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 13 contains Āyāt / Parts 11
  • Siparah/ Volume 14


إِنَّ اللّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاء ذِي الْقُرْبَى وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاء وَالْمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ

Inna Allaha yamuru bi(a)lAAadli wa(a)lihsani waeetathee alqurba wayanha AAani alfahshai wa(a)lmunkari wa(a)lbaghyi yaAAithukum laAAallakum tathakkaroon(a)

Verily Allaah-SWT Commands justice and well doing and giving to kindred; and He-SWT prohibits lewdness and wickedness and oppression. He-SWT exhorts you that per chance you may be admonished.


وَأَوْفُواْ بِعَهْدِ اللّهِ إِذَا عَاهَدتُّمْ وَلاَ تَنقُضُواْ الأَيْمَانَ بَعْدَ تَوْكِيدِهَا وَقَدْ جَعَلْتُمُ اللّهَ عَلَيْكُمْ كَفِيلاً إِنَّ اللّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَفْعَلُونَ

Waawfoo biAAahdi Allahi itha AAahadtum wala tanqudoo alaymana baAAda tawkeediha waqad jaAAaltumu Allaha AAalaykum kafeelan inna Allaha yaAAlamu ma tafAAaloon(a)

Fulfill the Covenant of Allaah-SWT when you have covenanted, and do not break oaths after their confirmation and surely you have appointed Allaah-SWT your surety. Surely Allaah-SWT Knows whatever you do.


وَلاَ تَكُونُواْ كَالَّتِي نَقَضَتْ غَزْلَهَا مِن بَعْدِ قُوَّةٍ أَنكَاثًا تَتَّخِذُونَ أَيْمَانَكُمْ دَخَلاً بَيْنَكُمْ أَن تَكُونَ أُمَّةٌ هِيَ أَرْبَى مِنْ أُمَّةٍ إِنَّمَا يَبْلُوكُمُ اللّهُ بِهِ وَلَيُبَيِّنَنَّ لَكُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ مَا كُنتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ

Wala takoonoo ka(a)llatee naqadat ghazlaha min baAAdi quwwatin ankathan tattakhithoona aymanakum dakhalan baynakum an takoona ommatun hiya arbamin ommatin innama yablookumu Allahu bihi walayubayyinanna lakum yawma alqiyamati ma kuntum feehi takhtalifoon(a)

And do not be like her who unravels her yarn into strands after its strength, holding your oaths a means of discord amongst you that a community may be more numerous than another community. Allaah-SWT only tests you thereby, and He-SWT will surely show to you on the Day of Judgement that wherein you have been differing.


وَلَوْ شَاء اللّهُ لَجَعَلَكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَلكِن يُضِلُّ مَن يَشَاء وَيَهْدِي مَن يَشَاء وَلَتُسْأَلُنَّ عَمَّا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ

Walaw shaa Allahu lajaAAalakum ommatan wahidatan walakin yudillu man yashao wayahdee man yashao walatusalunna AAamma kuntum taAAmaloon(a)

Had Allaah-SWT so willed, He-SWT would have made you all one community, but He-SWT sends astray whom He-SWT will and guides whom He-SWT will; and certainly you will be questioned about what you have been working.


وَلاَ تَتَّخِذُواْ أَيْمَانَكُمْ دَخَلاً بَيْنَكُمْ فَتَزِلَّ قَدَمٌ بَعْدَ ثُبُوتِهَا وَتَذُوقُواْ الْسُّوءَ بِمَا صَدَدتُّمْ عَن سَبِيلِ اللّهِ وَلَكُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ

Wala tattakhithoo aymanakum dakhalan baynakum fatazilla qadamun baAAda thubootiha watathooqoo a(l)ssooa bima sadadtum AAan sabeeli Allahi walakum AAathabun AAatheem(un)

And do not make your oaths a means of discord against you lest a foot may slip after its fixture, and you may taste evil for having hindered others from the way of Allah-SWT, and for you there shall be a torment mighty.


