Ali Ünal - Sura: 16. An-Nahl - The Bee

  1. God’s command (for the calamity to strike the unbelievers and their final destruction at the end of time) is bound to come, so (O unbelievers) do not wish it to be hastened (by asking the Messenger to bring it immediately in order only to deride and cast doubt on it). All-Glorified is He, and absolutely exalted above all that they associate with Him.

  2. He sends down the angels with the Spirit (the life-giving Revelation) from His (absolutely pure, immaterial realm of) command upon whom He wills of His servants (saying): "Warn people that there is no deity save Me, so keep from disobedience to Me in reverence for Me and piety."

  3. He has created the heavens and the earth in truth (meaningfully and with definite purpose, and on solid foundations of truth). Absolutely exalted is He above all that they associate (with Him).

  4. He has created human from (so slight a beginning as) a mere drop of seminal fluid; and yet, he turns into an open, fierce adversary (selfishly disputing against the truth).

  5. And the cattle He has created, from which you get warmth (of clothing) and other uses, and from them you get (food) to eat.

  6. And in them there is beauty for you when you drive them home (in the evening) and when you take them out to pasture (in the morning).

  7. They carry your loads to many a land which (otherwise) you would be unable to reach except with great hardship to yourselves. Indeed your Lord is All-Pitying, All-Compassionate.

  8. And horses, mules and donkeys (has He created for you) to ride, as well as for ornament (the loveliness they add to your world); and (besides all that you see and know of,) He creates what you have no knowledge of.

  9. With God (being your Creator) rests the goal of the way (to which He will guide and which you must follow). And some (ways) are crooked (misleading those who follow them). But if God had willed (to impose His guidance without granting people freedom of choice), He would surely have guided you all together (on His way).

  10. He it is Who sends down from the sky water; you drink thereof, and thereof (drink) the shrubs on which you pasture your cattle.

  11. With it He causes to grow for you the crops, the olives, the date-palms, the grapes, and all (other) kinds of fruit. Surely in this is a sign (manifesting the truth) for people who reflect.

  12. He has made the night and the day and the sun and the moon to be of service to you, and the stars are made subservient by His command. Surely in that are signs for people who reason and understand.

  13. And whatsoever He has created for you on earth of varying colors (and diverse forms and qualities): surely in that is a sign for people who reflect and are mindful.

  14. And He it is Who has made the sea to be of service (to you) so that you eat from it fresh meat, and draw out from it ornaments that you wear. And you see the ships plowing their course through it so that you may go forth in quest of His bounty and give thanks (to Him Who has created all this).

  15. And He has cast firm mountains on the earth lest it should shake with you (with its movement), and rivers, and roads, so that you may find your way;

  16. And (other) way-marks, and they (people) find their way by the stars.

  17. Is He then Who creates to be likened to him who does not create? Will you not reflect and be mindful?

  18. And should you attempt to count God’s blessings, you could not compute them. God is indeed All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate (Who continues to provide for His servants despite their sins and even their denial of Him).

  19. God knows whatever you keep concealed and whatever you disclose.

  20. But those whom they invoke, apart from God, create nothing, rather they are themselves created.

  21. Dead (they are), not living (nor can they give life, being themselves in need of it). And they do not know when they will be raised to life.

  22. Your God is the One God, but those who disbelieve in the Hereafter – their hearts are in denial (of this most evident and essential truth, and the many other truths based on it): they are (too) arrogant (to accept dependence on the Supreme Being, and answerability to Him).

  23. Without doubt, God knows whatever they keep concealed and whatever they disclose; He does not love the arrogant.

  24. When it is said to them: "What is it that your Lord (Who sustains, protects, and raises you) has sent down (on the Messenger)?" They say: "Fables of the ancients."

  25. Hence, they will bear their own burdens (of sin) in full on the Day of Resurrection and some of the burdens of those whom they, being ignorant, caused to go astray. Look now! How evil is the burden they load upon themselves!

