The Four Animals Emphasised in the Qur'an
said 'Glory be to You! We have no knowledge except what You have taught
us. You are the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.'
(Surat al-Baqarah: 32)
In the Qur’an, as mentioned in earlier pages, Allah frequently summons
people to investigate nature and see the "signs" therein. All animate
and inanimate beings in the universe are full of signs revealing that
they are "made", and they demonstrate the power, knowledge and art of
their "maker". Man is responsible for identifying these signs by using
his wisdom, and for paying reverence to Allah.
While all living beings bear these signs, there are some to which Allah
specifically refers in the Qur’an.
The gnat is one of these animals. In the 26th verse of Surat al-Baqarah,
the gnat is mentioned:
The main food source for male and female gnats is nectar.
Allah is not ashamed to make the example of a gnat
or of an even smaller thing. As for those who believe, they know it is
the truth from their Lord. But as for those who reject, they say, "What
does Allah mean by this example?" He misguides many by it and guides many
by it. But He only misguides the degenerate.
Considered as an ordinary, insignificant living being, even the gnat
is worthy of being examined and pondered since it bears the signs of Allah.
This is why "Allah is not ashamed to make the example of a gnat or of
an even smaller thing".
SPECIAL PINCERS FOR MATING
A male gnat mature enough to mate uses its antennae, i.e. its hearing
organs, to find its female. The antennae of male gnats have different
functions from those of females. Thin feathers at the end of their
antennae are highly sensitive to sound emitted by female gnats.
Right beside the sexual organs of the male gnat, there are appendages,
which help him to grab the female while mating in the air. Male gnats
fly in groups that seem like clouds and when a female gnat enters
the group, the male who succeeds in grabbing the female mates
with her during flight. Mating does not take long and the male gnat
goes back to his group after mating. From that moment, the female
gnat needs blood for the development of her eggs.
THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURE OF THE GNAT
What is generally known about gnats is that they are bloodsuckers and
feed on blood. This, however, is not quite correct, because not all gnats
suck blood but only females. Besides, the females suck blood not because
of their need for food. Both male and female gnats feed on the nectar
from flowers. The only reason female gnats, unlike the males, suck blood
is their need for the proteins found in blood which help their eggs to
develop. In other words, the female gnat sucks blood just to secure the
perpetuation of its species.
The developmental process is one of the most amazing and admirable sides
of the gnat. The short story of the transformation of a living being from
a tiny larva through many different phases into a gnat is as follows:
In some gnat species, the female lines up hundreds of
eggs like a raft.
Gnat eggs, which are fed by blood to develop, are deposited on damp leaves
or dried ponds by the female gnat during summer or autumn. Prior to this,
the mother initially inspects the ground thoroughly by using the delicate
receptors under her abdomen. Upon finding a convenient place, she starts
to deposit her eggs. The eggs, which are less than 1 mm in length, are
arranged in a row either in groups or one by one. Some species deposit
their eggs in a form, which is joined together like a raft. Some of these
egg groups contain about 300 eggs.
The respiratory system of the larva is based on a method whereby
the larva breathes air by means of a hollow tube pushed up above
the water surface.
Meanwhile, larvae hang upside down under the water. A viscous
secretion prevents water from leaking into the openings through
which larvae breathe.
The neatly placed white eggs soon start to darken, and they turn completely
black in a couple of hours. This dark colour provides protection
for the larvae by preventing them from being noticed by other insects
and birds. Apart from the eggs, the skin colours of some other larvae
also change according to their surroundings, and this helps to protect
The larvae change colours by making use of certain factors after quite
complicated chemical processes. No doubt, neither the eggs, nor the larvae,
nor the mother gnat is aware of the processes behind the colour changes
during the gnat’s different developmental stages. It is out of the question
for these living beings themselves to make this system or for this system
to form by coincidence. Gnats have been created with these systems from
the moment they first appeared.
COMING OUT OF THE EGG
When the incubation period is complete, larvae start to come out of the
eggs almost simultaneously. The larvae, which feed continuously, grow
quickly. Soon, their skins become too tight, not allowing them to grow
any further. This indicates that it is time for the first change of skin.
In this phase, the hard and brittle skin breaks easily. Before the gnat
larva fully completes its development, it changes its skin two more times.
method used for feeding the larvae is rather astonishing. The larvae make
small whirlpools in the water with their two fan-shaped appendages made
up of feathers, and thus make bacteria and other micro-organisms flow
towards their mouths. The respiration of the larvae, which repose upside
down in water, takes place through an aerial tube similar to the "snorkel"
used by divers. A viscous solution secreted by their bodies prevents water
from leaking into the openings through which they breathe. Briefly, this
living being survives through the inter-relationship and interplay of
many delicate balances. If it did not have an aerial tube, it could not
survive; if it did not have a viscous secretion, its respiratory tube
would fill with water. The formation of these two systems at two different
times would cause the animal to die at this stage. This proves that the
gnat has all its systems intact, that is, it was created.
