AN THE SPIDER
was lying in the garden reading a book. His eyes strayed from
the book he was reading, and as he looked around he saw a
spider's web on the branch of a tree. He got up and went up
to the spider's web which he began examining with interest.
The spider, which was near the web, then spoke to him.
"Hello, friend!" it said in a tiny voice.
"Hello," replied Zaki, who was always very polite. "This
web you have made is very interesting. How do you make one
The spider took a deep breath and began to explain: "I start
by finding the right place for it. It must be in a corner
or between two nearby objects. Let me explain how I make a
web between two tree branches. First I fix the thread tightly
to one end of the branch. Then I go to the other end while
continuing to produce thread. When I reach the right distance
I stop producing that thread. Then I begin to pull the thread
back towards myself until it is tight and I fix it where I
am. Then I begin to weave the web inside the arc I have thus
thought for a moment: "I'd never be able to do such a thing
as fixing a string tightly between two walls. Isn't it difficult
to keep the thread tight?"
The spider smiled at him "Let me explain how I solve the
problem. Sometimes I make a web between two branches that
are a long way from each other. Because such webs are very
big, they are also really good at trapping flies. But because
the web is big it loses its tightness over time. That also
reduces my success in catching flies. I go to the center of
the web and I fix a thread that reaches down to the ground.
I attach a small stone to the thread near the ground. Then
I return to the web and try to pull the thread upwards from
where the stone is. While the stone is in the air I fix the
thread again tightly to the middle of the web. As a result,
because the stone below the center is pulling it downwards,
the web tightens up again. That's all there is to it!"
a great method!" said Zaki, who was really impressed. "How
did you learn such a technique, and how do you use it so well
? Spiders must have been doing this for millions of years..."
"You're right, my friend," agreed the spider. "It would be
stupid to think that we have enough intelligence of our own
to manage this. It is Allah, Who owns and creates everything,
Who gives me the skill to use this technique."
"Don't forget, Zaki," the spider went on to remind him: "For
Allah everything is very easy. Allah has the power to create
an infinite variety of living things and places."
"Thank you for what you've told me," said Zaki, who was a
very polite little boy. "I will now understand rather better
how powerful Allah is and what superior knowledge He has every
time I see the living things He created, and their flawless
FAROOQ AN THE DUCK
day, Farooq's uncle took him somewhere he had been wanting
to visit for a very long time. This was the zoo, where he
could see in real life the animals he had always read
about in books and magazines and watched on television. The
journey was long, but fun. On the way his uncle explained
to Farooq the signs of Allah in nature and gave examples from
the Qur'an. At last they arrived at the zoo. Farooq's eyes
widened in wonder. He had never seen so many different animals
together in one place. When they came to the bird section
Farooq left his uncle's side and went to the ducks' cage.
"What a beautiful bird," he said about one of them. "Thank
you," a voice answered; Farooq looked around, but there was
nobody else there. Then he realized it was the duck he was
looking at which had spoken.
said the duck. "Thank you for your kind remark. As well as
having a handsome appearance I have other interesting characteristics.
Did you know that?"
Farooq answered in excitement, "No, but I'd really like you
to tell me about them, please."
The duck settled down on a comfy branch and began: "Did you
know we can fly very fast? When flying, ducks can travel at
more than 30 miles (50 km) an hour. What's more, we continually
change direction to avoid being
caught by predators. And when we need to dive underwater we
do it so quickly that we're a difficult target for hunters."
Farooq's eyes opened wide: "For a bird, that really is flying
fast. You mean your enemies force you to fly that quickly?"
"Yes, Farooq," replied the duck: "Let me give you an example.
Our friends the ice ducks are a regular target for an interesting
hunting method used by seagulls. The seagulls attack them
constantly from the air and make them dive underwater. They
keep doing this until the ducks have to come to the surface,
all out of
breath and helpless. Then they hunt them by diving at them
and pecking their heads. But the seagulls don't always win
the battle. The ice ducks have their own special methods of
protecting themselves. If they see a seagull in the sky they
immediately gather together in large groups. This means that
a seagull can't chase any individual one of that large number
of diving ducks, and eventually it grows tired and gives up."
clever those ducks are!" marveled Farooq. "How are they able
to do that?"
"The answer to that is obvious, Farooq," tutted the duck.
"It is Allah Who created ducks and all other living things,
and it is He Who teaches them how to protect themselves."
"Thank you so much, dear duck," said Farooq. "You've given
me some very useful information today and reminded me of the
signs of our Lord. See you later," he said, as he walked back
to find his uncle.
Is He Who creates like him who does not create? So will you
not pay heed? (Surat an-Nahl: 17)
ALI AND THE OSTRICH
was eating and watching a cartoon on television at the same
time. In the cartoon, there was a huge ostrich running away
from a dog. The ostrich was running so fast that it escaped
and went back to its friends in the nest. Ali had always assumed
that ostriches were birds which just buried their heads in
the sand. He didn't know they were such good runners, too.
"You mean you didn't know we could run fast?" asked a voice.
Ali looked around startled, before realizing that the voice
was coming from the television. He went up to it and began
to talk to the ostrich on the screen.
