The 14th Juz consists of Surat al-Hijr (99 verses) and Surat an-Nahl (128 verses, the Bee). The verses of Surat an-Nahl are filled with remembrances of God’s blessings, and lessons we can learn from nature. God calls upon humanity to take lessons from these ‘blessings’, a word used 13 times throughout the chapter to impress upon us the magnitude of what He has given us. God speaks of water (which brings life to the earth), cattle, trees, fruits, bees and honey-- and the many benefits we receive from all of his creations. Allah also alludes to the idea that nature shows us the reality of the resurrection. In a Qur'anic worldview, learning about nature and science is a means to connect with the Creator. He commands us to look around, observe His signs and to ponder, reflect and reason. As we watch spring unfold, let’s remember that there is a sign here that we too will be brought back to life.
Innaa Hadha Al-Qur'ana Yahdee li-latee hiya aqwamu wa yubashshir Al-mu'mineen al-lathi ya'malun al-salihat anna lahum Ajran Kabira (17:9) [Indeed, this Qur'an guides to that which is most suitable and gives good tidings to the believers who do righteous deeds that they will have a great reward (17:9)].
Juz 14. 'A'udhu billahi min al-shaytan al-rajim Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Rahim. I begin in the name of Allah, compassionate to all, merciful to each. As-salamu alaykum and welcome to the 14th episode in this podcast series titled: "Journeying Our Eyes Through the Qur'an", Exploring 30 Juz in 30 Days. Today, Insha Allah, we will continue our journey through the pages of the Qur'an as we take a brief look into the 14th juz of the Qur'an, which consists of the entirety of Chapter 15 Surat al-Hijr which is 99 verses. Juz 14 also contains Chapter 16 of the Qur'an which is Surat an Nahl and is named after the honeybee which is mentioned in verses 68-69.
Like many of the past chapters that we've been discussing over the last several episodes, both of the chapters of this Juz are Meccan and as such, the juz in an overall fashion focuses on the basic tenets of faith with a heavy focus on the divinity of the Qur'an. Surat an-Nahl also has many beautiful passages and often calls humanity to look at the world around us, calling us to witness the natural Ayat and the signs and to take lessons from them, pointing to the fact that all of these are blessings or Ni'am from Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala. The word blessings or Ni'ma, as is commonly referred to, appear 13 times in the surah, the highest frequency of any chapter in the Qur'an.
One of these passages discussing these blessings is early on in Surat an-Nahl from verses 4-17 and here Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala notes many of the blessings that He has granted to us and created for us. Like the sun, the moon fruits, the natural resources of the earth. And He mentions that all of this has been created for our benefit. And then later, starting in verse 65, there is another section in which Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala discusses these blessings. It is this section that we'll take a little bit of a closer look at right now.
Wa Allahu anzala min as-sama'i ma'an fa ahyaa bihil arda ba'da mawtihaa, inna fee dhaalika la aayatal liqaw miny yasma'oon (16:65). Wa inna lakum fil an'aami la'ibrah, nusqeekum mimma fee butoonihee min baini farsinw wa damil labanann khaalisan saaa'ighan li-shsharibeen (16:66). Wa min thamaratin nakheeli wal a'nnaabi tattakhidhuna minhu sakaran wa rizqan hasana, inna fee dhaalika la Aayata liqawminy ya'qiloon (16:67). Wa awhaa Rabbuka ila an-nahli anit takhizee min al-jibaali buyootan wa min ash-shajari wa mimma ya'rishoon (16:68). Thumma kuli min kulli ath-thamarati faslukee subula Rabbiki dhulula, yakhruju mim butoonihaa sharabum mukhtalifun alwanuhu feehi shifaaa'u li in-nas, innna fee dhaalika la Aayatal liqawminy yatafakkaroon (16:69). Wa Allahu khalaqakum thumma yatawaffaakum, wa minkum man yuradlu ila ardhali il-'umuri likai laa ya'lama ba'da 'ilmin shai'a, inna Allaha 'Aleemun Qadeer (16:70).
