Sura al-Nahl

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This article is an introduction to the Sura al-Nahl; to read its text see text:Sura al-Nahl.
Sura al-Nahl
al-Hijr ← →al-Isra'
سوره نحل.jpg
Sura Number 16
Juz' 14
Revelation Number 70
Makki/Madani Makki
Verse Count 128
Word Count 1851
Letter Count 7838

Sūra al-Naḥl (Arabic:سورة النحل) is sixteenth sura of the Qur'an. It is a Makki sura located in juz' fourteen. This sura is called "al-Nahl", because it speaks about "Nahl" (honey bee) and God's inspiration to it. This sura speaks about the blessings of God, the hereafter and arguments for the Unity of God and His Glory.

Sura al-Nahl advises about justice, kindness, immigration and jihad, and prohibits from oppression, injustice and breaking pledges. Some of the rulings mentioned in this sura are prohibition of drinking alcoholic drinks and blood and eating dead animals and the meat of pigs.

It is narrated from the Prophet (s) that whoever recites Sura al-Nahl, God will not reckon the blessings He gives him in this world. Also, staying safe from temptations of Satan and his armies is mentioned among the benefits of reciting this sura.


  • Naming

The famous name of this sura is "al-Nahl". The reason for this naming is that "Nahl" (honey bee) is mentioned in this sura. This sura is also named as sura of Ni'am (plural form of "Ni'ma" blessing), because its main message is mentioning the blessings of God.[1]

  • Order and Place of Revelation

Sura al-Nahl is a Makki sura and the seventieth sura revealed to the Prophet (s). It is sixteenth sura of the Qur'an[2] and located in juz' fourteen.

  • Number of Verses

Sura al-Nahl has 128 verses, 1851 words and 7838 letters. Regarding volume, it is middle-sized in three fourth of one juz'. It is recommended to prostrate upon recitation of verse forty eight of this sura.[3]


The content of Sura al-Nahl can be summarized as below:

  • A great part of Sura al-Nahl discusses about God's blessings, such as rain, sunlight, different plants, fruits, foods and animals.
  • Mentioning the arguments for the Unity and Glory of God, the hereafter and threatening polytheists and wrongdoers.
  • Mentioning different rulings such as ordering about justice, kindness, immigration, jihad, forbidding the evil, oppression, injustice and breaking pledges. It also invites people to thankfulness and introduces Ibrahim (a) a thankful servant.
  • Speaking about polytheist innovations and warning human being about temptations of Satan.[4]
Content of Sura al-Nahl[5]
Inviting polytheists to monotheism and obeying God's orders
First topic: verses 1-23
Proving the Unity and Oneness of God
Second topic: verses 24-47
Answering ideological questions of polytheists
Third topic: verses 48-64
Reasons for the falsehood of polytheistic beliefs
Forth topic: verses 65-83
Inviting to monotheism by reminding the blessings of God
Fifth topic: verses 84-89
Punishment of religion-fighting polytheists
Sixth topic: verses 90-105
Inviting polytheists to obey God's orders
Seventh topic: verses 106-113
Consequences of polytheism and disobedience of God's order
Eighth topic: verses 114-124
Avoiding permitting the impermissible
Ending: verses 125-128
Duties of the Prophet (a) against polytheists
Preface: verses 1-2
Proving the Unity and Oneness of God
First question: verses 24-34
Teachings of the Qur'an are superstitions of the past
First reason: verses 48-50
Humility of all the creatures before God
First blessing: verse 65
Raining from the sky and revival of the earth
First point: verses 84-85
Giving polytheists no second chance on the Judgement Day
First point: verse 90
An example of God's social orders
First consequence: verse 106
Affliction to God's wrath
First point: verses 114-115
Eat only permissible foods
First duty: verse 125
Inviting toward God with wisdom and good advice
First reason: verses 3-4
Creation and management of the world and human being
Second question: verses 35-37
God wanted us to be polytheist
Second reason: verses 51-52
Absolute Lordship of God over the world; a sign of His Unity
Second blessing: verse 66
Production of milk from quadrupeds' food
Second point: verses 86-87
The worshipped ones' renouncement of polytheists
Second point: verses 91-94
Necessity of observing divine orders
Second consequence: verses 107-108
Deprivation of divine guidance
Second point: verses 116-117
Do not add to the permissible and impermissible in God's religion
Second duty: verses 126-128
Patience against harassments
Second reason: verses 5-9
The blessing of the existence of quadrupeds
Third question: verses 38-47
God will never resurrect the dead
Third reason: verses 53-56
Polytheism; the result of ignoring God's blessings
Third blessing: verse 67
Production of good food from dates and grapes
Third point: verse 88
Increase of the punishment of religion-fighting polytheists
Third point: verses 95-97
Reward for observing God's covenants
Third consequence: verses 109-111
Loss in the hereafter
Third point: verses 118-124
The reason for prohibition of permissible foods for Bani Isra'il
Third reason: verses 10-11
The rain and growth of plants
Forth reason: verses 57-62
Believing that God has children is a sign of human's ignorance
Forth blessing: verses 68-69
Production of honey by bees
Forth point: verse 89
The Prophet's (s) testimony about the actions of polytheists
Forth point: verses 98-100
Seeking refuge in God from devils upon mentioning the teachings of the Qur'an
Forth consequence: verse 112
Loss of material blessings
Forth reason: verse 12
The blessing of astronomical bodies
Fifth reason: verses 63-64
Following Satan; the source of blasphemous beliefs
Fifth blessing: verse 70
Different states of human being during old age
Fifth point: verses 101-105
Disbelievers' questions against the Qur'an
Fifth consequence: verse 113
Afflicted with punishment
Fifth reason: verse 13
Different potentials on the earth
Sixth blessing: verse 71
Different amounts of people's daily sustenance
Sixth reason: verse 14
The blessing of the sea
Seventh blessing: verses 72-77
Spouse and children
Seventh reason: verse 15
The blessing of mountains and rivers
Eighth blessing: verse 78
Means of understanding and knowledge
Eighth reason: verse 16
The blessing of stars
Ninth blessing: verse 79
Survival of birds in the sky
Ninth reason: verses 17-21
Only God is the Creator
Tenth blessing: verse 80
Ability to build houses
Conclusioin: verses 22-23
God is One and faithless people have no proof
Eleventh blessing: verse 81-83
Protecting human being from dangers