وَلاَ تَشْتَرُواْ بِعَهْدِ اللّهِ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلاً إِنَّمَا عِندَ اللّهِ هُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

Wala tashtaroo biAAahdi Allahi thamanan qaleelan innama AAinda Allahi huwa khayrun lakum in kuntum taAAlamoon(a)

And do not barter the covenant of Allaah-SWT for a small price; verily what is with Allaah-SWT -is better for you, if you only know.


مَا عِندَكُمْ يَنفَدُ وَمَا عِندَ اللّهِ بَاقٍ وَلَنَجْزِيَنَّ الَّذِينَ صَبَرُواْ أَجْرَهُم بِأَحْسَنِ مَا كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ

Ma AAindakum yanfadu wama AAinda Allahi baqin walanajziyanna allatheenasabaroo ajrahum biahsani ma kanoo yaAAmaloon(a)

Whatever is with you is exhaustible, and whatever is with Allaah-SWT is lasting. And we will surely recompense those who have been patient, their wage for the best of what they have been working.


مَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا مِّن ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنثَى وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَلَنُحْيِيَنَّهُ حَيَاةً طَيِّبَةً وَلَنَجْزِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْرَهُم بِأَحْسَنِ مَا كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ

Man AAamila salihan min thakarin aw ontha wahuwa muminun falanuhyiyannahuhayatan tayyibatan walanajziyannahum ajrahum biahsani ma kanoo yaAAmaloon(a)

Whoever works righteously, male or female and is a believer, We-SWT will surely quicken him to a clean life, and will surely recompense them their wage for the best of what they have been working.


فَإِذَا قَرَأْتَ الْقُرْآنَ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللّهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ

Faitha qarata alqurana fa(i)staAAith bi(A)llahi mina a(l)shshaytani a(l)rrajeem(i)

And when you would read the Quran, seek refuge with Allaah-SWT from Satan, the damned.


إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ لَهُ سُلْطَانٌ عَلَى الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَعَلَى رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ

Innahu laysa lahu sultanun AAala allatheena amanoo waAAala rabbihim yatawakkaloon(a)

Verily he has no authority over those who believe and have trust in their Rabb-SWT .


إِنَّمَا سُلْطَانُهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ يَتَوَلَّوْنَهُ وَالَّذِينَ هُم بِهِ مُشْرِكُونَ

Innama sultanuhu AAala allatheena yatawallawnahu wa(a)llatheena hum bihi mushrikoon(a)

His-SWT authority is only over those who befriend him and those who are in respect of Him-SWT associators.


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

The superiority of Quranic teachings cannot be denied if one possesses the slightest level of sound thinking. A single Ayah here contains the quintessence of the entire Quran. Allaah-SWT enjoins three aspects upon the believers, namely justice, Ihsan and giving to kins folk.



Justice or Adl literally means to equate'; this is why to resolve a dispute is called 'justice'. In a broader sense it refers to a middle course between extremes and demands, first of all that a person must do justice between himself and his Creator. He should give priority to the Pleasure of Allaah-SWT over his own desires and try his level best to obey His-SWT Commands. Secondly, he should do justice to his own soul by catering to its needs and by protecting it against those desires which can prove fatal for it. Thirdly, he should do justice between himself and the people by fulfilling their rights to the best of his ability and acquiring his own rights, without exceeding them. And when it comes to mutual dealings and resolving disputes, justice demands not to be partial or un-necessarily lenient towards any one side. In short, justice should be practised in beliefs, actions and morals.



