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 11 (Verses 16:77–16:83): Punishment Withheld


وَ لِلّٰہِ غَیۡبُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ ؕ وَ مَاۤ اَمۡرُ السَّاعَۃِ اِلَّا کَلَمۡحِ الۡبَصَرِ اَوۡ ہُوَ اَقۡرَبُ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ عَلٰی کُلِّ شَیۡءٍ قَدِیۡرٌ ﴿۷۷﴾

16:77 And Allah’s is the unseen of the heavens and the earth. And the matter of the Hour is but as a twinkling of the eye or it is nearer still.1 Surely Allah is Powerful over all things.

وَ اللّٰہُ اَخۡرَجَکُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بُطُوۡنِ اُمَّہٰتِکُمۡ لَا تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ شَیۡئًا ۙ وَّ جَعَلَ لَکُمُ السَّمۡعَ وَ الۡاَبۡصَارَ وَ الۡاَفۡـِٕدَۃَ ۙ لَعَلَّکُمۡ تَشۡکُرُوۡنَ ﴿۷۸﴾

16:78 And Allah brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers — you knew nothing — and He gave you hearing and sight and hearts that you might give thanks.

اَلَمۡ یَرَوۡا اِلَی الطَّیۡرِ مُسَخَّرٰتٍ فِیۡ جَوِّ السَّمَآءِ ؕ مَا یُمۡسِکُہُنَّ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ ؕ اِنَّ فِیۡ ذٰلِکَ لَاٰیٰتٍ لِّقَوۡمٍ یُّؤۡمِنُوۡنَ ﴿۷۹﴾

16:79 Do they not see the birds, constrained in the middle of the sky? None withholds them but Allah.2 Surely there are signs in this for a people who believe.

وَ اللّٰہُ جَعَلَ لَکُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بُیُوۡتِکُمۡ سَکَنًا وَّ جَعَلَ لَکُمۡ مِّنۡ جُلُوۡدِ الۡاَنۡعَامِ بُیُوۡتًا تَسۡتَخِفُّوۡنَہَا یَوۡمَ ظَعۡنِکُمۡ وَ یَوۡمَ اِقَامَتِکُمۡ ۙ وَ مِنۡ اَصۡوَافِہَا وَ اَوۡبَارِہَا وَ اَشۡعَارِہَاۤ اَثَاثًا وَّ مَتَاعًا اِلٰی حِیۡنٍ ﴿۸۰﴾

16:80 And Allah has given you an abode in your houses, and He has given you houses of the skins of cattle, which you find light to carry on the day of your march and on the day of your halting, and of their wool and their fur and their hair, household stuff and a provision for a time.

وَ اللّٰہُ جَعَلَ لَکُمۡ مِّمَّا خَلَقَ ظِلٰلًا وَّ جَعَلَ لَکُمۡ مِّنَ الۡجِبَالِ اَکۡنَانًا وَّ جَعَلَ لَکُمۡ سَرَابِیۡلَ تَقِیۡکُمُ الۡحَرَّ وَ سَرَابِیۡلَ تَقِیۡکُمۡ بَاۡسَکُمۡ ؕ کَذٰلِکَ یُتِمُّ نِعۡمَتَہٗ عَلَیۡکُمۡ لَعَلَّکُمۡ تُسۡلِمُوۡنَ ﴿۸۱﴾

16:81 And Allah has made for you, out of what He has created, shelters, and He has given you in the mountains, places of retreat, and He has given you garments to save you from the heat,3 and (protective) garments to save you in your fighting. Thus does He complete His favour to you that you may submit.4

فَاِنۡ تَوَلَّوۡا فَاِنَّمَا عَلَیۡکَ الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِیۡنُ ﴿۸۲﴾

16:82 Then if they turn away, your duty is only to deliver the message clearly.

یَعۡرِفُوۡنَ نِعۡمَتَ اللّٰہِ ثُمَّ یُنۡکِرُوۡنَہَا وَ اَکۡثَرُہُمُ الۡکٰفِرُوۡنَ ﴿٪۸۳﴾

16:83 They recognize the favour of Allah, yet they deny it, and most of them are ungrateful.


  1. By the unseen is meant the knowledge of the unseen, or the know­ledge of the eventual fulfilment of the prophecies; and by the Hour is meant the hour of the doom of the opponents of the Prophet, the hour when their power was to be utterly destroyed.
  2. Both Arab proverb and Arab poetry bear witness to birds being spoken of as attending a victorious army to feed upon the corpses of the enemy left on the battlefield. In withholding the birds, therefore, there may be a reference to with­holding the punishment which must ultimately overtake the enemy.
  3. The mention of one of two contrary things always involves the other. Hence by the preservation from heat spoken of here, preservation from heat and cold alike is meant.
  4. As He has given you of the good things of this life, the physical blessings, He now completes these blessings by giving you the greatest of His bless­ings, i.e., Divine revelation, so that, submitting to it, you may prosper.