Your Lord revealed to the bees: "Build dwellings in the mountains and the trees, and also in the structures which men erect. Then eat from every kind of fruit and travel the paths of your Lord, which have been made easy for you to follow." From inside them comes a drink of varying colours, containing healing for mankind. There is certainly a sign in that for people who reflect. (Surat an-Nahl:68-69)
In the honey bee colonies where each of the many bees is assigned a specific task, the only exception is the male honey bee. The males do not contribute to the defence of the hive or its cleaning, to gathering food, or making of the honeycomb and honey. The only function of the male bees in the hive is to inseminate the queen bee. 1 Apart from reproductive organs, the males possess almost none of the features possessed by the other bees and it is therefore impossible for them to do anything but fertilise the queen.
The worker bees carry the entire load of the colony. Although they are females like the queen, their ovaries have no maturity. This renders them sterile. They have several duties: cleaning the hive, maintaining the larvae and the young, feeding the queen bee and the males, producing honey, constructing the honeycomb and repairing it, ventilating the hive and safeguarding it, gathering supplies like nectar, pollen, water and resin, and storing these in the hive.
In Arabic, there are two different usages of verbs. By means of the usage, it is possible to determine whether the subject is a female or a male. As a matter of fact, the verbs used for the honey bee in the verses are used in the format of the verb for females. Through this, the Qur'an indicates that the honey bees that work in the making of the honey are females.2
We should not forget that it is impossible for this fact to have been known about the honey bees in the time of the Prophet Muhammad (saas). Yet, Allah has pointed at this fact and shown us yet another miracle of the Qur'an.
1. Hayvanlar Ansiklopedisi-Böcekler (Encyclopedia of Animals—Insects) (Istanbul: C.B.P.C. Publishing Ltd./Phoesbus Publishing Company: 1979), 97.
2. Kazi, 130 Evident Miracles in the Qur'an, 68-69.