"You're a bird," he began. "Of course it surprises me that
you can run so quickly. And with such a huge body, too."
right," puffed the ostrich, which was still a little bit out
of breath. "We're the biggest birds in the world. We're taller
than people. Take me, for example, I'm about two and a half
meters tall and I weigh 265 pounds (120 kg). We can't fly,
but Allah gave us a different talent so that we can escape
from our enemies. We run very fast with our long legs, so
fast that nobody can catch us on foot. In the world of living
creatures, we're the fastest runners on two legs. We can reach
a speed of around 45 miles (70 km) an hour if we really go
had a closer look at his new friend: "Unless I'm very much
mistaken, your feet have only two toes. Is that correct?"
The ostrich raised one foot for Ali to have a better look
at: "Yes: We have only two toes on our feet. And one of those
toes is much bigger than the other. We only run on our big
toes. As you can see, Allah created us as He did all living
things, from nothing and in a unique way. He gave us a number
of characteristics to help us survive. We have a lot of very
different characteristics from other birds you may know about..."
"That's very true," mused Ali. "I wonder how you bring your
babies into the world."
"Well, Ali," replied the ostrich: "Just as we are very big,
our eggs are very big too. We dig a big hole in the sand and
we bury our giant eggs in it. We lay 10 or 12 eggs at a time
and we have to make a hole big enough for them. In other words,
we dig a very big hole indeed."
considered for a second or two, "Why do you make these holes
in sand?" he asked his new friend.
The ostrich smiled and preened its feathers: "If we made
them in soil instead of sand, it would take a long, long time.
It would also make us very tired. Moving sand is a lot easier
than moving soil. You can even dig up sand with your fingers,
but for soil you need a shovel. That's why we prefer sand.
With sand we can do the job quicker and without tiring ourselves
"After laying our eggs, it is also much easier to cover them
with sand. You know, in the world there are millions of different
kinds of living things. All creatures have their own wonderful
characteristics. Allah created us all. It is Allah Who teaches
us everything we do."
Ali stood up, as the program was coming to an end: "Meeting
you has increased my love for and nearness to Allah even more.
Thank you for what you have told me. Bye bye."
fish do not fly with wings like birds, they just glide on
their fins, which resemble wings.
They can reach speeds of up to 35 miles (56 km) an hour.
These small fish can also move more quickly in water by spreading
their fins and lifting their tails out of the water.
This allows them to glide on the surface.
DID YOU KNOW?
THE BOOBY, THE SWIMMING BIRD
The booby, a species of deep-diving seabird, has large webbed
feet. These feet have been given to it by Allah so that it
can swim on the surface of the water or underwater. Boobies
dive as well. They dive into the sea to catch fish with their
beaks, and mostly stay under water for a long time without
coming out and swimming long distances.
KASHIF AND THE HONEY-LOVING
same way he did every morning before going to school, Kashif
sat down at the table for breakfast. While his mother was
making the tea, Kashif's eye was caught by a picture of a
bear on the honey jar. While his mother was busy, the bear
in the picture winked at Kashif and spoke to him.
Kashif! I reckon you must love honey as much as we bears do..."
"Yes," agreed Kashif. "My mother never forgets the honey
at breakfast. But ours comes from jars from the supermarket.Where
do you find yours from ?"
The bear wrinkled its nose before answering, "Our Lord, Who
meets the needs of all living things in the best possible
way, gave us bears long noses which are very sensitive to
smell, and that allows us to find food easily."
who had once been stung by a bee, was intrigued, "When you
find a hive with honey in it, how do you get it out?" he wondered.
This time the bear held up a paw for Kashif to see. "When
we find a hive we give it a couple of sharp knocks with our
paws to chase all the bees away, and then we enjoy eating
the honey inside. But whatever you do, don't try the same
thing, or the bees will sting you everywhere and make you
very, very ill. Thanks to our Allah, we bears are protected
from their stings by our thick fur."
Kashif promised he would not: "There's something else I've
been wondering about. Don't you bears ever get hungry during
your winter sleep?" he asked.
bear nodded its furry head: "Before we go to sleep for the
winter we eat plenty of food. To build up the fat layer under
our skin we eat lots of beech nuts and chestnuts. That way
we store fat in our bodies, because we lose most of our weight
by the time we come out of our shelters in the spring. But
we survive even though we lose most of our body weight. Of
course we couldn't think of storing fat in our bodies before
going to sleep by ourselves. Our eating plenty before sleeping
is inspired in us by Almighty Allah."
"I see now," said Kashif, "that every living thing on the
face of the earth is proof of Allah's supreme creation. Thank
you for reminding me of that, my friend..." The bear nodded
Kashif was then startled by his mother's voice telling him
breakfast was ready. While he was enjoying his honey he thought
about the bear and was grateful to Allah, the infinitely compassionate,
Who has created bears so perfectly.
The seven heavens and the earth and everyone
in them glorify Him. There is nothing which does not glorify
Him with praise but you do not understand their glorification.
He is All-Forbearing, Ever-Forgiving. (Surat al-Isra: 44)