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The Holy Quran, tr. by Yusuf Ali, [1934], at

p. 656

Sūra XVI.

Naḥl or The Bee.

In the name of God Most Gracious,
Most Merciful.

1. (Inevitable) cometh (to pass)
The Command of God:
Seek ye not then
To hasten it: glory to Him,
And far is He above
Having the partners
They ascribe unto Him!

2. He doth send down His angels
With inspiration of His Command,
To such of His servants
As He pleaseth, (saying):
"Warn (Man) that there is
No god but I: so do
Your duty unto Me."

3. He has created the heavens
And the earth for just ends:
Far is He above having
The partners they ascribe to Him!

4. He has created man
From a sperm-drop;
And behold this same (man)
Becomes an open disputer!

p. 657

5. And cattle He has created
For you (men): from them
Ye derive warmth,
And numerous benefits,
And of their (meat) ye eat.

6. And ye have a sense
Of pride and beauty in them
As ye drive them home
In the evening, and as ye
Lead them forth to pasture
In the morning.

7. And they carry your heavy loads
To lands that ye could not
(Otherwise) reach except with
Souls distressed: for your Lord
Is indeed Most Kind, Most Merciful

8. And (He has created) horses,
Mules, and donkeys, for you
To ride and use for show;
And He has created (other) things
Of which ye have no knowledge.

p. 658

9. and unto God leads straight
The Way, but there are ways
That turn aside: if God
Had willed, He could have
Guided all of you.


10. It is He Who sends down
Rain from the sky:
From it ye drink,
And out of it (grows)
The vegetation on which
Ye feed your cattle.

11. With it He produces
For you corn, olives,
Date-palms, grapes,
And every kind of fruit:
Verily in this is a Sign
For those who give thought.

12. He has made subject to you
The Night and the Day;
The Sun and the Moon;
And the Stars are in subjection
By His Command: verily
In this are Signs
For men who are wise.

p. 659

13. And the things on this earth
Which He has multiplied
In varying colours
(and qualities):
Verily in this is a Sign
For men who celebrate
The praises of God
(in gratitude).

14. It is He Who has made
The sea subject, that ye
May eat thereof flesh
That is fresh and tender,
And that ye may extract
Therefrom ornaments to wear;
And thou seest the ships
Therein that plough the waves,
That ye may seek (thus)
Of the bounty of God
And that ye may be grateful.

p. 660

15. And He has set up
On the earth mountains
Standing firm, lest it should
Shake with you; and rivers
And roads; that ye
May guide yourselves;

16. And marks and sign-posts;
And by the stars
(Men) guide themselves.

17. Is then He Who creates
Like one that creates not?
Will ye not receive admonition?

18. If ye would count up
The favours of God,
Never would ye be able
To number them: for God
Is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

p. 661

19. And God doth know
What ye conceal,
And what ye reveal.

20. Those whom they invoke
Besides God create nothing
And are themselves created.

21. (They are things) dead,
Lifeless: nor do they know
When they will be raised up.


22. Your God is One God:
As to those who believe not
In the Hereafter, their hearts
Refuse to know, and they
Are arrogant.

23. Undoubtedly God doth know
What they conceal,
And what they reveal:
Verily He loveth not the arrogant.

24. When it is said to them,
"What is it that your Lord

p. 662

Has revealed?" they say,
"Tales of the ancients!"

25. Let them bear, on the Day
Of Judgment, their own burdens
In full, and also (something)
Of the burdens of those
Without knowledge, whom they
Misled. Alas, how grievous
The burdens they will bear!


26. Those before them did also
Plot (against God's Way):
But God took their structures
From their foundations, and the roof
Fell down on them from above;
And the Wrath seized them
From directions they did not perceive.

27. Then, on the Day of Judgment,
He will cover them

p. 663

With shame, and say:
"Where are My "partners"
Concerning whom ye used
To dispute (with the godly)?"
Those endued with knowledge
Will say: "This Day, indeed,
Are the Unbelievers covered
With Shame and Misery,—

28. "(Namely) those whose lives the angels
Take in a state of wrong-doing
To their own souls."
Then would they offer submission
(With the pretence), "We did
No evil (knowingly)." (The angels
Will reply), "Nay, but verily
God knoweth all that ye did;

29. "So enter the gates of Hell,
To dwell therein.
Thus evil indeed
Is the abode of the arrogant."