  26. Those before them (like them, persistent in unbelief, wrongdoing and evil) schemed (against the Messengers and the Divine Message they brought), so God struck what they built at its foundations, and the roof fell in upon them from above, and the doom came upon them without their perceiving whence it came.

  27. Then on the Day of Resurrection He will disgrace them and will say: "Where are (those beings whom you claimed) as partners with Me and for whose sake you used to oppose (the believers), defying and disobeying (My guidance)?" Those who (in their lifetime) were endowed with the Knowledge declare: "Disgrace and evil are, this day, on the unbelievers:"

  28. Those whose souls the angels take while they are still wronging themselves (by falsely associating partners with God, and committing evils). (When they see the punishment), they offer full submission, (saying in an attempt to excuse themselves): "We did not (mean to) do any evil." (But they are answered:) "No! Surely God has full knowledge of what you were doing (and your intentions therein).

  29. "So, go in through the gates of Hell to abide therein." How evil, indeed, is the dwelling of the arrogant (those too haughty to accept God’s guidance).

  30. Whereas it is said to those who keep from disobedience to God in reverence for Him and piety: "What is it that your Lord sends down (on the Messenger)?" They answer: "That which is purely good and to our benefit (in both worlds)." For those devoted to doing good in this world, aware that God is seeing them, there is good, and the abode of the Hereafter is indeed better. How excellent, indeed, is the abode of the God-revering, pious!

  31. Gardens of perpetual bliss which they will enter, through which rivers flow. Therein they will have whatever they may desire. Thus does God reward the God-revering, pious –

  32. Those whose souls the angels take whilst they are in a pious state (free of evil, and worshipping none but God alone), saying: "Peace be upon you! Enter Paradise for what you have been doing."

  33. Are they (the unbelievers and/or those who associate partners with God) but waiting for the angels to come to them (to take their souls or bring them a disaster), or for your Lord’s command (to judge them and open Hell for them)? Even so did those before them. God did not wrong them but they did wrong themselves.

  34. Then the evil consequences of what they used to do fell upon them, and that which they were mocking overwhelmed them.

  35. Those who associate partners with God say: "Had God so willed, we would not have worshipped anything other than Him, neither we nor our forefathers; nor would we have declared anything unlawful without (a commandment from) Him." Even so did those who lived before them (and associated partners with God like them). But, then, is any duty laid upon the Messengers except to convey the Message clearly?

  36. And certainly, We have raised within every community a Messenger (to convey the primordial Message): Worship God alone, and keep away from false deities and powers of evil (who institute patterns of faith and rule in defiance of God). Among them (past generations) were people whom God guided, just as there were among them those for whom straying was their just due. Go about, then, on the earth and look! How was the outcome for those who denied (God’s manifest signs and His Messengers)!

  37. Though you long ardently for them (all humankind) to be rightly guided, God surely does not guide those whom He has led astray (as their just due). And they have no helpers (to defend them against God).

  38. And by God they swear their most solemn oaths, "God will never raise from the dead anyone who has died!" No! but it is a promise (that He has laid) upon Himself in truth, but most people do not know (being ignorant and lacking desire for knowledge of the truth).

  39. (He will indeed fulfill that promise and resurrect them,) so that He will make clear to people the truth about what they differ on, and so that those who disbelieve will know that they were liars.

  40. (Raising the dead to life, like giving them life in the first place, is easy for Us:) Our word for a thing when We will it is simply Our saying to it, "Be!" and it is.

  41. Those who emigrate (to another land) for God’s cause after they have been oppressed on account of their faith, We will surely give them goodly residence in the world, and their reward in the Hereafter is certainly greater. If only they (all people) knew (how great that reward is)!

  42. Those (they are) who have persevered in patience (through all adversities), and it is in their Lord that they put their trust.

  43. We did not send before you (O Muhammad) any but men to whom We revealed – and if you (O people) do not know, then ask the people of expert knowledge (those who have knowledge of the Divine Revelations) —

  44. (We sent them with) clear proofs of the truth and Scriptures. And on you We have sent down the Reminder (the Qur’an) so that you may make clear to humankind whatever is sent down to them (through you of the truth concerning their present and next life), and that they may reflect.

