Birds, Wild Animals, and Insects Signs in the Holy Quran

The tiniest of creatures are paid homage to in the Quran, wherein their hard work, contribution to Earth and mankind, and sometimes even in the plights they bring about, there is a wisdom behind their creation. In this third part of our Animals in the Quran series, the focus is on insects, from bees and ants to worms, plus spiders, and the often less-welcomed: swarms of locusts, lice, flies and mosquitoes. Allah says:

 

ثُمَّ كُلِي مِن كُلِّ الثَّمَرَاتِ فَاسْلُكِي سُبُلَ رَبِّكِ ذُلُلًا يَخْرُجُ مِن بُطُونِهَا شَرَابٌ مُّخْتَلِفٌ أَلْوَانُهُ فِيهِ شِفَاءٌ لِّلنَّاسِ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

 

“Then eat from all the fruits and follow (the) ways (of) your Lord made smooth.” Comes forth from their bellies a drink (of) varying colours, in it (is) healing for mankind. Indeed, in that (is) surely a Sign for a people who reflect.(SurahAn-Nahl 16:69)

 

The wonders that indicate the existence, the omnipotence, and the conduct of God in the universe are more than to count, but they need a meditating mind. We will deal with some of these miracles that may heal the souls from doubt and suspicion. Allah says:

 

وَمَا مِن دَابَّةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا طَائِرٍ يَطِيرُ بِجَنَاحَيْهِ إِلَّا أُمَمٌ أَمْثَالُكُم مَّا فَرَّطْنَا فِي الْكِتَابِ مِن شَيْءٍ ثُمَّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ يُحْشَرُونَ

 

“And not [of] any animal in the earth and not a bird (that) flies with its wings – but (are) communities like you. We have not neglected in the Book [of] anything, then to their Lord, they will be gathered.(Surah Al-An’am 6:38)

 

If you knew a lot of human body secrets, you will be amazed at how a person becomes sick. Because inside the body there is an independence world that behaves in an obvious aspiration to push away the sickness and even to guard the living being’s health, a matter which the physician fails to do. And your Lord inspired the bee, saying: Allah says:

 

وَأَوْحَىٰ رَبُّكَ إِلَى النَّحْلِ أَنِ اتَّخِذِي مِنَ الْجِبَالِ بُيُوتًا وَمِنَ الشَّجَرِ وَمِمَّا يَعْرِشُونَ

 

“And inspired your Lord to the bee, [that] “Take among the mountains, houses and among the trees, and in what they construct.” (Surah An-Nahl 16:68)

 

An ant’s head contains many sensory organs. Like most insects, ants have compound eyes made from numerous tiny lenses attached together. Ants’ eyes are good for acute movement detection but do not give a high resolution. They also have three small ocelli (simple eyes) on the top of the head that detect light levels and polarization. Allah says:

 

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ ضُرِبَ مَثَلٌ فَاسْتَمِعُوا لَهُ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ لَن يَخْلُقُوا ذُبَابًا وَلَوِ اجْتَمَعُوا لَهُ وَإِن يَسْلُبْهُمُ الذُّبَابُ شَيْئًا لَّا يَسْتَنقِذُوهُ مِنْهُ ضَعُفَ الطَّالِبُ وَالْمَطْلُوبُ

 

“O mankind! Is set forth an example, so listen to it. Indeed, those whom you invoke besides Allah will never create a fly even if they gathered together for it. And if snatched away from them the fly a thing, not they (could) take it back from it. So weak (are) the seeker and the one who is sought.” (Surah Al-Haj Quran 22:73)

 

It has been known about animals and birds that they use a shady and cold place in the open air and near the water when they suffer fever while using an eastern warm place where the sun shines when they suffer cold. It is noticed also that when they feel that the food is eaten is decayed – if it needs to be excreted – the animal resorts to a laxative plant it knows or to vomit by itself. Allah says:

 

حَتَّىٰ إِذَا أَتَوْا عَلَىٰ وَادِ النَّمْلِ قَالَتْ نَمْلَةٌ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّمْلُ ادْخُلُوا مَسَاكِنَكُمْ لَا يَحْطِمَنَّكُمْ سُلَيْمَانُ وَجُنُودُهُ وَهُمْ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ

 

“Until, when they came to (the) valley (of) the ants, said an ant, “O ants! Enter your dwellings lest not crush you Sulaiman and his hosts while they (do) not perceive.” (Surah An-Naml 27:18)


Then there’s the spider, nowadays often viewed as a nuisance and killed, which played an important role in protecting Prophet Mohammed. When the Prophet and his companion Abu Bakr (the first Caliph) sought refuge in the Cave of Jabal Thawr in Mecca, those in pursuit from Quraysh couldn’t find them even though they passed right by their hiding spot. It’s widely told in Islamic narrations that Allah sent a spider and two doves to conceal the Prophet. Allah says:

 

فَتَبَسَّمَ ضَاحِكًا مِّن قَوْلِهَا وَقَالَ رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِي أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيَّ وَعَلَىٰ وَالِدَيَّ وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَالِحًا تَرْضَاهُ وَأَدْخِلْنِي بِرَحْمَتِكَ فِي عِبَادِكَ الصَّالِحِينَ

 

“So he smiled – laughing at her speech and said, “My Lord! Grant me (the) power that I may thank You (for) Your Favor which You have bestowed on me and on my parents and that I may do righteous (deeds), that will please You. And admit me by Your Mercy among Your slaves righteous.” (Surah  An-Naml 27:19)

 

The spider spun a delicate web across the entrance to make it appear that no one had entered the cave in a long time, while a dove sat at the entrance nesting with her mate. Together, they made it appear that no one had passed through the spot. At the same time, the fragility of a spider’s web is used as an example to warn disbelievers: Allah says:

 

مَثَلُ الَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ أَوْلِيَاءَ كَمَثَلِ الْعَنكَبُوتِ اتَّخَذَتْ بَيْتًا وَإِنَّ أَوْهَنَ الْبُيُوتِ لَبَيْتُ الْعَنكَبُوتِ لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ

 

“The example of those who take allies other than Allah is like that of the spider who takes a home. And indeed, the weakest of homes is the home of the spider, if they only knew.” (Surah Al-‘Ankabut 29:41)

 

The Quran also mentions mosquitoes, locusts, lice and flies to highlight how small creatures can be powerful, especially in big numbers, and some have been sent as punishment. Allah says:

 

فَأَرْسَلْنَا عَلَيْهِمُ الطُّوفَانَ وَالْجَرَادَ وَالْقُمَّلَ وَالضَّفَادِعَ وَالدَّمَ آيَاتٍ مُّفَصَّلَاتٍ فَاسْتَكْبَرُوا وَكَانُوا قَوْمًا مُّجْرِمِينَ

 

“So We sent on them the flood and the locusts and the lice and the frogs and the blood (as) signs manifest, but they showed arrogance and they were a criminal people.” (Surah Al-A’raf 7:133)

 

Whether useful or harmful, insects are created by Allah, and even though they may be small and not always liked, there’s a lot to learn from them. As revealed by the following verse, even a fly can be unstoppable.

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