Animals In The Glorious Quran

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  • Animals In The Glorious Quran

  • Ibrahim's Birds

    {And (remember) when Ibrahim (Abraham) said, 'My Lord! Show me how You give life to the dead.' He (Allah) said, 'Do you not believe?' He [Ibrahim] said, 'Yes (I believe), but to assure my heart.' He said, 'Take four birds, then cause them to incline towards you (then slaughter them, cut them into pieces), and then put a portion of them on every hill, and call them, they will come to you in haste. And know that Allah is All-Mighty, All- Wise.’}                                 (Al-Baqarah: 260)

    On our way back home, we flew together in beautiful formations in the sky. Our home was not the green house that was built by Ibrahim, the friend of Allah. You know, a dove carries half of its home in its heart and the other half in the heart of the one it loves.

    I was at the head of the flock, and I stretched out my wings, raised my beak high and went at top speed. The flock of doves followed me. I moved my wings and swayed this way and that. Air is pure bliss and it feels like I am swimming. Thanks be to Allah that He created me a bird.

          I cannot imagine how those creatures that walk on the ground can endure their lives. For, in flight there are pleasures by the thousand that reveal themselves only to those who are able to soar.

    Looking down from the air, the fields look radiantly green while on the ground they seem less so and the sand gets into your eyes and makes your eyes water.

    When I saw her for the first time she was crying because the sand had gotten into her eyes. Praise be to Allah that He had created her for me. A white dove that named herself "Nasha."

    Before she fell in love, she had another name. It is true that doves change their names once they fall in love. This is because the old name is not sufficient to indicate the new being that is born after falling in love. We all know that after love a new being is born. We know all the secrets of love.

    We love our Creator, Who brings us into existence from having been nothing. In fact, three fourths of our love we give to Allah.

    In addition to this, we love the air that carries us as it carries a melody. Sohalf of the remaining fourth of our love is a gift to the air. We also love the human being so we feed him our meat regardless of the pain; half of the remaining fourth of our love is bestowed upon the human being.

    Then, whatever remains of our love we give to females.

    What remains of our love to the females matches a grain of wheat in size. The human belittles the grain of wheat and throws it on the ground, forgetting that all the fields of golden wheat that feed millions were originally a single grain of wheat.

    All the great love stories are of no value because its real value lies in the capacity to continue loving ... and our species loves until it dies.

    When my mother became sick and died, something devastating, mysterious and terrifying besieged my father. When we were children, my father was always hopping about, joyfully and vigorously.

    When they carried her away right in front of his eyes he ducked his head and said nothing.

    The first day passed and he was silent. He did not fly, eat or drink. He opened his beak and closed it as if he was saying something. Then, on the second day, he laid down on his stomach, still in silence refusing to eat, drink, fly or open his beak. On the third day, he laid down on his side and sighed as if he was carrying a mountain on his chest. On the dawn of the fourth day he buried his beak into his wing and died. When they came to carry him away, his wing was wet as if he was crying even after he had died.

    At that time we were too young to realize that love is an inherent element in the universe. The whole universe was built upon love, loyalty and peace.

    One of the doves carried an olive branch to Nuh's ark after the flood had ceased flowing and surrendered to Allah's command. Henceforward, the dove became a symbol of profound peace, and all the people know that. However, what they do not know is that doves symbolize loyalty, love and resurrection.

    The resurrection of the dead cannot be comprehended except by those who have experienced love, because love in itself is a resurrection from the cessation of habit, the weariness of intimacy and the absence of meaning. Whenever a creature's heart starts pounding with love, it reawakens whatever had been dead in it.

      But how can a creature believe in the reawakening of the heart and deny the resurrection of the body?

    In love lies the moment in which Almighty Allah calls upon His servants and they rise from their long sleep within the ground. Exalted be Allah and Cherished be His Name.

    I am still flying in space '" back to her Nasha.

    First I will dip my beak in the water that Ibrahim has put out for us. I lower my wings in reverence to Ibrahim, the owner of our house and the servant of Allah's Sacred House. He always travels to seek the Divine Truth (Allah). He is the friend of Allah. O I love him.

    It is impossible for creatures to get close to Ibrahim and not be affected, for it is he who first established the laws for the unity of love. He enlightens all the creatures around him. His enemies threw him into the fire but the earthly fire was put out by the heavenly one that is kindled in his heart.

    Fire does not bum another fire that is greater than it. There is no fire greater than that of love.

