The Four Animals Emphasised in the Qur'an
the Qur’an, as mentioned in earlier pages, Allah frequently summons
people to investigate nature and see the "signs" therein. All animate
and inanimate beings in the universe are full of signs revealing
that they are "made", and they demonstrate the power, knowledge
and art of their "maker". Man is responsible for identifying these
signs by using his wisdom, and for paying reverence to Allah.
While all living beings bear these signs, there
are some to which Allah specifically refers in the Qur’an.
The gnat is one of these animals. In the 26th
verse of Surat al-Baqarah, the gnat is mentioned:
The main food source for male and female gnats is nectar.
Allah is not ashamed to make the example
of a gnat or of an even smaller thing. As for those who believe,
they know it is the truth from their Lord. But as for those who
reject, they say, "What does Allah mean by this example?" He misguides
many by it and guides many by it. But He only misguides the degenerate.
Considered as an ordinary, insignificant living
being, even the gnat is worthy of being examined and pondered since
it bears the signs of Allah. This is why "Allah is not ashamed to
make the example of a gnat or of an even smaller thing".
SPECIAL PINCERS FOR MATING
A male gnat mature enough to mate uses its antennae, i.e. its
hearing organs, to find its female. The antennae of male gnats
have different functions from those of females. Thin feathers
at the end of their antennae are highly sensitive to sound emitted
by female gnats. Right beside the sexual organs of the
male gnat, there are appendages, which help him to grab the
female while mating in the air. Male gnats fly in groups that
seem like clouds and when a female gnat enters the group, the
male who succeeds in grabbing the female mates with her
during flight. Mating does not take long and the male gnat goes
back to his group after mating. From that moment, the female
gnat needs blood for the development of her eggs.
The Extraordinary Adventure of the Gnat
What is generally known about gnats is that they
are bloodsuckers and feed on blood. This, however, is not quite
correct, because not all gnats suck blood but only females. Besides,
the females suck blood not because of their need for food. Both
male and female gnats feed on the nectar from flowers. The only
reason female gnats, unlike the males, suck blood is their need
for the proteins found in blood which help their eggs to develop.
In other words, the female gnat sucks blood just to secure the perpetuation
of its species.
The developmental process is one of the
most amazing and admirable sides of the gnat. The short story of
the transformation of a living being from a tiny larva through many
different phases into a gnat is as follows:
In some gnat species, the female lines up hundreds
of eggs like a raft.
Gnat eggs, which are fed by blood to develop,
are deposited on damp leaves or dried ponds by the female gnat during
summer or autumn. Prior to this, the mother initially inspects the
ground thoroughly by using the delicate receptors under her abdomen.
Upon finding a convenient place, she starts to deposit her eggs.
The eggs, which are less than 1 mm in length, are arranged in a
row either in groups or one by one. Some species deposit their eggs
in a form, which is joined together like a raft. Some of these egg
groups contain about 300 eggs.
The respiratory system of the larva is based on a method
whereby the larva breathes air by means of a hollow tube pushed
up above the water surface.
Meanwhile, larvae hang upside down under the water. A viscous
secretion prevents water from leaking into the openings through
which larvae breathe.
The neatly placed white eggs soon start to darken,
and they turn completely black in a couple of hours. This
dark colour provides protection for the larvae by preventing them
from being noticed by other insects and birds. Apart from the eggs,
the skin colours of some other larvae also change according to their
surroundings, and this helps to protect them.
The larvae change colours by making use of certain
factors after quite complicated chemical processes. No doubt, neither
the eggs, nor the larvae, nor the mother gnat is aware of the processes
behind the colour changes during the gnat’s different developmental
stages. It is out of the question for these living beings themselves
to make this system or for this system to form by coincidence. Gnats
have been created with these systems from the moment they first
Coming out of the egg
When the incubation period is complete, larvae
start to come out of the eggs almost simultaneously. The larvae,
which feed continuously, grow quickly. Soon, their skins become
too tight, not allowing them to grow any further. This indicates
that it is time for the first change of skin. In this phase, the
hard and brittle skin breaks easily. Before the gnat larva fully
completes its development, it changes its skin two more times.
method used for feeding the larvae is rather astonishing. The larvae
make small whirlpools in the water with their two fan-shaped appendages
made up of feathers, and thus make bacteria and other micro-organisms
flow towards their mouths. The respiration of the larvae, which
repose upside down in water, takes place through an aerial tube
similar to the "snorkel" used by divers. A viscous solution secreted
by their bodies prevents water from leaking into the openings through
which they breathe. Briefly, this living being survives through
the inter-relationship and interplay of many delicate balances.
If it did not have an aerial tube, it could not survive; if it did
not have a viscous secretion, its respiratory tube would fill with
water. The formation of these two systems at two different times
would cause the animal to die at this stage. This proves that the
gnat has all its systems intact, that is, it was created.
