Since little in the Koran makes sense, it is not a surprise that there is a chapter called 'The Bee', when the creature is mentioned only once. The venerable and busy insect is introduced in verse 68, or more than halfway through the chapter. Honey was a prized natural sugar in the ancient world, and Muslims wanted to be very clear that it was the moon-deity ali-ilah or Allah who or which, was responsible for the Bees productive use of nectar: “And your Lord taught the Bee to build its cells in hills, on trees, and in (men's) habitations.” Allah must be a pretty busy deity – taking time even to teach Bees to produce natural sugar so that Muslims can benefit. How caring this Allah must be.
The purpose of the Sura is pretty simple – Allah is responsible for all of nature and all the benefices which nature can give to men, especially 'believers'. All of nature is thus a sign of this Allah's mercy and grandeur. All creatures, natural processes and anything of use to men in the natural biomass was created and put into place by this Allah. Anyone who rejects any part of this natural wonderment, is perforce rejecting the ubiquitous greatness of this Allah. Rather insane one could say.
Just because someone running a cult tells you that the cult 'God' created the universe does not mean you need to believe him. It is a circular and quite irrational proposition and one which can only work in an illiterate, pagan and superstitious society like that of 7th century Arabia. The argument is that we the Muslims rule, because we support Allah, and Allah has made everything, including the luxury of natural honey. Some obvious questions follow from this.
Why wouldn't Allah just bless Muslims with food, water, honey and signs ? Why would Allah create a bee species to produce honey instead of say just having it fall from trees like apples, which would be a lot easier for all concerned ? What if someones accepts that the bee is indeed a divinely inspired animal but rejects submitting himself to the rituals of this Allah ? How does one explain the many bee-farms which existed in the ancient world, and the bee 'farmers' who bred the insect to produce a salable and trade-able good ? Are they in defiance of this Allah ?
Verse 93 explains this illogic of assuming that Allah is supreme and can do what he wants with men and nature – much like a baby can manage or move his blocs and toys: “If Allah so willed, He could make you all one People: but He leaves straying whom He pleases, and He guides whom He pleases: but you shall certainly be called to account for all your actions.” So the moon guy plays games with each, individual human. He must have a lot of time on his or its, hands. He could make everyone a Muslim, but this mythical Allah likes to have fun with leading some astray; making believers out of some; or letting others get themselves into trouble. What a sense of humor this Allah must have.
Or maybe how infantile ? This Sura like much of the Koran is mostly unreadable and vapid. It is a long screed to justify Allah worship. The first verse contains the main theme, “(Inevitable) comes (to pass) the Command of Allah: do not then seek to hasten it: glory to Him, and far is He above having the partners ascribed to Him!”
Non-believers tried to define Allah in terms that they could understand. The Arabs never define what the Allah is – they don't need to. An illiterate pagan Arab audience circa 610 A.D. would understand that Allah is the male moon deity. For non-Arabs or literate believers this would present a problem. How to bow and scrape before a moon idol ? Hence some early Islamophiles tried to humanize Allah. Muslims would not accept this. Allah was and is an impersonal, non-human force.
The Koran is in essence an early Marxian dialectic. Huge impersonal forces created by the Allah, have created nature and control man's actions. Man is nothing. The individual worthless and useless. The Koran makes it contempt for men plain with verse 4 saying, “He has created man from a sperm-drop; and behold this same (man) becomes an open disputer!”. You the sperm drop have no free-will, no rights, and certainly no power to challenge or question anything of or about the Allah. You are useless, just a sperm drop. A thing, not a human.
Your only salvation is to invoke and support Allah. That might atone for your miserable existence as verse 20 and 21 state, “Those whom they invoke besides Allah create nothing and are themselves created. (They are things) dead, lifeless: nor do they know when they will be raised up.”
Men who do not support the Allah cult are 'lifeless' and contemptibly useless. Allah will punish them and not raise them up into the 'Gardens of Eternity', since they are not part of the 'righteous'. As verse 36 says, if you don't believe in Allah you will go to Hell, 'So travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those who denied (the Truth).' Muslim 'Truth' is of course submission to Allah, not the hard work of understanding reality, facts or moral and ethical natural laws.
In fairness to Muslims, for the first time in the Koran, this chapter reveals an ethical program. It is the first such mention of ethics and morality in 173 pages. Verse 90 is short but has some potential: “Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, that you may receive admonition.” This is not a bad start for a higher ethical program. The problem is of course, that free-will, choice, individuality and humanism are not part of the general Muslim program. Subservience and prostration are the main ideas – not the ethos of the personal, or the individual.
Individuality is pointless for Muslims. Allah made all, controls all, and determines all. Verse 52 makes the claim that, “To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and on earth, and to Him is duty due always: then will you fear other than Allah?”
Deterministic fatalism. Allah's impersonal forces will create history – not the useless sperm drop of a man. Can you therefore deny this great power ? If you do, you will go to Hell, if not, you might prosper since “Allah has bestowed His gifts of sustenance more freely on some of you than on others:” The believers will of course be more 'blessed' by this Allah than infidels. Or so the endless propaganda tells the reader.
The Koran is in essence a pre-cursor of Marxist dialecticism which informed Hitler's race based theories and 'will to power' and which determined the Lenin-Stalinist model of communist 'inevitability.' Islam is built on impersonal, non-human forces – all controlled by something called Allah. Its pre-destination fatalism is something that Calvin in medieval Geneva would feel comfortable with, or fundamentalist Catholicism would embrace. Such fundamentalism is by its very nature and design, intolerant and immune to change.
That is the main lesson of this Sura – the fundamentalist, fatalist nature of Islam is not open to inquiry or change. Allah created Bees and honey. Allah will determine your fate. Do good for Allah and you might be saved – or maybe you won't. Only Allah knows.
[Note: This sura is taken from 'The Holy Quran', translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, reprinted in 1995, Goodword Books. Regarded as one of the best translations from Arabic to English of the Koran.