Surah Nahl Ayat 71 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 71
And Allah has favored some of you over others in provision. But those who were favored would not hand over their provision to those whom their right hands possess so they would be equal to them therein. Then is it the favor of Allah they reject?
Allah has bestowed His gifts of sustenance more freely on some of you than on others: those more favoured are not going to throw back their gifts to those whom their right hands possess, so as to be equal in that respect. Will they then deny the favours of Allah?
Allah has favoured some of you with more worldly provisions than others. Then those who are more favoured do not give away their provisions to their slaves lest they become equal sharers in it. Do they, then, deny the favour of Allah?
And Allah has preferred some of you above others in wealth and properties. Then, those who are preferred will by no means hand over their wealth and properties to those (slaves) whom their right hands possess, so that they may be equal with them in respect thereof. Do they then deny the Favour of Allah?
And Allah hath favoured some of you above others in provision. Now those who are more favoured will by no means hand over their provision to those (slaves) whom their right hands possess, so that they may be equal with them in respect thereof. Is it then the grace of Allah that they deny?
And Allah has graced some of you over others (Literally: over some “others”) in provision; so in no way will the ones who have been graced turn back their provision to the ones whom their right hands possess, so that they may be equal therein. Then, do they repudiate the favor of Allah?
God has given some of you more provision than others. Those who have been given more are unwilling to pass their provision on to the slaves they possess so that they become their equals. How can they refuse to acknowledge God’s blessings?
Quran 16 Verse 71 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Nahl ayat 71, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(16:71) Allah has favoured some of you with more worldly provisions than others. Then those who are more favoured do not give away their provisions to their slaves lest they become equal sharers in it. Do they, then, deny the favour of Allah?
62. It will be worthwhile to give deep thought to the meanings of this verse, for some modern commentators of the Quran have founded strange economic theories and systems on it. Their interpretation is an instance of perverting the meaning of the Quran by isolating verses from their context and treating it as a separate whole in order to formulate a new philosophy and law of Islamic Economics. In their opinion the verse implies this: Those people to whom Allah has given more provisions than others, should share these equally with their servants and slaves: otherwise they shall be guilty of ingratitude to Allah in regard to the wealth with which He had blessed them. This commentary on the verse is obviously wrong and farfetched because in the context it occurs there is no mention at all of any law of economics. The whole passage in which this verse occurs deals with the refutation of shirk and proof of Tauhid. The same themes are continued in the subsequent verses. There seems to be no reason why an economic law should have been inserted here, which would have been absolutely irrelevant, to say the least. On the contrary, when the verse is considered in its context, it becomes quite obvious that it is no more than the statement of a fact to prove the same theme that is contained in this passage. It argues like this: When you yourselves do not make your servants and slaves equal partners in your wealth, which in fact is given to you by Allah, how is it that you join other gods with God in your gratitude to Him for the favors with which He has blessed you. You know that these gods have no powers to bestow anything on anyone, and, therefore, have no right in your worship of Allah, for they are after all His slaves and servants.
This interpretation of the verse under discussion is corroborated by (Surah Ar-Room, Ayat 28): “Allah sets forth to you an instance from your own selves. Do your slaves share with you the wealth We have bestowed on you so that you and they become equals in this? And do you fear them as you fear one another? Thus We make clear Our signs to those who use their common sense.” A comparison of the two verses makes it quite clear that these have been cited to bring home to the mushriks that they themselves do not associate their slaves with themselves in their wealth and status, but they have the impudence and folly to set up His own creature as partner with God. It appears that the erroneous interpretation has been strengthened by the succeeding sentence: What! do they then deny to acknowledge Allah’s favor? As this sentence immediately follows the similitude of the rich people and their slaves, they conclude that it will be ingratitude on the part of those, who possess more wealth not to share it equally with those who have less. As a matter of fact, everyone who has studied the Quran critically knows that ingratitude to Allah is to show gratitude to others than Allah for His blessings. This interpretation is so patently wrong that those who are well versed in the teachings of the Quran can have no misconception about it. And such verses as these can mislead only those who have a cursory knowledge of the Quran.
Now that the significance of the ingratitude towards Allah’s blessing has become plain, the meaning of the verse will be quite clear, and it is this: When the Mushriks understand the implication of the difference between the master and his slave and observe this distinction in their own lives, why do they then persist in ignoring the immense difference between the Creator and His creatures and set up the latter as His partners and pay homage of gratitude to them for the blessings bestowed on them by Allah.
71. And Allah honored some of you over others with wealth and properties. Then, those who are so honored will by no means hand over their wealth and properties to those (captives of war) whom their right hands possess, so that they may be equal with them in that. Do they then deny the favor of Allah
Allah explains to the idolators the ignorance and disbelief involved in their claim that Allah has partners while also admitting that these partners are His servants. In their Talbiyah for Hajj, they used to say, “Here I am, there are no partners for You except Your own partner, You own him and everything he owns.” Allah says, denouncing them: `You would not accept for your servant to have an equal share in your wealth, so how is it that Allah would accept His servant to be His equal in divinity and glory As Allah says elsewhere:
(He sets forth a parable for you from yourselves: Do you have partners among those whom your right hands possess (i.e. your servant) to share as equals in the wealth We have granted you, those whom you fear as you fear each other) (30:28) Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas mentioned this Ayah, saying, “Allah is saying – `If they did not want their servant to have a share with them in their wealth and wives, how can My servant have a share with Me in My power’ Thus Allah says:
(Do they then deny the favor of Allah)” According to another report, Ibn `Abbas said: “How can they accept for Me that which they do not accept for themselves”
(Do they then deny the favor of Allah) meaning, they assign to Allah a share of the tilth and cattle which He has created. They denied His blessings and associated others in worship with Him. Al-Hasan Al-Basri said: “Umar bin Al-Khattab wrote this letter to Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari: `Be content with your provision in this world, for the Most Merciful has honored some of His servants over others in terms of provision as a test of both. The one who has been given plenty is being tested to see if he will give thanks to Allah and fulfill the duties which are his by virtue of his wealth…”’ It was reported by Ibn Abi Hatim.
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