About Surah An-Nahl

Surah An-Nahl is the 16th surah (chapter) of The Glorious Quran. Name of the surah means The Bee. It has 128 ayaat (verses) and was revealed in the holy city of Makkah i.e., before Prophet ﷺ migrated to the city of Medina. This surah can be found in juz / paara 14.

Quick summary

Surah #
The Bee
No. of ayaat
Revelation place
makkah Makkah
Revelation order
Sujood (al-tilaawah)
1 (Ayaah 50)
16 (Ayaah 9, 21, 25, 34, 40, 50, 60, 65, 70, 76, 83, 89, 100, 110, 119, 128)
Hizb break(s)
6 (Ayaah 1, 29, 50, 74, 89, 110)
Juz / paara
Juz 14 (Ayaat 1-128)
Manzil (⅐ of Quran)
Pages ^
267 - 281(Open)
^ Qur'an printed at King Fahd Glorious Quran Printing Complex in Al Madinah Al Munawwarah, Saudi Arabia.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful


This Meccan sûrah, also known as the Chapter of Blessings (Sûratu An-Ni'am), takes its name from the bees mentioned in verses 68-69, which are described as one of Allāh's numerous favours to humanity.\n\nInstead of showing gratitude to Allāh for all these blessings, the pagans wilfully set up idols, associating them with Allāh in worship. They are also condemned for burying their daughters alive (verses 58-59). References are made to grateful believers and ungrateful disbelievers along with the ultimate reward for each group. Abraham ﷺ is cited close to the end of the sûrah as a grateful servant of Allāh, whose example should be emulated by all believers. The sûrah concludes by instructing the Prophet ﷺ to endure patiently and invite all to the Way of Allāh with wisdom and grace.

Details from Tafheem-ul-Qurʾān


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:

v. 41 clearly shows that persecution had forced some Muslims to emigrate to Habash before the revelation of this Surah. 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. vv. 112-114 clearly refer to the end of the seven-year famine that had struck Makkah some years after the appointment of the Holy Prophet as Allāh's Messenger. There is a reference to v. 116 of this Surah in v. 145, and v. 118 of this Surah contains a reference to 6:146. This is a proof that both these Surahs (6 and 16) 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.

Centeral Theme

All the topics of the Surah revolve round different aspects of the Message, i.e., 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, "Allāh's decision has already been made concerning your rejection of the Message. Why are you then clamouring 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 Muḥammad ﷺ 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:

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. The objections of the disbelievers have been answered, their arguments refuted, their doubts removed and their false pretexts exposed. Warnings have given of the consequences of persistence in false ways and antagonism to the Message. 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 Allāh, 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. 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.