Animals In The Glorious Quran

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  • Animals In The Glorious Quran

  • Prophet Yusuf and the Wolf

    {He [Ya'qub] said, 'Truly, it saddens me that you should take him away. I fear lest a wolf should devour him, while you are careless of him.' They said, 'If a wolf devours him, while we are 'Usbah (a strong group) (to guard him), then surely, we are the losers.’}                (Yusuf: 13-14)

    Perhaps you do not know, but the life of a wolf is not an easy one. Just because we wolves have long, sharp fangs and deadly claws, does not mean that we always get what we want. That is just a part of being a wolf. All creatures have fangs and claws just like us. But in some cases their fangs and claws are hidden behind a sweet smile. Often, people take such a smile to heart and attack the fangs and claws as they are clear to the eye.

    I am often a target for humans. You know, they often persecute me. They say bad things about me and my kind. Humans say that a wolf has no morals! And when they speak of the evil one from their own kind, they call him "A wolf!" This is an insult to us wolves. The human, who is called a "wolf' is often accused of having girl friends but the wolf is a stable and family minded creature. In fact, other species of animals envy our cozy family life and emotional stability.

    I do not want to speak so much about myself. I am telling you these things because I feel really angry. I suffer because of the injustice of this world and I hate to find myself in a situation where I am being oppressive. But I also dislike to be in the situation where a human being uses his intelligence to oppress us wolves.

    I am an oppressed wolf.

    "Yusuf’s wolf!" Yes, that is what they call me. This is the name that made me famous throughout history. But I swear that I did not see Prophet Yusuf even once in my life. I did not see him, eat him, rip his clothes or even come close to him. It was simply a tragedy from beginning to end.

    Darkness fell over the desert. The yellow glow of the sand disappeared with the retreat of the sun and the earth became completely covered with a deep gray color. People were still while the desert's exciting nightlife came into motion. The creatures that looked for their food during the night started moving about. They were prowling, seeking and pouncing upon their prey.

    I went out for a stroll in front of the entrance of the cave, where I live in. I filled my chest with the pure evening air. What pure delight it is to be a wolf and to stand in front of your cave and howl. It is impossible for the rest of the animal kingdom to forget the howling of the wolf once they have heard it.

    A long and deep howl makes your back shiver and shoots through you like an ice-cold tremor. Between us wolves, we call howling "the evening song." We do not howl during the day, for our kingdom awakens at night and we sing when the darkness of our great kingdom comes alive.

    We have six kinds of howls and each one has its own special meaning and its unique expression. The deep and long howl that begins at nightfall is the evening song, through which we glorify and exalt our Creator. The husky and short howl is an expression of loneliness and an invitation to the female of our kind. There is also the terrifying, long and angry, hunting howl. Moreover, there is a how I that means a priceless hunt has fallen into our hands. The best thing about our howling is that it spreads in the atmosphere, so the victim does not know how many wolves are heading towards it. Therefore, it is unable to realize the source of danger. If a horse, a mountain goat or a sheep hears our howling, it loses its ability to escape and becomes very nervous and so it becomes easy to pounce on it.

    My gray body shoots through the desert like a flash of lightening and I strike. It takes one strike from the claws and then the stomach is warmed with hot food that is not yet completely dead. I once tried eating cooked food which was prepared by people using a fire and the food was left to cool down. I tried to eat it but found it rather tasteless. It stirred my surprise that the human being is satisfied with such soft food that has been spoiled by fire

    Excuse me ...I talk about food because I am fasting. Five days ago, I ate half a fat sheep that went astray from the rest of its flock. We usually eat once a week and live on that for the rest of the week. We fast for six days without feeling hungry, and then we start looking for food again. I remained standing in front of the cave's entrance until nightfall, when the wolves' friend appeared. Who is this friend you might ask! Well, it is the moon. That pale silver circle that enables us to see even the smallest mountain rodent. As soon as the moon appeared I raised my head and gave it the evening greeting. I howled a long howl. It is a pleasure to howl in the moonlight.

        The moonlight is reflected on my fangs and then the beam of light is projected on the farthest of prey and captures it in its place. After that I pursue the beam.

