BEES IN THE QURAN

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This post is in category QURAN BIOLOGY

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Edip Yüksel incorrectly claimed a Quran verse reveals that all worker honey bees are female The Arabic word buṭūnihā is used, and a Quran Arabic dictionary explains that in that sentence syntax it is masculine plural. Edip Yüksel mistranslated it as feminine singular, which would only be true in a different sentence syntax.
BEES EAT ALL FRUIT?
Rashad Khalifa hid a science error in the Quran by translating verse 16:69 as saying honey bees “eat from all fruit” rather than “eat of all fruit”, hinting that bees eat something that grew on fruit plants (blossom nectar) rather than eating the fruit.
Actually, “eat all fruit” is not true in any meaning of the phrase. Bees eat the nectar of flowers (mostly from plants such as clover, that do not produce fruit). Many tropical plants have night-opening flowers that are visited by small bats instead of by bees. Nuri & Hoque went further to hide the Quran science error, changing the word “fruit” to “nectar of the flowers”.
ARCHITECTURE OF BEES?
Some Muslims falsely claim that Quran verse 16:68 reveals facts of civil engineering. Actually, the verse does not describe the nests of the bees or the hexagonal cells in the nests. It merely hints that beekeepers built small structures to attract the bees.

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972px-european_honey_bee_extracts_nectar

bee licking nectar from a flower with its long tongue becomes coated in pollen.

WORKER BEES ARE ALL FEMALE?
A Quran verse is about the bellies of bees, and the Arabic word buṭūnihā is used as a noun and is therefore masculine plural and means means “their bellies”.
In Edip Yüksel’s footnote he mistranslated the verse by claiming it is feminine singular. That is only true when buṭūnihā is used as a possessive pronoun, which is not the usage here. [Do a Google search of “quran dictionary buṭūnihā”, which explains it is masculine plural, and translates it as “their bellies”.] Edip Yüksel incorrectly claimed the verse revealed that worker bees are female and that each bee has multiple stomachs.

BEES EAT ALL FRUIT?
Khalifa’s translation of verse 16:69 as saying honey bees “eat from all fruit” (which appeared earlier in the 1880 translation by English Orientalist Edward Henry Palmer) rather than “eat of all fruit” hinted that bees eat something that grew on fruit plants rather than eating the fruit. [Because their tongues are not able to pierce the skin of a fruit, fruit is very very very rarely a food source for bees. The insects attracted to soft drink cans are yellow jacket wasps, which do not make honey.]
Actually, “eat all fruit” is not true in any meaning of the phrase. Bees eat the nectar of flowers (mostly from plants such as clover, that do not produce fruit). Many tropical plants have night-opening flowers that are visited by small bats instead of by bees.

Nuri & Hoque in 1964 wrote in their footnote to Quran verse 16:69 that bees eat “nectar of the flowers”, which is true but not present in the Arabic words.

FOLLOW THE WAYS OF THY LORD
Quran verse 16:69 (Pickthal translation) commands the bees to “follow the ways of thy Lord, made smooth (for thee)”.

“Follow the ways of thy Lord” in this context probably merely means to obey Allah rather than meaning to travel on an actual physical road.

“Made smooth” is not an accurate translation; the Arabic word in all other Quran verses where it is used merely means to be subservient to your master.

In another context subservient can refer to a student learning from a teacher, which has resulted in one Muslim website mistranslating “subservient” as “with skill”, and then falsely interprets these words as a revelation of how bees communicate to each other the location of a source of nectar.

WOUND HEALING
Quran verse 16:69 states that honey contains “healing for mankind”. This is not a claim first revealed in the Quran, but had been claimed since at least as long ago as the ancient Egyptians. The ancient Egyptians were correct that honey helps wounds to heal.

Some Muslim websites make claims of revelations in the Quran of health benefits of honey that go beyond what is explicitly mentioned in the Quran.
ARCHITECTURE OF BEES?
Muslims falsely claim that Quran verse 16:68 reveals facts of civil engineering. 
The verse does not describe the nests of the bees or the hexagonal cells in the nests.
The verse merely hints that beekeepers built small structures to attract the bees.

Image by John Severns (Severnjc), via Wikimedia Commons.

image credit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:European_honey_bee_extracts_nectar.jpg

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