وَأَوْحَىٰ رَبُّكَ إِلَى النَّحْلِ أَنِ اتَّخِذِي مِنَ الْجِبَالِ بُيُوتًا وَمِنَ الشَّجَرِ وَمِمَّا يَعْرِشُونَ
And your Lord inspired to the bee, "Take for yourself among the mountains, houses, and among the trees and [in] that which they construct.
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(Allah coineth a similitude: (on the one hand) a (mere) chattel slave, who hath control of nothing, and (onthe other hand) one on whom we have bestowed a fair provision from Us, and he spendeth thereof secretlyand openly. Are they equal? Praise be to Allah! But most of them know not. And Allah coineth a similitude:Two men, one of them dumb, having control of nothing, and he is a burden on his owner; whithersoever hedirecteth him to go, he bringeth no good. Is he equal with one who enjoineth justice and followeth a straightpath (of conduct)?) [16:75-76]. Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn Muhammad ibn Yahya informed us> Abu Bakribn al-Anbari> Ja‘far ibn Muhammad ibn Shakir> ‘Affan> Wuhayb> ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Uthman ibn Khuthaym>Ibrahim> ‘Ikrimah> Ibn ‘Abbas who said: “This verse (Allah coineth a similitude: (on the one hand) a (mere)chattel slave…) about Hisham ibn ‘Amr who used to spend his wealth openly and in secret and his clientAbu’l-Jawza’ who used to bid him to stop doing so. As for the verse (And Allah coineth a similitude: Twomen, one of them dumb, having control of nothing), the dumb who has control of nothing is Usayd ibn Abial-‘Is and the one who (enjoineth justice and followeth a straight path…) is ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan”.
ثُمَّ كُلِى مِن كُلِّ الثَّمَرَتِ فَاسْلُكِى سُبُلَ رَبِّكِ ذُلُلاً يَخْرُجُ مِن بُطُونِهَا شَرَابٌ مُّخْتَلِفٌ أَلْوَانُهُ فِيهِ شِفَآءٌ لِلنَّاسِ إِنَّ فِى ذلِكَ لآيَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
(68. And your Lord inspired the bee, saying: "Take you habitations in the mountains and in the trees and in what they (humans) erect.'')
(69. "Then, eat of all fruits, and follow the routes that your Lord made easy (for you).'' There comes forth from their bellies, a drink of varying colors, in which there is a cure for men. There is indeed a sign in that for people who reflect.)
What is meant by inspiration here is guidance. The bee is guided to make its home in the mountains, in trees and in structures erected by man. The bee's home is a solid structure, with its hexagonal shapes and interlocking forms there is no looseness in its combs. Then Allah decrees that the bee will have permission to eat from all fruits and to follow the ways which Allah has made easy for it, wherever it wants to go in the vast spaces of the wilderness, valleys and high mountains. Then each bee comes back to its hive without swerving to the right or left, it comes straight back to its home where its offspring and honey are. It makes wax from its wings, and regurgitates honey from its mouth, and lays eggs from its rear, then the next morning it goes out to the fields again.
فَاسْلُكِى سُبُلَ رَبِّكِ ذُلُلاً
(and follow the routes of your Lord made easy (for you)) Qatadah and `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said: "This means, in an obedient way'', understanding it to be a description of the route of migration. Ibn Zayd said that this is like the Ayah:
وَذَلَّلْنَـهَا لَهُمْ فَمِنْهَا رَكُوبُهُمْ وَمِنْهَا يَأْكُلُونَ
(And We have subdued them for them so that some they may ride and some they may eat.) (36:72) He said: "Do you not see that they move the bees' home from one land to another, and the bees follow them'' The first opinion is clearly the more likely, as it describes the routes that the bees follow, i.e., `follow these routes as they are easy for you.' This was stated by Mujahid. Ibn Jarir said that both opinions are correct.
يَخْرُجُ مِن بُطُونِهَا شَرَابٌ مُّخْتَلِفٌ أَلْوَانُهُ فِيهِ شِفَآءٌ لِلنَّاسِ
(There comes forth from their bellies, a drink of varying colors, wherein is healing for men.) meaning, honey, that is white, yellow, red, or of other good colors, depending on the different things that the bees eat.
فِيهِ شِفَآءٌ لِلنَّاسِ
(in which there is a cure for men.) meaning there is a cure in honey for diseases that people suffer from. Some of those who spoke about the study of Prophetic medicine said that if Allah had said, `in which there is the cure for men', then it would be the remedy for all diseases, but He said, `in which there is a cure for men', meaning that it is the right treatment for every "cold'' disease, because it is "hot'', and a disease should be treated with its opposite. Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded in their Sahihs from Qatadah from Abu Al-Mutawakkil `Ali bin Dawud An-Naji from Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri that a man came to the Messenger of Allah and said, "My brother is suffering from diarrhea''. He said,
(Give him honey to drink.) The man went and gave him honey, then he came back and said, "O Messenger of Allah! I gave him honey to drink, and he only got worse.'' The Prophet said,
«اذْهَبْ فَاسْقِهِ عَسَلًا»
(Go and give him honey to drink.) So he went and gave him honey, then he came back and said, "O Messenger of Allah! it only made him worse. '' The Prophet said,
«صَدَقَ اللهُ وَكَذَبَ بَطْنُ أَخِيكَ، اذْهَبْ فَاسْقِهِ عَسَلًا»
(Allah speaks the truth and your brother's stomach is lying. Go and give him honey to drink.) So he went and gave him honey, and he recovered.'' It is reported in the Two Sahihs from `A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, that the Messenger of Allah used to like sweet things and honey. This is the wording of Al-Bukhari, who also reported in his Sahih from Ibn `Abbas that the Messenger of Allah said:
«الشِّفَاءُ فِي ثَلَاثَةٍ: فِي شَرْطَةِ مِحْجَمٍ، أَوْ شَرْبَةِ عَسَلٍ، أَوْ كَيَّةٍ بِنَارٍ، وَأَنْهَى أُمَّتِي عَنِ الْكَي»
(Healing is to be found in three things: the cut made by the cupper, or drinking honey, or in branding with fire (cauterizing), but I have forbidden my Ummah to use branding.)
إِنَّ فِى ذَلِكَ لآيَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
(There is indeed a sign in that for people who reflect.) meaning in the fact that Allah inspires this weak little creature to travel through the vast fields and feed from every kind of fruit, then gather it for wax and honey, which are some of the best things, in this is a sign for people who think about the might and power of the bee's Creator Who causes all of this to happen. From this they learn that He is the Initiator, the All-Powerful, the All-Wise, the All-Knowing, the Most Generous, the Most Merciful.