    As a wolf I can distinguish among more than forty scents at the same time. The scent of the ground is different from that of the grass, trees, mountain goats, flowers, sand, etc. I can distinguish the scent of sheep quite easily; as the sheep's main foolishness is that they cannot cover up their smell. They do not bathe properly so they spread a distinctive odor in the atmosphere. We wolves consider this smell an invitation card to tasty food.

    I raised my head and smelled the air. I was able to distinguish the scent of sheep. My wife came out of the cave and was met with the same smell. Our eyes met and I said, "Let me go alone and you stay here with the young ones."

    My lovely wife entered the cave and I quickly descended the hill. I was not out on a hunting mission because we do not go hunting except in groups that are not less than five and no more than twelve. I was out on a discovery mission. While I was running I raised my head and started pursuing the scent. I can pursue a scent at night as easily as a human being follows the course of a river during the day.

    The scent was coming closer, so I slowed down and started moving cautiously. A few steps away, there was a white tent setup and in front of it sat ten men around a fire they had kindled and a few steps away from them slept hundreds of sheep, goats and cows. It was really cold so I covered my mouth with my tail and watched.

    The men were not equal in age. Among them there were those who grew their beard and those who grew their hair long. They were more likely to be either friends or brothers. After observing their faces, I felt that they were plotting something. I dropped low, remained camouflaged, raised my ears and listened.

    One of the ten men while warming his hands on the fire said, "We have to get rid of Yusuf"

    It became colder and an icy north wind started to blow and I shivered. I am not used to this cold, for I was born in Egypt where the weather is temperate. I grew up there with my brother, who is one year younger than me. I loved my brother very much. I did not go hunting unless we were together. However, one day he went out and never returned. I tried uselessly to look for him in Egypt. I searched for him in the farms and deserts but to no avail. His scent had completely vanished. After that, I was heartbroken and left Egypt, traveling through the desert to this cold country.

    I found myself a stranger among other species of wolves, for their fur was a little bit longer than mine. I lived among them and married a spinster she-wolf I imagine that she was found to be unattractive because of her short fur. In that way we were alike. I married her and she was tremendously happy to have me as her husband.

    On our wedding day she said to me, "Where have you come from? Your fur is short and you do not look like the wolves in these parts."

    I replied, "I have just come from Egypt looking for my younger brother who, went out and never returned."

    With sincere tenderness, she said, "Do not be sad! I will be both your wife and your younger brother."

    I was deeply moved by her words. I remembered my younger brother and howled a long sad howl. Then, the burdens of married life busied me and coated the memory of my absent brother temporarily with the dust of forgetfulness.

    I married in spring and after two months and a half my wife gave birth to six little wolves. Before she gave birth, we had looked for a place for the coming family. With her help, I had dug a deep cave in the ground and then we stopped digging before finishing it and started looking again for another place. At last we found the cave in which we now live. It is a faraway cave that dominates the top of a rocky knoll in the middle of the desert. The kids grew up and their eye-color changed from being deep blue to a yellowish gray.

    I realized that the kids had grown up and so I started teaching them to hunt. It seems that my wife made up for the deprived state she was living in before she had met me, by having lots of children. For as soon as she got pregnant, gave birth, nursed and taught them to hunt, she would get pregnant once again.

    I became the head of a large family and had to provide for them. This responsibility tired me out and made me constantly on the lookout for food. The smell of roasted meat made its way to my nose and along with it came the scent of a live little lamb that had not yet slept and was coughing from the cold.

    The men sitting around the fire started talking again. They said, "Truly, Yusuf and his brother (Benjamin) are loved more by our father than we, but we are 'Usbah (a strong group). Really, our father is in a plain error. Kill Yusuf or cast him out to some (other) land, so that the favor of your father may be given to you alone, and after that you will be righteous folk (by intending repentance before committing the sin)."

    I realized that a conspiracy was brewing to kill a human being whose name was repeated in the conversation. I was not interested in what they were saying as much as I was interested in knowing the place they were heading to the next day. I wanted to know where the little sheep was going.

    One of them said, "Kill not Yusuf, but if you must do something, throw him down to the bottom of a well, he will be picked up by some caravan of travelers.”

