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Farooq and the Duck

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One day, Farooq's uncle took him somewhere he had been wanting to visit for a very long time. This was the zoo, where he could see in real life the animals he had always read about in books and magazines and watched on television. The journey was long, but fun. On the way his uncle explained to Farooq the signs of Allah in nature and gave examples from the Qur'an. At last they arrived at the zoo. Farooq's eyes widened in wonder. He had never seen so many different animals together in one place. When they came to the bird section Farooq left his uncle's side and went to the ducks' cage. "What a beautiful bird," he said about one of them. "Thank you," a voice answered; Farooq looked around, but there was nobody else there. Then he realized it was the duck he was looking at which had spoken.

"Hello," said the duck. "Thank you for your kind remark. As well as having a handsome appearance I have other interesting characteristics. Did you know that?"

Farooq answered in excitement, "No, but I'd really like you to tell me about them, please."

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The duck settled down on a comfy branch and began: "Did you know we can fly very fast? When flying, ducks can travel at more than 30 miles (50 km) an hour. What's more, we continually change direction to avoid being caught by predators. And when we need to dive underwater we do it so quickly that we're a difficult target for hunters."

Farooq's eyes opened wide: "For a bird, that really is flying fast. You mean your enemies force you to fly that quickly?"

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"Yes, Farooq," replied the duck: "Let me give you an example. Our friends the ice ducks are a regular target for an interesting hunting method used by seagulls. The seagulls attack them constantly from the air and make them dive underwater. They keep doing this until the ducks have to come to the surface, all out of breath and helpless. Then they hunt them by diving at them and pecking their heads. But the seagulls don't always win the battle. The ice ducks have their own special methods of protecting themselves. If they see a seagull in the sky they immediately gather together in large groups. This means that a seagull can't chase any individual one of that large number of diving ducks, and eventually it grows tired and gives up."

"How clever those ducks are!" marveled Farooq. "How are they able to do that?"

"The answer to that is obvious, Farooq," tutted the duck. "It is Allah Who created ducks and all other living things, and it is He Who teaches them how to protect themselves."

"Thank you so much, dear duck," said Farooq. "You've given me some very useful information today and reminded me of the signs of our Lord. See you later," he said, as he walked back to find his uncle.

Is He Who creates like him who does not create? So will you not pay heed? (Surat an-Nahl: 17)

 

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