The Secret Beyond Matter

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Jalal and the Seagull

When he was traveling by ferryboat in hot weather what Jalal liked to do best was to sit outside on deck. That way he got a closer view of the sea and could look around more easily. One day Jalal boarded the ferryboat with his mother. Right away he went and sat down on deck. A group of seagulls were following the ferryboat as though they were racing one another. The seagulls put on a wonderful display, swirling and turning in the air, and fought one another over pieces of bread thrown to them by the passengers.


One of the seagulls glided slowly down and landed on the seat next to Jalal.

"How did you like our flying display?" it asked. "I noticed that you were watching us very carefully. What's your name?"

"My name's Jalal. Yes, I was really enjoying watching you flying. I see you can stay up in the air without flapping your wings at all. How do you do that?"

The seagull nodded its head. "We seagulls position ourselves according to the direction of the wind. Even if there is very little wind, rising air currents lift us up. We make use of this movement, and we can make long journeys without flapping our wings at all."

"We move backwards and forwards inside the masses of air rising up from the sea," it went on. "These currents mean that we always have air under our wings, and that allows us to stay up in the air without using up too much energy."


Jalal was still not sure he quite understood: "I saw you up there in the air without moving your wings, just as if you were hanging there. And you do all this by acting according to the direction of the wind? I can see that, but how do you calculate the strength of the wind and which direction it will come from?"

"It's impossible for us to do that from our own knowledge," began the seagull. "When He created us Allah taught us how to fly and how to hang in the air without wasting energy. These are examples given us so that we can realize Allah's existence and understand His power."

Do they not see the birds suspended in mid-air up in the sky? Nothing holds them there except Allah. There are certainly Signs in that for people who believe. (Surat an-Nahl: 79)

Jalal thought of another question: "Yes, you stay hanging in the air as though you were held up there by a string... To be able to do this you'd need to know math very well and be able to make detailed calculations, but you do it without any problem right from the first time you fly, don't you?"

"Absolutely," the seagull agreed. "Our Lord gave every living creature the inspiration it needs. We all do what we are told to do. Never forget that Allah embraces everything and keeps everything under His control. He is the Lord of all things. You can find a lot of verses about this in the Qur'an. The ferry is approaching land now, and I'm going to fly off to join my friends. See you again..." Jalal watched his new friend fly away, growing smaller and smaller in the distance.

When he arrived home Jalal looked for a verse in the Qur'an about everything being under Allah's control. He found it in the Surah Hud, and learned the verse by heart right away:

[Hud said,] "I have put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord. There is no creature He does not hold by the forelock. My Lord is on a Straight Path." (Surah Hud: 56)


Dear Children,

Have you heard of a kind of bird known as megapode? When these birds have chicks to raise, it is always the male birds which look after them. First the mother bird digs a big hole to lay her eggs in.

After she has laid her eggs, the male has to keep the nest at a temperature of 92 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius). In order measure the temperature of the nest the male bird buries its beak in the sand which covers it, using its beak like a thermometer. The bird repeats this operation over and over again.

If the temperature of the nest goes up, it immediately opens air holes to bring the temperature down again. Also, the bird's beak is such a delicate thermometer that if somebody throws a handful of soil on top of the nest and the temperature rises even the tiniest bit, the bird can detect this. Such measurements are only possible for us to make by using a thermometer, and yet megapodes have been doing this for centuries, and never make the slightest mistake. This is because Allah taught them everything, and it is the Almighty Allah Who created a beak with the sensitivity of a thermometer.


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