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an-Nahl (The Bee)
as rendered by Muhammad Asad

Muhammad Asad rendition of Surah The Bee(an-Nahl)
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16:1 GOD'S JUDGMENT is [bound to] come: do not, therefore, call for its speedy advent! Limitless is He in His glory and sublimely exalted above anything to which men may ascribe a share in His divinity!
16:2 He causes the angels to descend with this divine inspiration, [bestowed] at His behest upon whomever He wills of His servants: "Warn [all human beings] that there is no deity save Me: be, therefore, conscious of Me!"
16:3 He has created the heavens and the earth in accordance with [an inner] truth; sublimely exalted is He above anything to which men may ascribe a share in His divinity!
16:4 He creates man out of a [mere] drop of sperm: and lo! this same being shows himself endowed with the power to think and to argue!
16:5 And He creates cattle: you derive warmth from them, and [various other] uses; and from them you obtain food;
16:6 and you find beauty in them when you drive them home in the evenings and when you take them out to pasture in the mornings.
16:7 And they carry your loads to [many] a place which [otherwise] you would be unable to reach without great hardship to yourselves. Verily, your Sustainer is most compassionate, a dispenser of grace!
16:8 And (it is He who creates] horses and mules and asses for you to ride, as well as for [their] beauty: and He will yet create things of which [today] you have no knowledge.
16:9 And [because He is your Creator,] it rests with God alone to show you the right path: yet there is [many a one] who swerves from it. However, had He so willed, He would have guided you all aright.
16:10 It is He who sends down water from the skies; you drink thereof, and thereof [drink] the plants upon which you pasture your beasts;
16:11 [and] by virtue thereof He causes crops to grow for you, and olive trees, and date palms, and grapes, and all [other] kinds of fruit: in this, behold, there is a message indeed for people who think!
16:12 And He has made the night and the day and the sun and the moon subservient [to His laws, so that they be of use] to you; and all the stars are subservient to His command: in this, behold, there are messages indeed for people who use their reason!
16:13 And all the [beauty of] many hues-which He has created for you on earth: in this, behold, there is a message for people who (are willing to] take it to heart!
16:14 And He it is who has made the sea subservient [to His laws], so that you might eat fresh meat from it, and take from it gems which you may wear. And on that [very sea] one sees ships ploughing through the waves, so that you might [be able to] go forth in quest of some of His bounty, and thus have cause to be grateful [to Him].
16:15 And he has placed firm mountains on earth, lest it sway with you, and rivers and paths, so that you might find your way,
16:16 as well as [various other] means of orientation: for [it is] by the stars that men find their way.
16:17 IS, THEN, HE who creates comparable to any [being] that cannot create? Will you not, then, bethink yourselves?
16:18 For, should you try to count God's blessings, you could never compute them! Behold, God is indeed much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace;
16:19 and God knows all that you keep secret as well as all that you bring into the open.
16:20 Now those beings that some people invoke beside God cannot create anything, since they themselves are but created:
16:21 they are dead, not living, and they do not [even] know when they will be raised from the dead!
16:22 Your God is the One God: but because of their false pride, the hearts of those who do not believe in the life to come refuse to admit this [truth].
16:23 Truly, God knows all that they keep secret as well as all that they bring into the open -[and,] behold, He does not love those who are given to arrogance,
16:24 and [who], whenever they are asked, "What is it that your Sustainer has bestowed from on high?"-are wont to answer, "Fables of ancient times!"
16:25 Hence, on Resurrection Day they shall bear the full weight of their own burdens, as well as some of the burdens of those ignorant ones whom they have led astray: oh, how evil the load with which they shall be burdened!
16:26 Those who lived before them did, too, devise many a blasphemy -whereupon God visited with destruction all that they had ever built, [striking] at its very foundations, so that the roof fell in upon them from above and suffering befell them without their having perceived whence it came.
