[Al-Quran 50:6-8] Have they not looked at the heaven above them - how We structured it and adorned it and how it has no rifts? And the earth - We spread it out and cast therein firmly set mountains and made grow therein [something] of every beautiful kind, Giving insight and a reminder for every servant who turns [to Allah].

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Honey Bee

[Quran 16:68-69]

وَأَوْحَىٰ رَبُّكَ إِلَى النَّحْلِ أَنِ اتَّخِذِي مِنَ الْجِبَالِ بُيُوتًا وَمِنَ الشَّجَرِ وَمِمَّا يَعْرِشُونَ
68 And inspired your Lord to the Bee that "Take [second person female singular] among the mountains houses, and among the trees, and in what they construct [1]
ثُمَّ كُلِي مِن كُلِّ الثَّمَرَاتِ فَاسْلُكِي سُبُلَ رَبِّكِ ذُلُلًا ۚ يَخْرُجُ مِن بُطُونِهَا شَرَابٌ مُّخْتَلِفٌ أَلْوَانُهُ فِيهِ شِفَاءٌ لِّلنَّاسِ ۗ إِنَّ فِي ذَ‌ٰلِكَ لَآيَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
69 Then/ Moreover eat [second person feminine singular] from all the fruits, and follow [second person female singular imperative] ways/paths, of your Lord, made smooth." Comes forth, from her/their [singular feminine pronoun[2]] bellies [plural], a drink of varying colours. In it is a healing for the mankind. Indeed, in that,  surely a sign for people who reflect. [3] 

Why is the Bee being referenced in feminine gender?
According to an article on National Geographic, ‘Worker honeybees are all females and are the only bees most people ever see. They forage for food and build and protect the hive, among many other societal functions.’ [4]

Why does it say ‘eat from all fruits’ when honey bees drink nectar from flowers?
According to Lane's Lexicon[5] [Page 352, Root s-m-r, 4], the word lends itself also to the meanings of 'attained the time of bearing fruit', which, I assume, is the flowering season, in which pollination occurs leading to fruit development. 

Also there are a few pages on the web claiming sightings of honey bees feeding on some fruits, however I haven’t been able to find any scholarly article or credible publication confirming this on the web.

Does a honey bee have three or more stomachs?
In Arabic grammar, there are three number forms of a noun: the singular, the dual and the plural form. In the verses under study here, the word for stomach: butun [16:69:12] is in plural form. Hence, it implies that there must be at least three stomachs. According to scientific findings, the honey bee’s stomach is indeed divided in three distinct sections:

‘Food enters through the esophagus and enters the crop (aka honey stomach).
Most digestion and absorption occurs in the midgut (a.k.a. small intestine).
 The small intestine opens to the rectum through which waste is expelled.’ [6]

‘The crop and proventriculus make up what is referred to as the fore-gut while the ventriculus (stomach) and pyloric valve constitute what is otherwise known as the mid-gut. The small intestine and rectum form the region called the hind-gut. Each organ plays an integral role in digestion, absorption, and excrement.’  [7] [8]

How does the honey bee find its way?
‘Each lens is sensitive to ultraviolet light, which can reveal markings on flowers that are invisible to humans but inform the bees where to land in order to find nectar.’ [9] 

What are the benefits of honey?
 Scientists disagree over the medical benefits of honey. However, ‘The health effects of honey have long been noted. The nutritional and medicinal qualities of honey have been documented in Vedic, Greek, Roman, Christian, Islamic and other texts. Physicians of ancient times, such as Aristotle (384–322 BC), Aristoxenus (320 BC) Hippocrates, Porphyry, Cornelius Celsus (early first century AD) and Dioscorides (c. 50 AD), and Arab physicians have referred to the healing qualities of honey.’ [10]

How long have humans been benefiting from bees?
At least 9000 years, according to National Geographic:  

[2] In Arabic grammar, the singular feminine pronoun is used to refer to singular female, as well as a pronoun for non-human plurals. Here it may be referring to the singular Bee or to the honey of varying colours produced by various bees, hence the translation as her/their
[10] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_effects_of_honey 

Last updated on: April 20, 2016 

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