Honeybee and Science
By Dr Aslam Abdullah
Las Vegas, Nevada
And the Creator Sent Revelation to Honeybee
Referring to the honeybee, we find a very intriguing verse in the Qur’an.
"And [consider how] your Sustainer has given revelation to the bee: "Prepare for yourself dwellings in mountains and in trees, and in what [people] may build [for you by way of hives];" - 16:68
The Qur’an uses the word Awha, (root word wahi) to talk about the process of honey production described in the verse. What has wahi to do with the bee or honey production? What is it that the Qur’an wants humans to understand from this example and what are the open secrets mentioned in this verse?
Every living organism follows certain laws to live and survive. We need oxygen to survive. If we do not inhale oxygen we would suffocate and die. Those laws are fixed and they do not change on their own unless interfered. Those laws are applicable to all. For instance, even the most pious in any or all religious traditions would suffer suffocation without oxygen regardless of his piety or knowledge.
In the Qur’anic language, these laws are also called the wahi or divine inspiration or programming This inspiration is embedded in every living thing, including the physical anatomy of human beings. Thus, every part of the human body would act in a uniform manner all over the world in all races and communities because the human anatomy has been inspired by the divine to act in that manner.
This wahi or inspiration in the physical realm does not come through angle Gabriel. It is programmed in the DNA, anatomy and physical being of everything that exists. For living creatures other than human beings everything is fixed and programmed to the extent that their tasks are monotonous and are repeated according to the laws they are created with. A bee cannot say that "I am tired today and I would take rest or just go for sightseeing." A bee has to perform the task that has been embedded in her creation. The mountains cannot say that I intend to reappear at a different location.
This wahi or inspiration in the physical make of the universe is spread all over and it keeps everything in balance. When we interfere in these laws or try to change them, imbalances occur.
For human beings God has sent additional wahi through angel Gabriel to messengers so that we could use the physical laws in a manner that would maintain the balance. No one can escape the physical laws of God because they are fixed, but we human beings have a choice to either cause destruction or maintain the balance in the physical laws based on their relationship with the wahi or revelation that God sent through angels to his messengers who relayed it to their people. In order to use the wahi given through messengers, we have to learn the wahi spread in the physical universe. Without that we cannot use the wahi through messengers properly. We will continue to wander in darkness.
Thus, the discovery of the physical laws of the universe and everything that exists in it is the journey to understand the wahi of Allah. Human beings have always made efforts to understand the wahi of Allah. Every scientific progress is based on the understanding of this wahi, but many a times they have neglected to use this according to the wahi sent through messengers.
Interestingly, many of our Muslim scholars, past and present who claim to have an authentic religious understanding, in general have denied the existence of the wahi spread in the physical word despite asserting that everything has been created by Allah. They have often said that the study of the universe and the laws that operate every living organism are mundane and in the realm of worldly sciences with no use to one's spirituality. They have also asserted that a person focused on life after death should be the least concerned about them. They have even gone to the extent of even denying the study of languages other than own despite the fact that the Qur’an, the Scriptures of Islam, acknowledges and celebrates human diversity. They have negated the importance of the wahi of Allah spread in our physical world. The biggest proof of this negation is the curriculum that is taught in religious institutions known as madarsas. Generations after generations have been convinced that these institutions are serving the divine cause, while in reality they deprive the students of the essence of divine teachings and guidance.
The Qur’an describes the knowledge of universal laws sacred and makes it obligatory on every human being to acquire it. The Qur’an tells human beings that when the wahi spread in the physical universe corresponds and reconciles with the wahi delivered through messengers, the human society would continue to hurt itself.
That is evident in our world today.The societies that have mastered the physical laws of the universe but are devoid of the wahi sent by messengers are suffering from imbalances in every walk of life. Societies that claim to have mastered the wahi sent through messengers have become a liability on the world.
Within the Muslim community we find scholars and institutions who still insist on this duality of divine guidance and in the name of God are willing to reject him and his guidance in this sphere. Read the tafasir written by many prominent scholars of the day and you can easily see the negation. Many such people are still controlling our religious institutions and perpetuating this denial while promoting ideas that defeat the very purpose of the divine guidance.
( Dr Aslam Abdullais the editor of the Muslim Observer and director of the Islamic Society of Nevada)