English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 16: Al-Nahl — The Bee (Revealed at Makkah: 16 sections, 128 verses)

Section 1 (Verses 16:1–16:9): Revelation Testified to by Nature


بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

اَتٰۤی اَمۡرُ اللّٰہِ فَلَا تَسۡتَعۡجِلُوۡہُ ؕ سُبۡحٰنَہٗ وَ تَعٰلٰی عَمَّا یُشۡرِکُوۡنَ ﴿۱﴾

16:1 Allah’s commandment will come, so do not seek to hasten it.1 Glory be to Him, and supremely exalted is He above what they set up as partners (with Him)!

یُنَزِّلُ الۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃَ بِالرُّوۡحِ مِنۡ اَمۡرِہٖ عَلٰی مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ مِنۡ عِبَادِہٖۤ اَنۡ اَنۡذِرُوۡۤا اَنَّہٗ لَاۤ اِلٰہَ اِلَّاۤ اَنَا فَاتَّقُوۡنِ ﴿۲﴾

16:2 He sends down angels with revelation by His command on whom He pleases of His servants, saying: Give the warning that there is no God but Me, so keep your duty to Me.

خَلَقَ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضَ بِالۡحَقِّ ؕ تَعٰلٰی عَمَّا یُشۡرِکُوۡنَ ﴿۳﴾

16:3 He created the heavens and the earth with truth. Supremely exalted is He above what they set up as partners (with Him)!

خَلَقَ الۡاِنۡسَانَ مِنۡ نُّطۡفَۃٍ فَاِذَا ہُوَ خَصِیۡمٌ مُّبِیۡنٌ ﴿۴﴾

16:4 He created man from a small life-germ,2 and lo! he is an open contender.

وَ الۡاَنۡعَامَ خَلَقَہَا ۚ لَکُمۡ فِیۡہَا دِفۡءٌ وَّ مَنَافِعُ وَ مِنۡہَا تَاۡکُلُوۡنَ ﴿۪۵﴾

16:5 And the cattle, He has created them for you. You have in them warm clothing and (other) advantages, and of them you eat.

وَ لَکُمۡ فِیۡہَا جَمَالٌ حِیۡنَ تُرِیۡحُوۡنَ وَ حِیۡنَ تَسۡرَحُوۡنَ ﴿۪۶﴾

16:6 And therein is beauty for you, when you drive them back (home) and when you send them out (to pasture).

وَ تَحۡمِلُ اَثۡقَالَکُمۡ اِلٰی بَلَدٍ لَّمۡ تَکُوۡنُوۡا بٰلِغِیۡہِ اِلَّا بِشِقِّ الۡاَنۡفُسِ ؕ اِنَّ رَبَّکُمۡ لَرَءُوۡفٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ ۙ﴿۷﴾

16:7 And they carry your heavy loads to regions which you could not reach but with distress to yourselves. Surely your Lord is Compassionate, Merciful.

وَّ الۡخَیۡلَ وَ الۡبِغَالَ وَ الۡحَمِیۡرَ لِتَرۡکَبُوۡہَا وَ زِیۡنَۃً ؕ وَ یَخۡلُقُ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۸﴾

16:8 And (He made) horses and mules and asses that you might ride upon them and as an ornament. And He creates what you do not know.

وَ عَلَی اللّٰہِ قَصۡدُ السَّبِیۡلِ وَ مِنۡہَا جَآئِرٌ ؕ وَ لَوۡ شَآءَ لَہَدٰىکُمۡ اَجۡمَعِیۡنَ ﴿٪۹﴾

16:9 And upon Allah it rests to show the right way, and there are some deviating (ways). And if He please, He would guide all of you aright.


  1. The disbelievers are asked not to hasten the punishment, for Allah, Who conferred so many physical benefits on them, and is willing to bestow His spiritual gifts, as mercy has the foremost place in Divine nature. This is stated in the verses that follow. What that punishment was going to be is expressly stated at the end of this chapter (v. 112).
  2. The word nuṭfah used refers here to seminal fluid.