The second aspect enjoined upon believers is Ihsan, which indeed is the very spirit of every action. Ihsan refers to a state whereby actions must be a mirror of the inner feelings of the heart and be taken with utmost sincerity; not in pretence or for fame. According to Hadith-e-Ihsan: "Worship Allaah-SWT as if you are beholding Him-SWT . If not, be absolutely sure that He-SWT is beholding you". In other words, every action must be done, as if in the presence of Allah-SWT, and this is a state of the Qalb. One can strive hard to acquire this state, though it is always endowed as a favour from Allaah-SWT . It falls in the category of rewards and the rewards are always an endowment from Allaah-SWT . This blessing was dissipated in the company of the Holy Prophet-SW. His-SW teachings were verbal but only those who received the Faidh of his company became the Companions-RAU. It was this Companionship that elevated them to such a level where they felt themselves in the presence of Allaah-SWT each moment of their entire life. All their actions, even their death was characterised with this state. The same blessing is desired from the company of a Shaikh. As one progresses to a higher station, this state is intensified. Conversely speaking, a heightening of this state elevates the grades and stations of a person correspondily. Struggle is a personal matter whereby one exerts to cleanse his Qalb, whereas the company of a Shaikh generates spiritual states which are transferred only by Allah-SWT's Will.


Giving To Kinsfolk

Its gist is that the rights of relatives be fulfilled. It suggests that one should not only be kind to them because they respect him or are nice folk, but should also forbear any unpleasant treatment from them. One must, out of compassion, treat his relatives courteously. Allaah-SWT has also Commanded abstinence from three things:

  1. Lewdness. (Faftsha") Any action generally perceived as vile, and can be termed as a universal evil, such as lying, stealing etc.
  2. Wickedness. (Munkir) refers to those actions, whether overt or covert, unanimously declared by the Muslim jurists to be sinful and forbidden, for example, one's beliefs. However, a difference of opinion in Ijtehad, by any side, cannot be termed as wickedness.
  3. Oppressive. (Bughi) It includes actions having contagious and widespread effects. In other words, the rights of many people are affected and as a result the whole society is gripped by mischief. Such sins are considered oppressive.

In short, golden rules for a perfect human society have been laid down in this Ayah by enjoining three virtues and forbidding three evils. This is a lesson for people as in it lies the welfare of the entire humanity as well as of the individuals.

And the Covenants of Allah-SWT must be fulfilled, that is, those promises which Allaah-SWT has Commanded to honour must be honoured. In other words, those covenants or oaths which are made against Shari'ah are not to be honoured. Rather, expiating for those would be mandatory. The oaths must be upheld diligently, for once a person reinforces his word by swearing upon Allah-SWT, he makes Allaah-SWT a witness over it. And Allaah-SWT is also well Aware of his deeds. So oaths made in permissible matters must be honoured with complete commitment and effort. And He-SWT Commands not to behave like the woman who would unravel the yarn in the evening, having spun it after a daylong labour, so that neither the fibre nor any filament remain intact. Above all, the day whole of effort and labour is wasted. This is the ultimate fate of one's deeds if an oath or a promise is breached. It is also forbidden to make oaths a pretext for breaching pacts with allies. If alliance has been made with a particular group and then a stronger one comes up, do not breach the pact with the former to join the latter. Such situations will be encountered by the believers as a trial to see whether they follow their fancies or obey Allah-SWT under all circumstances. Indeed the reality as well as the results of their deeds will be unfolded to them on the Day of Judgement.

Had Allaah-SWT willed, He-SWT would have made the entire mankind a single community with a common ideology. But He-SWT put the onus on human conduct. Disobedience makes Him-SWT angry, and as a result He-SWT deprives the defiant of guidance and they go astray. Any person who wins His-SWT Pleasure is blessed with guidance. Human actions indeed yield the results, so man will be held accountable for all that he has done.


Breaching a pact is not only criminal but also endangers faith

And do not make your oaths a source of deception, that you breach your promise and deceive others after having taken an oath. Such a behavour will corrupt others as well, as they too might be encouraged to break their oaths and pledges. Hence this breach of trust may evolve into a great mischief, which may divert people away from the Path of Allah-SWT, invoking affliction. Those sins which corrupt others also invoke a mighty torment. A person, whose vile conduct leads people astray ultimately loses his own faith which is synonymous to horrible doom. In it lies a great warning for the ignorant and the imposter Sufis. Whereas misconduct by the Muslims makes the non believers sceptical of Islam, the evil conduct of false Sufis misleads the Muslims. This crime itself is a serious to the faith of such imposters. May Allaah-SWT protect us!


