Resistance of living beings to destructive factors
Dr. Yusuf says:
"There is an important characteristic which is shared by all living beings from the most primitive to the most advanced. This characteristic is the resistance to destructive factors, because the Creator of all these beings wants them to survive.
The influenza virus changes shape from time to time, to make it harder to resist and destroy. Generation after generation of insects gains immunity to chemical insecticides, thus resisting destructive factors and extinction.
In the case of man, too, it has been noted that more babies are born during times of war, and that when women take birth control pills for an extended period, if they forget to take the pills for a few days, the result is often twins, to make up for the lack of offspring caused by the period of contraception. If a person loses one of his kidneys for some reason, the remaining kidney increases in size in order to do the work of two kidneys. It is as if the body realizes that something is missing and is trying to compensate for it.
Allah Alone is the One Who has provided these created beings with this wonderful ability to maintain the balance so that they are not exposed to the risk of extinction. He has also equipped many animals with the means of defending themselves. In this sense man is no different than scorpions, snakes, centipedes, etc.
This principle or law, to which all living beings are subject, could not have come about as the result of a blind accident. An accident cannot take the shape of a law that applies to all creatures."
How Allah inspired the bee and the wonders of how Allah has created it
Ibn al-Qayyim1 (may Allah have mercy on him) tells us about the wonders that Allah (SWT), has created in the universe. He tells us how Allah has guided the bee in the matters of its life: "The way in which the bee is guided is one of the most wondrous things. It has a leader and controller, the chief, which is bigger than all the other bees and more beautiful in colour and appearance.
The female bees give birth at the beginning of spring,2 and most of the offspring are females. If a male is born they do not let him stay among them. Either they expel him or kill him, apart from a few, because the males do not do any work of value or earn a living.
The bees are divided into groups, one of which stays with the king and never leaves him. Another group makes wax, which is made from the dregs of honey and is sweet like figs. The bees take great care of this, more than they do with the honey. They clean it and purify it from any contamination such as urine and the like. Another group builds the houses, another group brings water, carrying it on their backs. A third group sweeps the hive and cleans it of any dead bodies (of bees). If they see a slow, lazy bee, they kill it so that it cannot corrupt the other workers and infect them with its idleness and laziness.
The first thing to be built in the hive is the throne and house of the king. A raised house like a bed is built for him, and he sits there, with a group of bees like princes, servants and advisers around him, who never leave him. The bees make something like a trough in front of him, into which they pour the finest possible honey. They fill the trough with it, and this is the food of the king and his courtiers. Then they start to build the houses in a straight line, like streets and shops. Their houses are regular six-sided shapes (hexagons), as if they have read the book of Euclid and know that this is the best shape for their houses, because what is needed when a house is built is a structure which is stable and spacious, and of all shapes, the hexagon takes on a round shape like a millstone when several of them are joined together. No holes or gaps are left, and the shapes support one another so that they form a single, solid layer, such that the point of a needle cannot be inserted between the houses.
Blessed be the One Who inspired the bee to build its houses in this solid, well-constructed manner which man cannot do. The bee knows that it needs to build its houses with two important qualities: the first is that the corners should not be so sharply-angled that this narrow space would be wasted, and the other is that the houses should be of such a shape that when they are joined together, no space is wasted.
The bee knows that the only shape which has these two qualities is the hexagon. Although triangles and squares could fill the space, their angles are too narrow. Other shapes may have wider angles, but they do not fill the space properly they would leave gaps which would be a waste of space. The hexagon has these two qualities, so Allah guided the bee to build its houses in this shape, without any ruler or tools or example to follow. The most proficient of the sons of Adam would not be able to build a hexagonal house without the use of big tools.
Blessed be the One Who guided the bee to find its way to its "pasture" where it finds its food in an easy manner, without difficulty and without losing its way. It gathers the best of what it finds in the pasture, then comes back to its empty house and pours into it a drink of varying colour wherein is healing for men. Verily, in this is indeed a sign for people who think (cf. Qur'an 16: 68-69).