16:27 And then, on Resurrection Day, He will cover them [all] with ignominy, and will say: "Where, now, are those beings to whom you ascribed a share in My divinity, [and] for whose sake you cut yourselves off [from My guidance]?" [Whereupon] those who [in their lifetime] were endowed with knowledge will say: "Verily, ignominy and misery [have fallen] this day upon those who have been denying the truth-
16:28 those whom the angels have gathered in death while they were still sinning against themselves!" Then will they [who are thus arraigned] proffer their submission, [saying:] "We did not [mean to] do any evil! [But they will be answered:] "Yea, verily, God has full knowledge of all that you were doing!
16:29 Hence, enter the gates of hell, therein to abide!" And evil, indeed, shall be the state of all who are given to false pride!
16:30 But [when] those who are conscious of God are asked, "What is it that your Sustainer has bestowed from on high?" -they answer, "Goodness supreme!" Good fortune awaits, in this world, all who persevere in doing good; but their ultimate state will be far better still: for, how excellent indeed will be the state of the God-conscious [in the life to come]!
16:31 Gardens of perpetual bliss will they enter - [gardens] through which running waters flow - having therein all that they might desire. Thus will God reward those who are conscious of Him-
16:32 those whom the angels gather in death while they are in a state of inner purity, greeting them thus: "Peace be upon you! Enter paradise by virtue of what you were doing [in life]!"
16:33 ARE THEY [who deny the truth] but waiting for the angels to appear unto them, or for God's judgment to become manifest? Even thus did behave those [stubborn sinners] who lived before their time; and [when they were destroyed,] it was not God who wronged them, but it was they who had wronged themselves:
16:34 for all the evil that they had done fell [back] upon them, and they were overwhelmed by the very thing which they had been wont to deride.
16:35 Now they who ascribe divinity to aught beside God say, "Had God so willed, we would not have worshipped aught but Him - neither we nor our forefathers; nor would we have declared aught as forbidden without a commandment from Him." Even thus did speak those [sinners] who lived before their time; but, then, are the apostles bound to do more than clearly deliver the message [entrusted to them]?
16:36 And indeed, within every community have We raised up an apostle [entrusted with this message]: "Worship God, and shun the powers of evil!" And among those [past generations] were people whom God graced with His guidance, just as there was among them [many a one] who inevitably fell prey to grievous error: go, then, about the earth and behold what happened in the end to those who gave the lie to the truth!
16:37 [As for those who are bent on denying the truth-] though thou be ever so eager to show them the right way, [know that,] verily, God does not bestow His guidance upon any whom He judges to have gone astray; and such shall have none to succour them [on Resurrection Day].
16:38 As it is, they swear by God with their most solemn oaths, "Never will God raise from the dead anyone who has died!" Yea indeed! [This very thing has God promised] by a promise which He has willed upon Himself; but most people know it not.
16:39 [He will resurrect them] to the end that He might make clear unto them all whereon they [now] hold divergent views, and that they who are bent on denying the truth [of resurrection] might come to know that they were liars.
16:40 Whenever We will anything to be, We but say unto it Our word "Be" -and it is.
16:41 NOW as for those who forsake the domain of evil in the cause of God, after having suffered wrong [on account of their faith] - We shall most certainly grant them a station of good fortune in this world: but their reward in the life to come will be far greater yet. If they [who deny the truth] could but understand
16:42 those who, having attained to patience in adversity, in their Sustainer place their trust!
16:43 AND [even] before thy time, [O Muhammad,] We never sent [as Our apostles] any but [mortal] men, whom We inspired: and if you have not [yet] realized this, ask the followers of [earlier] revelation,"
16:44 [and they will tell you that their prophets, too, were but mortal men whom We had endowed] with all evidence of the truth and with books of divine wisdom. And upon thee [too] have We bestowed from on high this reminder, so that thou might make clear unto mankind all that has ever been thus bestowed upon them, and that they might take thought.
