The Honey Bee: Motivations for Research

I will be expanding on the contents discussed in this abstract in future posts Insha’Allah.

The Honeybee: Motivations for Research

By Tauseef Ahmad Khan

Abstract of a Presentation Delivered at the Second MKA Research Association Symposium 2010. Warwick, United Kingdom

Honeybee is one of the most fascinating living creatures on Earth. It is just an insect but unlike others it is completely unique in many ways. This presentation was given to explore the motivations behind doing research on the honeybee.

The Holy Qur’an mentions the honeybee in Surah 16, which is also named after the honeybee i.e. Al-Nahl. The Holy Qur’an says:

“And thy Lord has inspired the bee, saying, ‘Make thou houses in the hills and in the trees and in the trellises which they build. [16:69]

‘Then eat of every kind of fruit, and follow the ways of thy Lord that have been made easy for thee.’ There comes forth from their bellies a drink of varying hues. Therein is cure for men. Surely, in that is a Sign for a people who reflect. “ [16:70]

In this presentation the commentary of the Promised Messiah(as) was presented on the above verses. The main messages was that if God continues to reveal to the honeybee, it means that revelation must still continue for men. Afterwards some interesting experiments that the Promised Messiah(as) performed on honey were presented from his writings. The writings of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih I(ra), II(ra) and IV (ru) were also discussed which dealt with honeybees. Videos of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) and Huzur Aqdas(atba) were shown in which they described this fascinating insect. Excerpts from Huzur Aqdas(atba) Friday Sermons of December 19 and 26, 2008, were read out in which Huzur (atba) urged Ahmadis to go into this field of research.

The recent rapid decline in honeybees, known as the Colony Collapse Disorder, was briefly described and avenues of research discussed.

As honey (and other produce of the honeybee) are shifa (cure) as per the Holy Qur’an, then it has to have a great role in human medicine. However, honey currently is not a mainstay therapy for any known disease in humans. Research needs to be done to see how honey can be a cure for human ailments.

The summary of the presentation was:

  • One cannot understand the nature of honeybee without understanding the nature of revelation.
  • Honeybee is a profound example of the working of God’s revelation.
  • Ahmadi students should go into honeybee research.
  • Those researchers will benefit who believe in revelation and have firm faith in Unity of God.
  • One Nobel Prize has already been given on honeybee research to Karl von Frisch for ‘Decoding the Language of Bees’ (1973 Prize in Physiology or Medicine). Ahmadi researchers will investigate this marvellous insect further in light of the Holy Qur’an and attain greater success. Insha’Allah.
  • Honey research and its benefits to health is also a very vast research area.
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