Sūrat al-Nahl

Sūrat al-Nahl, No. 16, Revealed in Makkah with some verses revealed in Madīnah. 128 verses.

The Sūrah takes its name from the discussion on the bee in verses 68-69. Some refer to this Sūrah as al-Ni‘am (the Blessings) because of the many blessings mentioned in it. It is one of the most Sūrahs that point out the spiritual significance of nature. Many wonders of the natural world are discussed in it.

Merits of reciting the Sūrah

Whoever recites this Sūrah Allah will not take him to account for all the blessings He had granted him in the world. Holy Prophet a (Tafsīr Majma‘ al Bayān)

Note: Because many of the verses of this Sūrah talk about blessings of Allah, reciting and reflecting on them would create gratitude and action towards correct use of the blessings. Thus, there would be no accounting for those blessings.

General synopsis of contents

1) Details of the many natural blessings of Allah that has been granted to the human being.

2) Proofs of the Oneness of God and the hereafter.

3) Fulfilling the rules of Islam

4) Arguments and practices of the polytheists

5) Warnings about punishment in the world and in the Hereafter.

Selected Lessons

1) Allah’s blessings are present in every part of creation. They are so many they can never be counted (verse 18; also see Q 14:34))

2) At the time of death, the souls of believers will be taken by angels with respect and

pleasantness (verse 32)

3) All that is in the heavens and earth prostrates and submits to Allah Y (verse 49)

4) The bee and the honey it makes, are from the great signs of Allah (vv. 68-69)

5) Family relations is one of the good things of the world that Allah Y has blessed

human beings with (verse 72)

6) What is in this world is transient and fleeting while what is with Allah Y will always

remain (verse 96)

7) The deeds of men and women will be judged equally (verse 97)

8) Inviting others towards Allah Y must be done in the right way (verse 125)

Important Messages

1) Beauty of nature is not just to be enjoyed. It is a means of getting closer to Allah.

2) The root of disbelief and rejection of faith in God is arrogance.

3) Do not consider your blessings to be only from your own hard work and efforts.

4) Be wary of the effects of shaytān on your intentions and deeds.

5) Worship cannot be done without gratitude.

Suggested verses for reflection and memorization.

1) 16:65 – Allah sends down water from the sky with which He revives the earth after its death.

There is indeed a sign in that for a people who listen.

2) 16:70 – And Allah has created you, then He causes you to die, and of you there are some who are

sent back to a feeble age, so that he knows nothing after [having possessed] some knowledge. Indeed, Allah is all-knowing, all-powerful.

3) 16:78 – Allah has brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers while you did not know

anything. He made for you hearing, eyesight, and hearts so that you may give thanks.

4) 16:79 – Have they not regarded the birds disposed in the air of the sky: no one sustains them

except Allah. There are indeed signs in that for a people who have faith. 

Activities for self-study

1) There are many parables in this Sūrah. Check verses 75, 76, 92, and 112. What do you understand from these parables? Write them out, illustrate them, discuss them.

2) From the abundant blessings mentioned in this Sūrah choose two that you would like to be more mindful of. How can you be more attentive to them and grateful for them?

3) Read the passage on Prophet Ibrahim (a) in this Sūrah (verses 12-123). List his qualities mentioned. Connect them with other verses you may know on him.