The Butterfly: A Miracle of Colours
Do you know that butterflies don't have wings when they are born?
That is true! The butterfly is born without wings. It needs to pass through four phases to become the butterfly you see in the countryside or garden. Some have a lifespan of one to two months while some others only live for 24 hours. A butterfly emerges from the egg as a little larva. Soon, it grows into a lovely caterpillar and thus the second phase of the butterfly begins.
There are a total of 14 to 15 rings on a caterpillar's body. It has little eyes on its head, and a jaw that it uses for chewing. On the front part of its trunk, it has eight legs. When the butterfly is still in the form of a caterpillar, it has no wings and its antenna are very short. Meanwhile, its salivary gland secretes a kind of silk.
A caterpillar does not become longer as it grows; it only puts on weight. Finally, the caterpillar breaks loose from its skin by gradually tearing it. This skin is quickly replaced by a skin more fitting to its fat body. Caterpillars are very delicious creatures for birds that feed on insects. For this reason, our Lord has taught caterpillars various defence techniques. When standing upright, some of them resemble a branch, some of them camouflage themselves by remaining on a leaf that is exactly the same colour as their bodies, while some others play dead. These defence techniques are vital for their survival. They remain alive and grow into butterflies, thanks to these defence techniques.
The caterpillar employs these camouflage techniques also when it grows into a butterfly. Butterflies live in regions that match their own colours. But how do butterflies check that their colour suits the environment since they are unable to see themselves? How can they be sure that they are secure? Certainly, they cannot know or consider any of these. Allah, their Creator, places butterflies in the most suitable place where they can be secure.
Allah is the "Merciful" and the "Protector", and, as a manifestation of these attributes, He gives many capabilities to living beings, so that they can protect themselves from danger. Otherwise, butterflies are bereft of the wisdom that would make them think that they should protect themselves. Consequently, they themselves could never develop a defence mechanism such as camouflage. The One Who has created all these techniques that make life easy is our Lord, the One Who created the heavens and the earth and everything between them.
The caterpillar, which develops under the protection of the defence techniques given it by Allah, finally reaches the third phase. In this phase, it fills its stomach with as many leaves as possible so that it almost splits apart. In this third phase, the caterpillar imprisons itself in a sack and the metamorphosis begins.
The hard shell that is formed around the caterpillar in this phase is called a "chrysalis". In this shell, it is still and does not eat anything. In this phase, it utilises the energy of the leaves it ate when it was a caterpillar. Chrysalis shells are attached to a leaf, a rock or a branch. If you encounter one of them, have a look at it, because, when you look at the caterpillar inside the chrysalis, you can see the traces of the proboscis and the limbs that will be formed on the butterfly.
After approximately ten days, tearing its shell open in just a few minutes, the butterfly emerges from the chrysalis.
At that time, the wings of the butterfly have not yet reached their normal size. In the fourth phase, in order to stretch its wings, the butterfly inflates the veins of its wings with its body liquid. When its wings dry, it instantly begins to fly without any training. The wings also help the butterfly in its respiration.
As you see, even a tiny butterfly is a great miracle created by our Lord. Scientists have been conducting research to answer the question: "How does a caterpillar decide to change into a butterfly?" This metamorphosis only occurs because our Lord wills it so. Allah shows us how varied are the creatures He can create, and the unprecedented ways in which He can change them.
Another miracle is that the wings of butterflies are covered with tiny scales. The wings consist of these scales arranged one on top of another. How do you think these wings have come into existence?
Have these scales accidentally come together and formed a wing with its perfect structure?
Have these scales spontaneously united to form a wing?
Has the butterfly himself stuck these scales to one another to form the wing? Did the butterfly himself attach this wing to its back?
A butterfly cannot see its back. But there are perfect symmetrical patterns on its back that it can never see. The scales are arranged in such an orderly manner that the patterns on both wings are exactly the same. If you measure the size of the patterns with a ruler, you will see that they are all equal.
All of these show us our Lord's artistry, eternal knowledge and unlimited power. Upon seeing all these, we should reflect upon them and honour our Lord.