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 9 contains Āyāt / Parts 5
  • Siparah/ Volume 14


وَإِنَّ لَكُمْ فِي الأَنْعَامِ لَعِبْرَةً نُّسْقِيكُم مِّمَّا فِي بُطُونِهِ مِن بَيْنِ فَرْثٍ وَدَمٍ لَّبَنًا خَالِصًا سَآئِغًا لِلشَّارِبِينَ

Wainna lakum fee alanAAami laAAibratan nusqeekum mimma fee butoonihi min bayni farthin wadamin labanan khalisan saighan li(l)shsharibeen(a)

Verily there is a lesson for you in the cattle; We-SWT give you to drink of what is in their bellies, between the dung and blood: milk, pure and pleasant to swallow for the drinkers.


وَمِن ثَمَرَاتِ النَّخِيلِ وَالأَعْنَابِ تَتَّخِذُونَ مِنْهُ سَكَرًا وَرِزْقًا حَسَنًا إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لآيَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ

Wamin thamarati a(l)nnakheeli wa(a)laAAnabi tattakhithoona minhu sakaran warizqan hasanan inna fee thalika laayatan liqawmin yaAAqiloon(a)

And also a lesson is for you in the fruits of date palms and the grapes of which you take a liquor and a goodly provision, verily in that is a Sign for a people who understand.


وَأَوْحَى رَبُّكَ إِلَى النَّحْلِ أَنِ اتَّخِذِي مِنَ الْجِبَالِ بُيُوتًا وَمِنَ الشَّجَرِ وَمِمَّا يَعْرِشُونَ

Waawha rabbuka ila a(l)nnahli ani ittakhithee mina aljibali buyootan wamina a(l)shshajari wamimma yaAArishoon(a)

And your Rabb-SWT inspired the bee saying: take you for yourself houses of hills, of trees, and of what they erect.


ثُمَّ كُلِي مِن كُلِّ الثَّمَرَاتِ فَاسْلُكِي سُبُلَ رَبِّكِ ذُلُلاً يَخْرُجُ مِن بُطُونِهَا شَرَابٌ مُّخْتَلِفٌ أَلْوَانُهُ فِيهِ شِفَاء لِلنَّاسِ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لآيَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

Thumma kulee min kulli a(l)ththamarati fa(o)slukee subula rabbiki thululan yakhruju min butooniha sharabun mukhtalifun alwanuhu feehi shifaon li(l)nnasi inna fee thalika laayatan liqawmin yatafakkaroon(a)

Then eat you of all manner of fruits and tread the ways of your Rabb-SWT made easy. There springs forth from their bellies a drink varied in colours; in it is a healing for mankind; verily in that is a Sign for a people who reflect.


وَاللّهُ خَلَقَكُمْ ثُمَّ يَتَوَفَّاكُمْ وَمِنكُم مَّن يُرَدُّ إِلَى أَرْذَلِ الْعُمُرِ لِكَيْ لاَ يَعْلَمَ بَعْدَ عِلْمٍ شَيْئًا إِنَّ اللّهَ عَلِيمٌ قَدِيرٌ

Wa(A)llahu khalaqakum thumma yatawaffakum waminkum man yuraddu ila arthali alAAumuri likay la yaAAlama baAAda AAilmin shayan inna Allaha AAaleemun qadeer(un)

Allah-SWT has created you; then He-SWT takes your souls. Of you are some who are brought back to the meanest of age, so that they know not anything after having knowledge; verily Allaah-SWT is Knowing, Wise.


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

Allah-SWT draws man's attention towards the ajatomy of cattle. Their bellies contain dung and blood. But a part of these materials is turned unto milk. There exists such a mechanism in their bodies, which separates clean and delicious liquid from blood and dung secreted as a blessing for the consumer. This unique fluid is both a perfect diet and a medicine. Nature has prescribed it as the very first diet of every new bom. The Holy Prophet-SW also recommended its intake, followed by the prayer "O Allah-SWT ! Place Barakah in it for us and increase it further".


Delicious and Good Food

This Ayah also indicates that good and delicious food is not contrary to piety provided it is earned lawfully and is free of extravgance. Think about the wide raflge of fruits, for instance. From dates and grapes alone you make a variety of intoxicating drinks and delicious eatables. In other words, man has not only been blessed with good things to eat but has also been given the sense to blend the natural ingredients into a variety of dainty recipies, nourishing foods and healing medicines. This sense of improvising has not been given to any other creation, and all of them consume food in its raw form. These Ayat were revealed in Makkah prior to the prohibition of alcohol. They do not, however, permit alcohol. Rather, the point here is that man at times misuses Allah-SWT's provisions for the sake of pleasure, but such misuse does not negate His-SWT Favours. Besides, even though alcohol had not been prohibited so far, this Ayah does distinguish good provisions from it by mentioning that the best of foods are not intoxicating.

