The Quran

Commentaries for 16.71

An Nahl (The bee) - النحل

16.71 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And Allah hath favoured some of you above others in provision) this verse was revealed about the delegation of Najran who claimed that Jesus was the son of Allah. So Allah revealed this verse to tell people that He has favoured some people to the exclusion of others in relation to the possession of wealth and servants. (Now those who are more favoured) with wealth and servants (will by no means hand over their provision to those (slaves) whom their right hands possess, so that they) i.e. the master and the slave (may be equal with them in respect thereof) about wealth. They said: “We will not do so nor are we happy about this”, and so Allah said: (Is it then the grace of Allah that they deny?) Do you like for Me what you do not like for yourselves, and thus deny the Oneness of Allah?
16.71 Asrar - Kashf Al-Asrar
And God has given more bounty in provision to some of you than others.
The provision of the soul is one thing, the provision of the heart another, and the provision of the spirit still another. For some the provision of the soul is the success of obedience and for some it is abandonment to disobedience. For some the provision of the heart is the heart's presence with constant remembrance and for some it is the attribute of heedlessness with constant hardness. For some the provision of the spirit is the perfection of recognition and the limpidness of love and for some it is love for this world and occupation with attachments.
Fuẓayl said, “The greatest thing provided to man is deeds that will lead him to rectitude and recognition that will bequeath on him contemplation of his Lord.”
The Prophet said, “I spend the night at my Lord; He gives me to eat and drink.”
16.71 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
And God has favoured some of you above others in [respect of] provision, thus, some of you are poor, some are rich, some owners, others are owned. Now those who have been [more] favoured, namely, the masters, would not hand over their provision to those [slaves] whom their right hands possess, that is, they would not assign that wealth and other things which We have given them as something to be shared [equally] between them and their slaves, so that they, that is, the slaves and [their] masters, become equal, partners, in respect thereof. The meaning is: they do not have partners from among their slaves in respect of their wealth, so how can they make certain of God’s servants partners of His? Is it then the grace of God that they deny?, [that] they reject, when they ascribe partners to Him?
16.71 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
There is a Sign and a Blessing in Matters of People's Livelihood
Allah explains to the idolators the ignorance and disbelief involved in their claim that Allah has partners while also admitting that these partners are His servants. In their Talbiyah for Hajj, they used to say, "Here I am, there are no partners for You except Your own partner, You own him and everything he owns.'' Allah says, denouncing them: `You would not accept for your servant to have an equal share in your wealth, so how is it that Allah would accept His servant to be His equal in divinity and glory As Allah says elsewhere:
ضَرَبَ لَكُمْ مَّثَلاً مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ هَلْ لَّكُمْ مِّن مَّا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـنُكُمْ مِّن شُرَكَآءَ فِى مَا رَزَقْنَـكُمْ فَأَنتُمْ فِيهِ سَوَآءٌ تَخَافُونَهُمْ كَخِيفَتِكُمْ أَنفُسَكُمْ
(He sets forth a parable for you from yourselves: Do you have partners among those whom your right hands possess (i.e. your servant) to share as equals in the wealth We have granted you, those whom you fear as you fear each other) (30:28) Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas mentioned this Ayah, saying, "Allah is saying - `If they did not want their servant to have a share with them in their wealth and wives, how can My servant have a share with Me in My power' Thus Allah says:
أَفَبِنِعْمَةِ اللَّهِ يَجْحَدُونَ
(Do they then deny the favor of Allah)'' According to another report, Ibn `Abbas said: "How can they accept for Me that which they do not accept for themselves''
أَفَبِنِعْمَةِ اللَّهِ يَجْحَدُونَ
(Do they then deny the favor of Allah) meaning, they assign to Allah a share of the tilth and cattle which He has created. They denied His blessings and associated others in worship with Him. Al-Hasan Al-Basri said: "Umar bin Al-Khattab wrote this letter to Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari: `Be content with your provision in this world, for the Most Merciful has honored some of His servants over others in terms of provision as a test of both. The one who has been given plenty is being tested to see if he will give thanks to Allah and fulfill the duties which are his by virtue of his wealth...''' It was reported by Ibn Abi Hatim.
16.71 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
It will be worthwhile to give deep thought to the meanings of this verse, for some modern commentators of the Qur'an have founded strange economic theories and systems on it. Their interpretation is an instance of perverting the meaning of the Qur'an by isolating verses from their context and treating it as a separate whole in order to formulate a new philosophy and law of Islamic Economics. In their opinion the verse implies this: Those people to whom Allah has given more provisions than others, should share these equally with their servants and slaves: otherwise they shall be guilty of ingratitude to Allah in regard to the wealth with which He had blessed them. This commentary on the verse is obviously wrong and far-fetched because in the context it occurs there is no mention at all of any law of economics. The whole passage in which this verse occurs deals with the refutation of shirk and proof of Tauhid. The same themes are continued in the subsequent verses. There seems to be no reason why an economic law should have been inserted here, which would have been absolutely irrelevant, to say the least. On the contrary, when the verse is considered in its context, it becomes quite obvious that it is no more than the statement of a fact to prove the same theme that is contained in this passage. It argues like this: "When you yourselves do not make your servants and slaves equal partners in your wealth-which in fact is given to you by Allah-how is it that you join other gods with God in your gratitude to Him for the favors with which He has blessed you. You know that these gods have no powers to bestow anything on anyone, and, therefore, have no right in your worship of Allah, for they are after all His slaves and servants."
This interpretation of the verse under discussion is corroborated by XXX: 28: "Allah sets forth to you an instance from your own selves: Do your slaves share with you the wealth We have bestowed on you so that you and they become equals in this? And do you fear them as you fear one another? Thus We make clear Our Signs to those who use their common sense." A comparison of the two verses makes it quite clear that these have been cited to bring home to the mushriks that they themselves do not associate their slaves with themselves in their wealth and status, but they have the impudence and folly to set up His own creature as partner with God.
It appears that the erroneous interpretation has been strengthened by the succeeding sentence: "What! do they then deny to acknowledge Allah's favor? As this sentence immediately follows the similitude of the rich people and their slaves, they conclude that it will be ingratitude on the part of those, who possess more wealth not to share it equally with those who have less. As a matter of fact, everyone who has studied the Qur'an critically knows that ingratitude to Allah is to show gratitude to others than Allah for His blessings. This interpretation is so patently wrong that those who are well-versed in the teachings of the Qur'an can have no misconception about it. And such verses as these can mislead only those who have a cursory knowledge of the Qur'an.
Now that the significance of the ingratitude towards Allah's blessing has become plain, the meaning of the verse will be quite clear, and it is this: "When the Mushriks understand the implication of the difference between the master and his slave and observe this distinction in their own lives, why do they then persist in ignoring the immense difference between the Creator and His creatures and set up the latter as His partners and pay homage of gratitude to them for the blessings bestowed on them by Allah.