30. To the righteous
(When) it is said, "What
Is it that your Lord
Has revealed?" they say,
"All that is good." To those
Who do good, there is good
In this world, and-the Home
Of the Hereafter is even better

p. 664

And excellent indeed is the Home
Of the righteous,—

31. Gardens of Eternity which they
Will enter: beneath them
Flow (pleasant) rivers: they
Will have therein all
That they wish: thus doth
God reward the righteous,—

32. (Namely) those whose lives
The angels take in a state
Of purity, saying (to them),
"Peace be on you; enter ye
The Garden, because of (the good)
Which ye did (in the world)."

33. Do the (ungodly) wait until
The angels come to them,
Or there comes the Command
Of thy Lord (for their doom)?
So did those who went
Before them. But God
Wronged them not: nay,
They wronged their own souls.

34. But the evil results
Of their deeds overtook them,
And that very (Wrath)
At which they had scoffed
Hemmed them in.


35. The worshippers of false gods
Say: "If God had so willed,
We should not have worshipped
Aught but Him—neither we

p. 665

Nor our fathers,—nor should
We have prescribed prohibitions
Other than His." So did those
Who went before them.
But what is the mission
Of apostles but to preach
The Clear Message?

36. For We assuredly sent
Amongst every People an apostle,
(With the Command), "Serve
God, and eschew Evil":
Of the people were some whom
God guided, and some
On whom Error became
Inevitably (established). So travel
Through the earth, and see
What was the end of those
Who denied (the Truth).

37. If thou art anxious
For their guidance, yet
God guideth not such
As He leaves to stray,
And there is none
To help them.

38. They swear their strongest oaths
By God, that God will not

p. 666

Raise up those who die
Nay, but it is a promise
(Binding) on Him in truth:
But most among mankind
Realise it not.

39. (They must be raised up),
In order that He may manifest
To them the truth of that
Wherein they differ, and that
The rejecters of Truth
May realise that they had
Indeed (surrendered to)

40. For to anything which We
Have willed, We but say
The Word, "Be ", and it is.


41. To those who leave
Their homes in the cause
Of God, after suffering
We will assuredly give
A goodly home in this world;
But truly the reward
Of the Hereafter will be greater.
If they only realised (this)!

42. (They are) those who persevere
In patience, and put
Their trust on their Lord.

p. 667

43. And before thee also
The apostles We sent
Were but men, to whom
We granted inspiration: if ye
Realise this not, ask of those
Who possess the Message.

44. (We sent them) with Clear Signs
And Books of dark prophecies;
And We have sent down
Unto thee (also) the Message;
That thou mayest explain clearly
To men what is sent
For them, and that they
May give thought.

45. Do then those who devise
Evil (plots) feel secure
That God will not cause
the earth to swallow them up,
Or that the Wrath will not
Seize them from directions
They little perceive?—

46. Or that He may not
Call them to account

p. 668

In the midst of their goings
To and fro, without a chance
Of their frustrating Him?—

47. Or that He may not
Call them to account
By a process of slow wastage—
For thy Lord is indeed
Full of kindness and mercy.

48. Do they not look
At God's creation, (even)
Among (inanimate) things,—
How their (very) shadows
Turn round, from the right
And the left, prostrating
Themselves to God, and that
In the humblest manner?

49. And to God doth obeisance
All that is in the heavens
And on earth, whether
Moving (living) creatures
Or the angels: for none
Are arrogant (before their Lord).

p. 669

50. They all revere their Lord,
High above them, and they do
All that they are commanded.


51. God has said: "Take not
(For worship) two gods:
For He is just One God:
Then fear Me (and Me alone)."

52. To Him belongs whatever
Is in the heavens and on earth,
And to Him is duty due always:
Then will ye fear other
Than God?

53. And ye have no good thing
But is from God: and moreover,
When ye are touched by distress,
Unto Him ye cry with groans;

p. 670

54. Yet, when He removes
The distress from you, behold!
Some of you turn to other gods
To join with their Lord—

55. (As if) to show their ingratitude
For the favours We have
Bestowed on them! Then enjoy
(Your brief day); but soon
Will ye know (your folly)!

