BELIEF IN ALLAH || We can learn a lot from animals

How people learn from animals

Many wise people learn things from "dumb" animals that are of use to them in their daily lives, their attitudes, their work and in war; they learn resolution and patience. Animals are more and more guided than many people.

Allah (SWT), says:

 اَمۡ تَحۡسَبُ اَنَّ اَکۡثَرَهُمۡ یَسۡمَعُوۡنَ اَوۡ یَعۡقِلُوۡنَ ؕ اِنۡ هُمۡ اِلَّا کَالۡاَنۡعَامِ بَلۡ هُمۡ اَضَلُّ سَبِیۡلًا ﴿۴۴

Or do you think that most of them hear or understand? They are only like cattle nay, they are even farther astray from the Path. (Qur'an 25: 44)

Abu Ja'far al-Baaqir said: Allah (SWT), did not only liken them to cattle. He said that they are more misguided than the animals. One of the ways in which female carnivores are guided is that when they give birth to their young, they keep picking them up for the first few days to protect them from ants, because when they are born they are like pieces of meat. The mother is afraid that the ants will harm the young, so she keeps picking them up and moving them from one place to another, until they become stronger.

Ibn al-A'raabi said: It was said to a shaykh of Quraysh: Who taught you all of this, for what you know is known only to people who have experience and who have engaged in trade? He said: Allah taught me what He taught the pigeon, which turns its eggs so that both sides will have an equal share of her warmth and care, lest the earth damage the egg if it is left on one side.

It was said to another: who taught you to persist and persevere in seeking what you want, even if at first you do not succeed, until you get it? He said: the One Who taught the dung beetle, when it climbs a wall and falls off, to keep on climbing again and again, until it manages to reach the top of the wall.

It was said to another: who taught you to set out early in the day to do your business, and never to miss a day? He said, the One Who taught the bird to set out hungry each morning seeking its food near and far, and never to get tired or to fear an attack in the air or on land.

It was said to another: who taught you to be so calm, quiet and reserved until you see what you want, then when you get the chance you pounce like a lion attacking its prey? He said: the One Who taught the cat to watch the mouse's hole and not to move a muscle, but to remain immobile as if dead, until the mouse comes out, whereupon it pounces like a lion.

It was said to another: who taught you to be so patient and forbearing? He said: the One Who taught the camel to be so patient even when carrying these heavy burdens, and to put up with the long marches, exhaustion and harshness and beatings of the camel-driver, with the heavy burden and everything on his back and the bitterness of hunger and thirst in his stomach. Even though he is so tired and utterly exhausted, this does not make him lose his patience.

It was said to another: who taught you to prefer others to yourself and to be so generous? He said; the One Who taught the rooster, when he finds a grain on the ground, not to eat it although he needs it, but instead to call the hens to come, until one comes and picks up the grain, and the rooster is happy with that. And when a lot of grain is put out for him, he scatters it here and there even if there are no hens around, because his nature is to prefer others over himself and to be generous, and he thinks it is miserly to keep food for himself.

It was said to another: who taught you to be so smart in seeking provision and earning a living? He said, the One Who taught the fox all these tricks which even wise men are unable to learn and to do. For the fox's tricks are too many to be counted.

Who taught the lion, when it is walking and is afraid that hunters may follow its tracks and come after it, to erase its tracks with its tail? Who taught him to come to his cub three days after it is born, to breathe into its nose? For when the lioness gives birth to it, it is like a dead puppy, and she keeps looking after it until its father comes and does that.

Who inspired the noblest of lions not to eat from any prey except its own? For if it passes by the prey of any other animal, it will not go near it even if it is starving.

Who taught the female elephant, when the time to give birth approaches, to go and give birth in the water? For the elephant is the only animal which gives birth standing up, because its joints are not like the joints of other animals and it is very tall, so it is afraid that if it gives birth on land, the infant will be harmed by the fall. So she goes to water which is not too deep, and gives birth there, so it will be like a soft bed.

Who taught the fly, when it falls into some liquid, to keep the wing on which the cure is out of the water?

