Yanarilys Rodriguez: Nature in the Qur’an

The Qur’an comments on different aspects in nature, from The Cow (Suras 2) to The Bees (Suras 16) and The Ants (Suras 27). All of these animals are given an individual chapter alongside aspects of nature such as The Star (Suras 53) and The Moon (Suras 54). In these chapters, you can find signs of nature acting and thinking as most humans act and think. These chapters give us a new method of approaching and understanding nature. There are those who consider nature to be a gift that deserves our respect, and others who see nature as a resource that was given to us so that we may use and exploit it. However, these chapters in the Qur’an allow us to view nature in a different light, and ask that we approach nature differently.

An example of this is Suras 27 titled “The Ants” which reads, “To Solomon were mustered his troops of Jinn, humans and birds, all held strict order. Until, when they arrived at the Valley of Ants, an ant said: ‘O ants, enter your dwellings lest Solomon and his troops should crush you unawares’” (27:18). This is one of my favorite verses in the Qur’an because we are able to see how similar humans are to an animal as small as an ant. Most humans believe that the majority of the animals, especially animals such as ants, do not have the mental capacity to be aware of their surroundings, often resulting in feeling no remorse for their deaths or sufferings. But this passage shows that the ants believe the same thing about humans, that they are unaware of their surroundings and of reality. This passage calls for the expansion of what we think our reality is; it demands that we realize that these animals are self aware, and that they are creations of God and should be treated as such. It asks us to consider that our current perceptions of nature are incorrect.

Not only are the ants given the spotlight in this passage, but the birds are shown in a different light as well. In this passage the humans, the Jinn, and the birds are mentioned together, as equals. “To Solomon were mustered his troops of Jinn, humans and birds, all held strict order.” There were troops of Jinn, troops of humans, and troops of birds, all traveling together. Not only did the dialog between the ants confirm this, but the equal treatment of birds alongside the humans and Jinn prove this as well. Both of these verses together share an equal meaning: animals, humans and Jinn are all creations of God and should be treated equally. The Qur’an states that everything between the earth and the heavens praise God, and these verses only amplify that statement. It shows that humans, Jinn, and nature all pray to the same God, and they all act and think in similar manners. It shows how similar we are to each other, and it shows that the only difference between us and other aspects of nature is our appearance and size.