16:45 Can, then, they who devise evil schemes ever feel sure that God will not cause the earth to swallow them, or that suffering will not befall them without their perceiving whence [it came]? -
16:46 or that He will not take them to task [suddenly] in the midst of their comings and goings, without their being able to elude [Him],
16:47 or take them to task through slow decay? And yet, behold, your Sustainer is most compassionate, a dispenser of grace!
16:48 HAVE, THEN, they [who deny the truth] never considered any of the things that God has created _ (how] their shadows turn right and left, prostrating themselves before God and utterly submissive [to His will]?
16:49 For, before God prostrates itself all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth - every beast that moves, and the angels: [even] these do not bear themselves with false pride:
16:50 they fear their Sustainer high above them, and do whatever they are bidden to do.
16:51 And God has said: "Do not take to worshipping two [or more] deities. He is the One and Only God: hence, of Me, of Me alone stand in awe!"
16:52 And His is all that is in the heavens and on earth, and to Him [alone] obedience is always due: will you, then, pay reverence to aught but Him?
16:53 For, whatever good thing comes to you, comes from God; and whenever harm befalls you, it is unto Him that you cry for help
16:54 yet as soon as He has removed the harm from you, lo! some of you [begin to] ascribe to other powers a share 'in their Sustainer's divinity
16:55 [as if] to prove their ingratitude for all that We have granted them! Enjoy, then, your [brief] life: but in time you will come to know [the truth]!
16:56 As it is, they ascribe - out of what We provide for them as sustenance - a share unto things of which they know nothing. By God, you shall most certainly be called to account for all your false imagery!
16:57 And [thus, too,] they ascribe daughters unto God, who is limitless in His glory - whereas for themselves [they would choose, if they could, only] what they desire:
16:58 for, whenever any of them is given the glad tiding of [the birth of] a girl, his face darkens, and he is filled with suppressed anger,
16:59 avoiding all people because of the [alleged] evil of the glad tiding which he has received, [and debating within himself:] Shall he keep this [child] despite the contempt [which he feels for it]-or shall he bury it in the dust? Old, evil indeed is whatever they decide!
16:60 [Thus it is that] the attribute of evil applies to all who do not believe in the life to come -whereas unto God applies the attribute of all that is most sublime: for He alone is almighty, truly wise!
16:61 Now if God were to take men [immediately] to task for all the evil that they do [on earth], He would not leave a single living creature upon its face. However, He grants them respite until a term set [by Him]: but when the end of their term approaches, they can neither delay it by a single moment, nor can they hasten it.
16:62 As it is, they ascribe to God something that they [themselves] dislike -and [all the while] their tongues utter the lie that [by doing so] they earn supreme merit! Truly, they earn but the fire, and will be left out [of God's grace]!
16:63 By God, [O Prophet,] even before thy time have We sent apostles unto [various] communities: but [those who were bent on denying the truth have always refused to listen to Our messages because] Satan has made all their own doings seem goodly to them: and he is [as] close to them today [as he was to the sinners of yore]; hence, grievous suffering awaits them.
16:64 And upon thee [too] have We bestowed from on' high this divine writ for no other reason than that thou might make clear unto them all [questions of faith] on which they have come to hold divergent views, and [thus offer] guidance and grace unto people who will believe.
16:65 AND GOD sends down water from the skies, giving life thereby to the earth after it had been lifeless: in this, behold, there is a message indeed for people who [are willing to] listen.
16:66 And, behold, in the cattle [too] there is indeed a lesson for you: We give you to drink of that [fluid] which is [secreted from] within their bellies between that which is to be eliminated [from the animal's body] and [its] life-blood: milk pure and pleasant to those who drink it.
16:67 And [We grant you nourishment] from the fruit of date-palms and vines: from it you derive intoxicants as well as wholesome sustenance -in this, behold, there is a message indeed for people who use their reason!
