Animals In The Glorious Quran


  • bookcover

  • Animals In The Glorious Quran


  • Salih's Camel

    {And to Thamud (people, We sent) their brother Salih (Saleh). He said; 'o my people! Worship Allah! You have no other Ilah (God) but Hun. (La ilaha ilia-Allah: none has the right to be worshipped but Allah). Indeed there has come to you a clear sign (the miracle of the coming out of a huge she camel from the midst of a rock) from Your Lord. This she camel of Allah is a sign unto you,' so you leave her to graze in Allah's earth, and touch her not with harm, lest a painful torment should seize you.’}                                                                  (Al-A'raf: 73)

     

    I am simply a camel, a pure bred camel perhaps but I know no evil. I am an example of pure innocenceI never harmed anyone before or after my birth. Despite all that I was unjustly slaughtered, even though Allah had warned whoever might do such a thing.

    My slaughter is symbolic of the slaughter of every innocent being on this earth. Furthermore, my slaughter may have initiated the law that compelled good to present its blood to life's altar. Yes! My life was astonishing.

    I was born from the bosom of a towering mountain by a Word from Allah, the Most Merciful. As I Was a part of the rocks, the only thing I knew was that I was a rock. The hard pieces of rock transformed into soft meat. Blood flowed in the veins and that blood produced milk. My udder became filled with milk. I carried my newborn in my stomach and when he was born I started producing that blessed milk. I fed thousands of starving people with this blessed milk. Indeed, everyday I fed them and my newborn.

    I did not know, who I was feeding. I fed them with no thought of anything in return, for I wanted nothing except that they thank Allah for this blessing. In spite of all that, I was killed. A knife was extended towards my neck one day. When I realized that I was dying, I looked for something to write with but could find nothing save my own blood. And I thus wrote my story with it. So if it does not end, it is not that I do not want to finish it. As I die, there is a kind smile marked upon my face. Does a camel smile? Surely, it smiles if it is both an image of an animal and a symbol of a miracle. Symbols never die. The look on such a face at the time of death, will be one of sure knowledge that it will awaken from the peaceful slumber of death. What a contrast to the tragedy of those who believe they will die and not to be resurrected. This was the tragedy of those who killed me.

    I am known in history as Salih's camel and in the Glorious Qur'an I am known as Allah's camel. "This she camel of Allah is a sign unto you.” Allah gave me this name to honor me and raise me in honor. In reality I was a camel, yet at the same time, I was not a camel. I may seem difficult to be understood but let me explain. My image was that of a camel but in essence I was one of the miracles of Allah. It is important to remember that everything in existence is both an image and a miracle.

    Now where should I start? My birth was a surprise to me before it was a surprise to the people of Salih. As I realized my existence, I felt surprise. It was the surprise of finding oneself alive after having not existed.

    I knew that I was special as I had the appearance of a camel but in reality I was much more than that. I knew that I was the symbol of innocence in a world that hates it. I was pure love facing pure hate.

    My situation was extremely sensitive and complicated. I carried the characteristics of camels yet at the same time I bore the inner qualities that had nothing to do with animal nature. My essence encompassed a vast and wonderful world, which is the world of Allah's miracles. I realized after I was born that my birth itself was a miracle.

    I was born among the Thamud people. They were people of strong lust and weak reason. Unfortunately their wealth only increased their tragedy because they were motivated by lust and they had the means to attain it.

    They were idol worshipers. However, the society was not completely iIll1nersed in this dreadful sin. As there was he who would travel and meditate on the universe and come back believing in Allah, the All Powerful. But, the majority was swept away by the worship of personal interests, gold and all inner desires and appetites that know no limits. Then, Allah willed to send a Prophet to Thamud. He chose His Prophet from amongst them and he was a man most pure, righteous and a believer in one God. His name carried with it the inner qualities he bore.

    Salih[1]... That was his name.

    Salih (peace be upon him) said to his people, "0 my people!

    Worship Allah! You have no other Ilah (God) but Him. "

    He repeated the same words that Hud, Nuh (Noah) and all of Allah's Prophets and Messengers said before him. Indeed, the words of the Prophets do not change. Worship may seem simple, instinctive, intuitive and real but in social reality it is considered a revolution. This is because to apply it means to abandon all the worshiped gods and all the interests that are related to those gods that live within the imagination of people. To give up these fanciful "gods", would mean completely rooting out the foundations of that society and reconstructing its values and conceptions; it would mean reconstructing its morals and customs; and it would mean demolishing the organizations that are pillared upon polytheism. All this means that there are interests that would completely fall apart, and those interests would then defend themselves by weapons, if necessary, in order to retain their power and strength.

