The Friendship between Insects and Flowers
One spring day, when the weather becomes warm, pay a visit to a garden or a green field. You will observe swarms of small insects, bees, flies, butterflies and tiny mosquitoes flying here and there, from one flower to the next, and from one branch to the other.
They are so involved in their activities it seems as if a stern supervisor commanded them to move about. Their wings and feet smeared with yellow-colored pollen, these insects resemble factory workers who diligently work in their own workshop. But their mission is so worthy that professor Leon Burton writes on their job and function:
“Few people realize that without insects our baskets would remain empty.”
We would like to add to his statement the following observation: “And during the next generations our gardens, orchards, and fields would lose their freshness and vigor.”
Thus, we could say that insects are the true growers of fruits and patrons of flower seeds.
You might ask for the reason. Insects are deemed crucial for one of their most vital functions related to plants, i.e., fertilization. You probably know that flowers, like most animals, have either male or female organs. Without the contact between these two organs, seeds and fruits would not be produced.
But have you ever thought how these two organs together contact each other when plants themselves cannot move? How does the male pollens which acts like sperm integrate with the little seeds that act like ovules and bring about their fertilization?
This is done, in most cases, by insects and at times by the wind.
But the issue is not to be taken lightly. This auspicious marriage, which is initiated by insects, has had a long and interesting history and background.
According to the findings of two scholars of the natural sciences, plants and flowers were created during the second half of the second geological age, i.e. during the Mesozoic period. Strange to say, insects were also created during this era. These two creatures have lovingly lived side by side as two intimate friends during the whole history of creation and have always completed each other.
To attract their friends, flowers have produced a delicious juice inside their rosebushes. And when insects try to move the male pollen to the flowers’ female organs in order to let fertilization take place, they get some of this juice free of charge. This precious juice is so palatable for insects that they are involuntarily attracted toward it.
Some botanists contend that the beautiful color and scents of flowers play a significant role in attracting insects. Experiments on bees have shown that they can distinguish between the different colors and scents of flowers.
In fact, it is the flowers that decorate themselves for the insects. In this way, they attract the magnificent butterflies and bees. In this transaction, both sides benefit. The sweet nectar produced is the most perfect food for insects. When concentrated, this juice is called honey. This is because when insects come to visit the flowers they drink some of this juice. When they leave, they take most of this reserved juice and store it in their nests. This friendship, which is based on mutual benefit, has always been and will continue to exist between flowers and insects.
A Lesson from Monotheism:
When we see these wonderful aspects of the life of insects and flowers, we might be tempted to ask ourselves the following question: Who has arranged this contract of friendship between flowers and insects?
Who has provided flowers with this special nectar? Who has given them these breath-taking colors and scents?
Who has provided these insects, butterflies, and bees with such delicate legs to carry the pollen from the flowers?
Why is it that bees have become fond of a special flower? How is it that the life histories of flowers and insects coincide with each other?
Could anybody, however obstinate he might be, believe that all these events have occurred haphazardly without any planning? Could we believe that these wonderful natural sights have been created by an unconscious nature? Never could this have happened!
The Holy Qur’¡n states:
وَأَوْحَى رَبُّكَ إِلَى النَّحْلِ أَنْ اتَّخِذِي مِنْ الْجِبَالِ بُيُوتاً وَمِنْ الشَّجَرِ وَمِمَّا يَعْرِشُونَ. ثُمَّ كُلِي مِنْ كُلِّ الثَّمَرَاتِ فَاسْلُكِي سُبُلَ رَبِّكِ ذُلُلاً.
And your Lord revealed to the bee saying; Make hives in the mountains, in the trees, and in what they build: Then eat of all the fruits and walk in the ways of your Lord submissively. [Qur’¡n 16: 68-69]
THINK AND ANSWER
In the World of Microcosms
Since we are living among the wonders of the world of creation, we have become accustomed to them and we might not appreciate them as they deserve. There are some examples of our negligence:
1. There are very tiny animals and insects living next to us whose skeletons are not more than one or two millimeters. But despite this tiny structure, they possess hands, feet, eyes, ears, even brains, intelligence and central nervous systems.