Who taught the dog, when it sees the gazelles, to know which ones are sickly, and which one is the male? For it goes after males, even though it knows that they can run and jump faster and are stronger, and it leaves the females alone even though they are weaker. The dog knows that if the male runs for a while, its bladder will fill, for when any animal is scared, its bladder fills. When the male gazelle needs to urinate, it cannot do so when it is running so fast, so it slows down, and then the dog catches it. The females, on the other hand, are able to urinate whilst running because their urethras are wider and it is easier for them, so they keep on running.

Who taught it, when the ground is covered with snow, to look for a place where the snow is thinner and has melted a little, creating a slight depression in its surface? For it knows that there is a rabbit warren under this spot, so it digs it out and hunts the rabbits, because it knows that the heat of the rabbits' breath has melted the snow and made it thinner.

Who taught the wolf, when it sleeps, to sleep with one eye open? So it sleeps with one eye open, until that eye becomes drowsy, then it opens the sleeping eye.

Who taught the birds, if a chick falls from the nest, to call for help, so that other birds in the area gather around it and fly around it, until it is motivated by their actions and gains the strength to get up and fly with them?

A hunter said that one day he saw a bird on a wall, so he waved his hand as if throwing something, and the bird did not move. Then he bent down as if to pick up something from the ground, and it did not move. Then he touched the smallest pebble or date stone, and the bird flew away before he could pick it up.

Who taught a certain type of spider to stay close to the ground and remain immobile so that the fly will think that it is preoccupied, then it pounces upon it like a leopard?

Who taught the spider to make its web so fine and strong, then to make a thread at the top and hang from it, then when a mosquito gets caught in the web it drops down to it and comes to hunt it?

Who taught the gazelle only to enter its home backwards, so that it can face whatever it fears may harm it or its offspring?

Who taught the cat, when it sees a mouse on the roof, to raise its head towards it as if pointing to it with a stick, then move its head back and forth until the mouse is distracted and falls?

Who taught the jerboa to dig its house in the sides of the valley so that it will be above the flood level and will be safe from the hooves of cattle or water flowing through? It makes its tunnels deep, then it makes numerous doors in them. It makes a thin barrier between it and the surface of the earth, so that when it senses danger, it can open one of these doors easily and escape. Because it is very forgetful, it only builds its home near a rock which will serve as a guidepost pointing to its home if it loses its way.

Who taught the leopard when it gets fat to stay out of sight because it is too heavy to move, until it loses that fat, whereupon it emerges again?

Who taught the stag, when its antlers fall off, to stay out of sight because it has lost its weapon and it gains weight as a result? Then when its antlers have grown again, it comes out into the sun and wind and starts to move around a lot. This makes its muscles grow strong again, and it loses the fat that prevented it from running.

This is a vast topic. It suffices us to quote the words of Allah (SWT):

وَ مَا مِنۡ دَآبَّۃٍ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ وَ لَا طٰٓئِرٍ یَّطِیۡرُ بِجَنَاحَیۡهِ اِلَّاۤ اُمَمٌ اَمۡثَالُکُمۡ ؕ مَا فَرَّطۡنَا فِی الۡکِتٰبِ مِنۡ شَیۡءٍ ثُمَّ اِلٰی رَبِّهِمۡ یُحۡشَرُوۡنَ ﴿۳۸  وَ الَّذِیۡنَ کَذَّبُوۡا بِاٰیٰتِنَا صُمٌّ وَّ بُکۡمٌ فِی الظُّلُمٰتِ ؕ مَنۡ یَّشَاِ اللّٰهُ یُضۡلِلۡهُ ؕ وَ مَنۡ یَّشَاۡ یَجۡعَلۡهُ عَلٰی صِرَاطٍ مُّسۡتَقِیۡمٍ ﴿۳۹

There is not a moving [living] creature on earth, nor a bird that flies with its two wings, but are communities like you. We have neglected nothing in the Book, then unto their Lord they [all] shall be gathered. Those who reject Our aayaat [proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.] are deaf and dumb in the darkness. Allah sends astray whom He wills and He guides on the Straight Path whom He wills.) (Qur'an 6: 38-39)

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