The Secret of Honey

Eating it cures the spiritual diseases if it is eaten with that intention, and gives one gnosis and lights, by the traces of revelation in it, as God says, “Your Lord inspired (literally: gave revelation to) the bees” (16:68)…. until “In it is healing for the people” (16:69). Indeed the sweetness of the divine address became infiltrated into bees and has remained in their progeny who inherit it from generation to generation. They eat bitter things that become sweet in their stomach, as one observes. Thus therein is a remedy for men both physically and spiritually because its fundament is the divine address which is the Qur’an, the word of God. And the Qur’an is a remedy for what is in man’s breast, and right guidance and mercy for the believers.

– Shaykh Ahmad ibn Idris (may Allah be pleased with him and please him).

Note: Al-Tabari said in his tafsir of 16:69

حدثنا نصر بن عبد الرحمن، قال: ثنا الـمـحاربـيّ، عن لـيث، عن مـجاهد: { فِـيهِ شِفـاءٌ للنَّاسِ } قال: فـي القرآن شفـاء.

Al-Tabari narrated with his chain of authorities to imam Mujahid that he said about the verse: “In it is healing for the people”: In the Qur’an is healing.

Some scholars like Ibn Kathir criticized the great imam of the salaf, imam Mujahid, for seemingly going completely against the outward meaning of the aya, and ascribing healing to the Qur’an instead of honey, when the aya says “In it.” However, it would be impossible for imam Mujahid to make such a mistake. This is especially so when there are other ayas in the Qur’an specifically about the Qur’an being healing, so why did imam Mujahid choose this verse in particular which is clearly talking about honey?  And why would such a great imam as al-Layth ibn Sa’d, the imam of Egypt in fiqh, equal to imams Abu Hanifa, Malik, al-Shafi’i and ibn Hanbal, and a great Knower of Allah (ta’ala), care to transmit such an understanding from him?

It must be therefore that he was attributing the healing that is in honey to the Qur’an that is within it, a secret that imam Ibn Kathir was not aware of, and Allah knows best.

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