Allah sends down water from the sky with which He revives the Earth after its death. There is indeed a sign in that for people who listen (16:65). There is indeed a moral for you in the cattle We give you to drink that which is in their bellies from between waste and blood as pure milk, pleasant to those who drink (16:66). And of the fruits of date palms and vines from which you draw wine and goodly provision. There are indeed signs in that for a people who apply reason (16:67). And your Lord inspired the bee saying make your home in the mountains and on the trees and the trellises that they erect (16:68). Then eat from every kind of fruit and follow meekly the ways of your Lord, their issues from its belly, a juice of diverse hues in which there is a cure for the people. There is indeed a sign in that for people who reflect (16:69). Allah has created you, then He takes you away. And there are some among you who are relegated to the nethermost age so that he knows nothing after having possessed some knowledge. Indeed, Allah is all knowing, all powerful (16:70).
This particular passage and reminder begins with the description of water, which brings life to the world and has an incredible impact on the world. Without rain, without water, no crops can grow. And after the crops die, it is water that brings them back to life. Within these verses Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala says that there's a sign in this. There's a sign in this process of crops dying and then coming back to life for those who reflect. But what is the sign?
This Ayah and this concept is repeated throughout the Qur'an in several different ways. And this is that Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala has created nature and these processes to show us the reality of resurrection. In the dead of winter, things are dead, but with a Allah Subhana wa Ta'alas power, they come back to life in the spring. What was dead then lives again. In a similar manner we too will die and be resurrected. This should not be a surprising or a strange thing to us when we witness it in nature constantly. Season after season, year after year.
One of the techniques noticeable in these verses is Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala does not only tell us about what happens in nature, as He tells us over here, that trees and plants die and come back to life. But He connects it to that deeper truth, the reality and the lessons for which they were intended. And this is what makes it beautiful. The study of the natural world, or what we call science, is often secularized in the world that we live in today. And learning about science is usually, unfortunately, detached from its beautiful lessons and the essential purpose and truth for which Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala intend it, which is nothing other than to connect us to our creator, to our destination and to reality.
In pretty much every one of the verses that we read above Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala mentioned some type of lesson, some type of sign, some type of thinking, some type of reflection that needs to be involved in the process. In fact, seven times throughout this chapter Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala says 'inna fee dhalika- that indeed in this or in this example or in this description, in this story, in this sign from nature, la Aayah or Aayat, that there is a sign or signs for a people, for a Qaum' (16:65), that does the following.
And let's look at a few of these verses to see what they say in verse 11 it says, For a group or for a community who- 'yatafakkaroon'- who think, who ponder, who make connections(16:11). In verse 12, 'li qawmin ya'qiloon'- for a community, for a group of people who use their Aql, who use their intellect (16:12). In verse 13, 'liqawmin yadhakkaroon'-for those who benefit from reminders and who take these reminders (16:13).
In verse 65, 'liqawmin yasma'oon'-for those who listen to the reminders of a lost Subhana wa Ta'ala (16:65). In verse 67 again, 'ya'qiloon' (16:67), in verse 69 again, 'yatafakkaroon' (16:69) and in 79, for those who have faith- 'liqawmin yu'minoon' (16:70). So we see that together in all of these ways, in all of these reminders and all of these examples of nature, we see that Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala wants us to think about a deeper reality.
InshaAllah next time when we look at the trees blooming outside in the spring that we have right now after the winter that we witnessed. Insha Allah, we pray that we remember the day in which we too will be brought back to life. And the next time we see a bee Insha Allah we remember the inspiration and the instinct, which is no accident, but it is Allah Subhana wa Ta'alas beautiful design created for our benefit.
Wa Al-Hamdulil-Lahi Rabbi Al-Alameen, wa salla Allahu alaa nabiyyina Muhammadin, wa alihi, al-tayibeen, al-tahireen. Wa as-salamu alaykum, wa rahmatullahi, wa baraktu.
Rabbana La tuzigh Qulubana (3:8) [Our Lord, let not our hearts deviate (3:8)]