Surah Nahl >> Currently viewing Surah Nahl Ayat 68 (16:68)

Surah Nahl Ayat 68 in Arabic Text

وَأَوْحَىٰ رَبُّكَ إِلَى ٱلنَّحْلِ أَنِ ٱتَّخِذِى مِنَ ٱلْجِبَالِ بُيُوتًۭا وَمِنَ ٱلشَّجَرِ وَمِمَّا يَعْرِشُونَ
Wa awhaa Rabbuka ilan-nahli anit takhizee minal jibaali buyootanw wa minash shajari wa mimmaa ya’rishoon

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 68

Sahih International
And your Lord inspired to the bee, “Take for yourself among the mountains, houses, and among the trees and [in] that which they construct.

Yusuf Ali
And thy Lord taught the Bee to build its cells in hills, on trees, and in (men’s) habitations;

Abul Ala Maududi
Your Lord inspired the bee, saying: “Set up hives in the mountains and in the trees and in the trellises that people put up,

Muhsin Khan
And your Lord inspired the bee, saying: “Take you habitations in the mountains and in the trees and in what they erect.

And thy Lord inspired the bee, saying: Choose thou habitations in the hills and in the trees and in that which they thatch;

Dr. Ghali
And your Lord revealed to the bees, (saying), “Take to yourselves, of the mountains, homes, and of the trees, and of whatever they trellis.

Abdel Haleem
And your Lord inspired the bee, saying, ‘Build yourselves houses in the mountains and trees and what people construct.

Quran 16 Verse 68 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Nahl ayat 68, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.


(16:68) Your Lord inspired the bee,[56] saying: “Set up hives in the mountains and in the trees and in the trellises that people put up,

56. The lexical meaning of the Arabic word wahi is secret inspiration which is felt only by the one who inspires and the other who is inspired with. The Quran has used this word both for the instinctive inspiration by Allah to His creation in general and for the revelation towards His Prophets in particular. Allah sends His wahi to the heavens with His command and they begin functioning in accordance with it (Surah Al-Momin, Ayat 12). He will send this to the earth with His command and it will relate the story of all that had happened on and in it. He sends wahi to the bee and inspires it with faculties to perform the all of its wonderful work instinctively (Ayat 68). The same is true of the bird that learns to fly, the fish that learns to swim, the newly born child that learns to suck milk, etc. Then, it is also wahi with which Allah inspires a human being with a spontaneous idea (Surah Al-Qasas, Ayat 7). The same is the case with all the great discoveries, inventions, works of literature and art, etc. which would not have been possible without the benefit of wahi. As a matter of fact, every human being at one time or the other feels its mental or spiritual influence in the form of an idea or thought or plan or dream, which is confirmed by a subsequent experience to be the right guidance from the unseen wahi.

Then there is the wahi (revelation) which is the privilege of the Prophets. This form of wahi has its own special features and is quite distinct from all other forms. The Prophet, who is inspired with it, is fully conscious and has his firm conviction that it is being sent down from Allah. Such a revelation contains doctrines of creed, commandments, laws, regulations and instructions for the guidance of mankind.


68. And your Lord inspired the bee, saying: “Take you habitations in the mountains and in the trees and in what they (humans) erect.” 69. “Then, eat of all fruits, and follow the routes that your Lord made easy (for you).” There comes forth from their bellies, a drink of varying colors, in which there is a cure for men. There is indeed a sign in that for people who reflect.

In the Bee and its Honey there is Blessing and a Lesson

What is meant by inspiration here is guidance. The bee is guided to make its home in the mountains, in trees and in structures erected by man. The bee’s home is a solid structure, with its hexagonal shapes and interlocking forms there is no looseness in its combs. Then Allah decrees that the bee will have permission to eat from all fruits and to follow the ways which Allah has made easy for it, wherever it wants to go in the vast spaces of the wilderness, valleys and high mountains. Then each bee comes back to its hive without swerving to the right or left, it comes straight back to its home where its offspring and honey are. It makes wax from its wings, and regurgitates honey from its mouth, and lays eggs from its rear, then the next morning it goes out to the fields again.

