Marmaduke Pickthall, The Meaning of The Glorious Koran. An Explanatory Translation (1930)


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. The Sûrah is ascribed to the last Meccan group, though some ancient authorities regard the ascription as valid only for vv. 1–40, and consider the whole latter portion as revealed at Al-Madînah. The only verse in the Sûrah which is self-evidently of Madînan revelation is v. 110, where the fugitives from persecution are said to have fought; for in the Meccan period fighting was unlawful for the Muslims, though many of them fled from persecution, taking refuge in Abyssinia.

A late Meccan Sûrah, with the exception of v. 110, which must have been revealed at Al-Madînah not earlier than the year 2 A.H., and possibly many other verses toward the end.

The Bee

Revealed at Mecca
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

1. The commandment of Allah will come to pass, so seek not ye to hasten it. Glorified and Exalted be He above all that they associate (with Him).

2. He sendeth down the angels with the Spirit of His command unto whom He will of His bondmen, (saying): Warn mankind that there is no god save Me, so keep your duty unto Me.

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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 25 May. 2024: