his way to school every day, Omar walks over to the garden of the house
across the street and waits there for a while. A very special friend of
his lives in this garden. No one knows this friend, but Omar loves him
a lot. Omar never forgets to visit his friend, and enjoys their friendship
a lot. After all, he has a friend who is more intelligent than anyone
else. Despite being very small in size, his friend can do many important
things. He is also very hard-working. He does all of his jobs very well
and at the proper time, just as if he was a soldier in an army. Although
he does not go to school like Omar, he successfully carries out the many
tasks which he needs to do in his life.
Ants have more of their own kind
in this world than most other living creatures. For every 700 million
ants that come into this world, there are only 40 new-born human beings.
In other words, the number of ants in the world is way above the number
of human beings.
Some ant families do tailoring, others
grow their own food like farmers, and yet others run small farms where
they raise some smaller animals. In the same way as human beings breed
cows and use their milk, ants breed small plant lice (aphids) and use
Now let’s see what Omar has to say
about the world of ants:
I first noticed him when I saw his tiny head emerging from the earth.
His head attracted my attention, as it was a bit bigger than his body.
I wondered why his head was like that and started to watch this tiny friend
of mine. The big head on his little body was helping him serve as a guard
at the entrance of the nest. Do you want to know ‘how?’ He was checking
whether the ants that attempted to enter the nest belonged to his own
family or not, and did not let them in if they were strangers.
The Ant: Omar, let me first tell you that we call our families a ‘colony.’ In other words, we live in communities called colonies. An ant can easily tell whether another ant belongs to its own colony or not. He does it by touching the other ant’s body with his antenna, (thin little rods coming out of the top of his head) which helps him to distinguish strangers, thanks to the ‘colony scent’ they have. If the ant is a stranger, then we cannot let him into our home. Moreover, we may even have to use force to send him away.
then said: "Let me tell now you about the inside of our nest,
which you were eager to know about. Our colonies consist of the queen
ant, male ants, soldiers, and worker ants.
The queen and male ants keep our
species going. The queen is larger than all of us. The duty of the males
is to make the queen give birth to new ants. Soldiers are responsible
for protecting our colony, hunting, and finding new places for nests.
The last group consists of the worker ants. Worker ants are all sterile
female ants. That is, they cannot give birth to new ants. They take care
of the queen and her babies, and clean and feed them.
As Omar’s little friend explained all that, he listened to him with wonder, and then asked him: "Do you never get bored, waiting at the entrance of the nest all the time? What is your duty in the nest?"
The Ant replied: "I am also a worker, and my duty is to serve here as a doorman. As you see, my head is big enough to cover the entrance hole of the nest. I am pleased that I have this ability, and I carry out my duty with great pleasure. I never get bored; on the contrary, I am very glad that I protect friends from threats."
Omar couldn’t help but be amazed
at his answer. Ants were working all the time to help others, with no
thought for themselves and without any problems—something even people
cannot manage most of the time.
said that what he had told him about himself and his colony was a very
good example of this. He was very glad to know that God had created him
so unselfish, helpful and so fond of his friends. After what he told him,
he decided to be at least as thoughtful of others as ants were, and be
a good person whom God loves.
The next day Omar went back to the same place and waited for his little friend. After a few minutes, he appeared. He told him that he had waited impatiently all night to see him again. Then he reminded him of his promise to tell him about the inside of the nest. So the ant started to tell him about his home:
Although we are tiny animals, our
nest is amazingly big, just like the headquarters of a big army. If you
are a stranger, you can never get in. Because, as you already know, there
are guards like me at the doors.
Besides, we consider all our needs
while putting up our buildings. For instance, our building has floors
underground which only let a limited amount of sunlight in. But there
are also some departments where the sun’s energy is needed. We build these
departments on the top floors, which receive sunlight at the widest possible
angle. And then again, there are departments that have to stay in constant
touch with each other. We build these close to one another, so that the
ants can easily reach each other. Our storehouse, where the surplus materials
are kept, is built as a separate department at one side of the building.
The larders where we store our provisions are in places which are easy
to reach. In addition to these, there is also a big hall right at the
centre of the building where we gather on certain occasions."
When Omar heard all that, he asked his little friend: "Do you really do all these things? I did not know that ants could work like skilful engineers and architects. If people are to build such perfect buildings, they have to spend many years at school and work very hard. Do you also receive such training?" In reply, the ant went on telling him more mind-boggling things about his friends:
Omar. All of us have these skills within us. These are never taught to
us, but we know exactly what to do, and when. And that is not all. What
I am going to tell you next will surprise you even more.
was no doubt that if Omar had not met his little friend, he would hardly
have believed that ants could do all this. He said to the ant: "Before
you told me all this, if someone had come up and told me about the details
of your nest and asked who could build a nest like that, I would have
come up with very different answers. I would have said that such a nest
could only be built with very fine tools and hard work by highly skilled
people. If someone had told me that this building was not constructed
by educated people but by ants, to tell you the truth, I would never have
said: "Let me tell you one more thing about us. That way, it
will be easier to answer your question. Although we all look very much
alike, we are divided into many distinct groups according to the way we
live and look. There are around 8,800 different kinds of ants. All the
species have distinct features. The farmer ant is one of these species.
Now, I will tell you about ants that engage in farming. They are called
"attas", that is, leaf-cutting ants.
After much long and hard work, the highway becomes straight and smooth as if flattened by a special tool. Attas walk towards their nest on this path, hiding under big pieces of leaves, which they hold in their tightly clamped jaws."
Omar: Did you say they hide under leaves? Why do attas feel the need to hide under leaves?
The Ant: Attas have to be careful sometimes, Omar. For instance, medium-sized atta workers spend almost all day away from the nest, carrying leaves. It is difficult for them to protect themselves when they are doing that, because they carry the leaves in their jaws, which they normally use for self-defense.
Omar: That is another amazing example of self-sacrifice. But I want to know one more thing. What do attas use these leaves for? Why do attas keep carrying those leaves all day long?
They need them for their farming. Attas use these leaves to grow fungus.
Ants cannot eat the leaves themselves. So, worker ants make a heap of
these pieces of leaves after chewing them, and then place them in the
chambers in their nest. In these chambers, they grow fungus on the leaves
and obtain their food from the shoots of the growing fungus.
Yes. I am really trying to understand how ants manage to do
all that. For example, if you asked me to grow fungus, it would not be
at all easy for me to do. At the very least, I would have to read some
books or else seek the advice of people who do know how to do it. But
I know that attas do not receive any training like this.
The Ant: You are right, Omar. We know all these things innately. Our Creator, God, gave them to us as blessings.
Omar was late again. He thanked him,
and left for school. As he walked, the things his ant friend had told
him were still echoing in his ears. Meanwhile, he kept on thinking.
His friend owed his innate wisdom,
skill and sacrificing nature to the inspiration of God. Everything he
did was proof not of his, but of God’s power and wisdom.
He was totally convinced that God
alone created the ant, himself, his mother and father, his brother and
everything in the universe. His little friend had reminded him of the
most important fact in the world: that there was no creator but God.
So, if like Omar you also chance upon a good friend one day, never forget that you have a lot to learn from him. Investigate and think about the perfection in the art of God, Who created him. And if you ever meet liars like Darwin, tell them about the features of your little friends and say that you will never ever believe in their nonsensical lies.