  45. Do they, who (in defiance of God’s grace) devise evil schemes, feel safe and secure that God will not cause the earth to swallow them, or that the punishment will not befall them without their perceiving whence it has come?

  46. Or that He will not seize them in the midst of their strutting about (the land in pomp and show of dominion), and they are helpless to frustrate Him?

  47. Or that He will not seize them with gradual wasting (of wealth and health giving them time to mend their ways)? For surely your Lord is All-Pitying, All-Compassionate.

  48. Do they not see the things that God has created, how their shadows bend to the right and to the left, making prostration before God, and that in the humblest manner?

  49. Before God prostrates itself whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth of living creatures, and the angels (likewise, for) they are not arrogant.

  50. They (the angels) fear their Lord high above them (i.e., Who has absolute power over them), and they do what they are commanded.

  51. God has said: "Do not take two (or more) deities: He is but One God. So be in awe of Me and Me alone, (and be saved from other fears bringing disgrace upon you)."

  52. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and on the earth, and to Him alone absolute obedience is always due. Will you, then, fear and obey in piety and due reverence other than God?

  53. Whatever blessing you have, it is from God; and when harm touches you, it is to Him that you cry for help.

  54. When thereafter He removes the harm from you, a party of you attribute partners to their Lord (Who alone sustains and provides for you, and saves you from misfortunes);

  55. And so deny with ingratitude the favors God has granted them. So enjoy (O polytheists, the favors We grant you) – in time you will come to know (the truth).

  56. They assign, out of what We provide for them, a portion to the things (non-existent gods, misunderstood "causes," the real nature of) which they have no sure knowledge. By God, you will certainly be questioned about what you used to fabricate.

  57. And they assign daughters to God – All-Glorified is He (above having children) – and to themselves sons!

  58. When any of them is given news of the birth of a girl, his face becomes overcast, and he is (as if choking inwardly) with suppressed anger.

  59. He hides himself from the people because of the evil (as he wrongly supposes it) of what he has had news of. (So he debates within himself:) Shall he keep her with dishonor or bury her in earth? Look now! how evil is the judgment they make (concerning God, and how evil is the decision they debate)!

  60. To those who do not believe in the Hereafter applies the most evil of attributes, and to God applies the most sublime attribute, and He is the All-Glorious with irresistible might, the All-Wise.

  61. If God were to take people immediately to task for their wrongdoings, He would not leave on it (the earth) any living creature (as the wrongdoings of humankind would make the earth uninhabitable). But He grants them respite to a term appointed (by Him). When their term has come, they can neither delay it by a single moment, nor can they bring it forward.

  62. They make over to God that which they dislike (for themselves); and all the while their tongues utter the falsehood that ("if there would be another life as the Messenger claims," the best reward (Paradise) would be theirs. No doubt theirs is (on the contrary, only) the Fire, and they will be hastened on into it.

  63. By God, We certainly sent Messengers to the communities before you (O Messenger), but Satan decked out their deeds as appealing to (the unbelievers among) them. And this day (too, when the Qur’an is being revealed), he is their close friend, and theirs is a painful punishment.

  64. And We have not sent down the Book on you except that you may explain to them all (the questions of faith and law) on which they differ, and as guidance and mercy for people who will believe and who have already believed.

  65. God sends down from the sky water and therewith revives the earth after its death. Surely in that there is a sign (manifesting the truth) for people ready to hear (and understand the discourses of the "Book of Creation" and the Revelation.)

  66. And surely in the cattle (feeding on the pastures of the revived earth) there is a lesson for you: We give you from that which is within their bodies, (marvelously distinguished from) between the waste and blood, milk that is pure and palatable to those who drink.

  67. And there are (among the produce that God brings forth as nourishment for you on the revived earth) the fruits of the date-palm, and grapes: you derive from them intoxicants and good, wholesome nourishment. Surely in this there is a sign for people who reason and understand.

  68. And your Lord inspired the (female) bee: "Take for yourself dwelling-place in the mountains, and in the trees, and in what they (human beings) may build and weave.