If we put the brain of an ant under a microscope and look at it carefully, we will notice what a complicated structure it has. Different sections are put next to each other and each section controls the functions of certain regions of the ant’s body. A disturbance in any section will result in some damage to the ant’s life.
Strange as it might seem, this small brain of the ant, which is even smaller than a pinhead, contains the means to evaluate environmental changes.
Could a material thing install and gather so many signs of intelligence inside the brain of such a small creature?
2. In the mysterious world of the microcosm, the smallest unit known is the atom, the size of which is not visible even to the strongest microscopes.
If you want to know how small an atom is, you should be aware of the fact that one drop of water contains as many atoms as the population of the entire world. And if you wish to count all the protons contained in one centimeter of a thin wire, you would have to hire one thousand persons who would have to spend between 30 to 300 years to count them continuously day and night.
Now that we have realized how many atoms are contained in one centimeter of a thin wire, think about how many atoms there are in the heavens and the earth, in the air, in the galaxies and in the solar system. Is it not exhausting for man to even visualize such immense quantities? There is no one except God, the Creator, who knows the precise answers to these questions.
The study of atoms is one of the most promising branches of human science today. From such studies, we will learn lessons on monotheism. There are four aspects about atoms which should hold our attention:
The Wonderful Order: Up to now, more than one hundred elements have been discovered in which the number of electrons varies from one to one hundred, and this wonderful system could not have been created by intelligence-lacking organisms.
The Equilibrium in Forces: We know that two opposite electrical poles neutralize each other. Thus, the electrons which possess a negative charge neutralize the nucleus which possesses a positive charge.
On the other hand, we know that the movement of the electrons around the nucleus creates a centrifugal force. This force intends to let the electrons fly away from the environment of the atom which could lead to its disintegration, and gravity tends to absorb the electrons and destroy the atom altogether.
In this way, we could observe how balanced the centrifugal and centripetal forces are in the atom. Could this equilibrium have been brought about by blind nature?
Each One on its Specific Orbit: We saw that there are a particular number of some electrons for each atom. These electrons do not move in one orbit; rather, each one occupies a specific orbital path without any collisions between them.
Is it an easy task to put all these electrons in their specific orbits?
Atomic Energy: In order to appreciate the amount of energy contained in one atom, observe the following incident:
In 1945, an atomic experiment took place in the desert of New Mexico. A very small atomic bomb was left on a steel tower. After it exploded, the tower first melted and then evaporated accompanied by lightning and horrendous sounds. When the scientists returned to observe the result, nothing was left on the scene.
In that very year, two bombs were dropped on two cities of Japan: One on the city of Nagasaki and the other one on the city of Hiroshima. The number of dead in the former city amounted to seventy thousand with the same amount of casualties. And in the latter city, the number of dead was from 30,000 to 40,000 with the same number of casualties. As a result, Japan had to surrender to the United States and accept the truce.
Is it not sufficient to study the mysteries of one atom to get to know the Great Creator? There are as many reasons for the existence of God as the number of atoms in the universe. The Holy Qur’¡n states:
وَلَوْ أَنَّمَا فِي الأَرْضِ مِن شَجَرَةٍ أَقْلاَمٌ وَالْبَحْرُ يَمُدُّهُ مِن بَعْدِهِ سَبْعَةُ أَبْحُرٍ مَّا نَفِدَتْ كَلِمَاتُ اللَّهِ.
And were every tree that is in the earth made into pens and the sea to supply it with ink with seven more seas to increase it, the words of Allah would not come to an end. [Qur’¡n 31:27]
THINK AND ANSWER
Further Discussion on the Tenth Lecture
How Splendid are the Attributes of Allah
One should know that it is one thing to recognize God through studying His creatures, but it is quite another thing to recognize the Attributes of God. The former is quite easy while the latter needs much more scrutiny and caution.