When it has finished building these houses, the bee goes out with an empty stomach, wandering in the plains and mountains, feeding on the nectar in the tops of flowers and tree leaves, and it comes back with a full stomach.
Allah (SWT), has created in its mouth a (kind of) heat which processes what it has collected and turns it into something sweet, then it brings it forth in the houses until they are full, then it seals them and covers the top with pure wax. When these houses are full, it goes to another place, if it finds a suitable site, and starts to build houses in it as it did with the first houses.
If it gets cold and the "pastures" are no longer available, and the bee cannot earn its living, it stays in its house and feeds on the stored honey. When it is earning its living, it goes out early and wanders in its pastures, and each group of bees does the work that it is designed to do. Then in the evening they go back to their houses.
The king only goes out of the hive on rare occasions when he wants to have fresh air. So he goes out, with his princes and servants, and goes around in the meadows and gardens for a while, then he goes back to his place.
One of the wonders of bees is that if someone offends the king, whether it is another bee, the owner of the hive or the person who is looking after the hive, he gets angry and leaves the hive and stays away from it. All the bees follow him, and the hive is left empty. If their owner sees that and is afraid that the king may take all the bees away to another place, he plays a trick to bring the king back and make him happy. He tries to find out where he has taken the bees, which he can find out because all the bees are gathered around him. They never leave him, rather they gather around him until they look like a bunch of grapes. When the king goes out in anger, he settles in a high part of a tree, and the bees fly around him and join him, until they look like a ball. The owner of the bees takes a spear or a long stick, and puts a bunch of fragrant vegetation on his head, then he brings it near to where the king is. He has with him either a kind of tambourine or a reed, or some kind of musical instrument, which he starts to play, and he brings those (fragrant) plants near to him. He continues like that until the king is happy, and when he is happy and his anger has ceased, he jumps onto the plants, and his servants and all the other bees follow him, and their owner carries them back to the hive. Then he and his troops get down and go into the hive. Bees never feed on dead bodies, animals or food.
Another of the wonders of bees is that they kill corrupt and oppressive kings, and never obey them. The small, perfectly formed bees are the ones which make the honey, and they try to kill the long, useless bees and expel them from the hive. If they do that, the honey will be good. They try to kill the ones that they want to kill outside the hive, so as to protect the hive from (the contamination of) dead bodies.
There is a kind of bee that is of little use, with a large body. There is a war between these and the honey-makers. They try to get to them to kill them and destroy their houses, and get rid of them. The honey- makers are very alert and careful. If they are attacked in their houses, they try to push their attackers to the doors of their houses and make them fall into the honey, so that they will not be able to fly. So no one can escape them except the one who has a long life. When the war is over and everything has settled down, they go back to the ones that have been killed and throw them out of the hive.
Among the bees there are noble workers who are energetic and strive hard, and ignoble, lazy bees who are of little use and prefer not to do anything. The noble workers always try to expel these from the hive; they do not like to live with them lest the good bees follow in their footsteps and thus become corrupted.
The bee is one of the most refined and clean of animals, so it only defecates when flying. It dislikes rotten, putrid smells. The young, virgin bees strive harder than the older ones; they sting less and make better honey. When they do sting, it is less harmful than the sting of older bees.
Because the bee is one of the most useful and most blessed of insects, it was singled out to be inspired by its Lord unlike other animals, and the product of its stomach has been made a healing for sickness and a light which shines in the darkness. Hence the bee in relation to other animals is like those who are guided in relation to the rest of mankind. The bee has more enemies than other animals and its enemies are the least useful and least blessed of animals. This is the way of Allah with His creation, and He is the Almighty, Most Wise."3
1. Shifaa' al-'Aleel, 101. What we quote here from Ibn al-Qayyim demonstrates that our righteous predecessors (As-Salaf as-Saaliḥ) used to ponder the creation of Allah. Although the observations of the Muslim scholars reached an advanced level, they are not free from errors, as bees do not have a king, but a queen.
2. The only bee which lays eggs is the queen.
3. Shifaa' al-'Aleel, Pp. 101.
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