Deep Talk with the Quran Series: “Do they not observe the camels, how they were created?”

by Melita Rahmalia
camels in the desert

In the Quran, there is this chapter called “Al-Ghasiyah”. It has 26 verses, and its 17th verse read like this: “Do they not observe the camels, how they were created?” How are they created?

In July 2023, I finished a two-volumes online course on how to do Quran Tadabbur from Fajr Literary blog owner (Ustadha Farhia Yahya from London, UK), called “Valleys and Rainfalls“, which is essentially a summary of the book “Al Amthal Fil Quran” by Ibn Qayyim (which translates to “The Parables of the Quran).

It helped me immensely on how to read Quran in deeper ways, and I love going through the video recordings again and again just to marvel in the ways Ibn Qayyim breaks the verses down.

In one instance, in a verse about a spider’s web (Al Ahzab (29) verse 41: The example of those who take from besides Allah protectors, is like the spider who takes a house. And indeed, the weakest of houses is surely the house of the spider, if they know), he taught us to wonder, why has Allah mentioned spider’s web as the weakest of houses?

Upon further research, Ustadha Farhia informed us that it was actually not a house, but a trap. It is a device used by spiders to catch their “meals”, and it’s almost like a betrayal trap because spiders will actually kill their own spouses once they have finished mating with them. And that’s why Allah use that parable, because that’s what happens to people who take as protectors other than Allah – they will abandon, desert, and betray them, just when they need them to come through. That session was, eh, mind-blowing for me to say the least. Anyway, I started to realize how little I have ponder and reflect upon the Quran’s content.

So here’s me, trying to engage deeper with the Quran. It’s time for Deep Talk with the Quran! Because maybe our souls need more than just deep talk with human beings. Back to the 17th verses of Al-Ghasiyah, I was basically stopped at my track when I found a post in Instagram saying that camels have third eyelids to protect them from sandstorm. I started to really look up how the camels were created and what was the “functions” of all the features of camels.

It turns out that:

Camels have 3 eyelids

Camels live in a harsh and unforgiving environment like the Sahara Desert, the Gobi Desert, the steppes of Mongolia, or the Australian outback, and all types of camels (both Bactrian and Arabian) have their third eyelid. Yes, unlike other mammals, they have an extra eyelid.

Camels’ eyelids have long and thick eyelashes to keep dust and sand out of their eyes, which is helpful for their living environment (the desert). Camels’ third eyelid is called nictitating membranes, and they need this third eyelid to keep their eyes clean and free of debris, as an added protective measure to the two eyelids. They can also keep the third eyelid closed while they open their other two eyelids. This is especially needed because the desert is notorious for their sand and dust storm, and when this happens, their third eyelid functions as sand goggles so that no debris may damage or hurt their eyes. Once those storm is done, they can retract their third eyelid and use it as like a sand-wiper.

I mean, how cool is that?!!!

Camels have thick fur

Their thick fur actually acts like a temperature regulator, to keep them cool in hot weather, and then to keep them warm when it’s cold. Because the desert has a massive temperature difference during the day and the night. I’ve told you it’s mind-blowing stuff.

Camels have hump

Another “design feature” of the camels is the hump. This allows them to store energy in the form of fat, so that they can fast for long periods without growing weary – just in case they didn’t get to see water for a long trip and have to keep going.

Camels have large, spade-like feet

Those large, spade-like feet were designed so that they can move through the sand without sinking into it. I mean, wow right? If you design for a living, God is The Ultimate Muse. If you create stuff for a living, God is The Ultimate Teacher.

The Thoughts

The verse asks the disbelievers of Mecca to ponder upon the creation, and how especially camels, which they can see and observe every day, is created. Connecting with the rest of the verses before and after it, it’s clear that God wants to present a food for thought, or a basis for His Existence. The ultimate conclusion, for people with healthy sense of logic that’s functioning as it should, would be to submit to the fact that there is a Creator with Intelligent Design, Who creates nothing in vain.

But if you go deeper, you will realize that the same God Who created camels with all his features to survive and thrive in their environment, also created you in that way. He created you with traits, “features” and abilities to survive and thrive in whatever it is you have to deal with in your life. You have everything within you to succeed in this life you’ve been given.

When you read the verse, take it as a sign – the sign of Allah “ayat” – to empower yourself to find your “third eyelid”, your “hump”, your “thick fur” and your “large, spade-like feet”, and find your why.

The big why God creates you the way you are.

It is beneath Him to create you in vain – everything you have within you is there for a reason, and not just any reason, but for a really good reason.

It is there as a proof of His Might and Power as a Creator Who designs you with love, with mercy, and with absolute care so that you may survive, thrive, and be awesome in this life and in this world.

Love it, cherish it, appreciate it, take good care of it, nourish it, give thanks to Him for it by using it in His Causes and in His Path, and be proud of it.

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