16:68 And [consider how] thy Sustainer has inspired the bee: "Prepare for thyself dwellings in mountains and in trees, and in what [men] may build [for thee by way of hives];
16:69 and then eat of all manner of fruit, and follow humbly the paths ordained for thee by thy Sustainer." [And lo!] there issues from within these [bees] a fluid of many hues, wherein there is health for man. In all this, behold, there is a message indeed for people who think!
16:70 AND GOD has created you, and in time will cause you to die; and many a one of you is reduced in old age to a most abject state, ceasing to know anything of what he once knew so well. Verily, God is all-knowing, infinite in His power!
16:71 And on some of you God has bestowed more abundant means of sustenance than on others: and yet, they who are more abundantly favoured are [often] unwilling to share their sustenance with those whom their right hands possess, so that they [all] might be equal in this respect. Will they, then, God's blessings [thus] deny?
16:72 And God has given you mates of your own kinds and has given you, through your mates, children and children's children, and has provided for you sustenance out of the good things of life. Will men, then, [continue to] believe in things false and vain, and thus blaspheme against God's blessings? -
16:73 and will they [continue to] worship, instead of God, something that has it not within its power to provide for them any sustenance whatever from the heavens or the earth, and can do nothing at all?
16:74 Hence, do not coin any similitudes for Gods Verily, God knows [all], whereas you have no [real] knowledge.
16:75 God propounds [to you] the parable of [two men-] a man enslaved, unable to do anything of his own accord, and a [free] man upon whom We have bestowed goodly sustenance [as a gift] from Ourselves, so that he can spend thereof [at will, both] secretly and openly. Can these [two] be deemed equal? All praise is due to God [alone]: but most of them do not understand it.
16:76 And God propounds [to you] the parable of two [other] men -one of them dumb, unable to do anything of his own accord, and a sheer burden on his master: to whichever task the latter directs him, he accomplishes no good. Can such a one be considered the equal of [a wise man] who enjoins the doing of what is right and himself follows a straight way?
16:77 And, God's [alone] is the knowledge of the hidden reality of the heavens and the earth. And so, the advent of the Last Hour will but manifest itself [in a single moment,] like the twinkling of an eye, or closer still: for, behold, God has the power to will anything.
16:78 And God has brought you forth from your mothers' wombs knowing nothing-but He has endowed you with hearing, and sight, and minds, so that you might have cause to be grateful.
16:79 Have, then, they [who deny the truth] never considered the birds, enabled [by God] to fly in mid-air, with none but God holding them aloft? In this, behold, there are messages indeed for people who will believe!
16:80 And God has given you [the ability to build] your houses as places of rest, and has endowed you with [the skill to make] dwellings out of the skins of animals - easy for you to handle when you travel and when you camp -and [to make] furnishings and goods for temporary use of their [rough] wool and their soft, furry wool and their hair.
16:81 And among the many objects of His creation, God has appointed for you [various] means of protection: thus, He has given you in the mountains places of shelter, and has endowed you with [the ability to make] garments to protect you from heat [and cold], as well as such garments as might protect you from your [mutual] violence. In this way does He bestow the full measure of His blessings on you, so that you might surrender yourselves unto Him.
16:82 BUT IF they turn away [from thee, O Prophet, remember that] thy only duty is a clear delivery of the message [entrusted to thee].
16:83 They [who turn away from it] are fully aware of God's blessings, but none the less they refuse to acknowledge them [as such], since most of them are given to denying the truth.
16:84 But one Day We shall raise up a witness out of every community, whereupon they who were bent on denying the truth will not be allowed to plead [ignorance], and neither will they be allowed to make amends.
16:85 And when they who were bent on evildoing behold the suffering [that awaits them, they will realize that] it will not be lightened for them [by virtue of their pleading]; and neither will they be granted respite.
