Omar and the Fish
One day, Omar and his father got up before daybreak and went fishing. Omar liked watching the sun rise while fishing with his father. In the mornings the sky looked fantastic and the sunrise filled his heart with the same excitement every time he watched it...
While his father was replacing the bait on the hooks, Omar sat at the side of their little boat and watched the sea. Suddenly he heard a voice from behind him:
"Good morning little friend!" it said, in a bubbly kind of way.
"Hey, good morning to you too, little fish," said Omar. It looks like you got up early too and went swimming. I've always wondered—I've only just learned to swim but you fish can swim as soon as you're born. How do you manage that?"
"To tell you the truth," said the fish, "we fish do not need to move much to be able to swim; just swishing our tails from side to side is enough. We live comfortably in the water because of our flexible backbones and the various systems inside our bodies."
"You must have a great time swimming around in the water," mused Omar.
"Very true," his new friend agreed. "But remember, our bodies have been specially created to let us do that. Just think, do you find it easier to walk in water or on dry land? We fish have been created with special muscles and backbones to be able to live and swim in water. Our backbone keeps us straight and also connects our fins and our muscles. Were it not for that it would be impossible for us to live in water. You see, little friend, like every other living thing, Allah has created us fish faultlessly and has given us the best possible characteristics for the environment we live in."
"You don't just stop at swimming left and right, sometimes you go down into the depths of the water. How do you do that?" asked Omar.
"We do that due to a different bodily system that Allah has given us fish," replied his friend. "A fish has air sacs in its body. By filling these sacs with air we can go down to the depths, or head straight for the surface by emptying them. Of course we would never have had the power to develop these characteristics by ourselves unless Allah had willed that it should be so."
While his father got on with jobs at the stern of the boat, Omar continued his conversation with the fish:
"I'm thinking about very crowded places. Everybody has to move left or right at the same time, and if it's dark it's impossible for anybody to move without bumping into other people. How do you fish manage to get over that problem?"
The little fish set about explaining: "To avoid bumping into others around you, you have to see what's there, whereas we fish have no need of such a visual system. We have a perfect sense organ called the "lateral line." We can feel the slightest change in pressure that may take place or ripple in the water, or the smallest disturbance in its flow, right away because of special sensors on our lateral line. By sensing vibrations we know when an enemy or an obstacle is present without actually seeing it with our eyes. These detectors are particularly sensitive to nearby low frequency vibrations. For example we can perceive footsteps on the shore or anything thrown into the water right away, and behave accordingly."
Omar nodded enthusiastically: "Now I understand. I can sing or play the radio out of the water and it doesn't make you uncomfortable, but at the slightest vibration I make in the water, for example if I shake the jetty or throw a stone into the water, you all disappear!"
His new friend went on: "Omar, this system of ours, which scientists call the fish lateral line, is really a very complex structure. It is not possible for such a system to have developed by chance or accidentally or step by step over a period of time. All the elements in these systems must have come into being at the same time, otherwise the system would not work."
Omar looked more closely at the fish, noticed it had no eyelids and asked in surprise:
"You don't have any eyelids. How do you protect your eyes?"
"You're right," answered his friend. "We fish don't have eyelids like people do. We see the world through a delicate membrane over our eyes. You can compare this membrane to a diver's goggles. Because we mostly need to see objects which are very near us, our eyes have been created for this purpose. When we need to see into the distance, the whole lens system is moved back by a special muscle mechanism inside the eye. Even the little eyes of us fish have a complex structure. There is no doubt that this is another of the many proofs of Allah's supreme creation."
Omar remembered a TV documentary he had watched the day before. He had seen a shoal of fish of different colors and shapes. He thought that the wonderful colors of the fish and their extraordinary characteristics were very fine proofs of Allah's supreme creation. His clever little friend the fish continued to give him information about itself:
"Did you know, little friend, the bodies of most of us fish are covered with a very strong skin?"
Omar thought for a moment or two: "Yes, you have a scaly skin, I've seen that. But it doesn't look very thick."
"This skin is made up of an upper and lower layer," explained the fish. "Inside the upper skin are glands which produce a material called mucus, which helps to reduce friction to the lowest level when we're moving in the water. That allows us to move faster. Also, its slipperiness makes it very difficult for enemies to catch us. Another characteristic of mucus is that it protects us against illness."
Omar agreed: "Yes, I once tried to take hold of the fish in my father's bucket with my hand but they slid out of my hand again right away!"
The fish smiled: "The special things about our skin don't stop there. In our upper skin there is a special layer made of keratin. Keratin is a hard, tough material which is formed by the death of old cells in the lower level that lose contact with their sources of food and oxygen."
"This layer made of keratin prevents water from entering the body and is useful in balancing inside and outside pressure. If this layer did not exist, water would get into our bodies, the pressure balance would be destroyed and we would die right away."
Omar was again impressed, "What important characteristics the skin of a fish—which nobody ever thinks about—has!"
"You're right," agreed the fish. "Omar, as you can see, it is Allah, Who created everything, Who gives fish all their characteristics. Allah is aware of the needs of all living things."
Omar heard his father's voice from the stern of the boat:
"Come on, Omar, time to go home!"
Omar stopped for a moment to say goodbye to his little friend: "Thank you for the information you have given. Every time I see a fish I'll remember Allah's supreme creation once again and thank our Lord for all the blessings He has given us."
Colorful Creatures Under The Sea