  69. "Then eat of all the fruits, and returning with your loads follow the ways your Lord has made easy for you." There comes forth from their bellies a fluid of varying color, wherein is health for human beings. Surely in this there is a sign for people who reflect.

  70. God has created you, then He causes you to die. And among you are those who are deferred to the age of senility so they do not know, of what they once knew, anything at all. Surely God is All-Knowing, All-Powerful.

  71. And God has favored some of you above others in provision. And yet, (while it is We Who provide them) those who are more favored do not consent to share their provision with those (slaves) whom their right hands possess so that they might be equal with them in this respect. How then do they deny God’s grace and bounty, (and associate partners with Him)?

  72. God has made for you, from your selves, mates (spouses), and has made for you from your mates children and grandchildren, and has provided you with good, wholesome things. Do they, then, believe in falsehood and deny the blessings of God?

  73. And do they worship, apart from God, what has no ownership of any provision in the heavens and the earth with which to provide for them, nor have they (whom they falsely worship) any capacity (to take on, still less, discharge such a task)?

  74. So do not invent similitudes for God (do not liken Him to others to associate partners with Him, for there is nothing similar to Him). Surely God knows and you do not know (the exact truth about Him and the exact nature of things).

  75. God strikes a parable (of two men so that you may understand that true freedom lies in the service of God, because it frees from servitude to all else): a man enslaved, unable to do anything of his own will, and a (free) man whom We have provided with a fair provision from Us, and he spends thereof secretly and openly. Are the two equal? All praise and gratitude are due to God (for to Him alone belongs absolute ownership and disposition of the universe); but most of them do not know.

  76. And God strikes a parable of two (other) men: one of them dumb, unable to control anything (unable to answer any call, unable to decide any matter or meet any need). He is a burden upon his master; wherever he directs him, he brings no good. Is he equal with one who enjoins right and justice and is himself on a straight path?

  77. And to God belongs (absolute dominion and full knowledge of) the unseen of the heavens and the earth, and the matter of the Hour (of Doom) is (in relation with the Divine Power) but the twinkling of an eye, or even quicker. Surely God has full power over everything.

  78. God brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers when you knew nothing, and (in order that you might be perfected through learning) endowed you with hearing and eyes and hearts, that you may give thanks (from the heart and in speech, and in action by fulfilling His commandments).

  79. Do they not consider the birds flying in the air subservient to God’s command? None holds them but God (Who has endowed them with the power of flight). Surely in that there are signs (manifesting the truth) for people who will believe who will deepen in faith.

  80. And (among His blessings on you) God has made for you of your houses places of dwelling and rest; and He has made for you, from the hides of cattle, (another kind of) dwellings that you find light when you travel and when you stop to camp; and in their wool, fur, and hair (He has provided you with means for) furnishings and enjoyable comforts for a while.

  81. And (among countless other blessings of His) He has made for you, out of the things He has created, shelter from the sun, and given you refuges in the mountains, and made (the means whereby you make) garments to protect you from heat (or cold), and garments (such as coats-of-mail) to protect you from your (mutual) violence. In this way He completes His favors on you so that you may submit to Him (and thereby receive the greatest favor of all).

  82. Then if they (despite these blessings of God and His completing His favors upon them through this Revelation) turn away, what rests with you, (O Messenger,) is only to convey the Message fully and clearly.

  83. They are fully aware of God’s favors, but they refuse to acknowledge them (as such), and most of them are obstinate unbelievers (willfully and stubbornly associating partners with Him in belief and worship).

  84. But a Day (will come) when We raise up a witness from among every community (to testify against them that God’s Religion was communicated to them), and then those who were unbelievers will not be allowed (to speak their excuses), nor will they be allowed (it then being too late) to make amends.

  85. When those who persist in wrongdoing (by associating partners with God and committing evils) see the punishment, it will not be lightened for them, nor will they be reprieved.

