‘Nahl’ denotes the Infallible Imams (a.s.)
The Almighty Allah says:
وَأَوْحَى رَبُّكَ إِلَى النَّحْلِ.
And your Lord revealed to the bee… (Surah Nahl 16:68)
Some have said that it was an inspiration to the bee. Some say that it was made in their ‘Teenat’ (life clay) and it was created on this same ‘Teenat’.
أَنْ اتَّخِذِي مِنْ الْجِبَالِ بُيُوتًا وَمِنْ الشَّجَرِ وَمِمَّا يَعْرِشُونَ.
Make hives in the mountains and in the trees and in what they build: (Surah Nahl 16:68)
It means they should make hives on the mountains, and trees of grapes or those compartments and holes that people make for them or they make such hexagonal compartments that even the engineers are astonished at them.
ثُمَّ كُلِي مِنْ كُلِّ الثَّمَرَاتِ فَاسْلُكِي سُبُلَ رَبِّكِ ذُلُلًا يَخْرُجُ مِنْ بُطُونِهَا شَرَابٌ مُخْتَلِفٌ أَلْوَانُهُ فِيهِ شِفَاءٌ لِلنَّاسِ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَةً لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ.
Then eat of all the fruits and walk in the ways of your Lord submissively. There comes forth from within it a beverage of many colours, in which there is healing for men; most surely there is a sign in this for a people who reflect. (Surah Nahl 16:69)
So eat from different flowers whichever you like and walk on those ways which are appointed by Allah and made easy for you, that is, remain obedient to Allah in that condition.
The bees produce honey of different colours, white, yellow, red, and. There is remedy in honey for pains and sufferings of the people. There are few medicines in which honey is not used.
In the explanation of this verse Ali Ibne Ibrahim has narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that he said: We are the ‘bees’ on whom Allah sent revelation and ‘mountains’ refers to the Arabs. Allah has commanded us to make the Arab Shias. ‘And in the trees’ means the non-Arabs; and ‘in what they build’ refers to those freed slaves who got mixed in the tribes of Arabs though originally they were non-Arabs. The meaning of the drinking of different colours is that the different sciences that are manifested through us.
Dailami has also narrated from the same Imam on the explanation of this verse that: What is the value of the honeybees that Allah should send revelation on them? This verse was revealed in our praise and Allah has compared us to the honeybee. We are under the command of Allah and ‘mountains’ refers to our Shias and ‘tree’ refers to the believer ladies.
Ayyashi has narrated from the same Imam that ‘bee’ indicates the Holy Imams (a.s.) and ‘mountain’ refers to the Arabs and ‘tree’ refers to the freed slaves and ‘in what they build’ are the boys and servants who are not freed and they have the love of Allah, the Prophet and the Holy Imams, and the different colours of drink means different sciences which are taught by the Imams to their Shias. ‘In which there is healing for men’ means there is a remedy in the knowledge and our Shias are the ‘men’ and Allah knows the non-Shias best that they are. If this verse means what people think, it is a type of honey that people eat. Therefore when a sick person takes it, he would surely get well because the promise of Allah is not false, but the remedy is from the knowledge of the Quran because Allah says:
وَنُنَزِّلُ مِنْ الْقُرْآنِ مَا هُوَ شِفَاءٌ وَرَحْمَةٌ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَلَا يَزِيدُ الظَّالِمِينَ إِلَّا خَسَارًا.
And We reveal of the Quran that which is a healing and a mercy to the believers, (Sura Israa 17:82)
Then the Hazrat said that the Quran is a remedy and mercy for those who are fit for it and the Holy Imams who guide, deserve it the most; about whom the Almighty Allah says:
ثُمَّ أَوْرَثْنَا الْكِتَابَ الَّذِينَ اصْطَفَيْنَا مِنْ عِبَادِنَا.
Then We gave the Book for an inheritance to those whom We chose from among Our servants…(Surah Fatir 35:32)
Also Ayyashi from other chains from the same Imam has narrated that ‘bee’ refers to the Holy Prophet (S).
Make hives in the mountains…
It means marry the women of Quraysh.
and in the trees…
and also from all the Arabs.
and in what they build:
This refers to non-Arabs and slaves and the different colours of drinks refers to the different sciences.
There is a tradition from Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.) that ‘bee’ refers to the Holy Imam (a.s.) and ‘mountains’ refers to Quraysh and ‘tree’ refers to all Arabs and ‘what they build’ refers to non-Arabs and slaves.
…in the ways of your Lord… (Surah Nahl 16:69)
It is the true religion that we follow and the different kinds of honey denote the knowledge of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) which has reached the people and which is the cure of the diseases of ignorance and misguidance. Thus Allah says regarding the Quran:
…and a healing for what is in the breasts…(Surah Yunus 10:57)
It means it is cure for the diseases of the breasts.1