VERSES
128
PAGES
267-281

Name

The name, An-Nahl, of this Surah has been taken from v. 68. This is merely to distinguish it from other Surahs.

Period of Revelation

The following internal evidence shows that this Surah was revealed during the last Makkan stage of Prophethood:

  1. v. 41 clearly shows that persecution had forced some Muslims to emigrate to Habash before the revelation of this Surah.

  2. It is evident from v. 106 that at that time the persecution of the Muslims was at its height. Therefore a problem had arisen in regard to the utterance of a blasphemous word, without actual disbelief, under unbearable conditions. The problem was that if one did so how he should be treated.

  3. vv. 112-114 clearly refer to the end of seven year famine that had struck Makkah some years after the appointment of the Holy Prophet as Allah's Messenger.

  4. There is a reference to v. 116 of this Surah in VI: 145, and v. 118 of this Surah contains a reference to VI: 146. This is a proof that both these Surahs (VI and XVI) were sent down in the same period.

The general style of the Surah also supports the view that this was revealed during the last stage at Makkah.

Central Theme

All the topics of the Surah revolve round different aspects of the Message, ie., refutation of shirk, proof of Tauhid, and warning of the consequences of the rejection of and opposition and antagonism to the Message.

Topics of Discussion

The very first verse gives direct and strict warning to those who were rejecting the Message outright, as if to say, "Allah's decision has already been made concerning your rejection of the Message. Why are you then clamoring for hastening it? Why don't you make use of the respite that is being given to you!" And this was exactly what the disbelievers of Makkah needed at the time of the revelation of this Surah. For they challenged the Holy Prophet over and over again: "Why don't you bring that scourge with which you have been threatening us! For we have not only rejected your Message but have been openly opposing it for a long time." Such a challenge had become a by-word with them, which they frequently repeated as a clear proof that Muhammad (Allah's peace be upon him) was not a true Prophet.

Immediately after this warning they have been admonished to give up shirk, for this false creed was the main obstacle in the way of the Message. Then the following topics come over and over again, one after the other:

  1. Very convincing proofs of Tauhid and refutation of shirk have been based on the plain signs in the universe and in man's own self.

  2. The objections of the disbelievers have been answered, their arguments refuted, their doubts removed and their false pretexts exposed.

  3. Warnings have given of the consequences of persistence in false ways and antagonism to the Message.

  4. The moral changes which the Message of the Holy Prophet aims to bring practically in human life have been presented briefly in an appealing manner. The mushriks have been told that belief in Allah, which they also professed, demanded that it should not be confined merely to lip service, but this creed should take a definite shape in moral and practical life.

  5. The Holy Prophet and his companions have been comforted and told about the attitude they should adopt in the face of antagonism and persecution by the disbelievers.

;

Source: Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Quran

ﭑﭒﭓ

وَإِن تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Sahih International

And if you should count the favors of Allah , you could not enumerate them. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.

Dr. Ghali

And in case you number the favor (s) of Allah, you will not enumerate them; surely Allah is indeed Ever-Forgiving, Ever-Merciful.

وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تُسِرُّونَ وَمَا تُعْلِنُونَ

Sahih International

And Allah knows what you conceal and what you declare.

Dr. Ghali

And Allah knows whatever you keep secret and whatever you make public.

ﭿ

وَالَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ لَا يَخْلُقُونَ شَيْئًا وَهُمْ يُخْلَقُونَ

Dr. Ghali

And the ones they invoke apart from Allah do not create a thing and themselves are created.

Sahih International

And those they invoke other than Allah create nothing, and they [themselves] are created.

أَمْوَاتٌ غَيْرُ أَحْيَاءٍ ۖ وَمَا يَشْعُرُونَ أَيَّانَ يُبْعَثُونَ

Sahih International

They are, [in fact], dead, not alive, and they do not perceive when they will be resurrected.

Dr. Ghali

Dead, not alive, (i.e. other than being alive) and in no way are they aware whence they will be made to rise again.

إِلَٰهُكُمْ إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ ۚ فَالَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ قُلُوبُهُم مُّنكِرَةٌ وَهُم مُّسْتَكْبِرُونَ

Sahih International

Your god is one God. But those who do not believe in the Hereafter - their hearts are disapproving, and they are arrogant.

Dr. Ghali

Your God is One God. So, the ones who do not believe in the Hereafter, their hearts (are) denying and they are waxing proud.

لَا جَرَمَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا يُسِرُّونَ وَمَا يُعْلِنُونَ ۚ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُسْتَكْبِرِينَ

Dr. Ghali

(There is) no question that Allah knows whatever they keep secret and whatever they make public; surely He does not love the ones waxing proud.

Sahih International

Assuredly, Allah knows what they conceal and what they declare. Indeed, He does not like the arrogant.

وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُم مَّاذَا أَنزَلَ رَبُّكُمْ ۙ قَالُوا أَسَاطِيرُ الْأَوَّلِينَ

Sahih International

And when it is said to them, "What has your Lord sent down?" They say, "Legends of the former peoples,"

Dr. Ghali

And when it is said to them, "What has your Lord sent down?" they say, "Myths of the earliest (people)."

لِيَحْمِلُوا أَوْزَارَهُمْ كَامِلَةً يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ۙ وَمِنْ أَوْزَارِ الَّذِينَ يُضِلُّونَهُم بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ ۗ أَلَا سَاءَ مَا يَزِرُونَ

Dr. Ghali

That they may carry their encumbrances complete on the Day of the Resurrection and (some) of the encumbrances of the ones that they lead into error without (any) knowledge. Verily odious is that with which they encumber themselves!

Sahih International

That they may bear their own burdens in full on the Day of Resurrection and some of the burdens of those whom they misguide without knowledge. Unquestionably, evil is that which they bear.

ﯿ

قَدْ مَكَرَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ فَأَتَى اللَّهُ بُنْيَانَهُم مِّنَ الْقَوَاعِدِ فَخَرَّ عَلَيْهِمُ السَّقْفُ مِن فَوْقِهِمْ وَأَتَاهُمُ الْعَذَابُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ

Dr. Ghali

The ones that were before them did already scheme; then Allah came upon their structure from the foundations, so the roof collapsed upon them from above them, and the torment came upon them from where they were not aware.

Sahih International

Those before them had already plotted, but Allah came at their building from the foundations, so the roof fell upon them from above them, and the punishment came to them from where they did not perceive.

ثُمَّ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ يُخْزِيهِمْ وَيَقُولُ أَيْنَ شُرَكَائِيَ الَّذِينَ كُنتُمْ تُشَاقُّونَ فِيهِمْ ۚ قَالَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ إِنَّ الْخِزْيَ الْيَوْمَ وَالسُّوءَ عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ

Sahih International

Then on the Day of Resurrection He will disgrace them and say, "Where are My 'partners' for whom you used to oppose [the believers]?" Those who were given knowledge will say, "Indeed disgrace, this Day, and evil are upon the disbelievers" -

Dr. Ghali

Thereafter, on the Day of the Resurrection He will disgrace them and He will say, "Where are My associates concerning which you used to oppose (the believers)?" The ones that were brought (the) knowledge will say, "Surely disgrace today and the odious (reward) will be on the disbelievers."

الَّذِينَ تَتَوَفَّاهُمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ ظَالِمِي أَنفُسِهِمْ ۖ فَأَلْقَوُا السَّلَمَ مَا كُنَّا نَعْمَلُ مِن سُوءٍ ۚ بَلَىٰ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ

Sahih International

The ones whom the angels take in death [while] wronging themselves, and [who] then offer submission, [saying], "We were not doing any evil." But, yes! Indeed, Allah is Knowing of what you used to do.

Dr. Ghali

(The disbelievers are the ones) whom the Angels take up while they are unjust to themselves. So they will cast forth full submissiveness. "In no way were we doing anything odious." Yes indeed, (yet) surely Allah is Ever-Knowing of whatever you were doing.

ﭿ

فَادْخُلُوا أَبْوَابَ جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۖ فَلَبِئْسَ مَثْوَى الْمُتَكَبِّرِينَ

Dr. Ghali

So enter the gates of Hell, eternally (abiding) therein. Then odious indeed is the lodging of those who were proud!

Sahih International

So enter the gates of Hell to abide eternally therein, and how wretched is the residence of the arrogant.

وَقِيلَ لِلَّذِينَ اتَّقَوْا مَاذَا أَنزَلَ رَبُّكُمْ ۚ قَالُوا خَيْرًا ۗ لِّلَّذِينَ أَحْسَنُوا فِي هَٰذِهِ الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةٌ ۚ وَلَدَارُ الْآخِرَةِ خَيْرٌ ۚ وَلَنِعْمَ دَارُ الْمُتَّقِينَ

Dr. Ghali

And it will be said to the ones who were pious, "What has your Lord sent down?" They will say, "Most Charitable!" (i.e., He has sent down the best) For the ones who do fair (deeds) in this present (life) (Literally: this lowly "life", i.e., the life of this world) is a fair (reward), and, indeed, the Residence of the Hereafter is more charitable, and favorable indeed is the Residence of the pious!

Sahih International

And it will be said to those who feared Allah , "What did your Lord send down?" They will say, "[That which is] good." For those who do good in this world is good; and the home of the Hereafter is better. And how excellent is the home of the righteous -

جَنَّاتُ عَدْنٍ يَدْخُلُونَهَا تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ ۖ لَهُمْ فِيهَا مَا يَشَاءُونَ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يَجْزِي اللَّهُ الْمُتَّقِينَ

Dr. Ghali

Gardens of Adn (Eden) they will enter, from beneath which rivers run, wherein they will have whatever they decide on. Thus Allah recompenses the pious.