56. And they (even) assign,
To things they do not know,
A portion out of that
Which We have bestowed
For their sustenance!
By God, ye shall certainly
Be called to account
For your false inventions.

57. And they assign daughters
For God!—Glory be to Him!—
And for themselves (sons,
The issue) they desire!

58. When news is brought
To one of them, of (the birth
Of) a female (child), his face
Darkens, and he is filled
With inward grief!

59. With shame does he hide
Himself from his people,

p. 671

Because of the bad news
He has had!
Shall he retain it
On (sufferance and) contempt,
Or bury it in the dust?
Ah! what an evil (choice)
They decide on?

60. To those who believe not
In the Hereafter, applies
The similitude of evil:
To God applies the highest
Similitude: for He is
The Exalted in Power,
Full of Wisdom.


61. If God were to punish
Men for their wrong-doing,
He would not leave, on the (earth);
A single living creature:
But He gives them respite
For a stated 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).

p. 672

62. They attribute to God
What they hate (for themselves),
And their tongues assert
The falsehood that all good things
Are for themselves: without doubt
For them is the Fire, and they
Will be the first to be
Hastened on into it!

63. By God, We (also) sent
(Our apostles) to Peoples
Before thee; but Satan
Made, (to the wicked),
Their own acts seem alluring:
He is also their patron to-day,
But they shall have
A most grievous penalty.

64. And We sent down the Book
To thee for the express purpose,
That thou shouldst make clear
To them those things in which
They differ, and that it should he
A guide and a mercy
To those who believe.

65. And God sends down rain
From the skies, and gives therewith
Life to the earth after its death:
Verily in this is a Sign

p. 673

For those who listen.


66. And verily in cattle (too)
Will ye find an instructive Sign.
From what is within their bodies,
Between excretions and blood,
We produce, for your drink,
Milk, pure and agreeable
To those who drink it.

67. And from the fruit
Of the date-palm and the vine,
Ye get out wholesome drink
And food: behold, in this
Also is a Sign
For those who are wise.

p. 674

68. And thy Lord taught the Bee
To build its cells in hills,
On trees, and in (men's) habitations;

69. Then to eat of all
The produce (of the earth),
And find with skill the spacious
Paths of its Lord: there issues
From within their bodies
A drink of varying colours,
Wherein is healing for men:
Verily in this is a Sign
For those who give thought.

70. It is God Who creates you
And takes your souls at death;
And of you there are
Some who are sent back
To a feeble age, so that
They know nothing after
Having known (much):
For God is All-Knowing,

p. 675


71. God has bestowed His gifts
Of sustenance more freely on some
Of you than on others: those
More favoured are not going
To throw back their gifts
To those whom their right hands
Possess, so as to be equal
In that respect. Will they then
Deny the favours of God?

72. And God has made for you
Mates (and Companions) of your own nature,
And made for you, out of them,
Sons and daughters and grandchildren,
And provided for you sustenance
Of the best: will they
Then believe in vain things,
And be ungrateful for God's favours?—

73. And worship others than God,—
Such as have no power
Of providing them, for sustenance,

p. 676

With anything in heavens or earth,
And cannot possibly have
Such power?

74. Invent not similitudes
For God: for God knoweth,
And ye know not.

75. God sets forth the Parable
(Of two men: one) a slave
Under the dominion of another;
He has no power of any sort;
And (the other) a man
On whom We have bestowed
Goodly favours from Ourselves,
And he spends thereof (freely),
Privately and publicly:
Are the two equal?
(By no means;)
Praise be to God. But
Most of them understand not.

76. God sets forth (another) Parable
Of two men: one of them
Dumb, with no power
Of any sort; a wearisome burden
Is he to his master;
Whichever way he directs him,
He brings no good:
Is such a man equal
With one who commands

p. 677

Justice, and is on
A Straight Way?


77. To God belongeth the Mystery
Of the heavens and the earth.
And the Decision of the Hour
(Of Judgment) is as
The twinkling of an eye,
Or even quicker:
For God hath power
Over all things.

