Bees In The Quran

What does the Quran say about bees?  It's evident that the bee is held in high regard, receiving direct instruction from God, and setting an example for a man.  

The Bee - Al-Nahl / An-Nahl

The bee features in the 16th chapter of the Quran.  There are 128 verses in the chapter, and you'll find reference to God's instruction to the bee (specifically the honey bee) in versus 68 and 69.

Below is the Arabic, followed by an English translations.

Verse 68:

وَأَوحىٰ رَبُّكَ إِلَى النَّحلِ أَنِ اتَّخِذي مِنَ الجِبالِ بُيوتًا وَمِنَ الشَّجَرِ وَمِمّا

يَعرِشونَ

Verse 69:

ثُمَّ كُلي مِن كُلِّ الثَّمَراتِ فَاسلُكي سُبُلَ رَبِّكِ ذُلُلًا ۚ يَخرُجُ مِن بُطونِها شَرابٌ

مُختَلِفٌ أَلوانُهُ فيهِ شِفاءٌ لِلنّاسِ ۗ إِنَّ في ذٰلِكَ لَآيَةً لِقَومٍ يَتَفَكَّرونَ

Translations:

Here is a recent translation: 


Verse 68:
And your Lord inspired the bee [saying]: ‘Make your home in the mountains, and on the trees and the trellises that they erect. 

Verse 69:
Then eat from every [kind of] fruit and follow meekly the ways of your Lord.’ There issues from its belly a juice of diverse hues, in which there is a cure for the people. There is indeed a sign in that for a people who reflect. 

- Ali Quli Qarai, 20041


This translation dates back to 1649:

The Lord inspired the Bee to dwell in the fields, to lodge in trees, in Hives, and to eat of all sorts of fruits, it produceth honey of divers colours, that serveth for a remedy to the diseases of men; these things are signes of Gods omnipotency to them that consider them. God hath created you, and shall cause you to dye;

- Alexander Ross, 16492


What does the [honey] bee represent in the Quran?

"An-Naḥl, “The Bee,” takes its name from v. 68, where the activities of the Bee are mentioned as a type of duty and of usefulness. It calls attention to God’s providence for creation, and to His guidance to mankind as a necessary part of it, and warns disbelievers in that guidance of a folly in rejecting it as great as would be the rejection of food and drink."

Marmaduke Pickthall, 19303

References


1. Ali Quli Qarai, The Qur'an: With a Phrase-by-Phrase English Translation; ICAS Press, 2004, ISBN 1904063179, 9781904063179

2. Alexander Ross, The Alcoran of Mahomet, translated out of Arabick into French, by the Sieur Du Ryer, Lord of Malezair, and resident for the French king, at Alexandria. And newly Englished, for the satisfaction of all that desire to look into the Turkish vanities., London, Printed, Anno Dom., Consulted online at “Quran Archive - Texts and Studies on the Quran” on 09 Jun. 2021: http://quran-archive.org/explorer/alexander-ross/1649?page=188

3. Marmaduke Pickthall, The Meaning of The Glorious Koran. An Explanatory Translation, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, Consulted online at “Quran Archive - Texts and Studies on the Quran” on 09 Jun. 2021: http://quran-archive.org/explorer/marmaduke-pickthall/1930?page=274



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