Wonderful Creatures


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The Compass in the Ant's Eye

karınca, karikatur

We need guides to show us the way when we travel to another country or another city. In particular, when we do not know the place we are going to, we definitely must have a compass and a map. A map shows us where we are and the compass shows us which way to go. We find the way by using these tools and consulting other people so we do not get lost. Have you ever wondered how other creatures find their way? Have you ever thought how an ant seeking food in the desert returns to its nest?

Black desert ants inhabiting the Mediterranean coasts of Tunisia are among those creatures who build their nests in the desert. These ants are very good at finding their way in the vast desert and getting back to their nests without the help of a compass or a map.

As the sun rises, temperatures in the desert reach up to 70oC (158oF). The ant leaves its nest to find food in the heat of the day. Frequently halting and turning around itself, it follows a devious route within an area that may be 200meters (655 feet) away from the nest. You may see this route on the map. But do not think that the ant will get lost because of these zigzags. Once it finds a source of food, the ant follows a straight course and returns to the nest. With respect to their sizes, this journey by the ant may be compared to a man's returning to his starting point taking a straight course after wandering 35-40 kilometers (22-25 miles) away from that point in the desert. How is it that an ant successfully performs a task that is virtually impossible for a human?

karınca adımı, karınca yol

1. The path the ant follows while looking for food
2. The nest
3. The way back to the nest

karınca, kum pusula, yön bulma

The little ant to the side uses no compass to find its way in the desert. The map above shows the path the ant has followed.

It cannot be that the ant finds its direction by looking at objects. Signs and road-marks such as trees, rocks, rivers or lakes which help one find the way are very rare in the desert. There is only sand all around. Even if there were such signs, it would not make any difference since it is not possible for an ant to keep these signs in mind, to memorize where they are and to use them while finding its way. Thinking about it this way, one can better understand the significance of the task that the ant performs. The ant can perform this difficult task by means of the special body structure it has been given.

There is a special navigational system in the ant's eyes. This system that Allah placed in the ant's eyes is more advanced than mechanical devices that determine direction. Being able to perceive some rays that we cannot, the ant can establish directions and know where north and south are. By means of this ability, it is not difficult at all for the ant to work out where its nest is and to return to it.

karınca, çizim

Human beings have only lately become aware of the characteristics of light. However the ant has known and used a characteristic of light, which was unknown to human beings, since it was born. Certainly such a perfect structure as the eye of this ant cannot be attributed to random coincidences. The eyes of the ant must have been so since it came into existence. Otherwise the ant could not return to the nest in the desert heat and could not survive. Indeed, eyes of all desert ants have been equipped with this system since the first day they came into existence. Allah, the All-Knowing, created these eyes for them.

(Do they) worship, instead of Allah, things that have no control over their provision from the heavens or earth in any way, and are themselves completely impotent? Do not try to make metaphors for Allah. Allah knows and you do not know. (Surat An-Nahl: 73-74)


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