    Their conversation still revolved around Yusuf. I became bored with their conversation and was surprised that they were so engrossed with Yusuf. I resumed listening to their conversation. ­

    One of them said, "What will we say to our father Ya'qub when he asks us about our brother Yusuf?"

    I confess that I was totally shocked when I discovered that Yusuf was none other than their younger brother. How could they plan to kill him? It is ironic that in spite of being a mere wolf, I have just left Egypt in search for my younger brother and still lives with a lamenting heart after losing him. The exciting conversation caught my attention and I was surprised by the magnitude of spite that their discussion carried. Moreover, their conversation concerning their brother opened up my own wound, reminding me of my brother. I saw the devil sitting among them. They could not see him and so my disgust of them increased. I hated the smell of the little sheep and I hated even to eat from their flock and decided to leave.

    As soon as I turned around to make my way back, the conversation once again attracted me and I remained listening for some time.

    The conversation smelled so exciting like the smell of mountain goats and sheep.

    One of them said, "Let us tell Ya'qub that we have lost Yusuf."

    The second said, "But, how can we lose him while he is supposed to be with us ...Play your cards right."

    The third said, "Let's say that a wolf has eaten him."

    When I was mentioned in their conversation, I strained my ears to hear more.

    Yusuf’s kindred started conversing after coming to this evil idea and then they said, "A good idea! We will say that a wolf has eaten him while we were inattentive."

          One of them said, "Ya'qub will not allow you to take Yusuf, the man loves him and cannot stand to be separated from him ..."

    The others remarked, "We will try to convince our father. We will say that the young boy does not play enough and does not get enough sun, that is why his face is pale. So let us take him out, so he can run around and play."

    The conversation once again started circulating around itself and intensified both my shock and surprise. The plotters were divided into two groups: Those who wanted to kill Yusuf and the other group, who suggested throwing him into a well. Despite the victory of the second group over the first, they unanimously agreed to direct the blame of the evil deed to a wolf ...any of the wolves ...Then they all started talking about this wolf; what they would say to their father about this wolf; how they would describe the state Yusuf was in after being eaten by the wolf; how they would convince their father that the wolf had really eaten him. One of them suggested taking Yusuf’s shirt off and soiling it with the blood of a lamb that they would slaughter. Then they would carry the shirt to their father telling him that it was the shirt of his son which he was wearing when a wolf ate him.

    I listened to their conversation and understood why this creature called "the human being" dominates the earth. Moreover, I realized why the number of wolves on this earth is decreasing, while as the number of people is increasing.

    I understand that a wolfs claws and fangs are soft straw if compared to the civilized claws and fangs that are coated with human smiles.

    Once again they started talking while they were eating. One of them said, "Suppose your father does not believe the story of the wolf." Their eldest replied, "We will hunt down a wolf and soil him and Yusuf’s shirt with the same lamb's blood. Then, we will take the wolf to our father and tell him that this is the wicked wolf that has eaten Yusuf and this is his son's blood that is still clinging to the wolfs body and claws."

    I trembled with rage. What kind of audacity does this human kind possess?

    The little lamb started moving again amidst the sleeping flock. I totally lost my appetite for it and was only concerned with leaving the place in peace. A dog's scent closed in on me. A dog had left his place among the flock and came closer to them hoping that someone would throw him a piece of meat or a bone. Unlike us, dogs do not eat raw and warm meat. It seems that the dog had found my scent and so started to growl and his coat of hair stood on its end in an anticipation of attack.

          I was not in the mood to fight and kill him, for their conversation tore me up inside and I despised even engaging myself in a fight with their dogs. I chose to get away from them all as fast as I could.

    I got up from where I was and howled. I had hardly begun my desperate and angry howling and ended it, than I found myself at the other end of the desert. I ran like the wind trying to get away from a thousand human beings.

          I entered the cave and my wife instantly awoke for she sleeps lightly.

          She asked me in a hushed whisper, "Your face is ashen and you do not look normal to me."

    I was panting heavily and said, "Damn."

    She said, "Did you mistake the scent of sheep?"

    "Damn," I repeated.

    "I have never seen you angry like this before. What happened? Did someone try to hunt you down?"

