Ali and the Ostrich
Ali was eating and watching a cartoon on television at the same time. In the cartoon, there was a huge ostrich running away from a dog. The ostrich was running so fast that it escaped and went back to its friends in the nest. Ali had always assumed that ostriches were birds which just buried their heads in the sand. He didn't know they were such good runners, too.
"You mean you didn't know we could run fast?" asked a voice.
Ali looked around startled, before realizing that the voice was coming from the television. He went up to it and began to talk to the ostrich on the screen.
"You're a bird," he began. "Of course it surprises me that you can run so quickly. And with such a huge body, too."
"You're right," puffed the ostrich, which was still a little bit out of breath. "We're the biggest birds in the world. We're taller than people. Take me, for example, I'm about two and a half meters tall and I weigh 265 pounds (120 kg). We can't fly, but Allah gave us a different talent so that we can escape from our enemies. We run very fast with our long legs, so fast that nobody can catch us on foot. In the world of living creatures, we're the fastest runners on two legs. We can reach a speed of around 45 miles (70 km) an hour if we really go all out."
Ali had a closer look at his new friend: "Unless I'm very much mistaken, your feet have only two toes. Is that correct?"
The ostrich raised one foot for Ali to have a better look at: "Yes: We have only two toes on our feet. And one of those toes is much bigger than the other. We only run on our big toes. As you can see, Allah created us as He did all living things, from nothing and in a unique way. He gave us a number of characteristics to help us survive. We have a lot of very different characteristics from other birds you may know about..."
"That's very true," mused Ali. "I wonder how you bring your babies into the world."
"Well, Ali," replied the ostrich: "Just as we are very big, our eggs are very big too. We dig a big hole in the sand and we bury our giant eggs in it. We lay 10 or 12 eggs at a time and we have to make a hole big enough for them. In other words, we dig a very big hole indeed."
Ali considered for a second or two, "Why do you make these holes in sand?" he asked his new friend.
The ostrich smiled and preened its feathers: "If we made them in soil instead of sand, it would take a long, long time. It would also make us very tired. Moving sand is a lot easier than moving soil. You can even dig up sand with your fingers, but for soil you need a shovel. That's why we prefer sand. With sand we can do the job quicker and without tiring ourselves too much."
"After laying our eggs, it is also much easier to cover them with sand. You know, in the world there are millions of different kinds of living things. All creatures have their own wonderful characteristics. Allah created us all. It is Allah Who teaches us everything we do."
Ali stood up, as the program was coming to an end: "Meeting you has increased my love for and nearness to Allah even more. Thank you for what you have told me. Bye bye."
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