    The first weapon that Salih's people pointed at him was when they said, "Prove that you are a Prophet."

    Before asking him to prove that he was a Prophet, they had said a strange thing to him ...as he warned them against worshiping the idols that their forefathers had worshiped and called them to the worship of Allah (The Creator) alone. They said to him, "0 Salih! You have been among us as a figure of good hope (and we wished for you to be our chief), till this [new thing which you have brought,' that we leave our gods and worship your God (Allah) Alone]! Do you (now) forbid us the worship of what our fathers have worshipped? But we are really in grave doubt as to that which you invite us to (monotheism)."

    Their point of view seems to me to be an empty excuse. They said that they had expectations of him before he was made a: Prophet. For, his knowledge was respected, his intellect  was admired and whatever he said was completely believed. Furthermore, they were thinking of making him the leader or chief of their tribe and he had ruined everything with this new call... the call to worship Allah alone.

    They sank into deep thought, "What will they do with the gods of their grandfathers and the people before them? How will they be able to hide their shame in memorial to their fathers and grandfathers if they neglected worshiping their gods?" Think for a moment about this perverse logic that both my animal appearance and my illuminated inner-self refuse; this logic that if a sheep were to tell to a goat, it would bleat with great mirth. As long as Salih was respected and believed then his Prophethood should be respected and believed too. But what really happened was the contrary for after they had believed, Salih they started to be skeptical regarding him.

    They said, "We are really in grave doubt as to that which you invite us to (monotheism)."

    Salih shunned their perverse logic and asked them what they needed in order to believe that he was a Prophet of Allah.

    At that they said, "Prove that you are a Prophet. You claim that you are sent by Allah and we doubt your claim. So why don't you present us with a sign that would prove your claim."

    Salih asked his people with an open heart, "What would you like me to present?"

    They answered. "Present a miracle that would prove your Prophethood."

    He then asked. "What do you want.”

    They said. "Do not imagine that we are trying to disable or pressure you, but we want something extraordinary that has not happened before; we want a miracle from Allah to prove your Prophethood, we want something that has not occurred before."

    Salih again asked, "What do you want."

    They said, "Why doesn't that nearby mountain give birth to a camel? Why don't you ask Allah for that mountail1 to split in half and a camel to come out of it?"

    And Salih asked, "If I do that, would you then believe that I am sent by Allah'?"

    They replied, "Yes, then and only then we would believe you,"

    Salih then debated with his people on the kind of miracle they were insisting on. He said to them, "You are asking for a physical and supernatural miracle. And, these types of miracles go against the laws of nature and it is not moral of human beings to ask Allah, the Almighty, to act against the laws of nature in order to believe in Him."

    They shouted at him, "Confess your inability!"

    He then said to them, "You are acting like children who want a dazzling toy that is not considered within the sphere of propriety in dealing with Allah."

    They answered. "Salih, it is our right when you are here claiming to be sent by Allah that you present to us proof of your claim."

    Salih said, "I fear that if I were to fulfill your request that you would eventually disbelieve in this miracle; I fear Allah's punishment that would befall you if you were to do so."

    They said, "We will not. We promise you that we will believe in this miracle and that we will not inflict any harm upon it."

    Salih said, "Do you promise me to do so?"

    They answered, "We all promise you."

    When Salih realized the extent to which they insisted on this miracle, he invoked Allah to fulfill their request, and so Allah fulfilled it."

    And so, out from the mountain rocks there came a camel which was me.

    That was how I was born ...by a Word from Allah -from the rocks of a mountain.

    The people were very surprised when they saw their request had come true. The miracle shone forth right in front of their eyes and both dazzled them and made them submit.

    They bowed their heads and confessed that Salih was sent by Allah and all promised to accept his call.

    They all left me by myself.

    Salih said to them, "This she camel of Allah is a sign unto you,. so you leave her to graze in Allah’s earth, and touch her not with harm, lest a painful torment should seize you. "

    Both Salih and the people went away and I was left alone. And, I started feeling desolate. As, I was neither a rock nor a camel; I had become a miracle guarded by the sword of Divine Warning and to harm me would mean incurring punishment upon oneself.

    Being a camel and a miracle at the same time, I could not comprehend how anyone would think of harming me.

