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 14 (Verses 16:101–16:110): The Quran is not a Forgery


وَ اِذَا بَدَّلۡنَاۤ اٰیَۃً مَّکَانَ اٰیَۃٍ ۙ وَّ اللّٰہُ اَعۡلَمُ بِمَا یُنَزِّلُ قَالُوۡۤا اِنَّمَاۤ اَنۡتَ مُفۡتَرٍ ؕ بَلۡ اَکۡثَرُہُمۡ لَا یَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۱۰۱﴾

16:101 And when We change a message for a message — and Allah knows best what He reveals — they say: You are only a forger. Rather, most of them do not know.1

قُلۡ نَزَّلَہٗ رُوۡحُ الۡقُدُسِ مِنۡ رَّبِّکَ بِالۡحَقِّ لِیُـثَبِّتَ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ ہُدًی وَّ بُشۡرٰی لِلۡمُسۡلِمِیۡنَ ﴿۱۰۲﴾

16:102 Say: The Holy Spirit has revealed it from your Lord with truth,2 that it may establish those who believe, and as a guidance and good news for those who submit.

وَ لَقَدۡ نَعۡلَمُ اَنَّہُمۡ یَقُوۡلُوۡنَ اِنَّمَا یُعَلِّمُہٗ بَشَرٌ ؕ لِسَانُ الَّذِیۡ یُلۡحِدُوۡنَ اِلَیۡہِ اَعۡجَمِیٌّ وَّ ہٰذَا لِسَانٌ عَرَبِیٌّ مُّبِیۡنٌ ﴿۱۰۳﴾

16:103 And indeed We know that they say: Only a mortal teaches him. The tongue of him whom they hint at is foreign, and this is clear Arabic language.3

اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ لَا یُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ بِاٰیٰتِ اللّٰہِ ۙ لَا یَہۡدِیۡہِمُ اللّٰہُ وَ لَہُمۡ عَذَابٌ اَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۱۰۴﴾

16:104 Those who do not believe in Allah’s messages, Allah does not guide them, and for them is a painful punishment.

اِنَّمَا یَفۡتَرِی الۡکَذِبَ الَّذِیۡنَ لَا یُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ بِاٰیٰتِ اللّٰہِ ۚ وَ اُولٰٓئِکَ ہُمُ الۡکٰذِبُوۡنَ ﴿۱۰۵﴾

16:105 Only they forge lies who do not believe in Allah’s messages, and they are the liars.4

مَنۡ کَفَرَ بِاللّٰہِ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ اِیۡمَانِہٖۤ اِلَّا مَنۡ اُکۡرِہَ وَ قَلۡبُہٗ مُطۡمَئِنٌّۢ بِالۡاِیۡمَانِ وَ لٰکِنۡ مَّنۡ شَرَحَ بِالۡکُفۡرِ صَدۡرًا فَعَلَیۡہِمۡ غَضَبٌ مِّنَ اللّٰہِ ۚ وَ لَہُمۡ عَذَابٌ عَظِیۡمٌ ﴿۱۰۶﴾

16:106 Whoever disbelieves in Allah after his belief — not he who is compelled while his heart is content with faith, but he who opens (his) breast for disbelief — they incur Allah’s displeasure, and for them is a grievous punishment.5

ذٰلِکَ بِاَنَّہُمُ اسۡتَحَبُّوا الۡحَیٰوۃَ الدُّنۡیَا عَلَی الۡاٰخِرَۃِ ۙ وَ اَنَّ اللّٰہَ لَا یَہۡدِی الۡقَوۡمَ الۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ ﴿۱۰۷﴾

16:107 That is because they love this world’s life more than the Hereafter, and because Allah does not guide the disbelieving people.

اُولٰٓئِکَ الَّذِیۡنَ طَبَعَ اللّٰہُ عَلٰی قُلُوۡبِہِمۡ وَ سَمۡعِہِمۡ وَ اَبۡصَارِہِمۡ ۚ وَ اُولٰٓئِکَ ہُمُ الۡغٰفِلُوۡنَ ﴿۱۰۸﴾

16:108 These are they whose hearts and ears and eyes Allah has sealed and these are the heedless ones.6

لَاجَرَمَ اَنَّہُمۡ فِی الۡاٰخِرَۃِ ہُمُ الۡخٰسِرُوۡنَ ﴿۱۰۹﴾

16:109 No doubt that in the Hereafter they are the losers.

ثُمَّ اِنَّ رَبَّکَ لِلَّذِیۡنَ ہَاجَرُوۡا مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ مَا فُتِنُوۡا ثُمَّ جٰہَدُوۡا وَ صَبَرُوۡۤا ۙ اِنَّ رَبَّکَ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِہَا لَغَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ ﴿۱۱۰﴾٪

16:110 Then surely your Lord, to those who flee after they are persecuted, then struggle hard and are patient, surely your Lord after that is Protecting, Merciful.7


  1. It is not the change of the Quranic verses that is spoken of here; it is the change of the previous messages sent through former prophets for the message of the Holy Quran. This chapter belongs to Makkah, and the upholders of abro­gation have never asserted that any verse was abrogated while the Holy Prophet was at Makkah. Moreover, it was the revelation of the Quran itself that was called a forgery, and not an occasional change that any of its commandments could have undergone, with which change the disbelievers had, in fact, no concern. See also 2:106 footnote.
  2. The Holy Spirit (Rūḥ al-qudus) is here stated to be the bearer of the revelation to the Holy Prophet; elsewhere the same bearer is called al-Rūḥ al-Amīn, or the Faithful Spirit (26:193), and the same is called Gabriel in 2:97.
  3. Various names have been suggested as to the person whom the opponents of the Prophet referred to. These are mostly the names of Christian slaves, who were not Arabs. All these slaves were among the early converts to Islam, who were most cruelly persecuted by the Quraish, yet they remained firm under the severest tortures. Is it possible that they, without being in the least gainers, should have thus willingly suffered persecutions for a cause which they knew to be false? This is sufficient to show the absurdity of the allegation, and it is to this that v. 105 refers. They certainly cannot be supposed to have been the authors of the sublime themes of the Holy Quran.
  4. The reference is to v. 103. The allegation was that certain slaves taught the Prophet. How could a forger of lies be a believer, especially when he had to undergo the severest trials for its sake.
  5. Only very rare instances are met with in the early history of Islam in which converts even under compulsion ever recanted.
  6. Allah does not seal the hearts of people and thus hinder them from accepting the truth; it is they who reject the truth, turning a deaf ear to the preach­ing of the Prophet, as the previous verses show. Nor are the hearts sealed forever, for, as v. 110 shows, even after that Allah forgives them, if they repent and show perseverance.
  7. The struggle (jihād) spoken of here is certainly not in connection with fighting, for the verse was revealed at Makkah. Note also that God is spoken of here as being Ghafūr, translated as Protecting, to those who flee from their homes on account of persecution and then struggle hard to establish Truth. God being Ghafūr here is in relation to His exalting them by protecting them from the commission of sins, not forgiving of sins, for it is their acts of sacrifice that are spoken of here, not their sins.