Part I: "The Four Animals Emphasised in the Qur’an" - The Camel
It is beyond doubt that all beings, with the features they possess, reflect the unbounded power and knowledge of their Creator. Allah expresses this in numerous verses in the Qur’an, where He points out that everything He creates is actually a sign, that is, a symbol and warning.
In the 17th verse of Surat al-Ghashiyah, Allah refers to an animal, which we are to examine carefully and think about: the "camel".
In this section, we will study this living being to which Allah has called our attention in the following expression in the Qur’an, "Have they not looked at the camel - how it was created?"
What makes the camel "a special living being" is its body structure, which is not affected even by the most severe conditions. Its body has such features that allow it to survive for days without water or food, and it can travel with a load of hundreds of kilograms on its back for days.
The characteristics of the camel, which you will learn in detail in the following pages, prove that this animal is brought into being particularly for dry climatic conditions, and that it is given to the service of mankind. This is an evident sign of creation for men of understanding.
"In the alternation of night and day and what Allah has created in the heavens and the earth there are signs for people who are godfearing."(Surah Yunus: 6)
Extraordinary Resistance to Thirst And Hunger
The camel can survive without food and water for eight days at a temperature of 50oC. In this period, it loses 22% of its total body weight. While a man will be near death if he loses body water equivalent to about 12% of his body weight, a lean camel can survive losing body water equivalent to 40% of its body weight. Another reason for its resistance to thirst is a mechanism that enables the camel to increase its internal temperature to 41oC. As such, the animal keeps water loss to a minimum in the extreme hot climates of the desert daytime. The camel can also reduce its internal body temperature to 30oC in the cool desert nights.
Improved Water Utilisation Unit
Camels can consume up to 130 litres of water, which is around one third of their body weight, in almost 10 minutes. Besides, camels have a mucus structure in their nose that is 100 times larger than that of humans. With its huge and curved nose mucus, camels can hold 66% of the moisture in the air.
Maximum Benefit From Food And Water
Most animals die by poisoning when accumulated urea in the kidneys diffuses into the blood. However, camels make maximum use of water and food by passing this urea numerous times through the liver. Both the blood and the cell structures of the camel are specialised in order to enable this animal to survive for long periods without water in desert conditions.
The cell walls of the animal have a special structure preventing extra water loss. Furthermore, blood composition is such that it does not let any deceleration in the blood circulation even when the water level in the camel’s body is reduced to the minimum. In addition, albumin enzyme, which reinforces resistance to thirst, is found in much higher amounts in the camel’s blood than in that of other living things.
The hump is the other support of the camel. One fifth of the camel's total body weight is stored as fat in its hump. The storage of the body fat in only one part of the camel's body prevents the excretion of water from all over its body - which is related to fat. This allows the camel to use the minimum of water.
Although a humped camel can take in 30-50 kilograms of food in a day, in tough conditions it is able to live up to one month with only 2 kg of grass a day. Camels have very strong and rubber-like lips that allow them to eat thorns sharp enough to pierce thick leather. Moreover, it has a four chambered stomach and a very strong digestive system with which it can digest everything it eats. It can even feed on materials like caoutchouc that cannot be looked upon as food. It is obvious enough how valuable this quality is in such dry climates.
Precaution Against Tornadoes and Storms
The eyes of camels have two eyelash layers. The eyelashes interlock like a trap and protect the eyes of the animal from harsh sandstorms. In addition, camels can close their nostrils so that no sand enters.
Protection Against Burning and Freezing Weather Conditions
The thick and impenetrable hairs on the camel's body prevent the scorching sun of the desert from reaching the skin of the animal. These also keep the animal warm in freezing weather. Desert camels are not affected by high temperatures up to 50oC, and double-humped Bactrian camels can survive in very low temperatures down to -50oC. Camels of this kind can survive even in high valleys, 4,000 metres above sea level.
Protection Against Burning Sand
The camels’ feet, which are large in proportion to its legs, are specially "designed" and enlarged to help the animal walk in the sand without becoming stuck. These feet possess a wide spread form and puffy qualities. In addition, the special thick skin under the soles is a protection against the burning desert sand.
Let us think in the light of these pieces of information: has the camel on its own adapted its own body to desert conditions? Has it by itself formed the mucus in its nose or the hump on its back? Has it by itself designed its own nose and eye structures in order to protect itself against tornadoes and storms? Has it by itself based its own blood and cell structures on the principle of conservation of water? Has it itself chosen the type of hair covering its body? Has it on its own converted itself to a "ship of the desert"?
Just as any other living being, the camel surely could not perform any of the above and make itself beneficial to mankind. The verse in the Qur’an stating, "Have they not looked at the camel - how it was created?" draws our attention to the creation of this excellent animal in the best way. Like all other creatures, the camel too is endowed with many special qualities and then placed on earth as a sign of the excellence of the Creator in creation.
Created with such superior physical features, the camel is decreed to serve mankind. As for humans, they are ordered to see like miracles of creation throughout the universe and revere the Creator of all beings: Allah.
FootnotesThe Camel, Hilde Gauthier-Pilters & Anne Innis Dag, The University of Chicago Press, 1981... Ça m'intéresse, Aralık 1992... Science Illustrée Temmuz 1993, Il grande libro degli animali e lambiente, Paolo Schmidt di Friedberg, Vallarddi Industrie Grafiche, Lainate-Italia, 1975.