In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

God's Wonderful Birds

[42:29] Among His proofs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the creatures He spreads in them. He is able to summon them, when He wills.

Each January, the people of Kundha Kulam, a parched farm town in southern India, raise their eyes to the sky, searching for signs of life-giving rain. But they are not looking for clouds. They are watching instead for the birds ! These birds arrive on the vanguard winds of the oncoming monsoon. At the sight of the first flick of feather, the villagers breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that their crops will soon get a welcome drink ! "If the birds come, we know we will be prosperous." says a resident of Kundha Kulam.

[25:48] He is the One who sends the winds with good omens of His mercy, and we send down from the sky pure water.
[25:49] With it, we revive dead lands and provide drink for our creations - multitudes of animals and humans.

The robin that is the harbinger of spring, or the lonely honk of a migrating goose that signals the arrival of another winter, the herons, ducks, and pelicans that swarm to the flooded fields around Kundha Kulam are examples of the bird community.

Animals and Birds: Submitting Creatures [6:38] All the creatures on earth, and all the birds that fly with wings, are communities like you. We did not leave anything out of this book. To their Lord, all these creatures will be summoned.

[13:16] ..Have they found idols besides GOD who created creations similar to His creations, to the point of not distinguishing the two creations? Say, "GOD is the Creator of all things, and He is the One, the Supreme."

The gift of flight would seem reason enough for humanity's fascination with birds. Bird's wings are naturally thin with feathers creating a smooth surface. Nearly hollow bones provide lightweight strength; large breast muscles power their wings; and a super-efficient respiratory system supplies plenty of oxygen to the cells during flight. Air travels across the top and bottom of a wings simultaneously. Because the bottom of a wings is flat and the top is curved, air travels across them at different speeds. There is a larger distance for air to travel over an arch shape than over a flat surface. Therefore, the air on the top of the wing travels faster. Both air flows meet at the wing tips simultaneously. The faster moving air exerts less force than the slower air on the bottom. This difference in pressure, low pressure above and high pressure below, causes lift for the birds !

[16:79] Do they not see the birds committed to fly in the atmosphere of the sky? None holds them up in the air except GOD. This should be (sufficient) proof for people who believe.

[59:24] He is the One GOD; the Creator, the Initiator, the Designer. To Him belong the most beautiful names. Glorifying Him is everything in the heavens and the earth. He is the Almighty, Most Wise.

Most birds do not fly faster or higher than necessary. It takes too much energy to climb against gravity and higher air means less oxygen to breathe and support the bird. Maneuverability is another variable in flight. Some birds can make sharp turns at top speed, others fly primarily in straight lines. The difference is in the tail design. It is used like a rudder. The tail feathers are broad and stiff and can open and close like a fan, move up or down, or twist left or right. Birds must bank as they turn. They tilt one wing higher than the others to prevent sliding. Banking braces the underside of the wings and body against the oncoming air and reduces the skid. Banking is not the only method for turning. Some birds beat one wing a little faster than the other. They then turn in the direction of the slower moving wing. Steering up and down is accomplished with the tail by moving it opposite the desired direction. Turning while gliding and soaring is accomplished by two different wing designs. Birds that soar over land have broad, slotted wings, while those who soar over water have long, narrow wings.

Almighty God [6:59] With Him are the keys to all secrets; none knows them except He. He knows everything on land and in the sea. Not a leaf falls without His knowledge. Nor is there a grain in the depths of the soil. Nor is there anything wet or dry, that is not recorded in a profound record.

Flocks of geese and pelicans fly in V-shaped formations to reduce drag and save energy on long migrations. The bird in the lead at the forward point of the "V" formation is working the hardest. This bird breaks through the air, which is offering resistance to its flight. Just as a boat leaves a smoother water behind it, the lead bird creates a trail of air turbulence that helps lift along the V-shaped a bit easier for the other birds to fly in the wake of the lead bird. If we watch a V-format, we notice that the lead bird does not stay in that position for very long and will drop back in while another, not-as-tired bird takes the lead, breaking through the air first.

[67:19] Have they not seen the birds above them lined up in columns and spreading their wings? The Most Gracious is the One who holds them in the air. He is Seer of all things.