  86. And when those who associate partners with God see their associate-deities (such as Prophets, saints, and heroes, whom they hold as partners with God in worship and absolute obedience), they will say "Our Lord! Those are our associate-deities whom we (held as partners with You, and) used to invoke apart from You. (They are the ones who led us astray.)" Whereupon (those beings) fling at them the retort: "You are indeed liars!"

  87. On that Day they (those who associated partners with God) have offered submission to God, (which out of arrogance they used to withhold), and what they used to fabricate (by way of false deities to worship besides God) has failed them.

  88. Those who (themselves) disbelieved and barred (other) people from God’s way – We add punishment to their punishment because they used to cause disorder and corruption.

  89. And on that Day We will raise up within every community a witness from among themselves (to testify) against them (that God’s Religion was communicated to them), and We will bring you (O Messenger) as a witness against those (whom your Message has reached). We have sent down on you the Book as an exposition of everything (that pertains to guidance and error and to the knowledge of good and evil, and to happiness and misery in both worlds), and guidance and mercy and glad tidings for the Muslims (those who have submitted themselves wholly to God.

  90. God enjoins justice (and right judgment in all matters), and devotion to doing good, and generosity towards relatives, and He forbids you indecency, wickedness and vile conduct (all offenses against religion, life, personal property, chastity, and health of mind and body). He exhorts you (repeatedly) so that you may reflect and be mindful!

  91. And fulfill God’s covenant when you have made the covenant (and any commitment that you made among yourselves in God’s Name), and do not break your oaths after having confirmed them; indeed you have made God your guarantor. Surely God knows all that you do.

  92. And do not be like her who destroys her yarn that she herself made strong, betraying (thereby her own effort) – by making your oaths a means of deception among yourselves in order that you may be a community greater in numbers (in power and other worldly things) than another community. In this God is only testing you, and on the Day of Resurrection, He will certainly make clear to you all that on which you used to differ.

  93. Had God so willed, He would have made you all one single community (with the same faith and religion), but He (has granted you free will with the result that He) leads astray whomever He wills, and guides whomever He wills. You will certainly be called to account for what you used to do.

  94. Do not make your oaths a means of deception and wrongdoing among yourselves, lest feet should slip (from the way of guidance) after having been firm (on it, and that others too may be misled by your misconduct); and you should taste the evil (consequences) of your barring from God’s way. And (in the Hereafter) there is a mighty punishment for you.

  95. And do not sell God’s covenant for a trifling price (such as status and other worldly gains). Surely what is with God is the best for you, if you but knew.

  96. Whatever is with you wastes away, but that which is with God is permanent. We will most certainly pay those who are persevering and patient (in fulfilling God’s commandments, refraining from sins, and all the adversities in God’s cause) their reward in accordance with the best of what they used to do.

  97. Whoever does good, righteous deeds, whether male or female, and is a believer, most certainly We will make him (or her) live a good life, and most certainly We will pay such as these their reward in accordance with the best of what they used to do.

  98. So when you recite the Qur’an (as a good, righteous deed), seek refuge in God from Satan rejected (from His Mercy, because of his evil suggestions and whisperings during the recitation).

  99. Surely he has no power over those who believe and put their trust in their Lord.

  100. His power is only over those who make a confidant of him (seeking and heeding his advice and direction), and those who associate partners with God (in worship and obedience).

  101. When We put a Revelation in place of another Revelation (in the course of perfecting the Religion and completing Our favor upon you), – and God knows best what He sends down – they say: "You are but a forger!" No, rather, most of them do not know.

  102. Say (to them, O Messenger): "(My Lord affirms): ‘The Spirit of Holiness brings it down in parts from your Lord with truth (embodying the truth and with nothing false in it), that it may confirm those who believe (strengthening them in their faith and adherence to God’s way), and as guidance, and glad tidings for the Muslims (those who have submitted themselves wholly to God)’."

  103. Certainly We know that they say, "It is but a human being that teaches him." But the tongue of him to whom they falsely hint is outlandish, while this (Qur’an) is in clear Arabic tongue.