    I did not hate any single creature among them. On the contrary, I loved them all without exception. I walked a little while on the city's roads.

    Their houses were made of rocks and stones; the rich had castles in the city's plains and they also had houses carved out in the mountains. I continued walking...

    When the people woke up the day after the miracle had occurred, the first thing they did was making a circle around me. They examined me with utmost surprise.

    Something in the way I moved invoked their fear. Every time I moved my head or tail, they would jump back shouting as if I had achieved something extraordinary just by moving!

    That irritated me in the beginning and restricted my freedom.

    So I decided to stay still in order not to bother them. After that, they increased their surveillance of me and eyes followed me wherever I went. The people would gather around me and speak in hushed tones I could not hear.

    Then, a little boy dared to come near and put his hand on my neck.

          He would extend his hand then quickly pull it back before it touched my neck.

          I realized that he only wanted to pat my head so I bowed my head close to him and he patted it.

    The boy's behavior overcame much of the people's fear of me so they began approaching me and started putting their hands on my body and touching me as if they wanted to be assured of the reality of my existence.

    I welcomed the friendliness that was expressed by the Thamud people and my love for them increased.

    Then, on the third day I had my baby and my newborn attracted the people's attention just as I had done, maybe even more. People would pat him and put their hands on him as if to prove to themselves that he was not an illusion. I started nursing my newborn and the Thamud people's mouth watered as they looked at the milk. They hurried over to their Prophet Salih and informed him that the camel had given birth and that milk was flowing from her udder.

    They said to him, "We want to make use of the camel of Allah that for whose sake you invoked Him. For, her son will not drink all of her milk ...and this milk may be blessed."

    Salih informed them that they were allowed the camel's milk by Allah's grace. However, he divided the water between me and them.

    He said, "You shall leave the water for the camel to drink while you drink from her milk, and on the second day you drink the water and leave the milk for the camel to nurse her newborn with."

    The people agreed to their Prophet's suggestion. In this way, my existence as an inexhaustible source of milk began. Allah (the Exalted) had blessed the milk that He had made flow from me to the extent that it covered all their needs and more. Indeed, they produced cheese, cream, and butter from it.

    My milk was rich in taste and whoever drank from it became neither thirsty nor hungry.

    Along with this, I was generous with them to the extent that I would pull my udder from the mouth of my little one in order to feed a little girl of the Thamud people whose name I did not even know.

    Days passed by.

    I was loved by the entire society because I both fed them and quenched their thirst.

    However, it was a selfish love that disappears as soon as its source ceases to exist and has no assets in the stocks of love. I will not elaborate further on this.

    I was loved by the pious poor that followed Salih, they called me Allah's camel whereas the leaders of the society called me Salih's camel. As time passed, I started to feel that I was surrounded and laid siege by a barbed wire of hate.

      Then, a conversation between those who believed in Salih and his miracles and those who disbelieved in Allah took place.

    "The leaders of those who were arrogant among his people said to those who were counted weak -to such of them as believed, 'Know you that Salih (Saleh) is one sent from his Lord.' They said, 'We indeed believe in that with which he has been sent.' Those who were arrogant said, 'Verily, we disbelieve in that which you believe in.”’

    This discussion resulted in two specific stances. The stance adopted by the believers and the stance adopted by the arrogant among them. In the beginning, the proud ones wanted to make light of the issue, so they asked, "Do you know that Salih is sent by his God?"

    The question was a trap, but, the believers' objectivity led them to the correct answer, which was, "We believe in what he was sent with."

    The believers went beyond the supernatural miracle and beyond the incredible sign and made a halt at the teachings of the Prophet that are summarized in the worship of Allah alone.

    The arrogant ones among them were not impressed by the answer as they saw a certain irritating calmness in it. They replied, "We disbelieve in that which you believe in."

    Their reply carried with it scorn towards the believers and left a question concerning their character. They implied that the belief of the pious is the source of their skepticism and the secret of their disbelief.

    The believers went away and the arrogant ones returned to their castles. Rage had filled their hearts and was threatening to explode in their actions.

    The head of the arrogant persons sent an invitation to all the leaders of Thamud. They all entered a spacious hall in his castle. A historical conference then commenced.

    All those who were present neither believed in Salih nor in me. They considered us both a conspiracy conniving to depose the ruling government.

    Therefore, the leader said to the people, "The existence of a camel freely grazing about has stripped us of any authority we hold over the situation in the tribe."

