Learning From Our Neighbors


By Mohamed Ali

Allah (SW) says in the Holy Quran, “There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you. Nothing have we omitted from the Book, and they (all) shall be gathered to their Lord in the end”(1). It’s amazing how the verse easily explains the nature of animals, yet there are evocative interpretations beyond the face of the verse. Most scholars say that “communities like you” means we share with the animals many things including survival, worshiping one God, resurrection (which indicated that animals have souls like us), and the like.

The verse is teaching us more than just about sharing this planet, because psychologically people learn by reflecting on their environment. There are countless species that exceed the types of animals which we consider part of our diet.

Historically, we learned most of the fundamental principles of survival like hunting, gathering, and coastal defense skills from animals. The story of Adam’s two sons in the Holy Quran tells us that when one of them killed the other, he did not know what to do at the time. However, he learned how to bury the body of his dead bother by watching a crow who had the same incident. Animals also teach us other tangible values that deal with morality such as the idea of motherhood, pride, and the idea of leadership.

Consequently, animals are not part of nature, rather most of them are communities like us that impose compulsory rules to accomplish survival habits and it’s important that we analyze their behavior. If you look carefully, each species is able to turn their weakness into strength. For instance, each ant understands the significance of belonging to a bigger community, this animal kingdom survive as groups and they work together to harvest, plant, and save assets even in the most difficult times of the year. They respect their leadership and they are always on top of their tasks.

Comparably, with humans and after two hundred years of modernization, we still have civil wars in many parts of the world including political revolutionaries awakened by a blow-up of injustice leaderships. The kingdom of bees implements the concept of loyalty, sacrifice, and sharing. Humans claim to be the best biological intelligence out there and yet we are falling to fulfill the basic natural ethics executed by little insects.

In conclusion, Allah (SW) has created this world with certain laws and principles. And just like we understand and work with the laws of gravity, we need to work with the principles of ethics and morals to survive.

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