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 13 (Verses 16:90–16:100): Revelation Enjoins Good


اِنَّ اللّٰہَ یَاۡمُرُ بِالۡعَدۡلِ وَ الۡاِحۡسَانِ وَ اِیۡتَآیِٔ ذِی الۡقُرۡبٰی وَ یَنۡہٰی عَنِ الۡفَحۡشَآءِ وَ الۡمُنۡکَرِ وَ الۡبَغۡیِ ۚ یَعِظُکُمۡ لَعَلَّکُمۡ تَذَکَّرُوۡنَ ﴿۹۰﴾

16:90 Surely Allah commands (the doing of) justice and the doing of good (to others) and the giving to the near of kin, and He forbids indecency and evil and rebellion. He instructs you that you may be mindful.1

وَ اَوۡفُوۡا بِعَہۡدِ اللّٰہِ اِذَا عٰہَدۡتُّمۡ وَ لَا تَنۡقُضُوا الۡاَیۡمَانَ بَعۡدَ تَوۡکِیۡدِہَا وَ قَدۡ جَعَلۡتُمُ اللّٰہَ عَلَیۡکُمۡ کَفِیۡلًا ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ یَعۡلَمُ مَا تَفۡعَلُوۡنَ ﴿۹۱﴾

16:91 And fulfil the covenant of Allah, when you have made a covenant, and do not break (your) oaths after making them firm, and you have indeed made Allah your surety. Surely Allah knows what you do.

وَ لَا تَکُوۡنُوۡا کَالَّتِیۡ نَقَضَتۡ غَزۡلَہَا مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ قُوَّۃٍ اَنۡکَاثًا ؕ تَتَّخِذُوۡنَ اَیۡمَانَکُمۡ دَخَلًۢا بَیۡنَکُمۡ اَنۡ تَکُوۡنَ اُمَّۃٌ ہِیَ اَرۡبٰی مِنۡ اُمَّۃٍ ؕ اِنَّمَا یَبۡلُوۡکُمُ اللّٰہُ بِہٖ ؕ وَ لَیُبَیِّنَنَّ لَکُمۡ یَوۡمَ الۡقِیٰمَۃِ مَا کُنۡتُمۡ فِیۡہِ تَخۡتَلِفُوۡنَ ﴿۹۲﴾

16:92 And do not be like her who unravels her yarn, disintegrating it into pieces, after she has spun it strongly.2 You make your oaths to be means of deceit between you because (one) nation is more numerous than (another) nation.3 Allah only tries you by this. And He will certainly make clear to you on the day of Resurrection what you differed about.

وَ لَوۡ شَآءَ اللّٰہُ لَجَعَلَکُمۡ اُمَّۃً وَّاحِدَۃً وَّ لٰکِنۡ یُّضِلُّ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ وَ یَہۡدِیۡ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ ؕ وَ لَتُسۡـَٔلُنَّ عَمَّا کُنۡتُمۡ تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ ﴿۹۳﴾

16:93 And if Allah please, He would make you a single nation, but He leaves in error whom He pleases and guides whom He pleases. And certainly you will be questioned as to what you did.

وَ لَا تَتَّخِذُوۡۤا اَیۡمَانَکُمۡ دَخَلًۢا بَیۡنَکُمۡ فَتَزِلَّ قَدَمٌۢ بَعۡدَ ثُبُوۡتِہَا وَ تَذُوۡقُوا السُّوۡٓءَ بِمَا صَدَدۡتُّمۡ عَنۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللّٰہِ ۚ وَ لَکُمۡ عَذَابٌ عَظِیۡمٌ ﴿۹۴﴾

16:94 And do not make your oaths a means of deceit between you, so that a foot should slip after its stability, and you should taste evil because you hinder (people) from Allah’s way and severe punishment be your (lot).

وَ لَا تَشۡتَرُوۡا بِعَہۡدِ اللّٰہِ ثَمَنًا قَلِیۡلًا ؕ اِنَّمَا عِنۡدَ اللّٰہِ ہُوَ خَیۡرٌ لَّکُمۡ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۹۵﴾

16:95 And do not take a small price for Allah’s covenant. Surely what is with Allah is better for you, if only you knew!

مَا عِنۡدَکُمۡ یَنۡفَدُ وَ مَا عِنۡدَ اللّٰہِ بَاقٍ ؕ وَ لَنَجۡزِیَنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ صَبَرُوۡۤا اَجۡرَہُمۡ بِاَحۡسَنِ مَا کَانُوۡا یَعۡمَلُوۡنَ ﴿۹۶﴾

16:96 What is with you passes away and what is with Allah is enduring. And We shall certainly give to those who are patient their reward for the best of what they did.

مَنۡ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا مِّنۡ ذَکَرٍ اَوۡ اُنۡثٰی وَ ہُوَ مُؤۡمِنٌ فَلَنُحۡیِیَنَّہٗ حَیٰوۃً طَیِّبَۃً ۚ وَ لَنَجۡزِیَنَّہُمۡ اَجۡرَہُمۡ بِاَحۡسَنِ مَا کَانُوۡا یَعۡمَلُوۡنَ ﴿۹۷﴾

16:97 Whoever does good, whether male or female,4 and is a believer, We shall certainly make him live a good life, and We shall certainly give them their reward for the best of what they did.

فَاِذَا قَرَاۡتَ الۡقُرۡاٰنَ فَاسۡتَعِذۡ بِاللّٰہِ مِنَ الشَّیۡطٰنِ الرَّجِیۡمِ ﴿۹۸﴾

16:98 So when you recite the Quran, seek refuge in Allah from the accursed devil.

اِنَّہٗ لَیۡسَ لَہٗ سُلۡطٰنٌ عَلَی الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ عَلٰی رَبِّہِمۡ یَتَوَکَّلُوۡنَ ﴿۹۹﴾

16:99 Surely he has no authority over those who believe and rely on their Lord.

اِنَّمَا سُلۡطٰنُہٗ عَلَی الَّذِیۡنَ یَتَوَلَّوۡنَہٗ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ ہُمۡ بِہٖ مُشۡرِکُوۡنَ ﴿۱۰۰﴾٪

16:100 His authority is only over those who befriend him and those who set up partners with Him.


  1. This verse deals with the different degrees of goodness and evil. The lowest form of goodness is justice or returning good for good, and includes not only justice proper but also the fulfilment of all duties and obligations. A higher degree of goodness is, however, that which is called iḥsān, or goodness proper, the doing of good without having received any benefit. The last stage of goodness is that in which a person’s nature is so inclined to good that he does good to all people as an ordinary man does good to his own near of kin. In fact, he looks upon the whole of humanity as his kindred. Similarly, this verse deals with the three degrees of evil: the merest indecency which may not affect the rights of others, evil actions which affect the rights of other individuals, and oppression or rebellion affecting the rights of large numbers, nations or states.
  2. People, after accepting the truth, are united by certain ties, but when this union brings about strength, they destroy it with their own hands. It was unity which made the Muslims rise to great power, but that unity today lies in ruins, and the strong community of Islam is like the unravelled yarn of a crazy spinner.
  3. Faithfulness to covenants is here stressed and, from the covenant with God, the subject is diverted to covenants between people. Attention is drawn in the words, you make your oaths to be means of deceit between you, to the conditions generally prevailing in the world, to the breach of covenants between nations, which is ruining the stability of human society.
  4. The doers of good, both men and women, are made to lead a good life in this world and will have a reward in the Hereafter.