Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
There are many synonyms for “camel” which appear in various places in the Quran. Among them, the word ‘إِبِل’ appears twice, one of which is in the following verse:
أَفَلَا يَنظُرُونَ إِلَى الْإِبِلِ كَيْفَ خُلِقَتْ
Then do they not look at the camels— how they are created? [88:17]
Allah the Exalted asks the disbelievers of Makkah to look at the camels and how they are created. Why? Because the camel is an amazing animal. It is a clear manifestation of some verses earlier in the Quran:
سَبِّحِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ الْأَعْلَى o الَّذِي خَلَقَ فَسَوَّىٰ o وَالَّذِي قَدَّرَ فَهَدَىٰ.
Exalt the name of your Lord, the Most High, Who created and proportioned and Who destined and [then] guided. [87:1-3]
It is an example of Allah’s amazingly intricate, delicate and beautiful design of creation.
Let us therefore examine a bit into the features of this animal which was thus honoured in the Quran.
Camels are the hugest domestic animals, and yet they are very easy to domesticate. Furthermore, a camel lives for about 40 to 50 years, more than three times as much as a cow. This means that it can be benefited from for a long time.
There is a hadith that goes as follows: The believers are gentle and kindly like a tractable camel which when guided lets itself be guided and when made to sit even on stones does so. [Tirmidhi]
The camel has a built-in comfortable seating arrangement– its hump.
The camel has two knees, and thus despite its height, it can bend over and sit down at a comfortable height, making human climbing possible.
• Ship of the desert
The camel stores its fat in the humps rather than under the skin all over the body. It can store large amounts of fat without having to endure fat’s insulating effect, and so it can survive in hot weathers.
Camels have oval red blood cells (rather than circular), which helps them withstand the osmotic variation when they drink large amounts of water, preventing the blood vessels from bursting.
They have thick leathery lips which allow them to chew thorny plants and cacti of the desert that other animals avoid.
They have long eyelashes and ear hair, and their nostrils can be closed, thus providing protection from sand storms.
The camel has an extra, transparent horizontal eyelid, which acts as a window-cleaner when dust gets trapped in the eyes.
Water vapour in exhaled air gets trapped in their nostrils and returned to the body.
Camels have kidneys and intestines with very efficient re-absorption of water. Their feces are so dry that they are used directly as fuels by the Bedouins.
Camels have a special blood circulation system in their brains, called rete mirabile, which help maintain low temperature in the brain, despite high body temperature, thus protecting the brain for malfunction or degeneration.
Camels provide milk, meat and skin for textiles.
Camels can bear a huge amount of loads. In fact, you will find mention in the Quran in the time of Yusuf (as) of the phrase ‘camel-load’, i.e. the amount of goods was measured by how much a camel could bear:
وَلَمَّا فَتَحُوا مَتَاعَهُمْ وَجَدُوا بِضَاعَتَهُمْ رُدَّتْ إِلَيْهِمْ ۖ قَالُوا يَا أَبَانَا مَا نَبْغِي ۖ هَٰذِهِ بِضَاعَتُنَا رُدَّتْ إِلَيْنَا ۖ وَنَمِيرُ أَهْلَنَا وَنَحْفَظُ أَخَانَا وَنَزْدَادُ كَيْلَ بَعِيرٍ ۖ ذَٰلِكَ كَيْلٌ يَسِيرٌ
And when they opened their baggage, they found their merchandise returned to them. They said, “O our father, what [more] could we desire? This is our merchandise returned to us. And we will obtain supplies for our family and protect our brother and obtain an increase of a camel’s load; that is an easy measurement.” [12:65]
SubhanAllah. No wonder Allah asked us particularly to look at how the camel was created.
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