Surah Nahl >> Currently viewing Surah Nahl Ayat 103 (16:103)

Surah Nahl Ayat 103 in Arabic Text

وَلَقَدْ نَعْلَمُ أَنَّهُمْ يَقُولُونَ إِنَّمَا يُعَلِّمُهُۥ بَشَرٌۭ ۗ لِّسَانُ ٱلَّذِى يُلْحِدُونَ إِلَيْهِ أَعْجَمِىٌّۭ وَهَـٰذَا لِسَانٌ عَرَبِىٌّۭ مُّبِينٌ
Wa laqad na’lamu annahum yaqooloona innamaa yu’allimuhoo bashar; lisaanul lazee yulhidoona ilaihi a’ja miyyunw wa haaza lisaanun ‘Arabiyyum mubeen

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 103

Sahih International
And We certainly know that they say, “It is only a human being who teaches the Prophet.” The tongue of the one they refer to is foreign, and this Qur’an is [in] a clear Arabic language.

Yusuf Ali
We know indeed that they say, “It is a man that teaches him.” The tongue of him they wickedly point to is notably foreign, while this is Arabic, pure and clear.

Abul Ala Maududi
Surely We know well that they say about you: “It is only a human being who teaches him,” (notwithstanding) that he whom they maliciously hint at is of foreign tongue, while this (Qur’an) is plain Arabic speech.

Muhsin Khan
And indeed We know that they (polytheists and pagans) say: “It is only a human being who teaches him (Muhammad SAW).” The tongue of the man they refer to is foreign, while this (the Quran) is a clear Arabic tongue.

Pickthall
And We know well that they say: Only a man teacheth him. The speech of him at whom they falsely hint is outlandish, and this is clear Arabic speech.

Dr. Ghali
And indeed We already know that they say, “Surely only a mortal is teaching him.” The tongue (i.e., the language) of him about whom they blaspheme is foreign, and this is an evident Arabic tongue. 135

Abdel Haleem
We know very well that they say, ‘It is a man who teaches him,’ but the language of the person they allude to is foreign, while this revelation is in clear Arabic.

Quran 16 Verse 103 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Nahl ayat 103, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(16:103) Surely We know well that they say about you: “It is only a human being who teaches him,”[107] (notwithstanding) that he whom they maliciously hint at is of foreign tongue, while this (Qur’an) is plain Arabic speech.


107. In this connection, traditions mention the names of several persons, one of whom is Jabar. According to the disbelievers of Makkah he taught the Prophet (peace be upon him). However, one thing particularly noteworthy about all these persons is that they were non Arab slaves. Whosoever he might be, the fact that he used to recite the Torah and the Gospel and had an acquaintance with the Prophet (peace be upon him). This gave an opportunity to the disbelievers for spreading this false report that it was the particular slave who was the real author of the Holy Quran, but Muhammad (peace be upon him) presented it as the Word of God. This not only shows that his opponents were very impudent in spreading false accusations against the Prophet (peace be upon him) but also that, in general, people are not just in judging the worth of their contemporaries. They were ill treating like this that great personality who has had no parallel in history. Nevertheless, these people who had become blind in their opposition, preferred to attribute the authorship of the matchless Arabic Quran to a non Arab slave who had a smattering of the Torah and the Gospel. Instead of accepting the claim of the Prophet (peace be upon him), who was an embodiment of truth, they attributed its authorship to an insignificant foreign slave.

Ibn-Kathir

103. And indeed We know that they (polytheists and pagans) say: “It is only a human being who teaches him.” The tongue of the man they refer to is foreign, while this (the Qur’an) is (in) a clear Arabic tongue.


The Idolators’ Claim that the Qur’an was taught by a Human, and the Refutation of their Claim

Allah tells us about the idolators’ lies, allegations, and slander when they claimed that this Qur’an which Muhammad had recited for them, was actually taught to him by a human. They referred to a foreign (i.e., non-Arab) man who lived among them as the servant of some of the clans of Quraysh and who used to sell goods by As-Safa. Maybe the Messenger of Allah used to sit with him sometimes and talk to him a little, but he was a foreigner who did not know much Arabic, only enough simple phrases to answer questions when he had to. So in refutation of their claims of fabrication, Allah said:

﴿لِّسَانُ الَّذِى يُلْحِدُونَ إِلَيْهِ أَعْجَمِىٌّ وَهَـذَا لِسَانٌ عَرَبِىٌّ مُّبِينٌ﴾

(The tongue of the man they refer to is foreign, while this (the Qur’an) is a (in) clear Arabic tongue.) meaning, how could it be that this Qur’an with its eloquent style and perfect meanings, which is more perfect than any Book revealed to any previously sent Prophet, have been learnt from a foreigner who hardly speaks the language No one with the slightest amount of common sense would say such a thing.

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