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16.

Sura Nahl (or The Bee)

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

The decree of God will inevitably come to pass; it will come soon
enough; when it comes, the Unbelievers will wish it were delayed: Is it not
foolish of them to wish even to cut off their last hope of forgiveness? He sends
down His Command through the angel to whom He wishes among His
servants; – that there is no God save Him, so keep your duty to Him. It is He
Who has created the heavens and the earth and created man from a drop of
fluid. Yet he is an open opponent. High is He above all they associate with
Him! He created cattle with numerous benefits to the mankind and a sense of
pride for him. Your Lord is Most Kind, Most Merciful. For the transport needs
of the mankind he created different animals, such as horses, mules, donkys,
etc.; and many other things of which men have no knowledge (at any given
point of time, many of the modern transportation means were yet unknown to
man. Nor can one suppose the limit to have been reached now or that it will be
reached at any future time). The straigh Way leads to God; but there are ways
which turn aside. Had God wished, he could have guided the entire mankind
on earth.

It is He Who sends down the rain for the needs of the mankind – his
universal drink – the various types of crops, vegetations, fruits, herbs, flowers,
fooder for animals, etc. etc. Verily in this is a Sign for those who give thought
towards these phenomenons. Day, night, sun, moon, stars, all are made for the
service of mankind. And the various other things on the earth, multiplying in
various colours and qualities are for the use of mankind. In these are the Signs
for men to celebrate the praises of his Lord in gratitude. Another climax of the
grandeur of Nature is in the seas and oceans on the globe-all in the service of
mankind. The spiritual spectrum of all the creations in the universe could only
be perceived by men who are so illuminated with spiritual light that their only
reaction is to celebrate the ‘praises of their Lord’ in gratitude for His infinite
Mercy. Now the attention is drawn to the fixed nature of the mountains; and
the rivers and the roads – all in the service of mankind in various ways; and
thus, for his personal admonition. To count up the favours of God on the
mankind, it is just not possible to enumerate them. His Mercy covers us from
every side and He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. He knows what one
conceals or reveals. Those to whom the Unbelievers invoke besides God, have
created nothing. On the contrary they themselves are created – just lifeless
bodies signifying nothing – will be raised up on the Last Day for their
worshippers to confront with them.

Your God is One God and there is Hereafter to come. Those who
refuse the reality of Hereafter are the arrogant and God loves not the arrogant.
These arrogant Unbelievers consider the illustrations from Scripture just as
‘tales of the ancient’ and noting more! In this they are not only playing with
their own conscience, but misleading others, with perhaps less knowledge than
themselves. On the Day of Judgement, they will not only bear fully the burden
of their personal sins but also a portion of the sins of those without knowledge
whom they misled.

In all ages wicked men tried to plot against God’s Way, but they never
succeeded and were covered with shame in ways unexpected. These
worshippers of false gods, ungodly, the Unbelievers will be brought before the
Seat of Judgement and asked about their false gods. They will be unable to
reply. The coments of those “endued with knowledge” – the Prophets and
Techers whom they had rejected – will be by way of indictment and
explanation of the position of those before the Judgement Seat. Those who
died in a state of rebellion against God are the wrong-doers against their own
souls. No excuse of any sort will be accepted. Here they will be before their
Lord, Who knows every secret of their souls, and before Whom no false plea
can be of any value. So they will be condemned to Hell, to dwell therein.
Unlike the wrong-doers, the righteous who do good, for them there is good in
this world and their dwelling place in the Hereafter is even better. Excellent
indeed is the Home of the righteous – Gardens of Eternity with rivers beneath;
and will be provided with whatever they wish for. The angels who take their
souls will wish them “Peace” and good tidings in the Hereafter; but for the
wrong-doers – the Wrath of God. Are the ungodly waiting for the angels to
come to them for admonishing or the Command of their Lord for their doom?

The age-old argument of the pagans: if God is All-Powerful, why did


He not force all persons to His Will? This ignores the limited Free-will granted
to man, which is the whole basis of Ethics. God gives man every opportunity
of knowing and understanding things, but He does not force him, for that
would be against the whole Plan on which the present life of mankind is
constituted. The Pagan Arabs prescribed various arbitrary prohibitions in the
matter of meat. In general: men erect their own prohibitions, barriers and
restrictions and ascribe them to religion. This is wrong, and more consonant
with Pagan practice than with Islam. Assuredly, God sent to every People, His
apostles, with Clear Message and Command: ‘to serve God, and eschew Evil’.
Some people were guided on the right pathway while some went astray. Those
who denied the Message were destroyed and whose remains exist for others to
take a heed from these ruins. Although you (O Muhammad) are anxious for
their guidance. But God does not guide those who reject guidance and there is
none to help them. They swear on God that they will not again be raised out of
dust after their death. But they do not realize that God’s promise is binding
and a truth. They will be raised up; – for to anything which He has willed, He
but says the word, “Be”, and it is.