    "Something even worse has happened," I replied.

    "I do not think that there is anything worse than you being hunted down," she remarked.

    "But there is, so be quiet and let me think," I pleaded. "Your youngest son asked for you and I told him that daddy has gone hunting."

    My wife knows that I have a soft spot for my youngest son. She had hardly mentioned him when I decided to wake him up and play with him. I went to him and found him fast asleep on his back with his legs pointing upwards.

    I pretended as if I was biting his stomach with my mouth so he woke up laughing and caught hold of my mouth with his four feet and also started to bite me. He rolled over to his side and I continued playing with him until his brothers woke up. I saw that I should play equally with all of them, so I started to tease and play with them until my wife produced a sound with her mouth that meant, "It is time to sleep."

    I instantly left my little wolves. The wolves hugged each other and warmed themselves by huddling close together and surrendered themselves to sleep.

    My wife quietly left the cave and stood at its entrance, so I realized that she wanted to talk to me privately, so I went out after her.

    She gently asked me, "You have not talked to me about your journey."

    By then my anger had subsided and I said to her, "It was a cursed journey. I wish that I had never gone out."

    She was surprised and asked, "Why?"

    I said, "I went out in search of prey but instead I found them searching for me.”

    She said, "For you!"

    "Yes,” I responded.

    "Why were they looking for you?" she asked.

    "Because I ate Yusuf," I replied.

    "And who is Yusuf?" she asked, feeling confused.

    I said, “A human that I have never even seen, well his brothers want to throw him into a well and accuse me of eating him.

    She said, "You do not eat the flesh of human beings! How could they accuse you?"

    I said, repeating to myself, "The tragedy lies in the fact that Yusuf is their brother ...”

    "This is most strange!" commented my wife. "Unless I know you better I am going to say that you have eaten a nutmeg tree and so have lost your mind."

    "I have not lost my mind, I am sad as I remembered my absent brother and my heart has been eaten out "

    Silence prevailed for a while and then I found myself saying a piece of poetry:

    The wolf howled and I found

    Comfort from it in my plight

    While as a human screamed

    And I almost flew from fright.


    “What is this?" asked my wife.

    "This is poetry," I said simply.

    "I did not know that you could recite poetry," she said. "Despair is the source of my inspiration," I said sadly. "It is quite beyond one's endurance."

    She said, "You have a lot of talents but little luck, my love." "One day they will attribute what I have said to a human poet," I commented.

    She said, “Praise be to Allah Who created us as wolves." "Have the kids eaten?" I asked.

    "They have eaten, so do not worry," she reassured me.

    I bowed my head, remembering my brother and a wave of sadness seemed to drown me. Suddenly, my wife nuzzled my neck with her mouth ...She was kissing me.

          She said with sincere tenderness, "I wish that I were lost instead of your brother."

          I said, "My sadness is already deep, so do not aggravate it."

          She said, "I wish that I were able to pay my life in ransom for your brother and to release you from a moment of sadness."

    I said (kissing her), "Do not say that ..."

    She interrupted me with another kiss. The moon ascended its throne in the sky. The world became devoid of sadness, pain and problems. We became unaware of everything in this universe except each otherI buried my sorrow in her and the night passed by. After that I resumed my normal life.

    The family would sleep during most of the day and wake up late in the afternoon. My wife would nurse our kids as long as they were little and when they grew up a little she would feed them meat partially digested in her stomach. When they were a little older still they would go out on hunting trips to learn the secrets and ways of the wolves. When they are fully-grown up they would set out in new hunting groups and then each one of them would establish a family and have kids. After that the families would all gather together and go hunting.

    The time for us to go hunting had arrived.

    We agreed to meet at the entrance of my cave. The delegations of wolves started arriving. We greeted each other by wagging our tails and raising them high. We were ten adult wolves and two young ones. It was their first time to go out.

    I kept an eye on the two little wolves. They were extremely excited. They were moving in every direction dancing and running around here and there. I looked at them and remembered my childhood in Egypt. I used to play like that with my younger brother in the mountains and deserts there.