Bribery is both breach and a bargain of trust, invoking similar punishment

Do not trade in the Covenants of Allaah-SWT that is the assigned duties, for a petty price. According to the Commentators a given responsibility is the Covenant of Allaah-SWT . Now if an official exhorts any money above his salary for doing the job otherwise his responsibility, it amounts to a breach of trust and selling Allaah-SWT ’s Covenant. The petty price refers to a mundane gain, which no matter how great is puny as compared to the sanctity of Allaah-SWT ’s Covenant. Bribe is a curse which does not befit a believer, rather it endangers his faith. It must also he remembered that giving bribe to acquire something to which one has no right is as worse a crime as accepting bribe. The Holy Prophet'-SW says that the one who accepts and the one who gives bribe are both dwellers of Hell. However, if someone rightfully deserves something, but the one who is in control of that thing refuses to give it without a bribe, it will not only be a bribe but a robbery. In this case the former is the oppressed while the latter who demands bribe is a dacoit. Take note that whatever possession man has is mortal. Wealth, friendship or hostility, power or grandeur, everything will perish one Day. However, the after-effects and results, that is, the eternal outcome of actions, is in the safe custody of Allaah-SWT and will never be wasted. In view of this to dedicate one's life to temporal pursuits ignoring the eternal consequences will certainly not be wise.



All those who persevere on piety, and submit to Allaah-SWT ’s Will against their own desires will be rewarded fabulously. Perseverance is to restrain oneself from disobeying Allaah-SWT .

Witness to this Ayah is the fact that a person blessed with faith and acting righteously is rewarded with a peaceful and chaste life. It, however, does not refer to a life free of worldly turmoils, such as sickness, poverty etc. In fact, health, wealth and leisure do not ensure inner peace, which is a state of the heart, and one has to struggle hard to achieve it. The pursuit of basic reason behind the status, power, affluence, property, and friendship is a desire for peace. But how many of the affluent, or powerful people actually experience it? Take a look at the prosperous Western non believing society, a typical case of superfluous material affluence. Inspite of the availability of comfortable homes, nourishing diets and the best of resources, peace and tranquillity is almost non existent. The rate of divorce, suicide and social indifference is constantly on the rise, and the hearts are deprived of peace. On the contrary, a person blessed with the light of faith and the capacity to practise Sunnah is tranquil even when starving. He is at peace in sickness, even in death, for he knows that it is from Allaah-SWT . So, when the believers are so peaceful in this worldly life, their eternal rewards will certainly be multiplied manifold.

The greatest hindrance in practising obedience to Allaah-SWT and virtue is caused by Satan, who creates doubts in the minds through his whispers. There are Satans among human beings also, who are influenced by Iblis and become a barrier to piety. While it is commanded to eradicate them through Jihad, it is also imperative to seek Allaah-SWT ’s Refuge against Iblis and his progeny. Therefore, the Holy Prophet-SW  is being instructed to seek Allah-SWT's Refuge against the Satan before undertaking any task, no matter how noble it maybe, such as reciting the Quran. In other words, the entire mankind is being addressed through him.


Reciting Ta’uz is a Sunnah

To recite: "I seek refuge in Allaah-SWT from Satan the outcast" before reciting the Quran is a Sunnah. The scholars have not classified it as obligatory as there were occasions when it was not recited. A detailed analysis is available in Tafsir ibn Kathir. Ta’uz will also be recited before reciting the Quran in Salat. However, the Hanafi Fiqh considers a single recital at the beginning of the first cycle of Salat as sufficient. Similarly the Holy Prophet-SW has prescribed many invocations for different occasions in order to avail His-SWT Protection against the devil. Besides, the Satan is incapable of subjugating those who trust Allaah-SWT and have a strong faith. He succeeds in influencing only those who display allegiance to him, and have been deprived of Allaah-SWT ’s Protection due to disobedience. He taints their beliefs with polytheism to make them lose Divine Support. Hence the greatest punishment for sin is that a person is condemned to waywardness in this life, steadily heading towards an eternal catastrophe.