Take a look at the honeybee, for instance; how Allaah-SWT has inspired it to construct its hive on lofty treetops, or on mountains high above the polluted environment. This is to ensure that the honey is prepared in the most hygienic and perfect manner. The expression "inspired her" indicates that a honeybee excels all other insects in comprehension and understanding. And a study of its lifestyle does disclose a superb system. All matters rest in the hands of the queen bee who has authority over all matters. It is a bee relatively much bigger in size and lays thousands of eggs within a short span of time. She then assigns tasks to the hatching bees. Some of them are appointed as guards and the rest as workers. Some male bees are also there but only as if to adorn the population. Amongst the workers some collect different materials from plants and produce wax, while others make beautiful hexagonal cells. Generally each honeycomb comprises twenty to thirty thousand wax-cells, identical in measurement and structure. Some of the bees guard the eggs and nurture the little ones that hatch out of them. While others gather the nectar from flowers and fruit, which after going through their digestive system transforms into honey. This itself is the nourishment for the bees and their young ones, and in it Allaah-SWT has also kept taste as well as cure for mankind. Honey is a very nourishing and delicious food and at the same time a high quality medicine. The bees on guard not only protect their hive from intruders but also make sure that if a bee from their hive sits on filth, it is arrested and presented before the Queen, who commands its immediate execution. This is a general overview, and what the research reveals boggles the human mind. How Allaah-SWT has inspired into this tinv creature the sense to collect nectar from colourful flowers and a variety of fruits and then to follow complicated paths made easier for it by Allaah-SWT ! It is very difficult for others to follow its course. It makes approximately eighty thousand trips between a flower and its hive. And it is amazing that it does not go to any other hive, and even if it does the guardian bees of that swarm do not allow it in. Besides, nature does not allow the nectar to be totally consumed by the bee. It is excreted as honey, in a wide range of colours and flavours wherein cure for mankind is.


What is meant by Different Colours?

A mention of 'a drink varied in colours, in it is a healing for mankind' the different colours of honey probably means that honey prepared from the extracts of a particular flower becomes the perfect cure for the ailment in which that flower is beneficial. In medical biographies we come across an account of a learned physician who had classified human ailments into eight categories and suggested cure by eight different kinds of herbs. He-SWT then planted each type of herb in a separate garden such as Banafshah (the violet) for treating ailments involving congestion, planted Malathi (liquorice) for cough etc, and reared honeybees separately in these gardens. When the flowers blossomed on these plants the bees prepared honey from those in their own area. The honey so prepared proved to be the best medicine for that particular ailment.


An Excellent Method of Treatment

According to the latest medical research, the Russian experts issued a Medical Journal which recommended that a glass full of lukewarm milk with honey must be taken before going to bed. Even if it is taken during the day, one must rest for a while in the bed. This, they claim, is a sure cure for cardiac diseases in particular and many other ailments in general.

Honey is also a cure for optical diseases. The acnes and boils when coated with it are cured. If a cotton swab dipped in honey is applied to an aching tooth, the pain is relieved. In short, Allaah-SWT has made honey a source of treatment and in this lies a lesson for all those who ponder, as well as a great evidence of His Magnanimity. The honeybee, according to Hadlth, enjoys a unique status. It is reported that all the flies will be sent to Hell to be a source of nuisance for its dwellers, except the honeybee.

Medicine and Treatment

It is also evident here that to seek cure for an ailment through medicine is prescribed by nature. The Companions"-RAU' are reported to have once asked the Holy Prophet'-SW whether the medicines or the Quranic cures they sought for ailments altered the fate, meaning that the ailment is cured. He told them that adopting these means is also predestined by Allaah-SWT . The reports that some Sufi saints did not like the medical treatment is related to a state of spiritual ecstasy. According to Shari'ah, treating an ailment is not only permissible but also mandatory.


Wahi, Ilqa’ and Kashf etc

It is established that when Allaah-SWT plans to bestow something, He-SWT also grants the associated knowledge of natural processes. Here the word Wahi (Revelation) has been used in the meaning of Ilqa, which means to inspire a thought quietly into a heart. While in terminology Wahi means to reveal a Divine Word unto a Prophet.-AS These forms of bestowing knowledge are also employed for animals. Man, the most superior of all creations in terms of awareness, is blessed with Prophethood and honoured with Divine Revelation, due to which he became a source of conveying His-SWT Commands to his fellow human beings. From amongst the devoted adherents of a Prophet-AS He-SWT chooses some and grants the capacity to attain knowledge. Then He-SWT blesses them with Ilm Laduni (the inspired knowledge). The varying forms of this knowledge are llham, Ilqa and Kashf. A Prophet-AS never errs in understanding the Revelation. A Wali's llham. Ilqa' or Kashf too is never wrong as it is from Allaah-SWT . However, a Wali does not possess the same level of understanding as a Prophet,-AS so the knowledge of a Wali depends upon the teachings of the Prophet-AS. If it is contrary to these, it will be rejected; obviously being misunderstood.


It is Allaah-SWT Who has created you, and it is He-SWT Who-SWT gives you health, youth, power, authority and ultimately death. Besides, some of you live to touch those limits of old age where life remains but all other faculties weaken away. So having once been knowledgeable, you reach a stage of ignorance. Know, therefore, that the Knowledge and the Power belong to Allaah-SWT Alone.