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


لِلَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ مَثَلُ السَّوْءِ ۖ وَلِلَّهِ الْمَثَلُ الْأَعْلَىٰ ۚ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ

Sahih International

For those who do not believe in the Hereafter is the description of evil; and for Allah is the highest attribute. And He is Exalted in Might, the Wise.


جو لوگ آخرت پر ایمان نہیں رکھتے ان ہی کے لیے بری باتیں (شایان) ہیں۔ اور خدا کو صفت اعلیٰ (زیب دیتی ہے) اور وہ غالب حکمت والا ہے

وَلَوْ يُؤَاخِذُ اللَّهُ النَّاسَ بِظُلْمِهِم مَّا تَرَكَ عَلَيْهَا مِن دَابَّةٍ وَلَٰكِن يُؤَخِّرُهُمْ إِلَىٰ أَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى ۖ فَإِذَا جَاءَ أَجَلُهُمْ لَا يَسْتَأْخِرُونَ سَاعَةً ۖ وَلَا يَسْتَقْدِمُونَ

Sahih International

And if Allah were to impose blame on the people for their wrongdoing, He would not have left upon the earth any creature, but He defers them for a specified term. And when their term has come, they will not remain behind an hour, nor will they precede [it].


اور اگر خدا لوگوں کو ان کے ظلم کے سبب پکڑنے لگے تو ایک جاندار کو زمین پر نہ چھوڑے لیکن ان کو ایک وقت مقرر تک مہلت دیئے جاتا ہے۔ جب وہ وقت آجاتا ہے تو ایک گھڑی نہ پیچھے رہ سکتے ہیں نہ آگے بڑھ سکتے ہیں

وَيَجْعَلُونَ لِلَّهِ مَا يَكْرَهُونَ وَتَصِفُ أَلْسِنَتُهُمُ الْكَذِبَ أَنَّ لَهُمُ الْحُسْنَىٰ ۖ لَا جَرَمَ أَنَّ لَهُمُ النَّارَ وَأَنَّهُم مُّفْرَطُونَ

Sahih International

And they attribute to Allah that which they dislike, and their tongues assert the lie that they will have the best [from Him]. Assuredly, they will have the Fire, and they will be [therein] neglected.


اور یہ خدا کے لیے ایسی چیزیں تجویز کرتے ہیں جن کو خود ناپسند کرتے ہیں اور زبان سے جھوٹ بکے جاتے ہیں کہ ان کو (قیامت کے دن) بھلائی (یعنی نجات) ہوگی۔ کچھ شک نہیں کہ ان کے لیے (دوزخ کی) آگ (تیار) ہے اور یہ (دوزخ میں) سب سے آگے بھیجے جائیں گے


تَاللَّهِ لَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا إِلَىٰ أُمَمٍ مِّن قَبْلِكَ فَزَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَعْمَالَهُمْ فَهُوَ وَلِيُّهُمُ الْيَوْمَ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

Sahih International

By Allah , We did certainly send [messengers] to nations before you, but Satan made their deeds attractive to them. And he is the disbelievers' ally today [as well], and they will have a painful punishment.


خدا کی قسم ہم نے تم سے پہلی امتوں کی طرف بھی پیغمبر بھیجے تو شیطان نے ان کے کردار (ناشائستہ) ان کو آراستہ کر دکھائے تو آج بھی وہی ان کا دوست ہے اور ان کے لیے عذاب الیم ہے

وَمَا أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ إِلَّا لِتُبَيِّنَ لَهُمُ الَّذِي اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ ۙ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ


اور ہم نے جو تم پر کتاب نازل کی ہے تو اس کے لیے جس امر میں ان لوگوں کو اختلاف ہے تم اس کا فیصلہ کردو۔ اور (یہ) مومنوں کے لیے ہدایت اور رحمت ہے

Sahih International

And We have not revealed to you the Book, [O Muhammad], except for you to make clear to them that wherein they have differed and as guidance and mercy for a people who believe.

وَاللَّهُ أَنزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَحْيَا بِهِ الْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يَسْمَعُونَ


اور خدا ہی نے آسمان سے پانی برسایا پھر اس سے زمین کو اس کے مرنے کے بعد زندہ کیا۔ بےشک اس میں سننے والوں کے لیے نشانی ہے

Sahih International

And Allah has sent down rain from the sky and given life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who listen.

وَإِنَّ لَكُمْ فِي الْأَنْعَامِ لَعِبْرَةً ۖ نُّسْقِيكُم مِّمَّا فِي بُطُونِهِ مِن بَيْنِ فَرْثٍ وَدَمٍ لَّبَنًا خَالِصًا سَائِغًا لِّلشَّارِبِينَ


اور تمہارے لیے چارپایوں میں بھی (مقام) عبرت (وغور) ہے کہ ان کے پیٹوں میں جو گوبر اور لہو ہے اس سے ہم تم کو خالص دودھ پلاتے ہیں جو پینے والوں کے لیے خوشگوار ہے

Sahih International

And indeed, for you in grazing livestock is a lesson. We give you drink from what is in their bellies - between excretion and blood - pure milk, palatable to drinkers.


وَمِن ثَمَرَاتِ النَّخِيلِ وَالْأَعْنَابِ تَتَّخِذُونَ مِنْهُ سَكَرًا وَرِزْقًا حَسَنًا ۗ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ

Sahih International

And from the fruits of the palm trees and grapevines you take intoxicant and good provision. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who reason.


اور کھجور اور انگور کے میووں سے بھی (تم پینے کی چیزیں تیار کرتے ہو کہ ان سے شراب بناتے ہو) اور عمدہ رزق (کھاتے ہو) جو لوگ سمجھ رکھتے ہیں ان کے لیے ان (چیزوں) میں (قدرت خدا کی) نشانی ہے

وَأَوْحَىٰ رَبُّكَ إِلَى النَّحْلِ أَنِ اتَّخِذِي مِنَ الْجِبَالِ بُيُوتًا وَمِنَ الشَّجَرِ وَمِمَّا يَعْرِشُونَ

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.


اور تمہارے پروردگار نے شہد کی مکھیوں کو ارشاد فرمایا کہ پہاڑوں میں اور درختوں میں اور اونچی اونچی چھتریوں میں جو لوگ بناتے ہیں گھر بنا

ثُمَّ كُلِي مِن كُلِّ الثَّمَرَاتِ فَاسْلُكِي سُبُلَ رَبِّكِ ذُلُلًا ۚ يَخْرُجُ مِن بُطُونِهَا شَرَابٌ مُّخْتَلِفٌ أَلْوَانُهُ فِيهِ شِفَاءٌ لِّلنَّاسِ ۗ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

Sahih International

Then eat from all the fruits and follow the ways of your Lord laid down [for you]." There emerges from their bellies a drink, varying in colors, in which there is healing for people. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who give thought.


اور ہر قسم کے میوے کھا۔ اور اپنے پروردگار کے صاف رستوں پر چلی جا۔ اس کے پیٹ سے پینے کی چیز نکلتی ہے جس کے مختلف رنگ ہوتے ہیں اس میں لوگوں (کے کئی امراض) کی شفا ہے۔ بےشک سوچنے والوں کے لیے اس میں بھی نشانی ہے