ANIMALS AND BIRDS LIVE IN COMMUNITIES
“There is not an animal (That lives) on the earth, Nor a being that flies On its wings, but (forms Part of) communities like you.” [Al-Qur’aan 6:38]
Research has shown that animals and birds live in communities, i.e. they organize, and live and work together.
THE FLIGHT OF BIRDS
Regarding the flight of birds the Qur’aan says:
“Do they not look at The birds, held poised In the midst of (the air And) the sky? Nothing Holds them up but (the power Of) Allah. Verily in this Are Signs for those who believe.” [Al-Qur’aan 16:79]
A similar message is repeated in the Qur’aan in the verse:
“Do they not observe The birds above them, Spreading their wings And folding them in? None can uphold them Except (Allah) Most Gracious: Truly it is He That watches over all things.” [Al-Qur’aan 67:19]
The Arabic word amsaka literally means, ‘to put one’s hand on, seize, hold, hold someone back,’ which expresses the idea that Allah holds the bird up in His power. These verses stress the extremely close dependence of the birds’ behaviour on Divine order. Modern scientific data has shown the degree of perfection attained by certain species of birds with regard to the programming of their movements. It is only the existence of a migratory programme in the genetic code of the birds that can explain the long and complicated journey that very young birds, without any prior experience and without any guide, are able to accomplish. They are also able to return to the departure point on a definite date.
Prof. Hamburger in his book ‘Power and Fragility’ gives the example of ‘mutton-bird’ that lives in the Pacific with its journey of over 15,000 miles in the shape of figure ‘8’. It makes this journey over a period of 6 months and comes back to its departure point with a maximum delay of one week. The highly complicated instructions for such a journey have to be contained in the birds’ nervous cells. They are definitely programmed. Should we not reflect on the identity of this ‘Programmer’?
“And thy Lord taught the Bee To build its cells in hills, On trees, and in (men’s) habitations; Then to eat of all The produce (of the earth), And find with skill the spacious Paths of its Lord.” [Al-Qur’aan 16:68-69]
Von-Frisch received the Nobel Prize in 1973 for his research on the behaviour and communication of the bees. The bee, after discovering any new garden or flower, goes back and tells its fellow bees the exact direction and map to get there, which is known as ‘bee dance’. The meanings of this insect’s movements that are intended to transmit information between worker bees have been discovered scientifically using photography and other methods. The Qur’aan mentions in the above verse how the bee finds with skill the spacious paths of its Lord. The worker bee or the soldier bee is a female bee. In Soorah Al-Nahl chapter no. 16, verses 68 and 69 the gender used for the bee is the female gender (fa’slukî and kulî), indicating that the bee that leaves its home for gathering food is a female bee. In other words the soldier or worker bee is a female bee. In fact, in Shakespeare’s play, “Henry the Fourth”, some of the characters speak about bees and mention that the bees are soldiers and that they have a king. That is what people thought in Shakespearean times. They thought that the worker bees are male bees and they go home and are answerable to a king bee. This, however, is not true. The worker bees are females and they do not report to a king bee but to a queen bee. But it took modern investigations in the last 300 years to discover this.
SPIDER’S WEB / HOME IS FRAGILE
The Qur’aan mentions in Soorah Al-‘Ankabût,
“The parable of those who Take protectors other than Allah Is that of the Spider, Who builds (to itself) A house; but truly The flimsiest of houses Is the Spider’s house – If they but knew.” [Al-Qur’aan 29:41]
Besides giving the physical description of the spider’s web as being very flimsy, delicate and weak, the Qur’aan also stresses on the flimsiness of the relationship in the spider’s house, where the female spider many a times kills its mate, the male spider.
LIFESTYLE AND COMMUNICATION OF ANTS
Consider the following Qur’aanic verse:
“And before Solomon were marshaled His hosts – of Jinns and men And birds, and they were all Kept in order and ranks. “At length, when they came To a (lowly) valley of ants, One of the ants said: ‘O ye ants, get into Your habitations, lest Solomon And his hosts crush you (Under foot) without knowing it.’” [Al-Qur’aan 27:17-18]
In the past, some people would have probably mocked at the Qur’aan, taking it to be a fairy tale book in which ants talk to each other and communicate sophisticated messages. In recent times, research has shown us several facts about the lifestyle of ants, which were not known earlier to humankind. Research has shown that the animals or insects whose lifestyle is closest in resemblance to the lifestyle of human beings are the ants. This can be seen from the following findings regarding ants:
(a) The ants bury their dead in a manner similar to the humans.
(b) They have a sophisticated system of division of labour, whereby they have managers, supervisors, foremen, workers, etc.
(c) Once in a while they meet among themselves to have a ‘chat’.
(d) They have an advanced method of communication among themselves.
(e) They hold regular markets wherein they exchange goods.
(f) They store grains for long periods in winter and if the grain begins to bud, they cut the roots, as if they understand that if they leave it to grow, it will rot. If the grains stored by them get wet due to rains, they take these grains out into the sunlight to dry, and once these are dry, they take them back inside as though they know that humidity will cause development of root systems and thereafter rotting of the grain.