    Not every moment of a wolfs life is cherished in his memory, but the first time to go out hunting remains fresh in his mind. A wolf does not forget the excitement of going out for his first hunt and of learning the howl of a predator. I remember the first time I went out with my brother, he whispered to me saying, "I am a little bit scared ..."

    I asked, "Why? ...Are you a dog to be scared?"

    He burst out laughing and jumped on me, closing his teeth in on my neck and asked, "Would you like me to show you just how scared I am?"

    We laughed a lot that day and jumped around like these two young wolves.

    It was an unforgettable day. All of us gathered and fast negotiations began. At the beginning of the hunt, we discuss the likely targets and choose the most difficult and challenging among them.

    One of us said, "There is a group of mountain goats grazing there in the horizon."

    Another wolf said, "I have found a colony of fat rats that is not guarded by anyone."

    A third wolf said, "Towards the west there is a man who breeds six horses that are guarded by two dogs."

    I looked into their eyes and said, "Towards the north ten men live in a tent and go out to tend to a flock of sheep, goats and cows, they are guarded by six dogs and the men are efficiently armed."

    The target I had just specified was the hardest and so every body agreed upon it. We agreed to attack at midnight. We started out towards the desert before sunset.

    My wife and I were in the lead and behind us there was a long train ending with the two young wolves.

    The yellowness of the ground started retreating and we ran amidst green fields with just a hint of evening in them. Then the ground resumed its gray color while we were passing through a mountainous area. After that, the ground became dark gray and the scent of Yusuf’s brothers came closer. I stopped suddenly and so did the whole train behind me. We strained ourselves to hear.

    My wife asked whispering, "Why have you stopped?"

    I answered in a whisper, "I feel apprehensive and I feel that I will not see you again after this night."

    There was a wide smile of encouragement in her eyes and so I ran towards the target. We started to crawl cautiously when we got closer to the tent. The ten brothers were sleeping quietly outside the tent, and there were no dogs. How could they leave the flock unguarded? Thus, I was surprised and suspicion ate me up.

    I said to the wolves, "Take care for I doubt that those sleeping over there are really sleeping."

    "You have a lot of apprehensions today my love," said my wife.

    I said, "There may be booby-traps set up, we have got nothing to lose by being cautious."

    The two frivolous little wolves had gotten closer than they should have to the cattle. The cattle felt danger approaching and so awoke -feeling scared and disturbed.

    I ran to get the two little wolves but I was not careful. I advised my group to be cautious but forgot it myself. I had hardly proceeded a little further forward when a strong trap clamped on my hind leg.

    I lamented my lost freedom in one long howl, which was contagious and so the other wolves joined in and the air was filled with the sound of shrieking howls.

    After that every thing happened fast.

    The men jumped up from under their woolen covers and shot their arrows at the wolves and so they ran away howling. The men approached me with sticks and ropes. The sticks struck my body and ropes were thrown upon me and I was bound till I was completely still. At last, I had fallen captive. The image of my missing brother crossed my mind. The way he had been lost, dawned upon me. "Do not be sad brother, for I will be lost just as you were," I thought sadly.

    I howled weakly in such a way that implied an order to my family to flee and leave me to my fate. My wife answered with a torn apart loud howl, telling me through her howl that she would come to save me regardless of the consequences. I howled back that she had to go, so that she could take care of the children. I asked her to take special care of the youngest of my wolves. The desert swallowed the echo of our howling. The sand resumed its silence and found me thrown upon the ground bound in ropes.

    I raised my head to contemplate those who had captured me. They were without doubt Yusuf’s brothers. They made sure that I had given up and tied my feet to a strong tree-branch. Then they carried me to their village with my head bowed.

    One of them said joyously, "We are going to tell Ya'qub that this is the wolf that ate Yusuf."

    I moaned sadly and so the men laughed and said, "It is as if the wolf can understand what we are saying."

    Then they stopped suddenly and said, "How can we prove to him that this is the killer wolf?"

    They held counsel for a while and then they slaughtered one of the sheep and soiled my claws and mouth with its blood. My mouth was wounded and they added to it new blood to prove the lie. We walked a long way until we reached the outskirts of a small village surrounded by yellow sand and farm land. I felt thirsty when we walked near the river of Palestine. We entered a village lighted by oil lamps. I said to myself while I inhaled the scent of oil, "This is olive oil." The road became narrow and crooked, and the smell of cooked food floated about me making me feel even more miserable.

