Towers of Blind Termites
it be possible for blind workers to construct a building as tall as the
Empire State Building? Such a feat is out of the question for humankind.
However, blind termites, throughout their lives, build nests that are
as high as the Empire State Building on a scale proportional to their
One of the most important characteristics of termites is that they
make nests so strong that even humans can demolish them only with difficulty.
They build different kinds of nests in accordance with their needs.
While some of them build nests that protect them from burning heat,
others build nests in order to seek shelter from rain. These nests can
be built either beneath or on top of the soil or even inside trees.
When we look inside a termite's nest, we can see its spongy appearance.
The nest consists of numerous cells that are about 2.5 cm (1 inch) in
width or narrower. These cells are connected to each other by narrow
passages through which only termites can pass. The raw material the
termites use while making these marvelous buildings consists only of
soil, their saliva and excrement. Using such simple materials, some
of them make nests so strong that they can only be demolished by using
dynamite, and which possess such detailed systems as labyrinths, air
circulation passages and canals.
The main miraculous aspect of termites that can build towers like these
marvelous nests is that, as mentioned above, they are utterly blind.
This is an important point. Termites can see neither the tunnels they
make, nor the material and soil they use, nor the cells they construct.
When the works of termites and humans are compared, the marvel at what
termites do can be seen even more clearly. So in order to make a better
evaluation of the "skyscrapers" which termites build, New York City's
Empire State Building in America will make a suitable comparison. The
building is 443 meters (1,453 feet) tall. Termites are insects of 1-2
cm (0.4-0.8 inches) height. In spite of their tiny bodies, they build
giant nests towering 7 meters (23 feet) high. If termites were as tall
as men, their spectacular nests would then be four times higher than
the Empire State Building. Termites have been doing an exceptional job
that even man cannot achieve, for millions of years-ever since they
The One Who has created termites with all their characteristics is
Allah. With the marvelous constructions Allah makes termites build,
He, the Lord of all the worlds, introduces us to His boundless might
and knowledge. As He reveals in the Qur'an:
Allah is the Creator of everything and He is
Guardian over everything. (Surat az-Zumar: 62)
THE DIVING TECHNIQUE OF BELL SPIDERS
water spiders living in the warm regions of Asia and Europe spend most
of their lives underwater because they make their nests under the water.
For the construction of its nest, the spider first establishes a platform
with webs among water plants or leaves. It attaches this platform to
nearby plant stems with silk threads. These threads serve as a signal
showing him his nest, as a tie stabilizing the platform and as a "radar"
system informing him of any approaching prey.
After building the platform, the spider carries air bubbles under it
using its legs and body. Thus the web blows upward and, as more air
is added, takes on a bell-like shape. This bell is the nest in which
the spider takes shelter as long as it is under the water. (picture
at bottom left)
By day, the spider waits in the nest. When a small animal passes nearby,
especially an insect or larva, he rushes out to catch it and take it
to its nest to eat it. An insect falling onto the water causes vibrations.
Feeling these vibrations, the spider goes out, takes the insect and
carries it under the water. The spider uses the surface of the water
as if it were a web. The situation of an insect falling onto the water
is no different from that of any other prey caught in a web.
As winter approaches, the spider needs to take precautions
to protect itself from freezing. For this reason, the water spider goes
deeper into the pond. This time, it builds a bell for winter and fills
it with air. Some spiders settle in the shell of a sea snail that they
find in the depths. It remains motionless in the bell and consumes almost
no energy during the passage of winter. It does these things so as not
to lose energy and to minimize the need for oxygen. By means of these
precautionary measures, the oxygen in the air bubble it carried to the
nest suffices throughout the 4-5 months that the spider stays there
in the winter.7
It is evident that the spider's hunting technique and the bubble it
fashions have been designed in the most ideal way for it to live under
the water. It is doubtless impossible for a creature that lives on the
land to find a way to live under the water by chance. If this creature
did not possess the necessary attributes for living under the water,
it would die as soon as it entered the water. Therefore, Allah created
a land creature, which can live under the water by virtue of having
the proper skills to do so, along with all its characteristics, all
By creating such matchless examples as the water spiders, Allah introduces
us to His endless knowledge and wisdom.
CHITIN: A PERFECT COATING SUBSTANCE
are among the most widespread and resilient creatures on Earth. The reason
for this is that they have been created so as to be very resistant to
many unfavorable conditions. One thing that makes them so strong is the
chitin substance which covers their bodies.
Chitin is a very light, thin substance. For this reason,
insects have no difficulty in carrying it. Although this substance covers
an insect's body on the outside, it is so strong that it could also
serve the function of a skeleton and, at the same time, is outstandingly
flexible. It can move as the muscles with ends connected to the insect's
body from inside contract and relax. This not only improves the rapid
movement of the insects but also buffers the impact of external blows.
The chitin layer is waterproof because of a special exterior coating.
It also prevents body liquids from leaking out.8 It
is not affected by the most difficult conditions, high temperature or
even radiation. Another property of this layer is that it has a color,
examples of which can be seen in the pictures, that is the most suitable
for the insect's environment. In this way, the insect can live and avoid
being noticed by its enemies. Sometimes, the colors of this layer are
so lively that they even deter predators in the surrounding area.