16:86 And when they who were wont to ascribe divinity to beings other than God behold [on Judgment Day] those beings to whom they were wont to ascribe a share in His divinity, they will exclaim: "O our Sustainer! These are the beings to whom we ascribed a share in Thy divinity, and whom we were wont to invoke instead of Thee!" -whereupon [those beings] will fling at them the retort: "Behold, you have indeed been lying [to yourselves]!"
16:87 And on that Day will they [who had thus been sinning, belatedly] proffer their surrender to God; and all their false imagery will have forsaken them.
16:88 Upon all who were bent on denying the truth and who turned others away from the path of God will We heap suffering upon suffering in return for all the corruption that they wrought:
16:89 for one Day We shall raise up within every community a witness against them from among themselves. And thee [too, O Prophet,] have We brought forth to bear witness regarding those [whom thy message may have reached], inasmuch as We have bestowed from on high upon thee, step by step, this divine writ, to make everything clear, and to provide guidance and grace and a glad tiding unto all who have surrendered themselves to God.
16:90 BEHOLD, God enjoins justice, and the doing of good, and generosity towards [one's] fellow-men; and He forbids all that is shameful and all that runs counter to reason, as well as envy; [and] He exhorts you [repeatedly] so that you might bear [all this] in mind.
16:91 And be true to your bond with God whenever you bind yourselves by a pledge, and do not break [your] oaths after having [freely] confirmed them and having called upon God to be witness to your good faith: behold, God knows all that you do.
16:92 Hence, be not like her who breaks and completely untwists the yarn which she [herself] has spun and made strong-[be not like this by] using your oaths as a means of deceiving one another, simply because some of you may be more powerful than others." By all this, God but puts you to a test-and [He does it] so that on Resurrection Day He might make clear unto you all that on which you were wont to differ.
16:93 For, had God so willed, He could surely have made you all one single community; however, He lets go astray him that wills [to go astray], and guides aright him that wills [to be guided]; and you will surely be called to account for all that you ever did!
16:94 And do not use your oaths as a means of deceiving one another-or else [your] foot will slip after having been firm, and then you will have to taste the evil [consequences] of your having turned away from the path of God, with tremendous suffering awaiting you [in the life to come].
16:95 Hence, do not barter away your bond with God for a trifling gain! Verily, that which is with God is by far the best for you, if you but knew it:
16:96 all that is with you is bound to come to an end, whereas that which is with God is everlasting. And most certainly shall We grant unto those who are patient in adversity their reward in accordance with the best that they ever did.
16:97 As for anyone - be it man or woman - who does righteous deeds, and is a believer withal - him shall We most certainly cause to live a good life. and most certainly shall We grant unto such as these their reward in accordance with the best that they ever did.
16:98 NOW whenever thou happen to read this Qur'an, seek refuge with God from Satan, the accursed.
16:99 Behold, he has no power over those who have attained to faith and in their Sustainer place their tray trust:
16:100 he has power only over those who are willing to follow him, and who [thus] ascribe to him a share in God's divinity.
16:101 And now that We replace one message by another -since God is fully aware of what He bestows from on high, step by step - they [who deny the truth] are wont to say, "Thou but inventest it!" Nay, but most of them do not understand it!
16:102 Say: "Holy inspiration has brought it down from thy Sustainer by stages, setting forth the truth, so that it might give firmness unto those who have attained to faith, and provide guidance and a glad tiding unto all who have surrendered themselves to God."
16:103 And, indeed, full well do We know that they say, "It is but a human being that imparts [all] this to him! -[notwithstanding that] the tongue of him to whom they so maliciously point is wholly outlandish, whereas this is Arabic speech, clear [in itself] and clearly showing the truth [of its source].
16:104 Verily, as for those who will not believe in God's messages, God does not guide them aright; and grievous suffering will be their lot [in the life to come].
16:105 It is but they who will not believe in God's messages that invent this falsehood; and it is they, they who are lying!