Historical Stories and Narrations

  • Claims of disbelievers about teaching the Qur'an by a non-Arab person, verse 103
  • Pure religion of Ibrahim (a), verses 120 – 121
  • Necessity of respecting Saturdays by the Jews, verse 124

Famous Verses

This verse explains the way to treat objectors. By "wisdom", knowledge, logic, and reasoning are meant which are rational and "good advice" refers to the words that elicit emotions. It is mentioned in this verse that advice should be good, meaning that it should be empty of harshness, seeking superiority, belittling the person or inciting the feeling of envy in people.[6]

Verses of Ruling

Many of the verses of Sura al-Nahl are considered among the verses of ruling.[7] Verse 115 mentions three impermissible things to consume: dead animals, blood and meat of pigs. It is also said that from verses five, ten, fourteen and sixty six – sixty nine, it can be understood that honey, fishes, quadrupeds and fruits such as dates, grapes and olive are permissible to eat.[8]

Also, it is said that from other verses of this sura (ninety one – ninety four) which are about pledge and oath, it can be understood that breaking the pledge and oath is impermissible.[9] Also, verse 106 of this sura is mentioned among proofs in the Qur'an for permissibility of taqiyya (precautionary dissimulation).[10]

Merits and Benefits

It is narrated from the Prophet (s) that God will not reckon the blessings which He gives him in this world and his reward will be like the rewards of a person who passes away this world while he makes a good will.[11] Also, it is narrated from Imam al-Baqir (a) that whoever recites Sura al-Nahl every month, will not receive any harm in this world and will be away from seventy kinds of afflictions, the mildest of which would be insanity, leprosy and vitiligo, and his abode will be Eden located between other paradises.[12] In Makarim al-akhlaq, al-Tabrisi mentioned benefits for recitation of this sura such as staying safe from temptations of Satan and his armies.

External Links


  1. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 11, p. 171.
  2. Maʿrifat, Āmūzish-i ʿulūm-i Qurʾān, vol. 1, p. 167.
  3. Khurramshāhī, Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān, vol. 2, p. 1241.
  4. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 11, p. 147.
  5. Khamagar, Muhammad, Sakhtar-i suraha-yi Qur'an-i karim, Mu'assisa-yi Farhangi-yi Qur'an wa 'Itrat-i Nur al-Thaqalayn, Qom: Nashra, ed.1, 1392 Sh.
  6. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 2, p. 598.
  7. Īrawānī, Durūs tamhīdīyya, vol. 1, p. 132, 268, 453, 455, 461, 519, 610, 613, 627, 629, 633; vol. 2, p. 699, 713.
  8. Īrawānī, Durūs tamhīdīyya, vol. 1, p. 610, 613, 627, 629, 633, 637, 638.
  9. Īrawānī, Durūs tamhīdīyya, vol. 1, p. 453, 455.
  10. Īrawānī, Durūs tamhīdīyya, vol. 1, p. vol. 2, p. 713; Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 11, p. 419.
  11. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 6, p. 535.
  12. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 6, p. 535.


  • Īrawānī, Muḥammad Bāqir. Durūs tamhīdīyya fī tafsīr āyāt al-aḥkām. Qom: Dār al-Fiqh, 1423 AH.
  • Khurramshāhī, Bahāʾ al-Dīn. Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān wa Qurʾān pazhūhī. Tehran: Dūstān-Nāhīd, 1377 Sh.
  • Makārim Shīrāzī, Nāṣir. Tafsīr-i nimūna. Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmīyya, 1374 Sh.
  • Maʿrifat, Muḥammad Hādī. Āmūzish-i ʿulūm-i Qurʾān. [n.p]: Markaz Chāp wa Nashr-i Sāzmān-i Tablīghāt, 1371 Sh.
  • Ṭabrisī, Faḍl b. al-Ḥasan al-. Majmaʿ al-bayān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Edited by Muḥammad Jawād Balāghī. Third edition. Tehran: Intishārāt-i Nāṣir Khusru, 1373 Sh.