    Nasha ...My heart beats whenever I remember her.

    She is white and slim. Her beak is ordinary and there is not a distinguishing feature in her body.

    I am more handsome than her, as the male .dove is usually more handsome than the female but this handsomeness of males is no more than a hidden weakness; for there is something irresistible in the slenderness of females.

    There is not one creature that looks like another, and there is not one dove on the earth that looks like Nasha. She may be the least beautiful among doves and her walk may seem to project confidence but in reality, it hides such sweet softness. It is a kind of mysterious softness that is impossible to reveal.

    Ah, I remember when I first met her! She was crying because the wind had blown some sand into her eyes so I spread out one of my wings to protect her from the sand and she gently greeted me by moving her tail feathers.

    We did not converse. I raised my head in one fast motion, turning it around and I looked at her. I started moving my head and walking around her. I was circumambulating her, and as I did so I extended my wings and flew. I spun and spun around her and both my head and my heart were spinning with me while she stood her ground and looked at me.

    Was I showing her my bravery, strength and gentleness at the same time? Was I flirting with her as some people think? Or was I talking to her through the language of silence that says more than what words can describe?

    I do not know. Maybe I was doing all that and maybe I was just stumbling around her without realizing it.

    I say I do not know. In fact in love 'I do not know' holds the upper hand because what a person in love usually understands is the picture he paints within himself for the one he loves, while Allah alone knows the truth.

    We talked for a while. I imagined that the words flowing from her beak were a song sung by a nightingale or the praise of a curlew. Words took on a new meaning merely because they were coming from her.

    Moreover, there stirred within me the old spring of peace that was carried by one of my forefathers when he returned carrying an olive branch in his beak.

    All the snow on the mountaintops melted and clouds stooped towards the spring flowers, blowing soft kisses to them. Spring was born inside my heart.

    Can this be love? I asked her, "What is your name?"

    "Nooshka," she replied. I said, "That will soon become your old name."

    "The wind is carrying your words far so I cannot hear you," was her reply.

    I said nothing, but I circled around her, flapping my wings. I kept on flying high then suddenly soaring down. Around her I circumambulated with a tender heart and a compassionate soul. Around her I trembled, stumbled, circumambulated and span.

    I made a clean breast of my love towards her, feeling that I had lost my old self and acquired a new one, thanks to love.

    We met often in the yard of Ibrahim's house. It was the only house that used to scatter some grains for the doves and some food for the ants and its door was always held wide open for guests. When angels visited it, they were taken to be human guests and so the fattest calf was slaughtered.

    We were four birds, who had taken refuge in his house -her, two others and myself.

    Her original name, Nooshka, became Nasha. One day she said to me, "Tell me how you want me to be, so I can be just that."

    I cushioned my beak on her neck and whispered, "I want none save you and I want you just the way you are."

    She said, "But I am not beautiful. The other doves do not like me. They do not even feed me."

    I answered, "I will feed you half of my heart."

    She said, "And the other half ...?"

    "You might become hungry again," I replied. She moved her neck joyously.

    We were together on the ground and I pointed with my beak to a grain of wheat but she said that she was not hungry. We were also together on a tree and I pointed to a fruit but she did not eat it. We flew and soared high in the sky... the air was light and silky and there was a refreshing coldness that blew from the north. Our wings suddenly shivered.

    She said, "Maybe the wind passed through some snow before it came here."

    "The snow melt days ago," I told her.

    "But I am shivering," she said, "do not ever leave me ..." "Come! Let us play and warm the air," I suggested.

    We flew, moved our wings and breathed into the air until it became warm again. We landed on a tree. The branch bent a little when we stood upon it. I bowed my head and looked carefully at the ground. I was thinking of how we shivered together. Was pain lurking somewhere behind our love? Will one of us die before the other? Something cold gripped my heart.

    She turned to me and whispered, "I want you beside me when I die."

    "Life has not even begun yet," I told her.

    She said, "Death did not sadden me before I met you."

    The sun was on its way to set and the horizon seemed dyed with blood -the blood of doves. The idea of slaughter instantly came to my mind. "I do not want to be slaughtered now. I want to live a long life. O Lord, I have hardly even begun to love ..." I cried within.

    I began to pray earnestly to Allah. She too prayed along with me. Then we retreated to our home.

    She slept while I remained awake until sleepiness enveloped me. I was asleep when I saw myself flying between a white sky and a blue earth. I was flying at a tremendous height, greater even than the height an eagle flies.