The larvae change their skin once more. The last
change of skin is rather different from the others. In this stage,
larvae pass onto the final stage of their maturation, the "pupal
stage". The shell they are placed in becomes quite tight. This shows
that it is time for the larvae to emerge from this shell. Such a
different creature comes out of the shell that it is indeed hard
to believe that these two are different developmental phases of
the same being. As seen, this transformation process is far too
complicated and delicate to have been designed either by the larva
or by the female gnat...
During this last stage of transformation, the
animal faces the danger of being choked, as its respiratory openings,
reaching above the water through an aerial tube, would be closed.
However, from that stage on, respiration will not be done by means
of these holes, but by means of two tubes newly emerging on the
anterior of the animal. This is why these tubes rise to the surface
of the water prior to the change of skin. The gnat in the pupa cocoon
has now become mature. It is ready to fly with all its organs and
organelles such as antennae, trunks, feet, chest, wings, abdomen
and its large eyes.
While the gnat comes out of the water, its head should
not contact the water at all, because even one breathless
moment may result in the gnat’s choking. Even a breeze or
a tiny turbulence on the water surface could be fatal for
The pupa cocoon is torn at the top. The greatest
risk at this stage is the leakage of water into the cocoon. However,
the torn top of the cocoon is covered with a special viscous liquid
protecting the gnat’s head from contact with the water. This moment
is extremely important. Because even a soft wind may bring its death
by causing it to fall into the water, the gnat has to climb on the
water with its feet only touching the water surface. It succeeds.
How is it that the first gnat attained the "ability"
to go through such a transformation? Could it be that a larva "decided"
to transform into a gnat after changing skin three times?
Absolutely not! It is quite evident that this
tiny living being, which Allah gives as an example, has specifically
been created this way.
HOW GNATS PERCEIVE OUTSIDE WORLD
Gnats are equipped with extremely sensitive heat receptors.
They perceive the things around them in different colours
depending on their heat, as in the picture on
the right. As its perception is not dependent on light, it
is quite easy for the gnat to spot blood vessels even in a
dark room. The heat receptors of
the gnat are sensitive enough to detect heat differences
as small as 1/1,000o C.
The gnat has nearly one hundred eyes. As compound eyes,
these are placed on the top of its head. In the picture
above, the cross-sections of three of these eyes are shown.
On the right, we see how the image of an object is transmitted
to the brain from the eye.
Amazing technique of blood sucking
gnat’s technique of "blood-sucking" depends on a complex system
in which unbelievably detailed structures work together. After the
gnat lands on its target, it first detects a spot by means of the
lips in its proboscis. The syringe-like ‘sting’ of the gnat is protected
by a special sheath, which is stripped back during the blood-sucking
The gnat does not pierce the skin, as assumed,
by thrusting its proboscis into it with pressure. Here, the main
task falls to the upper jaw, which is as sharp as a knife, and the
mandible on which there are teeth bent backwards. The gnat moves
its mandible forwards and backwards like a saw and cuts the skin
with the help of the upper jaws. When the sting, inserted through
this cut in the skin, reaches to the blood vessel, the drilling
ends. Now it is time for the gnat to suck blood.
However, as we know, the slightest harm to the
vessels causes the human body to secrete an enzyme that makes the
blood clot and stops its leakage. This enzyme should create a problem
for the gnat, because the body should also react to the hole opened
by the gnat, causing the blood at this spot to clot immediately
and the wound to be repaired. That would mean that the gnat could
not suck any blood.
The photograph is of a tiny animal that lives as a parasite
When we consider that apart from the excellent systems
of the gnat, such as feeding, reproduction, respiration and
blood circulation, only a small part of which we could examine
here, this lice also has complex systems and organic functions,
we can better comprehend the boundlessness of the signs of
But the problem is eliminated for the gnat. Before
the gnat starts sucking blood, it injects a special liquid secreted
in its body into the cleavage opened in the living being it has
stung. This liquid neutralises the enzyme that causes the clotting
of blood. Thus, the gnat sucks the blood it needs without the problem
of clotting. The itching and swelling formed on the spot bitten
by the gnat is caused by this liquid that prevents clotting.
This is surely an extraordinary process and it
brings the following questions to mind:
1) How does the gnat know that there is a clotting
enzyme in the human body?
2) In order to produce a neutralising secretion
in its own body against that enzyme, it needs to know the chemical
structure of the enzyme. How could this be possible?
3) Even if it somehow attained such knowledge
(!), how could it produce the secretion in its own body and make
the "technical rigging" needed to transfer it to its proboscis?
The answer to all these questions is obvious:
it is not possible for the gnat to perform any of the above. It
neither has the required wisdom, knowledge of chemistry, or the
"laboratory" environment to produce the secretion. What we talk
about here is only a gnat of a few millimetres in length, without
consciousness or wisdom, that is all!
It is quite clear that Allah, "Lord of the heavens
and of the earth, and of all that is between them", has created
both the gnat and man, and donated such extraordinary and marvellous
features to the gnat.
Everything in the heavens and the
earth glorifies Allah. He is the Almighty, the All-Wise.
The sovereignty of the heavens and the earth belongs to
Him. He gives life and causes to die.He has power over everything.
(Surat al-Hadid: 1-2)