    Another retorted, "The existence of the camel is a continual reminder of Allah's sign and a never ending belief of Salih's prophethood."

    They were thus confronted with the question, "What is the solution?"

    The cruelest among them replied, "We must get rid of the camel."

    And so a decision was made concerning me in the famous historical conference that was held by the Thamud people which was... to slaughter me!

    At first, those who were present were terrified by the idea of slaughtering me and argued that Salih had warned against harming the camel; and had warned against slaughtering it; and had promised that whosoever does such an act, a horrible punishment would descend after three days. They continued thinking of a way to get rid of me but were helpless at reaching a solution ...

    Then, wine was poured amongst them and due to their intoxication they abandoned their fear and their leader said, "There is no other solution save slaughtering the camel. Its existence threatens the entire ruling government and that includes all heads of tribes, leaders and the rich that have personal interests. The entire society is threatened by this camel."

    The people started debating this point of view while wine was being passed around and intoxication diminished any ounce of reason they possessed.

    Hours after their conversation, the conference became a conspiracy and all those present joined in planning this crime. The next question was, "What do we do with the camel?" Then the question became, "How do we kill the camel?" Then it developed into, "Who will we select to kill the camel?"

    Thus the conspiracy started weaving itself from the deepest depths of human malice. I was aware of everything. I did not hear what they were saying nor did I follow their words. Also I could not understand their fast and stem language but despite all that I was aware of everything.

    Being a symbol of innocence I had a feeling that they were plotting and conniving to slaughter me. What surprised me most was that I did not know the reason for their discontent. What evil had I inflicted upon them that would give them the excuse to slaughter me? What harm?

    There were no answers to these questions, so, I bowed my head and continued offering milk and tenderness.

    I felt that the decision to slaughter me was pronounced and the only thing left was executing it.

    One night while my son was lying next to me and soaking in the warmth of my body, I felt an immense sadness wash over me. The feeling of sadness arose from my lamenting the sad destiny of innocence. Why do people in this world slaughter innocence? My astonishment became greater and my understanding         remained just as it was.

    I continued offering milk and tenderness.

    Two nights passed and on the third night I felt that it was going to be my last night among the Thamud people.

    I had a strong feeling that my end was near. Everything was finalized because the public had made an agreement with nine of the worst criminals in the city and the people of the town had chosen the strongest and most ferocious from among them and entrusted him with the task of killing me.

    I did not know the names of those nine men, but I knew that they and their children had drunk from my milk.

    I never harmed anyone nor did I ever ask for any recompense.

    Allah, the Almighty, mentions them in the Qur'anic verse, but without specifying their names and there were in the city nine men who made mischief in the land, and would not reform. "

    They were the ones who planned the crime but the man who actually carried it out was referred to in the verse as "their comrade", "Verily, We are sending the she-camel as a test for them. So watch them [0 Salih (Saleh)], and be patient! And inform them that the water is to be shared between (her and) them. Each one's right to drink being established (by turns). But they called their comrade and he took (a sword) and killed (her). Then, how (terrible) was My Torment and My Warnings!!'

    The one who was referred to as (their comrade) was swaying to and fro from intoxication when he entered upon the place where I slept. The sword in his hand was shining and his soul was blacker than the depth of night. Before he reached me, an angel had come and I understood from its tenderness towards me that I was going to die. I also understood thousands of other things. I understood that I was a trial to a proud people.

    I stood up when the murderer entered. He looked at me but could scarcely see me from his drunkenness. He raised his sword and I rushed to protect my young one. He extended his      sword to my foot and disconnected it from my body.

    I fell prostrate on the ground.

    Tremendous pain overcame me, I experienced then the cruelty of pain and felt pity towards whoever experienced the likes of it. Seeing the blood flowing from my foot frenzied the mind of the murderer and so he raised his sword and brought it down upon my neck.

    What did I feel?

    I felt comfort, sweetness and satisfaction. It was a wonderful feeling ...the moments of martyrdom are always great.

    My young one and I once again became part of the mountains' rocks and the meaning of innocence remained forever slaughtered upon the earth. As for Salih's people they became a story that is briefly repeated in Allah's Book.

    "Verily, We sent against them a single Saihah (torment, awful cry, etc.), and they became like the dry stubble of a fold-builder.”

     

    [1] Salih: In the Arabic language means one who is righteous and pious. (Trans.)

     

  • Advertise with us 

    Islambasics.com © 2018