May 3, 2016
interesting trivia, it’s worth first sharing that the twenty-seventh chapter of
the holy Quran is named The Ant, and in verse eighteen, the ant is directly
when they came to the Valley of Ants, an ant said: ‘O you ants! Get into your
habitations, so that Solomon and his hosts may not crush you, being unaware’.”
intrigues me about this verse was the fact that God describes a command
literally by an ant to the rest of the colony. Now unless you’ve seen the film
Antz, this really is quite a vague notion, but bearing in mind the previous
verse mentions Solomon’s ability to speak to the birds, it’s not as strange a concept
as it first seems. Communication and clan-ship therefore seems to be a theme
that comes through from this initial interaction with the verse – and this
certainly is something pivotal to the existence of the ant nation.
first area to explore has to be the ant lingo, and how true it is. As we learnt
from the bee, complex but ingenious methods of communication within animals do
exist, and you’re about to be bewildered by the language of the ant. Using
pheromones, antennae touch and scent trails, ants have such an outstanding code
that modern day technology stems from it.
2. Like in
bees, there are no sex chromosomes in ants, and therefore the gender is
determined by the fertilisation process. Fertilised eggs are female, and
non-fertilised ones are male. (It’s very interesting that the two ‘divine’
creatures I’ve looked at so far share this, and other, unique societal traits).
3. Ants and
bees also have some of the highest numbers of odorant receptors in the insect
kingdom. These are the receptors that allow them to obtain information about
food, surroundings, dangers, and so on, via a keen sense of smell. The bee has
174 (high compared to most other insects), and the ant has 400 – the highest
amongst all insects!
total biomass of all the ants on Earth is roughly equal to the total biomass of
all the people on Earth. How can this be?! Ants are so tiny, and we are so big!
But scientists estimate there are at least 1.5 million ants on the planet for
every human being. Over 12,000 species of ants are known to exist, on every
continent except Antarctica. Most live in tropical regions. A single acre of
Amazon rainforest may house 3.5 million ants.
5. Ants are
capable of carrying objects approximately 30 times their own body weight with
their mandibles (jaws). Relative to their size, their muscles are thicker than
those of larger animals or even humans. This ratio enables them to produce more
force and carry larger objects. On this note, there seems to be a lesson for
humans to take stock of. We are God’s best creation, and at times it feels like
we have troubles that weigh us down, but if we take the ant as a parable, then
we really can find the inner strength, collectively, to get past the hurdles we
makes the dream work. This could never be truer than with the ant. As we have
mentioned, they can lift some serious weight, but what is more impressive, is
the way in which they can work together to achieve great feats. Not only is it
impressive, but as mentioned above, essential to their existence and survival.
To demonstrate their remarkable skill, the video below shows how ants can join
arms (as it were) to create a living raft to facilitate movement across the
water and protect their queen. (It seems the queen is held in high esteem by ants
as well as bees!).
as I write this piece – which has hopefully served as a way to appreciate God’s
majesty more – I personally get that sense of awe and personal humility. The
ant is often seen as the most mundane and trivial, annoying even, insect, but
when we take a closer look, there is a beautiful and magnificent design behind
this tiny creature. Not only is there a reason to be unpretentious, especially
in front of God, but the team spirit of the ants also makes me think of just
how successful mankind could be if we truly came together as one.
how the ants gather together to gather food for themselves. You will find that
when several ants mean to carry a grain to their homes they resemble several
men engaged in carrying home their corn. The ants in fact bring in effort and
activity which men cannot do. Do you not see how they help each other in
carrying the grain like men? All these activities, however, are without the
intervention of reason, purely instinctive, with which their constitutions are
endowed with, by the Kindness of the Almighty Allah.” (Tawhid al-Muffadhal)
God is all-knowing.
Muntadhir is a teacher in secondary school in the