This chitin, which constitutes the outer shell of most insects, is
a perfect material in terms of its strength, elasticity and insulation
properties. A substance possessing such remarkable characteristics cannot
but make one wonder, if airplanes and spaceships were made from a substance
possessing the characteristics of chitin, what would they be like? In
fact, the structure of this substance is the stuff of aeronautical engineers'
dreams. Yet, mankind has never been able to match such an advanced design,
in spite of our technological developments.
Chitin, an equivalent of which is being sought after using twentyfirst
century technology, has existed ever since insects came into being.
This material, as mentioned above, is the most ideal coating substance
an insect can ever possess. It is obviously impossible for this substance
possessing the ability to protect the creature against any kind of danger
to have come into existence by chance. No insect could have produced
such a protective material by using its own will. Allah created this
substance, which has a unique design, along with the extraordinary attributes
of the insects that it covers. In the Qur'an, Allah draws our attention
to His creations in this way:
Among His Signs is the creation of the heavens
and earth and all the creatures He has spread about in them. And He
has the power to gather them together whenever He wills. (Surat ash-Shura:
one creature helps another, and prepares an environment for its convenience
which meets its needs, this association certainly cannot be claimed to
have occurred by chance. One-to-one conformity between creatures that
have no consciousness, and the acts they perform to benefit each other,
provide evidence for the deliberate creation of these beings. Creatures
living together were created with characteristics that benefit each other
through the agency of a sole Creator, that is, Allah. We can give certain
plants and ants as typical examples of this sort of mutually beneficial
There are deep holes in some plants which are called
"domatia" in biological terminology (small picture). The only function
of these holes is to serve as a shelter for ant colonies. In these plants,
there are openings or thin windows of tissue which enable ants to get
in and out of the plant easily. In these chambers, there are food bodies
that the plant produces with no known function other than the feeding
of ants. They do not appear to have a real use for the plant.9
In short, domatia are very special structures that have been created
in order for ants to live. The heat and moisture balance provides an
ideal environment for ants. In these places marked by diligence that
are prepared for ants, the ants make themselves just as comfortable
as people staying at luxury hotels.
We can give as another example Philidris, which is
a kind of ant species, and its host plant Dischidia major. These make
a collective "chemical production" throughout their lives. The plant
in question has no roots penetrating the soil, therefore it gets support
from other plants by wrapping around them. The plant has a very interesting
method for increasing its acquisition of carbon and nitrogen. Ants have
an area in these plants, called the "ant leaf," where they breed their
offspring and store organic remains (dead ants, pieces of other insects,
etc.). The plant makes use of these residues as a nitrogen source. Moreover,
the inner surface of the leaf spaces absorbs the carbon dioxide given
out by the ant, and in the process decreases dehydration through pores.10
Preventing dehydration is very important for these ant plants which
grow in the tropical climates, because, they have no roots and cannot
reach water in the soil. So, ants supply two important needs of the
plants in return for the shelter provided to them.
It is not possible to claim that the structures seen in these two examples
might have come about by chance. The plants could not have produced
nutrition proper to ants and taken forms in conformity with them by
chance. The cooperation between ants and plants is just one more piece
of evidence for the marvelous balance Allah , the only Creator, created
MAGNIFICENCE OF THE LUMINOUS CREATURES
of the best-known luminous creatures is the firefly. Scientists have spent
years of research trying to produce a light as efficient as the light
produced by fireflies. Fireflies achieve maximum efficiency and lose almost
In fact, it is quite amazing that a creature is able to produce light
yet, at the same time, is not affected by the heat of this light. Because,
as we know, during light production made by today's technology, heat
certainly is created and this heat is emitted outside as thermal energy.
Therefore, for this reason, creatures which produce light should also
suffer harm due to exposure to high heat. However, the creatures producing
light are not affected by the heat they produce, because it is weak.
They produce a kind of light called "cold light" and their body structures
are designed accordingly.
Fireflies are actually a type of beetle which produces
yellowish-green lights by means of chemical reactions inside their bodies.
Fireflies, which flash their lights to recognize one another or to give
mating signals, use different lengths of flashes according to their
species. In addition, in some species, it is the male who flashes first
to attract the female, while in other species, the females do the "calling."
Some fireflies use their lights in self-defense. They flash to warn
enemies that their taste is unappetizing.11
Besides fireflies, a number of other insects, various sea creatures,
and many other types of species produce their own light. Each species
has different characteristics. These include the manner of light production,
the fields of their usage of light, and the lengths and kinds of light
Who furnished these creatures with systems through which they produce
the type of light they can make use of, and then maintains the continuation
of these systems? It is not, of course, the creatures themselves. It is
not possible for complex organs capable of producing light yet not harming
the creatures of which they are part in the process to have come into
being as the result of coincidences. All luminous creatures are evidence
of the superior power of the creation of Allah. Allah introduces us, through
these creatures He has created, to the evidence of His endless knowledge,
wisdom and might.