  104. Surely those who do not believe in God’s Revelations (and therefore persist in wrongdoing) – God does not guide them (to the way of true prosperity), and for them is a painful punishment.

  105. Only those fabricate lies who do not believe in God’s Revelations; and those are the liars.

  106. Whoever disbelieves in God after having believed – not him who is under duress, while his heart is firm in and content with faith, but the one who willingly opens up his heart to unbelief – upon them falls God’s anger (His condemnation of them), and for them is a mighty punishment.

  107. That is because they have chosen the present, worldly life in preference to the Hereafter, and because God does not guide the people of unbelief (to the way of true prosperity and Paradise).

  108. Those are they upon whose hearts, hearing, and eyes God has set a seal, and those are they who are unmindful, heedless.

  109. No doubt, in the Hereafter they will be the utter losers.

  110. Yet surely your Lord turns with favor to those who emigrate after they have been subjected to persecutions (because of their faith) and thereafter exert themselves in God’s cause and endure with patience (whatever befalls them) – indeed, in return for such (good deeds) your Lord is All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate.

  111. (Be ever mindful of) the Day when every soul will come pleading for itself, and every soul will be repaid in full for what it did, and none of them will be wronged.

  112. God strikes a parable of a township which was secure and at ease, with its provision coming to it in abundance from all quarters. But it showed ingratitude to God (its people disbelieved, attributed their apparent well-being to other than God and so fell into the habit of making up partners with Him in belief and worship, and daily life); and so God caused it to taste the garment of famine and fear because of what they habitually contrived.

  113. For sure a Messenger from among themselves had come to them, but they denied him, and in consequence, the punishment seized them while they were doing wrong.

  114. So (O people) partake as pure, lawful and wholesome of what God has provided you, and give thanks for His bounty, if it is indeed Him that you worship.

  115. He has made unlawful to you only carrion, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that (the animal) which is offered in the name of other than God. Yet whoever is constrained by dire necessity to eat of them, provided he does not covet (what is forbidden) and does not exceed (the bounds of necessity) – (no sin shall be on him). Surely God is All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate.

  116. And do not pronounce for what your tongues falsely describe: "This is lawful and this is forbidden," so that you fabricate falsehood in attribution to God. Surely those who fabricate falsehood in attribution to God do not prosper.

  117. (Their lot is) a brief enjoyment (in this world), and theirs is a painful punishment (in the Hereafter).

  118. And for those who are Jews We made unlawful what We have already related to you. We have never wronged them but they did habitually wrong themselves.

  119. Then indeed your Lord is – to those who do evil in ignorance (as a result of failing to counter the prompting of the evil-commanding soul), and then repent (soon as they realize what they have done is wrong) and mend their ways and conduct – indeed your Lord is All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate (with special mercy toward His penitent servants).

  120. Abraham was an exemplary leader, (whose self-dedication to the good of his community made him) as if a community, sincerely obedient to God as a man of pure faith (free from any stain of unbelief and hypocrisy), and he was not of those who associate partners with God –

  121. Always thankful for His favors. He (God) chose him, and guided him to a straight path (to follow himself and guide others).

  122. We granted him good in the world, and he is surely among the righteous in the Hereafter.

  123. Thereafter, We have revealed to you (O Messenger): Follow the way of Abraham as one of pure faith (free from unbelief and hypocrisy), and he was never of those who associate partners with God.

  124. The Sabbath was ordained only for those who differed about it (not for all the communities that were to follow the way of Abraham). Your Lord will assuredly judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that on which they used to differ.

  125. Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and argue with them in the best way possible. Your Lord surely knows best who has gone astray from His way, and He knows best who are the rightly guided.

  126. If you have to respond to any wrong, respond (only) to the measure of the wrong done to you; but if you endure patiently, it is indeed better for the patient.

  127. Endure patiently; your endurance is only for God’s sake and by His help; and do not grieve for them (because of their attitude toward your mission), nor be distressed because of what they scheme.

  128. Surely God is with those who keep from disobedience to God in reverence for Him and piety and those devoted to doing good, aware that God is seeing them.


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