78. It is He Who brought you
Forth from the wombs
Of your mothers when
Ye knew nothing; and He
Gave you hearing and sight
And intelligence and affections:
That ye may give thanks
(To God).

79. Do they not look at
The birds, held poised
In the midst of (the air
And) the sky? Nothing
Holds them up but (the power
Of) God. Verily in this
Are Signs for those who believe.

p. 678

80. It is God Who made your habitations
Homes of rest and quiet
For you; and made for you,
Out of the skins of animals,
(Tents for) dwellings, which
Ye find so light (and handy)
When ye travel and when
Ye stop (in your travels);
And out of their wool,
And their soft fibres
(Between wool and hair),
And their hair, rich stuff
And articles of convenience
(To serve you) for a time.

81. It is God Who made.
Out of the things He created,
Some things to give you shade;
Of the hills He made some
For your shelter; He made you
Garments to protect you
From heat, and coats of mail
To protect you from
Your (mutual) violence.
Thus does He complete
His favours on you, that
Ye may bow to His Will
(In Islām).

p. 679

82. But if they turn away,
Thy duty is only to preach
The Clear Message.

83. They recognise the favours
Of God; then they deny them;
And most of them
Are (creatures) ungrateful.


84. One Day We shall raise
From all Peoples a Witness:
Then will no excuse be accepted
From Unbelievers, nor will they
Receive any favours.

85. When the wrong-doers
(Actually) see the Penalty,
Then will it in no way
Be mitigated, nor will they
Then receive respite.

86. When those who gave partners
To God will see their "partners",

p. 680

They will say: "Our Lord!
These are our "partners," those
Whom we used to invoke
Besides Thee." But they will
Throw back their word at them
(And say): "Indeed ye are liars!"

87. That day shall they (openly) show
(Their) submission to God; and all
Their inventions shall leave
Them in the lurch.

88. Those who reject God
And hinder (men) from the Path
Of God—for them
Will We add Penalty
To Penalty; for that they
Used to spread mischief.

89. One day We shall raise
From all Peoples a witness
Against them, from amongst themselves:
And We shall bring thee
As a witness against these
(Thy people): and We have sent down
To thee the Book explaining
All things, a Guide, a Mercy,
And Glad Tidings to Muslims.


90. God commands justice, the doing
Of good, and liberality to kith

p. 681

And kin, and He forbids
All shameful deeds, and injustice
And rebellion: He instructs you,
That ye may receive admonition.

91. Fulfil the Covenant of God
When ye have entered into it,
And break not your oaths
After ye have confirmed them;
Indeed ye have made
God your surety; for God
Knoweth all that ye do.

92. And be not like a woman
Who breaks into untwisted strands
The yarn which she has spun,
After it has become strong
Nor take your oaths to practise
Deception between yourselves,
Lest one party should be
More numerous than another:
For God will test you by this;
And on the Day of Judgment

p. 682

He will certainly make clear
To you (the truth of) that
Wherein ye disagree.

93. If God so willed, He
Could make you all one People:
But He leaves straying
Whom He pleases, and He guides
Whom He pleases: but ye
Shall certainly be called to account
For all your actions.

94. And take not your oaths,
To practise deception between
With the result that someone's foot
May slip after it was
Firmly planted, and ye may
Have to taste the evil
Of having hindered (men)
From the Path of God,
And a mighty Wrath
Descend on you.

95. Nor sell the Covenant of God
For a miserable price:
For with God is (a prize)
Far better for you,
If ye only knew.

p. 683

96. What is with you must vanish:
What is with God will endure.
And We will certainly bestow,
On those who patiently persevere,
Their reward according to
The best of their actions.

97. Whoever works righteousness,
Man or woman, and has Faith,
Verily, to him will We give
A new Life, a life
That is good and pure, and We
Will bestow on such their reward
According to the best
Of their actions.

98. When thou dost read
The Qur-ān, seek God's protection
From Satan the Rejected One.

99. No authority has he over those
Who believe and put their trust
In their Lord.

100. His authority is over those
Only, who take him as patron
And who join partners with God.

p. 684


101. When We substitute one revelation
For another,—and God knows best
What He reveals (in stages),—
They say, "Thou art but a forger":
But most of them understand not.