16:106 As for anyone who denies God after having once attained to faith-and this, to be sure, does not apply to one who does it under duress, the while his heart remains true to his faith, but [only, to] him who willingly opens up his heart to a denial of the truth-: upon all such [falls] God's condemnation, and tremendous suffering awaits them:
16:107 all this, because they hold this world's life in greater esteem than the life to come, and because God does not bestow His guidance upon people who deny the truth.
16:108 They whose hearts and whose hearing and whose sight God has sealed -it is they, they who are heedless!
16:109 Truly it is they, they who in the life to come shall be the losers!
16:110 And yet, behold, thy Sustainer [grants His forgiveness] unto those who forsake the domain of evil after having succumbed to its temptation, and who thenceforth strive hard [in God's cause] and are patient in adversity: behold, after such [repentance] thy Sustainer is indeed much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace!
16:111 [Be conscious, then, of] the Day when every human being shall come to plead for himself [alone], and every human being shall be repaid in full for whatever he has done, and none shall be wronged.
16:112 AND GOD propounds [to you] a parable: [Imagine] a town which was [once] secure and at ease, with its sustenance coming to it abundantly from all quarters, and which thereupon blasphemously refused to show gratitude for God's blessings: and therefore God caused it to taste the all-embracing misery of hunger and fear in result of all [the evil] that its people had so persistently wrought.
16:113 And indeed, there had come unto them an apostle from among themselves -but they gave him the lie; and therefore suffering overwhelmed them while they were thus doing wrong [to themselves].
16:114 AND SO, partake of all the lawful, good things which God has provided for you as sustenance, and render thanks unto God for His blessings, if it is [truly] Him that you worship.
16:115 He has forbidden to you only carrion, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that over which any name other than God's has been invoked; but if one is driven [to it] by necessity - neither coveting it nor exceeding his immediate need -verily, God is much forgiving, a dispenser of grace.
16:116 Hence, do not utter falsehoods by letting your tongues determine [at your own discretion], "This is lawful and that is forbidden", thus attributing your own lying inventions to God: for, behold, they who attribute their own lying inventions to God will never attain to a happy state!
16:117 A brief enjoyment [may be theirs in this world] -but grievous suffering awaits them [in the life to come]!
16:118 And [only] unto those who followed the Jewish faith did We forbid all that We have mentioned to thee ere this; and no wrong did We do to them, but it was they who persistently wronged themselves.
16:119 And once again: Behold, thy Sustainer [shows mercy] to those who do evil out of ignorance and afterwards repent and live righteously: behold, after such [repentance] thy Sustainer is indeed much forgiving, a dispenser of grace.
16:120 VERILY, Abraham was a man who combined within himself all virtues, devoutly obeying God's will, turning away from all that is false, and not being of those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God:
16:121 [for he was always] grateful for the blessings granted by Him who had elected him and guided him onto a straight way.
16:122 And so We vouchsafed him good in this world; and, verily, in the life to come [too] he shall find himself among the righteous.
16:123 And lastly, We have inspired thee, [O Muhammad, with this message:] "Follow the creed of Abraham, who turned away from all that is false, and was not of those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God;
16:124 [and know that the observance of] the Sabbath was ordained only for those who came to hold divergent views about him; but, verily, God will judge between them on Resurrection Day with regard to all on which they were wont to differ.
16:125 CALL THOU (all mankind] unto thy Sustainer's path with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and argue with them in the most kindly manner- for, behold, thy Sustainer knows best as to who strays from His path, and best knows He as to who are the right-guided.
16:126 Hence, if you have to respond to an attack (in argument], respond only to the extent of the attack levelled against you; but to bear yourselves with patience is indeed far better for (you, since God is with] those who are patient in adversity.
16:127 Endure, then, with patience (all that they who deny the truth may say] -always remembering that it is none but God who gives thee the strength to endure adversity -and do not grieve over them, and neither be distressed by the false arguments which they devise:
16:128 for, verily, God is with those who are conscious of Him and are doers of good withal!


   


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