    All the time there was a white cloud under me. I saw Nasha sleeping on the cloud. I stared at her. She was not asleep and I was surprised to find that her feathers, wings and body were tom apart. Moreover, when I started to shout to her, the white cloud turned red. The cloud had drunk her blood and started to rain. It rained teardrops that were the size of red grapes. I wanted to scream, to cry, or to land.

    I was surprised that the cloud had dissipated and I saw Nasha tom apart and divided upon the mountaintops. At the same time, I saw myself tom apart next to her on the mountaintops.

    I was dreaming that I was flying and at the same time could see myself tom apart with her on the mountaintops. My left side joined to her right side. Each half of us completed the other.

    I woke up terrified but found her breathing next to me -my beloved just as she was. She was safe. Her breath was moving the feathers on her neck.

    I remained restless for a while but then sleep took hold of me.

    Morning finally came. I woke up feeling spent after the strange dreams of the previous night. I flew a little so that I might refresh myself. I flew feeling oblivious to my surroundings and my mind was obsessed with only one image ... .the image of Nasha and I together and tom apart on the mountains. I continued flying and hours passed. Suddenly I found myself extremely far from my country and home.

    I realized that I was lost. I soared higher... I flew high in space and flew in a circle trying to make out the boundaries of the area I had left. I could not make out anything for I was flying in a mountainous area. So, I soared higher and higher trying to use my sight but I could not recognize the landmarks I knew. When I gave up depending on my sight I tried to determine directions, by flying quietly and trying to connect the lines of magnetic power that extend between the earth's two poles.

    When both my sight and the lines of magnetic power had let me down, I resorted to the sun to help me determine my direction. I wanted to make out the angle between the north and the sun. I realized at that time that if I could make out where the north was, I would be able to determine the other directions and head for the east.

    I took time to examine the sun and at the moment I discovered the angle I wanted, I also realized that I was flying amidst mountains that eagles had taken as their homes.

    I fell down due to absolute fear which I felt when I saw a large nest that had been abandoned by the mother and father who left behind a baby eagle. The baby eagle was one and half times bigger than me but could not fly yet. "He may have been born the day before yesterday," I thought. When he felt my movement in his nest, he raised his baldhead and sharp beak looking at me spitefully.

          I told him but in a silent language, "Do not look at me in such a hostile way you little monster. It is not time to eat doves yet."

    I had scarcely caught my breath when I threw myself into space and flew. I imagined that one thousand mature eagles were flying after me. I flew faster until I reached the outskirts of my land. I headed fast towards Ibrahim's house and I fell to the ground to catch my breath.

          Nasha stood near my head. I said pantingly, "I have been saved from sure death."

          "Calm down!" she said.

    I calmed down. She flapped her wings and sent a refreshing breeze mixed with her body scent towards me. I was not tired anymore but felt thirsty. She realized what I wanted without me having to say it and so rushed over to the water dish. She filled her beak and returned to feed me water. Her beak touching my beak and her wing touching my wing. I was not thirsty for water anymore. I was thirsty for her.

    I told her what I was feeling and she said, "Marry me."

    I answered, "Yes, I take you in marriage."

    "May heaven bless our marriage," she said.

    "And may it be blessed by the greatest heart on the earth," I said.

    "Ibrahim! The friend of Allah." she said.

    "Let us both fly to him," I suggested.

    We left the yard and headed to his house. We stood upon a low wall that he built to pray behind. We landed in front of his feet and kissed both of them. Our hearts trembled with love and he extended his generous hands and patted our heads.

    My beloved shied away and so we flew. She shied away once again from me. We flew and celebrated our wedding in space. We invited the clouds and the stars that are hidden by the sunshine. We invited the sun and the moon that is hidden by its light. Also, we invited all of Allah's great creatures to the wedding party. It was the happiest moment in our lives.

    In the beginning, we were four doves that lived in Ibrahim's house, then we became ten and then we became twenty. Love was expressing itself in a thousand ways and so the number of young was increasing.