102. Say, the Holy Spirit has brought
The revelation from thy Lord
In Truth, in order to strengthen
Those who believe, and as a Guide
And Glad Tidings to Muslims.

103. We know indeed that they
Say, "It is a man that.
Teaches him." The tongue
Of him they wickedly point to
Is notably foreign, while this
Is Arabic, pure and clear.

p. 685

104. Those who believe not
In the Signs of God,—
God will not guide them,
And theirs will be
A grievous Penalty.

105. It is those who believe not
In the Signs of God,
That forge falsehood:
It is they who lie!

106. Any one who, after accepting
Faith in God, utters Unbelief,—
Except under compulsion,
His heart remaining firm
In Faith—but such as
Open their breast to Unbelief,—
On them is Wrath from God,
And theirs will be
A dreadful Penalty.

107. This because they love
The life of this world
Better than the Hereafter:
And God will not guide
Those who reject Faith.

108. Those are they whose hearts,
Ears, and eyes God has sealed up
And they take no heed.

109. Without doubt, in the Hereafter
They will perish.

p. 686

110. But verily thy Lord,—
To those who leave their homes
After trials and persecutions,—
And who thereafter strive
And fight for the Faith
And patiently persevere,
Thy Lord, after all this
Is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.


111. One Day every soul
Will come up struggling
For itself, and every soul
Will be recompensed (fully)
For all its actions, and none
Will be unjustly dealt with.

112. God sets forth a Parable:
A city enjoying security
And quiet, abundantly supplied
With sustenance from every place:
Yet was it ungrateful
For the favours of God:
So God made it taste
Of hunger and terror (in extremes)
(Closing in on it) like a garment
(From every side), because

p. 687

Of the (evil) which
(Its people) wrought.

113. And there came to them
An Apostle from among themselves,
But they falsely rejected him;
So the Wrath seized them
Even in the midst
Of their iniquities.

114. So eat of the sustenance
Which God has provided
For you, lawful and good;
And be grateful for the favours
Of God, if it is He
Whom ye serve.

115. He has only forbidden you
Dead meat, 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 wilful disobedience,
Nor transgressing due limits,—
Then God is Oft-Forgiving,
Most Merciful.

116. But say not—for any false thing
That your tongues may put forth,—
"This is lawful, and this
Is forbidden," so as to ascribe
False things to God. For those
Who ascribe false things
To God, will never prosper.

p. 688

117. (In such falsehood)
Is but a paltry profit;
But they will have
A most grievous Penalty.

118. To the Jews We prohibited
Such things as We have
Mentioned to thee before:
We did them no wrong,
But they were used to
Doing wrong to themselves.

119. But verily thy Lord,—
To those who do wrong
In ignorance, but who
Thereafter repent and make amends,—
Thy Lord, after all this,
Is Oft-Forgiving, Most


120. Abraham was indeed a model,
Devoutly obedient to God,
(And) true in faith, and he
Joined not gods with God:

121. He showed his gratitude
For the favours of God,
Who chose him, and guided him
To a Straight Way.

122. And We gave him Good
In this world, and he will be,

p. 689

In the Hereafter, in the ranks
Of the Righteous,''

123. So We have taught thee
The inspired (message),
"Follow the ways of Abraham
The True in Faith, and he
Joined not gods with God."

124. The Sabbath was only made
(Strict) for those who disagreed
(As to its observance);
But God will judge between them
On the Day of Judgment,
As to their differences,

125. Invite (all) to the Way
Of thy Lord with wisdom
And beautiful preaching;
And argue with them
In ways that are best
And most gracious:
For thy Lord knoweth best,
Who have strayed from His Path,

p. 690

And who receive guidance.

126. And if ye do catch them out,
Catch them out no worse
Than they catch you out:
But if ye show patience,
That is indeed the best (course)
For those who are patient.

127. And do thou be patient,
For thy patience is but
From God; nor grieve over them:
And distress not thyself
Because of their plots.

128. For God is with those
Who restrain themselves,
And those who do good.

p. 691 p. 692

Next: Sūra XVII. Banī Isrā-īl, or the Children of Israel.