The larvae change their skin once more. The last change of skin is rather
different from the others. In this stage, larvae pass onto the final stage
of their maturation, the "pupal stage". The shell they are placed in becomes
quite tight. This shows that it is time for the larvae to emerge from
this shell. Such a different creature comes out of the shell that it is
indeed hard to believe that these two are different developmental phases
of the same being. As seen, this transformation process is far too complicated
and delicate to have been designed either by the larva or by the female
During this last stage of transformation, the animal faces the danger
of being choked, as its respiratory openings, reaching above the water
through an aerial tube, would be closed. However, from that stage on,
respiration will not be done by means of these holes, but by means of
two tubes newly emerging on the anterior of the animal. This is why these
tubes rise to the surface of the water prior to the change of skin. The
gnat in the pupa cocoon has now become mature. It is ready to fly with
all its organs and organelles such as antennae, trunks, feet, chest, wings,
abdomen and its large eyes.
While the gnat comes out of the water, its head should not contact
the water at all, because even one breathless moment may result
in the gnat’s choking. Even a breeze or a tiny turbulence on the
water surface could be fatal for the gnat.
The pupa cocoon is torn at the top. The greatest risk at this stage is
the leakage of water into the cocoon. However, the torn top of the cocoon
is covered with a special viscous liquid protecting the gnat’s head from
contact with the water. This moment is extremely important. Because even
a soft wind may bring its death by causing it to fall into the water,
the gnat has to climb on the water with its feet only touching the water
surface. It succeeds.
How is it that the first gnat attained the "ability" to go through such
a transformation? Could it be that a larva "decided" to transform into
a gnat after changing skin three times?
Absolutely not! It is quite evident that this tiny living being, which
Allah gives as an example, has specifically been created this way.
HOW GNATS PERCEIVE OUTSIDE WORLD
Gnats are equipped with extremely sensitive heat receptors. They
perceive the things around them in different colours depending on
their heat, as in the picture on
the right. As its perception is not dependent on light, it is quite
easy for the gnat to spot blood vessels even in a dark room. The
heat receptors of
the gnat are sensitive enough to detect heat differences as
small as 1/1,000o C.
The gnat has nearly one hundred eyes. As compound eyes, these
are placed on the top of its head. In the picture above, the cross-sections
of three of these eyes are shown. On the right, we see how the
image of an object is transmitted to the brain from the eye.
AMAZING TECHNIQUE OF BLOOD SUCKING
gnat’s technique of "blood-sucking" depends on a complex system in which
unbelievably detailed structures work together. After the gnat lands on
its target, it first detects a spot by means of the lips in its proboscis.
The syringe-like ‘sting’ of the gnat is protected by a special sheath,
which is stripped back during the blood-sucking process.
The gnat does not pierce the skin, as assumed, by thrusting its proboscis
into it with pressure. Here, the main task falls to the upper jaw, which
is as sharp as a knife, and the mandible on which there are teeth bent
backwards. The gnat moves its mandible forwards and backwards like a saw
and cuts the skin with the help of the upper jaws. When the sting, inserted
through this cut in the skin, reaches to the blood vessel, the drilling
ends. Now it is time for the gnat to suck blood.
The photograph is of a tiny animal that lives as a parasite on
When we consider that apart from the excellent systems of the
gnat, such as feeding, reproduction, respiration and blood circulation,
only a small part of which we could examine here, this lice also
has complex systems and organic functions, we can better comprehend
the boundlessness of the signs of Allah.
However, as we know, the slightest harm to the vessels causes the human
body to secrete an enzyme that makes the blood clot and stops its leakage.
This enzyme should create a problem for the gnat, because the body should
also react to the hole opened by the gnat, causing the blood at this spot
to clot immediately and the wound to be repaired. That would mean that
the gnat could not suck any blood.
But the problem is eliminated for the gnat. Before the gnat starts sucking
blood, it injects a special liquid secreted in its body into the cleavage
opened in the living being it has stung. This liquid neutralises the enzyme
that causes the clotting of blood. Thus, the gnat sucks the blood it needs
without the problem of clotting. The itching and swelling formed on the
spot bitten by the gnat is caused by this liquid that prevents clotting.
This is surely an extraordinary process and it brings the following questions
1) How does the gnat know that there is a clotting enzyme in the human
2) In order to produce a neutralising secretion in its own body against
that enzyme, it needs to know the chemical structure of the enzyme. How
could this be possible?
3) Even if it somehow attained such knowledge (!), how could it produce
the secretion in its own body and make the "technical rigging" needed
to transfer it to its proboscis?
The answer to all these questions is obvious: it is not possible for
the gnat to perform any of the above. It neither has the required wisdom,
knowledge of chemistry, or the "laboratory" environment to produce the
secretion. What we talk about here is only a gnat of a few millimetres
in length, without consciousness or wisdom, that is all!
It is quite clear that Allah, "Lord of the heavens and of the earth,
and of all that is between them", has created both the gnat and man, and
donated such extraordinary and marvellous features to the gnat.
Everything in the heavens and the earth
glorifies Allah. He is the Almighty, the All-Wise. The sovereignty
of the heavens and the earth belongs to Him. He gives life and
causes to die.He has power over everything. (Surat al-Hadid: 1-2)