    We came to know a lot about the friend of Allah when we lived in his yard. He prayed a lot, preached a lot to people and meditated a great deal. Being mere birds, we could not comprehend the extent of his closeness to Allah, nor could we comprehend the deepness of his feelings for the Creator. All we knew was that he would seclude himself a lot. In one of his moments of solitude, he was immersed in deep thought and he raised his hands to ask Allah,

    "My Lord! Show me how You give life to the dead." He (Allah) said, "Do you not believe?" He (Ibrahim) said, "Yes (I believe), but to be stronger in Faith." He said, "Take four birds, then cause them to incline towards you (then slaughter them, cut them into pieces), and then put a portion of them on every hill, and call them, they will come to you in haste. And know that Allah is All-Mighty, All- Wise. "

    My wife was sleeping next to our young and I was sitting outside our nest when Prophet Ibrahim extended his hand out to me. I surrendered myself to the kind hand ...

    There was a knife in his other hand. As the knife came closer to my neck I noticed the reflection of sun light on the silver blade. Thousands of candles were dancing on the blade. The more the blade closed in on my neck, the more I surrendered. My wife gave a short scream ...I did not feel anything. The blade of the knife sank into my neck.

    The last thing I heard was her scream. Afterwards, I heard Ibrahim calling us to him. The next moment I found myself flying with three other birds towards Ibrahim and we threw ourselves into his arms. Ibrahim then prostrated to Allah.

          I did not find Nasha in the nest. I found our young hungry and she was missing. I became extremely furious and decided to chastise her. I knew just where to find her. A place near the river where we used to meet a lot. I flew towards the river.

    My wife stood motionless staring at the river. I stood on the branch next to her but she did not turn to me ...O, Lord what has come over her ...Could she be sick?

    I said, "Nasha ...Why are you standing here alone?"

    She did not turn to me. But two big tears fell from her eyes and she said, "I am losing my mind ...I can still hear his voice as if he were alive ..."

    I was astonished by what she said and I raised my wing and struck her hard with it. She turned towards me.

    As soon as she saw me she screamed in astonishment, "O Allah! How? But you are ..."

    She started trembling and with all the strength she could muster, she said, "How did you come back from the dead my love? Ibrahim slaughtered you."

    Then, she suddenly mentioned there being a knife. I wrapped my wing around her to calm her down and said, "Tell me everything."

    "Ibrahim slaughtered you in front of me ...He tore you to pieces with three other birds and scattered your parts on the mountains."

    I said, "Ibrahim did not slaughter me ...he summoned me to him so I came in haste."

    She said, "No my love he slaughtered you right in front of my eyes."

    "But I am alive," I assured her.

    She said, "I cannot believe that you are alive ...O, my love!"

    She collapsed in my wings and suddenly I realized what had happened.

    Nasha told me that Ibrahim had slaughtered four birds and tore our bodies apart and put each part on a mountaintop and then returned to his house.

    Nasha had accompanied him on his journey, and then stood crying over the half that was left of my body. Ibrahim left her and went away. She cried for a long while then flew to where I found her on a tree.

    Hours passed and she was surprised to find me standing next to her. We talked for more than an hour. The emotions we were experiencing were great.

    Nasha was trembling and said, "He slaughtered you in front of my eyes!"

    I also trembled and answered, "No, he summoned me to him so I came in haste.”

    When both of us agreed that I had been slaughtered and then was brought back from the dead she asked, "How?"

    "How" surfaced in the water in front of us as a bottomless hole.

    Nasha then said, "Did not Ibrahim say, 'My Lord! Show me how You give life to the dead.’ Ibrahim had left the mountain and left you slaughtered on top of it, then returned and summoned you and so you came to him."

    "Why?" I asked her.

    She said, "Maybe the friend of Allah wanted to see the creative hand at work. However, he could not reveal its secret but only touch the results."

    O, Allah! But how? "How" emerged once again flowing on the water's surface.

    "If the friend of Allah could not know how I returned from the dead then how am I to know?" I observed.

    Once again I asked, "What is this power that can summon the dead and they answer its call?"

    Nasha said, "It is the power of love. Have you forgotten that Ibrahim is the friend of Allah? Before, Ibrahim had almost slaughtered his most loved son for the sake of Allah. The one who has the ability to slaughter his son due to his love for Allah surely can summon a torn apart bird to come to him in one piece again. In both cases it is the power of love."

    “I have become more confused. What is the wisdom behind this?" I asked.

    Nasha said, "I have no answer dear! All I know my love, is that Allah reassured Ibrahim's heart when he was looking for reassurance ...and Allah reassured my heart by bringing you back to me after I had lost you. Allah has returned you to me, returned me to you and returned Ibrahim to himself ...What more can you want!"

    I said, "How Allah loves Ibrahim!"

    "How Allah loves me and you!" she added.



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