can either be raised by fools, or by those who intend to befool others. Can you efface the differences by virtue of which Allaah-SWT created wives for you from your own kind, and made this a source of preservation of your race? They bear children and then their children bear children.


The Status of a Woman

Speaking of the human race, a woman has been declared as a human being, of the same kind as a man. It means that she too has similar emotions and feelings, and as such deserves similar respect. Although the duties assigned to both are different, yet their mutual relationship has been made a source of procreation and continuance of human race. So can anyone expunge this system and make men and women equal, or declare men to be women and vice versa? If it is done can the systematic fuijptioning of this world and the continuation of human race be possible? And for the sustenance of mankind, Allaah-SWT provided for it the best of foods and diets, which again cannot be the same for everyone. A particular food maybe harmful to someone and beneficial to the other. So when in all these matters even no two people can be equal to another, how foolish it is to claim equality with the Creator and the Owner! Does it not amount to denial of His-SWT Blessings and Favours by believing in irrational and absurd concepts?

People also indulge in worshipping others besides Allah-SWT, who themselves are creations and dependant. They have no say in the matters of the heavens or the earth, nor any power to grant anything to their devouts. Therefore, do not try to compare Allaah-SWT with the rulers of this world asserting that they need others to assist them, so does Allaah-SWT ! Do bear in mind that a king and his deputies are parts of creation, whereas Allaah-SWT Alone is the Creator. So it is totally wrong to draw a parallel between Him and them, in a bid to rationalize polytheism. Allaah-SWT is all-Knowing while people are ignorant and dependant upon Him-SWT for knowledge. Allaah-SWT has given two parables; firstly of a slave who himself is the property of someone and cannot disburse anything from his masters belongings at his own. Whereas his master not only owns everything but also the slave, and can do with his wealth as he pleases. He can also command the slave to do whatever he wants. The two of them, inspite of being human, can never be equal. How then, can a creation claim to be equal to the Creator? Whereas all excellence belongs to Allaah-SWT Alone; yet most of the human beings do not acknowledge it.

The second parable is also of a slave who is useless as well as ignorant, having no knowledge or sense. And he is also physically weak to run any errands, and is rather a liability for the master, who has to look after him. And whatever task is assigned to him, he always spoils it and incurs loss. Now take another person possessing admirable knowledge and also the strength to execute; not only does he do the right things himself but is also capable of making others do well. In short, he possesses the perfect skills. Can the two be equal? Certainly not! Then how can anyone be equal to Allaah-SWT ?