          Yusufs brothers shouted once they reached a white house surrounded by a planted garden. I memorized the way well throughout that tragic journey, for who knows ...

    The brothers knocked on the door and three women opened it. The women screamed from fright when they saw me and ran inside. We entered the house and a mysterious feeling of peace filled my heart. "O my Lord! Whose house could this be?"

    The brothers threw me to the ground in front of an old man with a white beard and respectful features. I struck the ground so hard that I started moaning again.

    One of the brothers said to the venerable old man,

    "This is the wolf that feeds on our sheep."

    And another said, "It is also the same wolf that ate Yusuf. We have caught him today. He ate Yusuf yesterday and has returned to us today."

    A female voice said, "Look! ... Here is Yusufs blood on his claws and mouth. Kill him before he wakes up and regains consciousness."

    I was contemplating the eyes of the old man and gazing into their pureness." So, this- is Ya'qub then," I thought. I realized that he is one of Allah's Prophets. I was filled with a deep sense of comfort when the old man said to his sons, "Leave the wolf to me and go."

    One of the brothers said, as he was retreating, "Be careful father for this is a treacherous wolf."

    The room became empty of everybody except us. Ya'qub and I were left together. Ya'qub came closer to me, untied my ropes and set me free. I stood before him, bowed my head and raised my tail to greet him.

    As he was bringing out a shirt soiled with blood he asked, "Wolf! This is Yusufs shirt."

    The old man's eyes spilled over with tears as he threw Yusufs shirt to me. "They told me that you ate him, throwing his shirt soiled with blood to me," he said.

    I smelled the shirt and closely observed its material, finding that it had no scratches on it. I raised my eyes to the old man and my look said, "Most gracious Prophet, all wolves are innocent from your son's blood."

    The old man said, "I know... I know as much. For how can a wolf eat my son and his shirt remains unharmed. It is my fault. I said to my sons when they wanted to take him out, "I fear that the wolf will eat him while you are distracted." I put forth my fear of you over Allah's care of him and so this has happened to me. Allah, the Almighty, is punishing me and I have lost Yusuf. They brought you in his place."

    I said with my eyes, "Sir, I do not know what you are saying, for your words are away beyond me to understand."

    Ya'qub said, "Come closer to me wolf."

    I came closer to him.

    Ya'qub bent over to pick up Yusufs shirt and once again said, "Come closer to me wolf."

    I came closer and closer to him till I put my cheek to his and cried as he cried. Ya'qub extended his hand and patted my head and so all wounds felt relieved. He asked me in a deep, sad voice, "Where have they put Yusuf and how did they find you?"

    I said to him, "I do not know what they have done to Yusuf. But I heard them talking of throwing him into a well, and I swear to you a Prophet that I am a stranger wolf that has come from Egypt in search of his brother who went out and never returned. Your sons caught me, tied me up and brought me to you. We, a Prophet, do not eat the flesh of human beings let a lone the blood of Prophets. I wish I had never left Egypt in search of my brother."

    As he gathered Yusufs shirt to his chest, Ya'qub said, "The wolf went out in search of his brother while my sons have lost their brother Yusuf!"

    I said, "Oh gracious Prophet! Set me free so that I can return to Egypt. I will not live in a land where the sons of Prophets lie to people and wolves. Who is the wolf now? Me or your sons, gracious sir?"

    Ya'qub once again patted my head, then got up and opened the door of his room to me."

    His sons attacked me with arrows and they screamed, "Our father has set the monster free."

    Ya'qub said, "Nay, butt your own selves have made up a tale. So (for me) patience is most fitting. And it is Allah (Alone) Whose help can be sought against that which you assert. "

    And so I darted out of the house running. I ran with only half of my strength for the other half was drained with the pools of blood I left on the ground. I was struck with more than one fatal wound but I still ran far away from the village.

    I do not want to die there. I ran out to the wide desert and found the ground suddenly spinning.

    The ground spun until it stood with all its strength upon my head. The spinning of the ground intensified.


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