﴿فَاسْلُكِى سُبُلَ رَبِّكِ ذُلُلاً﴾

(and follow the routes of your Lord made easy (for you)) Qatadah and `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said: “This means, in an obedient way”, understanding it to be a description of the route of migration. Ibn Zayd said that this is like the Ayah:

﴿وَذَلَّلْنَـهَا لَهُمْ فَمِنْهَا رَكُوبُهُمْ وَمِنْهَا يَأْكُلُونَ ﴾

(And We have subdued them for them so that some they may ride and some they may eat.) (36:72) He said: “Do you not see that they move the bees’ home from one land to another, and the bees follow them” The first opinion is clearly the more likely, as it describes the routes that the bees follow, i.e., `follow these routes as they are easy for you.’ This was stated by Mujahid. Ibn Jarir said that both opinions are correct.

﴿يَخْرُجُ مِن بُطُونِهَا شَرَابٌ مُّخْتَلِفٌ أَلْوَانُهُ فِيهِ شِفَآءٌ لِلنَّاسِ﴾

(There comes forth from their bellies, a drink of varying colors, wherein is healing for men.) ﴿meaning, honey, that is﴾ white, yellow, red, or of other good colors, depending on the different things that the bees eat.

﴿فِيهِ شِفَآءٌ لِلنَّاسِ﴾

(in which there is a cure for men.) meaning there is a cure in honey for diseases that people suffer from. Some of those who spoke about the study of Prophetic medicine said that if ﴿Allah﴾ had said, `in which there is the cure for men’, then it would be the remedy for all diseases, but He said, `in which there is a cure for men’, meaning that it is the right treatment for every “cold” disease, because it is “hot”, and a disease should be treated with its opposite. Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded in their Sahihs from Qatadah from Abu Al-Mutawakkil `Ali bin Dawud An-Naji from Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri that a man came to the Messenger of Allah and said, “My brother is suffering from diarrhea”. He said,

«اسْقِهِ عَسَلًا»

(Give him honey to drink.) The man went and gave him honey, then he came back and said, “O Messenger of Allah! I gave him honey to drink, and he only got worse.” The Prophet said,

«اذْهَبْ فَاسْقِهِ عَسَلًا»

(Go and give him honey to drink.) So he went and gave him honey, then he came back and said, “O Messenger of Allah! it only made him worse. ” The Prophet said,

«صَدَقَ اللهُ وَكَذَبَ بَطْنُ أَخِيكَ، اذْهَبْ فَاسْقِهِ عَسَلًا»

(Allah speaks the truth and your brother’s stomach is lying. Go and give him honey to drink.) So he went and gave him honey, and he recovered.” It is reported in the Two Sahihs from `A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, that the Messenger of Allah used to like sweet things and honey. This is the wording of Al-Bukhari, who also reported in his Sahih from Ibn `Abbas that the Messenger of Allah said:

«الشِّفَاءُ فِي ثَلَاثَةٍ: فِي شَرْطَةِ مِحْجَمٍ، أَوْ شَرْبَةِ عَسَلٍ، أَوْ كَيَّةٍ بِنَارٍ، وَأَنْهَى أُمَّتِي عَنِ الْكَي»

(Healing is to be found in three things: the cut made by the cupper, or drinking honey, or in branding with fire (cauterizing), but I have forbidden my Ummah to use branding.)

﴿إِنَّ فِى ذَلِكَ لآيَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ﴾

(There is indeed a sign in that for people who reflect.) meaning in the fact that Allah inspires this weak little creature to travel through the vast fields and feed from every kind of fruit, then gather it for wax and honey, which are some of the best things, in this is a sign for people who think about the might and power of the bee’s Creator Who causes all of this to happen. From this they learn that He is the Initiator, the All-Powerful, the All-Wise, the All-Knowing, the Most Generous, the Most Merciful.

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