People have forged an intimate links with birds. Abraham reassured his heart by witnessing the revival of dead birds by God's leave (Quran 2:260). Jesus demonstrated miracle by giving life to a clay bird at the will of God (Quran 3:49). Joseph predicted a dream on birds by God's leave (Quran 12:36, 12:41). David was served by birds at the will of God (Quran 21:79). Solomon understood the language of birds (Quran 27:16) A swarms of birds defeated the people of elephant (Quran 105:3-5).

In a convent in New York state, Barbara Seaward has founded the group Feathered Friends. She, along with others in her community, conduct pet therapy sessions for those in nursing and retirement homes. The residents agree that there is nothing quite like a visit from a cockateil or a cockatoo to lift the spirits ! And in the whitewater rafting canyons of Colorado, guides use homing pigeons to safely deliver a valuable commodity - photos of customers splashing their way down the rapids - back to home base, so the keepsake are waiting when the rafters return from their adventure. There are also rat catching barn owls that protect farmers from pests, and hummingbirds that show their prowess as long-distance flyers. Solomon used bird as his messenger to carry important messages (Quran 27:20-28). The Quran tells us a story of raven who taught Adam's son a valuable lesson:

[5:31] GOD then sent a raven to scratch the soil, to teach him how to bury his brother's corpse. He said, "Woe to me; I failed to be as intelligent as this raven, and bury my brother's corpse." He became ridden with remorse.

People still adopt the ancient art of training falcons to hunt. Steve Jones - Wyoming resident, is the editor of AMERICAN FALCONRY magazine, and one of the roughly 5,000 licensed falconers in the United States. He gets out almost every day during the hunting season in Wyoming, which is from September to February. His birds hunt sharptail grouse, partridge, and ducks, and sometimes sage grouse and pheasant. "If they wanted to, they could fly away in a heartbeat. But I've trained them and built trust with them. They've learned that I am not a threat. In training, I've taught them that when they catch the lure, there is always food. If it's a falcon, I've trained them that if they are not successful in the hunt, I will have a consolation prize for them, some food. It's a partnership that benefits them. They are content." Says Steve Jones.

[5:4] They consult you concerning what is lawful for them; say, "Lawful for you are all good things, including what trained dogs and falcons catch for you." You train them according to GOD's teachings. You may eat what they catch for you, and mention GOD's name thereupon. You shall observe GOD. GOD is most efficient in reckoning.

Birds sing beautiful and diversified songs. Scientists think birds developed songs to spread their message. Bird song comes from an organ in the throat called the syrinx, which has two sides that vibrate. Scientist also believe that birds know what to sing, which is partly instinct and partly learned - when a young bird hears an adult singing its species' song, something is triggered in its brain, allowing the youngster to sing the same melody.

[24:41] Do you not realize that everyone in the heavens and the earth glorifies GOD, even the birds as they fly in a column? Each knows its prayer and its glorification. GOD is fully aware of everything they do.

The Quran educates us to reflect on the creations of God. Unlike the human beings, all the birds glorify God (Quran 24:41)! There is not a single verse in the Quran where God states that birds are idol worshipers, or disbelievers, or unappreciative, or wicked or ignorant ! We must ponder why the majority of human beings are idol worshipers (Quran 12:106, 30:42), disbelievers (Quran 16:83, 17:89, 25:50), unappreciative (Quran 2:243, 7:17, 10:60, 12:38, 27:73, 40:61), wicked (Quran 3:110, 5:59, 7:17, 9:8) and ignorants (Quran 6:111) !?

Overwhelming Signs of God [2:164] In the creation of the heavens and the earth, the alternation of night and day, the ships that roam the ocean for the benefit of the people, the water that GOD sends down from the sky to revive dead land and to spread in it all kinds of creatures, the manipulation of the winds, and the clouds that are placed between the sky and the earth, there are sufficient proofs for people who understand.

Can They Create a Fly? [22:73] O people, here is a parable that you must ponder carefully: the idols you set up beside GOD can never create a fly, even if they banded together to do so. Furthermore, if the fly steals anything from them, they cannot recover it; weak is the pursuer and the pursued.

The Majority of People Do Not Believe [12:103] Most people, no matter what you do, will not believe.
[12:104] You are not asking them for any money; you simply deliver this reminder for all the people.
[12:105] So many proofs in the heavens and the earth are given to them, but they pass by them, heedlessly!
The Majority of Believers Destined for Hell [12:106] The majority of those who believe in GOD do not do so without committing idol worship.

M. Irtaza


  3. Quran - translated from original by Dr. Rashad Khalifa