Sahih International

Gardens of perpetual residence, which they will enter, beneath which rivers flow. They will have therein whatever they wish. Thus does Allah reward the righteous -

الَّذِينَ تَتَوَفَّاهُمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ طَيِّبِينَ ۙ يَقُولُونَ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمُ ادْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ

Sahih International

The ones whom the angels take in death, [being] good and pure; [the angels] will say, "Peace be upon you. Enter Paradise for what you used to do."

Dr. Ghali

Whom the Angels take up while they are goodly. They say, "Peace be on you! Enter the Garden for whatever you were doing."

هَلْ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَّا أَن تَأْتِيَهُمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ أَوْ يَأْتِيَ أَمْرُ رَبِّكَ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ فَعَلَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ ۚ وَمَا ظَلَمَهُمُ اللَّهُ وَلَٰكِن كَانُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ

Dr. Ghali

Do they look for anything except that the Angels should come up to them or your Lord's Command should come up? Thus did the ones before them perform; and in no way did Allah do them an injustice, but to themselves they were doing an injustice.

Sahih International

Do the disbelievers await [anything] except that the angels should come to them or there comes the command of your Lord? Thus did those do before them. And Allah wronged them not, but they had been wronging themselves.

ﯿ

فَأَصَابَهُمْ سَيِّئَاتُ مَا عَمِلُوا وَحَاقَ بِهِم مَّا كَانُوا بِهِ يَسْتَهْزِئُونَ

Dr. Ghali

So the odious (deeds) that they did afflicted them, and that which they used to mock (Or: they were mocking) redounded on them.

Sahih International

So they were struck by the evil consequences of what they did and were enveloped by what they used to ridicule.

وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا لَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ مَا عَبَدْنَا مِن دُونِهِ مِن شَيْءٍ نَّحْنُ وَلَا آبَاؤُنَا وَلَا حَرَّمْنَا مِن دُونِهِ مِن شَيْءٍ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ فَعَلَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ ۚ فَهَلْ عَلَى الرُّسُلِ إِلَّا الْبَلَاغُ الْمُبِينُ

Dr. Ghali

And the ones who have associated (others with Allah) have said, "If Allah had so decided, in no way would we have worshiped, apart from Him, anything, neither we nor our fathers; and in no way would we have prohibited, apart from Him, anything (whatsoever)." Thus did the ones before them perform. So are the Messengers (entrusted) with anything except (to deliver) the evident proclamation?

Sahih International

And those who associate others with Allah say, "If Allah had willed, we would not have worshipped anything other than Him, neither we nor our fathers, nor would we have forbidden anything through other than Him." Thus did those do before them. So is there upon the messengers except [the duty of] clear notification?

ﭿ

وَلَقَدْ بَعَثْنَا فِي كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ رَّسُولًا أَنِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَاجْتَنِبُوا الطَّاغُوتَ ۖ فَمِنْهُم مَّنْ هَدَى اللَّهُ وَمِنْهُم مَّنْ حَقَّتْ عَلَيْهِ الضَّلَالَةُ ۚ فَسِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ فَانظُرُوا كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُكَذِّبِينَ

Sahih International

And We certainly sent into every nation a messenger, [saying], "Worship Allah and avoid Taghut." And among them were those whom Allah guided, and among them were those upon whom error was [deservedly] decreed. So proceed through the earth and observe how was the end of the deniers.

Dr. Ghali

And indeed We have already sent forth in every nation a Messenger (saying), "Worship Allah and avoid the Taghut." (i.e., false gods) Then (some) of them Allah guided; and errancy came true against (some of) them. So travel in the earth, then look into how was the end of the beliers.

إِن تَحْرِصْ عَلَىٰ هُدَاهُمْ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي مَن يُضِلُّ ۖ وَمَا لَهُم مِّن نَّاصِرِينَ

Sahih International

[Even] if you should strive for their guidance, [O Muhammad], indeed, Allah does not guide those He sends astray, and they will have no helpers.

Dr. Ghali

In case you are eager for their guidance, (yet) surely Allah does not guide the ones whom He leads into error, and in no way do they have any vindicators.

وَأَقْسَمُوا بِاللَّهِ جَهْدَ أَيْمَانِهِمْ ۙ لَا يَبْعَثُ اللَّهُ مَن يَمُوتُ ۚ بَلَىٰ وَعْدًا عَلَيْهِ حَقًّا وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

Sahih International

And they swear by Allah their strongest oaths [that] Allah will not resurrect one who dies. But yes - [it is] a true promise [binding] upon Him, but most of the people do not know.