One might ask why. The reason is clear. None of God’s attributes resembles what we see and hear. Thus, the first condition for identifying the attributes of God is the negation of any of the characteristics of the created world from that of the Sacred Essence. This makes the whole picture difficult and provide us with a dilemma. We have grown up in the middle of this natural world and have been in close contact with it. Thus, we have the inclination to measure everything in comparison with nature.
We have only seen matter and its properties. All the creatures we have encountered live in time and space and have specific dimensions. Thus, it would become extremely difficult to visualize a God who lacks substance, who does not live in time or space but at the same time has control over every aspect of existence, and is timeless. We have to be extremely cautious.
However, it should be pointed out that we could never realize the true nature of the Almighty God. We should not expect we could ever know Him since this expectation resembles pouring an immense ocean into a tiny glass or to expect an unborn child to know all the secrets of the outside world, and this is impossible.
That is why a small error on our part might take us miles away from the road of identifying God and leave us in the desert of idol-worship or atheism. Therefore, we should take heed to never compare the characteristics of creation with those of Allah.
God’s Attributes are usually divided into the positive attributes and the negative attributes. The positive attributes are those which are attributed to God and the negative attributes are those which God does not have.
The answer is as follows: From one point of view, God’s attributes are infinite and from another point of view, all God’s attributes could be summed up in the following phrase:
God’s Being is infinite in all aspects and at the same time possesses supreme perfection.
God’s negative attributes could be paraphrased through the following statement: God’s essence suffers from no defects from whatever perspective.
However, since perfection and defects have degrees, we could easily state that God has limitless positive attributes and an infinite number of negative attributes. This is because He possesses all the positive attributes that come to man’s mind and lacks all those flaws which the human mind can imagine. Therefore, God’s positive and negative Attributes are simply limitless.
God’s most positive attributes appear in the following poem:
God is All-knowing and All-powerful;
He is Living and willful;
He is the Perceiver.
He is Eternal without end,
The Sincere Speaker with His Prophets.
He is All Knowing since He knows everything;
He is All Powerful; this means He encompasses everything;
He is Living; i.e. He is Alive. He is Living since a living being is both Knowing and Powerful. Since God is both Knowing and Almighty, He is Living;
He is willful which means; He decides and carries out His wishes accordingly. He is free to do whatever He wants and whatever He does is based on wisdom.
God is a Perceiver since He perceives everything; He sees everything and hears every sound; and He is cognizant of all things.
God is Eternal and exists at all times. His Being does not have any beginning. This is because His Existence stems from His Nature. For this reason, He is Eternal. Non-existence is meaningless for God Whose Existence relies on Himself.
God is the speaker with His prophets. He creates the sound waves which create words. This does not mean that He has a tongue, lips or a larynx.
God is Sincere; this means that whatever He utters is the absolute truth. This is because lying is the result of ignorance or weakness. God never tells lies since He is both Knowing and Powerful.
God’s most famous Negative Attributes could be found in the following poem:
He is not composed;
Neither is He a substance nor a body.
He is not visible,
Neither does He occupy space.
He lacks associates,
He does not bear attributes, either
God is Rich; never is He Needy.
1. God is not composed because He lacks components. If He were composed, He would be in need of His components, while He needs nothing.
2. God is not a substance because every material thing is perishable and limited.
3. God cannot be seen; He is invisible. This is because if He were Visible, He should be a thing, with limits and dimensions.
4. God does not occupy space because He is not a substance to be in need of space.
5. There is no associate with God. This is because if He had an associate, He would be finite, and two finite beings could not tolerate each other. Besides, the uniqueness of the rules in this world leads us to accept His Uniqueness.
6. God lacks attributes because His attributes and His Being are the same.
7. God is not poor; neither is he needy. He is Rich. This is because an Infinite Being does not lack Knowledge or Power.
The Holy Qur’¡n says:
لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ.
Nothing is like Him. [Qur’¡n 42:11]
THINK AND ANSWER