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Select Translation What is This? Selections include: The Koran Interpreted, a translation by A.J. Arberry, first published 1955; The Qur'an, translated by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem, published 2004; or side-by-side comparison view
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The Koran Interpreted Translation by A.J. Arberry

16 THE BEE (1 – 22)

The Qurʾan Translation by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem

16. The Bee (1 – 23)

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

God's command comes; so seek not to hasten it. Glory be to Him! High be He exalted above that they associate with Him! He sends down the angels with the Spirit of His command upon whomsoever He will among His servants, saying: Give you warning that there is no god but I; so fear you Me!

He created the heavens and the earth in truth; high be He exalted above that they associate with Him! 5He created man of a sperm-drop; and, behold, he is a manifest adversary. And the cattle— He created them for you; in them is warmth, and uses various, and of them you eat, and there is beauty in them for you, when you bring them home to rest and when you drive them forth abroad to pasture; and they bear your loads unto a land that you never would reach, excepting with great distress. Surely your Lord is All-clement, All-compassionate. And horses, and mules, and asses, for you to ride, and as an adornment; and He creates what you know not.

God's it is to show the way; and some do swerve from it. If He willed, He would have guided you all together.

10It is He who sends down to you out of heaven water of which you have to drink, and of which trees, for you to pasture your herds, and thereby He brings forth for you crops, and olives, and palms, and vines, and all manner of fruit. Surely in that is a sign for a people who reflect. And He subjected to you the night and day, and the sun and moon; and the stars are subjected by His command. Surely in that are signs for a people who understand. And that which He has multiplied for you in the earth of diverse hues. Surely in that is a sign for a people who remember. It is He who subjected to you the sea, that you may eat of it fresh flesh, and bring forth out of it ornaments for you to wear; and thou mayest see the ships cleaving through it; and that you may seek of His bounty, and so haply you will be thankful. 15And He cast on the earth firm mountains, lest it shake with you, and rivers and ways; so haply you will be guided; and waymarks; and by the stars they are guided. Is He who creates as he who does not create? Will you not remember? If you count God's blessing, you will never number it; surely God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate.

20And God knows what you keep secret and what you publish. And those they call upon, apart from God, created nothing, and themselves are created, dead, not alive, and are not aware when they shall be raised.

A Meccan sura. It takes its title from the bee (verses 68–9) inspired in its remarkable way by God. This is just one of the numerous examples given in this sura of God's grace and the many things man should be grateful for. The sura condemns the idolaters who attribute God's bounty to other powers and worship false deities. Abraham is given at the end as an example for the Muslim community to follow. Until verse 88, the sura is directed at the poly theists; from verse go onwards it teaches the Muslims in various ways. verse 89 connects the two parts by naming the Prophet as witness to the believers and disbelievers of his community.

In the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy

1God's Judgement is coming,a The Arabic verb ata is in the past tense to express inevitability and nearness. so do not ask to bring it on sooner. Glory be to Him! He is far above anything they join with Him! 2He sends down angels with inspiration at His command, to whichever of His servants He chooses, to give [His] warning: ‘There is no god but Me, so beware of Me.’ 3He created the heavens and earth for a true purpose, and He is far above whatever they join with Him! 4He created man from a drop of fluid, and yet man openly challenges Him. 5And livestock—He created them too. You derive warmth and other benefits from them: you get food from them; 6you find beauty in them when you bring them home to rest and when you drive them out to pasture. 7They carry your loads to lands you yourselves could not reach without great hardship—truly your Lord is kind and merciful—8horses, mules, and donkeys for you to ride and use for show, and other things you know nothing about. 9God points out the right path, for some paths lead the wrong way: if He wished, He could guide you all.

10It is He who sends down water for you from the sky, from which comes a drink for you, and the shrubs that you feed to your animals. 11With it He grows for you grain, olives, palms, vines, and all kinds of other crops. There truly is a sign in this for those who reflect. 12By His command He has made the night and day, the sun, moon, and stars all of benefit to you. There truly are signs in this for those who use their reason. 13He has made of benefit to you the many-coloured things He has multiplied on the earth. There truly are signs in this for those who take it to heart. 14It is He who made the sea of benefit to you: you eat fresh fish from it and bring out jewellery to wear; you see the ships cutting through its waves so that you may go in search of His bounty and give thanks. 15He has made mountains stand firm on the earth, to prevent it shaking under you, and rivers and paths so that you may find your way, 16and landmarks and stars to guide people. 17Can He who creates be compared to one who cannot create? Why do you not take heed?

18If you tried to count God's blessings, you could never take them all in: He is truly most forgiving and most merciful. 19He knows what you conceal and what you reveal. 20Those they invoke beside God create nothing; they are themselves created. 21They are dead, not living. They do not know when they will be raised up. 22Your God is the One God. As for those who deny the life to come, their hearts refuse to admit the truth and they are arrogant.23There is no doubt that God knows what they conceal and what they reveal. He does not love the arrogant.

Notes:

a The Arabic verb ata is in the past tense to express inevitability and nearness.

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