Chapter Scripts

Surah Al-Nahl: 16:111-120

16:111 [Be conscious, then, of] the Day when every human being shall come to plead for himself [alone], and every human being shall be repaid in full for whatever he has done, and none shall be wronged.


I.e., as distinct from oaths “uttered without thought” (see 2:225).

16:112 And God propounds [to you] a parable: [Imagine] a town which was [once] secure and at ease, with its sustenance coming to it abundantly from all quarters, and which thereupon blasphemously refused to show gratitude for God’s blessings: and therefore God caused it to taste the all-embracing misery of hunger and fear in result of all [the evil] that its people had so persistently wrought.


Lit., “and having made God [or “named God as”] your guarantor (kafil)”.

16:113 And indeed, there had come unto them an apostle from among themselves – but they gave him the lie; and therefore suffering overwhelmed them while they were thus doing wrong [to themselves].


Lit., “as a [means of] deception (dakhalan) among yourselves”.

16:114 And So, partake of all the lawful, good things which God has provided for you as sustenance, and render thanks unto God for His blessings, if it is [truly] Him that you worship.


Lit., “because there are people (ummah) more powerful than [other] people”: relating to declarations and false promises made out of fear.

16:115 He has forbidden to you only carrion, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that over which any name other than God’s has been invoked; but if one is driven [to it] by necessity – neither coveting it nor exceeding his immediate need – verily, God is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace.


As is evident from the preceding passage as well as from the sequence, the differences alluded to here relating to ethical and moral values, regarding the truth and relevance of which people of various communities and persuasions hold most divergent views. See also surah 2, note 94.

16:116 Hence, do not utter falsehoods by letting your tongues determine [at your own discretion], “This is lawful and that is forbidden”, thus attributing your own lying inventions to God for, behold, they who attribute their own lying inventions to God will never attain to a happy state!


I.e., bound by mutually agreed-upon moral values. See in this connection 10:19 and the corresponding notes, especially note 29. For an elucidation of the concept of ummah wahidah (“one single community”) and its further implications, see surah 2, notes 197 and 198.

16:117 A brief enjoyment [may be theirs in this world] – but grievous suffering awaits them [in the life to come]!


Or: “He lets go astray whomever He wills, and guides aright whomever He wills”. Regarding the problem of free will versus predestination, seemingly implied in the concept of God’s “letting man go [or “causing him to go”] astray” or, alternatively, “guiding him aright”, see surah 14, note 4

16:118 And [only] unto those who followed the Jewish faith did We forbid all that We have mentioned to thee ere this, and no wrong did We do to them, but it was they who persistently wronged themselves.

16:119 And once again: Behold, thy Sustainer [shows mercy] to those who do evil out of ignorance and afterward repent and live righteously: behold, after such [repentance] thy Sustainer is indeed much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace.


i.e., “you will offend against God after having attained to faith”, seeing that – as has been pointed out in note 110 above – every pledge given by man to man is synonymous with a pledge to God.

16:120 Verily, Abraham was a man who combined within himself all virtues, devoutly obeying God’s will, turning away from all that is false, and not being of those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God.


i.e., in this world (Tabari, Zamakhshari, Baydawi), inasmuch as the breaking of pledges unavoidably leads to a gradual disappearance of all mutual trust and, thus, to the decomposition of the social fabric.


The divine scriptures are God’s beacons to the world. Surely God offered His trust to the heavens and the earth, and the hills, but they shrank from bearing it and were afraid of it. And man undertook it.
Back to top button