Dr. Ghali

And they have sworn by Allah the most earnest oaths (that) Allah will not make him who dies to rise again. Yes indeed, it is a promise truly (binding) upon Him; but most of mankind do not know.

لِيُبَيِّنَ لَهُمُ الَّذِي يَخْتَلِفُونَ فِيهِ وَلِيَعْلَمَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَنَّهُمْ كَانُوا كَاذِبِينَ

Dr. Ghali

So that He may make evident to them wherein they differ, and that the ones who disbelieved may know that they were liars.

Sahih International

[It is] so He will make clear to them [the truth of] that wherein they differ and so those who have disbelieved may know that they were liars.

إِنَّمَا قَوْلُنَا لِشَيْءٍ إِذَا أَرَدْنَاهُ أَن نَّقُولَ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ

Dr. Ghali

Surely Our only Saying to a thing when We have willed it, is that We say to it, "Be!" so it is.

Sahih International

Indeed, Our word to a thing when We intend it is but that We say to it, "Be," and it is.

ﯿ

وَالَّذِينَ هَاجَرُوا فِي اللَّهِ مِن بَعْدِ مَا ظُلِمُوا لَنُبَوِّئَنَّهُمْ فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً ۖ وَلَأَجْرُ الْآخِرَةِ أَكْبَرُ ۚ لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ

Sahih International

And those who emigrated for [the cause of] Allah after they had been wronged - We will surely settle them in this world in a good place; but the reward of the Hereafter is greater, if only they could know.

Dr. Ghali

And the ones who emigrated in (the cause of) Allah even after they were done an injustice, indeed We will definitely locate them in the present life (Literally: the lowly life, i.e., the life of this world) a fair (location), and indeed the reward of the Hereafter is greater, if they did (only) know.

الَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا وَعَلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ

Dr. Ghali

(Such are) the ones who have endured patiently and have put their trust in their Lord.

Sahih International

[They are] those who endured patiently and upon their Lord relied.

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ إِلَّا رِجَالًا نُّوحِي إِلَيْهِمْ ۚ فَاسْأَلُوا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

Dr. Ghali

And in no way did We send (even) before you, except men to whom We revealed. "So ask the population of the Remembrance, in case you (i.e. the pagan Arabs) do not know."

Sahih International

And We sent not before you except men to whom We revealed [Our message]. So ask the people of the message if you do not know.

بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ وَالزُّبُرِ ۗ وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الذِّكْرَ لِتُبَيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَا نُزِّلَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

Sahih International

[We sent them] with clear proofs and written ordinances. And We revealed to you the message that you may make clear to the people what was sent down to them and that they might give thought.

Dr. Ghali

With clear evidences and the Scriptures, (i.e., the Zubur, pl, of Zabur, usually understood to be the psalms) and We have sent down to you (i.e. the prophet) the Remembrance that you may make evident to mankind what has been sent down (ever since) and that possibly they would meditate.

ﭿ

أَفَأَمِنَ الَّذِينَ مَكَرُوا السَّيِّئَاتِ أَن يَخْسِفَ اللَّهُ بِهِمُ الْأَرْضَ أَوْ يَأْتِيَهُمُ الْعَذَابُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ

Dr. Ghali

So, are the ones who have schemed odious (deeds) secure that Allah will (not) cause the earth to cave in with them? Or that the torment will not come up to them from where they are not aware?

Sahih International

Then, do those who have planned evil deeds feel secure that Allah will not cause the earth to swallow them or that the punishment will not come upon them from where they do not perceive?

أَوْ يَأْخُذَهُمْ فِي تَقَلُّبِهِمْ فَمَا هُم بِمُعْجِزِينَ

Sahih International

Or that He would not seize them during their [usual] activity, and they could not cause failure?

Dr. Ghali

Or that He will not take them (away) in their moving about? Then in no way are they able to be defiant to Him.

أَوْ يَأْخُذَهُمْ عَلَىٰ تَخَوُّفٍ فَإِنَّ رَبَّكُمْ لَرَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Dr. Ghali

Or that He will not take them (away) by constant fright? Then, surely your Lord is indeed Ever-Compassionate, Ever-Merciful.

Sahih International

Or that He would not seize them gradually [in a state of dread]? But indeed, your Lord is Kind and Merciful.

أَوَلَمْ يَرَوْا إِلَىٰ مَا خَلَقَ اللَّهُ مِن شَيْءٍ يَتَفَيَّأُ ظِلَالُهُ عَنِ الْيَمِينِ وَالشَّمَائِلِ سُجَّدًا لِّلَّهِ وَهُمْ دَاخِرُونَ

Dr. Ghali

And have they not regarded whatever thing (s) Allah created always conceding their shades to the right and left (sides), constantly prostrating themselves to Allah, (while) they are (utterly) abject.

Sahih International

Have they not considered what things Allah has created? Their shadows incline to the right and to the left, prostrating to Allah , while they are humble.

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