Those who leave their home in the cause of God after suffering
oppression, He will give them goodly home in this world and surely in the
Hereafter will be greater if only they realize this. These are the people who
persevere in patience and put their trust in their Lord. In the past all the
Messengers of God were men with Clear Signs and Books with warnings of
the grievious penalties. You (O Muhammad) have also sent with a Message
that you may clearly explain them which is sent for them. Those who devise
evil plots, feel secured as if no harm would come to them and there will be no
accountability for them (if at all there will be a Day of Judgement). Your Lord
is full of kindness and mercy. They may look at their shadow as how it turns
about, right and left, prostrating themselves to God! And All that is in the
heavens and on earth, the angels and the moving creatures, bow to God and
none are arrogant before their Lord, but are most revere to Him and all what
they are ordered to do.

There is but One God, He Who gives all blessings to man and
creatures. Man should fear Him and none else. To him alone belongs whatever
is in the heavens and on earth. To the righteous all good things come from
God, and they have no fear in their hearts. To Him belong all the power to
relieve you in distress. But when your Lord relieve you from your distress,
some of them turn away to their imaginary gods. Thus they show their
ingratitude for the favours which their Lord bestowed on them. The
Unbelievers may enjoy their berief period, but soon they will come to the
reality of their folly! They even assign a portion of their God-given
sustenance, to their fictitious gods: they will certainly be called to account for
this on the Day. And assign daughters (angels) for God, desire sons for
themselves. The news of a birth to a baby girl is a shock for them; to the point
to bury the new born. Glory be to Him. To Him apply the highest similitude:
for He is Exalted in Power, Full of Wisdom.

If God were to take mankind to task for his wrong-doings, he would


not leave thereon a living creature: But He gives them respite for an appointed
Term: When their Term expires, they would not be able to delay (the
punishment) for a single hour, just as they would not be able to anticipate it
(for a single hour). Let him not think that the respite given him may mean that
he can do what he likes, and that he can escape the consequences.Fire is for
those who attribute to God what they hate for themselves and assign all good
things to themselves. Satan has made their wicked acts alluring to them. They
should know that they will be subjected to a grievous Penalty (in the
Hereafter). God has sent to you (O Muhammad) the Book, to clear to them
those matters in which they differ; and that it should be a guide and a mercy to
those who believe. And your Lord sends down the rain and gives life to earth
after it is barren. Verily, in this is a Sign for those who listen (i.e. they will be
raised again after their death).

In cattle too, there is for you instructive Sign. Between their excretion
and blood, God creates milk – a pure, delicious and a perfect food for the
mankind to drink. Also in the date-palm and vine are the wholesome food and
drink for the mankind. Behold! in this is also a Sign for the wise ones. And
your Lord inspired the Bee to build its cells (honey-combs) in hills, on trees
and in men’s habitations. The bee assimilates the juice of various kinds of
flowers and fruits and form within its body the ‘honey’ which it stores in its
cells of wax. As such, honey produced is in different colours (dark brown,
light brown, yellow, white, and so on), tastes and flavours. As food it is sweet,
wholesome and also used as a medicine and in medicines. Instinctively, the
individual bee does its job of honey-making individually the storage is
collective. Instinctively the bees find their way from long undefined distances
to their own combs! In this is a sign for those who give thought. He is the One
Who has created the human beings and takes out their souls at the death: some
of them reach their old-age – feeble and forgetful of the things which he
earlier knew very well: for God is All-Knowing, All-Powerful.

Even in the little differences in gifts, which men enjoy from God, men
with superior gifts are not going to abandon them so as to be equal with men
of inferior gifts, whom, perhaps, they hold in subjection. They will never deny
their own superiority. How then, can they ignore the immense difference
between the Creator and created things, and make the latter, in their thoughts,
partners with God? It is He Who created for you the mates and then bestowed
on you sons, daughters and grandchildren. Provided for you is your best and
pure sustenance: will they then worship others than God; – such objects who
have no power of any sort over anything whatsoever; and be ungrateful for
God’s favours? Do not invent similitudes for God: for God knows and you do
not. God sets forth a parable: just imagine two men, one slave to the other. The
slave has no power of any sort; but the other bestowed with goodly favours
and spends freely. Can these two men be equal? (By no means), Another
parable is set forth: two men of which one is dumb and not capable of any use
to anyone. Thus is a burden on his master. The other man is an authority,
commands justice and is on the Straight Path. Are these two persons equal?
(By no means). (The gist of the argument is of two fold: the Unbelievers do
not recognize the difference between the Creator and the created things; they
are guily of ungratitude in forgetting that the source of all good and power is
God, to Whom alone they owe all the gifts they enjoy in life). Praise be to
God; but most of the people do not understand.

To God belongs the mysteries of the heavens and the earth and to Him
is the knowledge of the Hour (of Judgement). It could be as the twinkling of
an eye or even quicker. It is He Who brings out the men out of the wombs of
their mothers and gave them the faculties of seeing, hearing, intelligence and
the affection which one has to the others: so that man be thankful to Him as
He alone has power over all the things. Just look at the birds in the sky.
Nothing holds them up, but the Power of God. In these are the Signs of your
Lord for those who believe. It is God Who made for mankind settlements and
homes for its rest and peace. The skins of the animals are useful to him for
making portable and handy tents, the wool and hair useful for making
garments, to protect us from heat and cold; and also useful for making other
articles of use. Created things to give us shades so as to protect us from the
heat of the sun. These all things are for the convenience of the man. He should
be thankful to his Creator and bow to His Will (in Islam). If anyone turn away,
your (O Muhammad) duty is only to convey the Message; as most of them are
ungrateful.

God’s apostles, if rejected, will be witnesses against those who reject


God’s Truth and no excuse whatso will be accepted of the Unbelievers and the
wrongdoers. On the Day when they will see the Penalty before their eyes, they
will show their submission to their Lord. All their invented gods will leave
them in a lurch. In no case penalty will be mitigated nor will they get any
respite. To those who reject God and hinder men from the Path of God, and
spread mischief, for them Penalty on Penalty will be added. The Messengers
who were sent to them will bear witness against them. The Apostle
Muhammad will be witness against the Arabs who rejected him. For those
who believed in him (of all the races and people), the Book which he brought
will be an explanation, a Guide, a Mercy, and a Gospel..

God Commands you: do justice in the spirit of word and deed (i.e. in
most comprehensive terms), do good to everyone, fulfill all the claims of those
whose claims are recognized in social life. Similiarly the opposites are to be
avoided: everything that is recognized to be shameful, everything that is really
unjust, and any inward rebellion against God’s Law of our own conscience in
its most sensitive form. Every oath taken, or covenant made, is a Covenant
before God, and should be faithfully observed. In particular, every Muslim
makes, by the profession of his Faith, a covenant with God, and he confirms
that Covenant every time he repeats that profession. He should therefore
faithfully observe the duties taught to him by Islam. If God so willed He could
have made all as one People. But He leaves straying whom He pleases and
guides whom He pleases. Everyone has to be accountable before Him (on the
Day). And also, do not take your oaths to practice deception between
yourselves lest evil consequences be surfaced. You even cause people to turn
away from the Path of God, and a Wrath of God may seize you. Any possible
gain that you can make by breaking your Covenant and thus breaking God’s
Law must necessarily be miserable; while your own benefit is far greater in
obeying God’s Will and doing right. The righteous man or woman with Faith,
will be rewarded and given a pure and good life in the Hereafter. When you
read the Qur-an, seek God’s protection from Satan, the rejected one. He has no
authority over those of God’s servants who believe and put their trust in their
Lord. His authority is only on those who take him as patron and who join
partners with God.

God’s Truth may come in stages, but it gives strength, guidance, and
glad tidings, and should be held fast when once received. The Pagans and
those wicked who were hostile to the revelation of God could not and cannot
understand how such wonderful words could flow from the tongue of the
Prophet (AS). They postulated that it was a man who taught him in an
outlandish tongue and the same he told them in a clear and pure Arabic. They
are those who do not believe in the Signs of God, forge falsehood and God
does not guide those who do not believe in His Signs: for them is a grievous
Penalty. Any one, who, after accepting Faith in God, utters Unbelief – except
under serious compulsion, but his heart is firm in Faith - on them is Wrath
from God and their hearts, ears and eyes are sealed up and take no heed: for
them awaits a dreadful Penalty in the Hereafter. Verily those who leave their
homes after trial and persecution, strive and fight for the Faith and patiently
preserve, – Your Lord is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

On the Day, every soul will come up struggling for itself, and every
soul will be recompensed full for all his actions; – none will be unjustly dealt
with. Now sets forth a Parable; – the reference may be to any of the cities or
populations in ancient times. They were favoured with security and other
worldly blessings from God, but rebelled from God’s Law and tasted the
inevitable penalty, even in the midst of their iniquities (some Commentators
see here a reference to the city of Mecca under Pagan control). So enjoy the
lawful and good provision and be grateful for the favours of your Lord, if it is
He whom His servants serve. Forbidened items as food are: Carrion, and
blood, and the flesh of swine, and any food over which the name of other than
God has been invoked. But if one is forced by necessity – without willful
disobedience, nor transgressing due limits, – then God is Oft-Forgiving, Most
Merciful. If any false thing happen to come on your tongues with reference to
the lawful and forbidden things”, so as to ascribe false words to God. For
those who ascribe false things to God, will never prosper and will have a most
grievous Penalty. The Jews were also prohibited these very thing as to you.
But they were used to doing wrong to themselves. Those who do wrong in
sheer ignorance; but then repent and make amendments; your Lord is Oft-
Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Abraham was a devoutee, obedient, true in faith, did not join gods with
God, certainly a model person and showed his gratitude to his Lord. God
chose him and guided him to the Straight Way; – gave him a word that he will
be among the righteous in the Hereafter. God has inspired you (O Muhammad)
to follow the religion of Abraham. The Sabbath was appointed only for those
who differed concerning it. Your Lord will judge between them on the Day of
Judgement. Invite all to the Way of your Lord (O Muhammad) with wisdom
and beautiful preaching and argue with them in ways that are best and most
gracious: for your Lord knows best, who have strayed from His Path, and who
receive guidance. Endure patiently (O Muhammad). Your endurance is only by
the help of God. Grieve not for them, and not be in distress because of that
which they devise. Lo! God is with those who restrain themselves, and do
good.