Ants

Bismillah Rahman Ar-Raheem

I have always been fascinated by ants. They are so awesome. Living organic machines with sophisticated structures and methods of living which surpass their brain power.

I remember as a child in Greece watching soldier ants marching along a stone step, and planting smarties for them to find and watching them as they took them off to their underground burrow.

In the desert here there are so many different species all with their different functions in the environment.

There is a large black kind which have short legs and big soldiers with big jaws. These tend to make large sand burrows, collect left over food and have a sweet tooth. They also religiously collect any grains leftover from animal feed, but I don’t understand what they want with them because they always just make a great pile of them by the door to their house and leave them there uneaten.

There is another species similar to these which have longer legs and they run really fast over the hot sand, speeding up to furious levels in the full heat of summer.

Then there are the small black ones with a red bottom. These ones pounce on anything injured (un-injured sometimes too) like beetles. They quickly remove legs, heads, wings, dissect and tidy up the carcasses of any beetles or bugs that have died.  They will quickly swarm on chicken bones, or other meaty scraps. They give quite a nip if given the chance. They regularly visit the ceiling by my room light, clean away any dead moths or other insects and then leave. Returning a week or so later to clean it again. Their colonies get really big and they will make them under plants, in the walls, in the sand, anywhere they see fit.

Then there is another small pure black kind their colonies don’t get so big and they seem to interest themselves more with biscuit crumbs and similar foods. They usually make their colonies in walls.

There are small white ones which don’t have any interest in the house. They build small colonies in the sand and move on again quickly. They move really fast and they are really hard to spot. I have no idea what they collect because it is so hard to watch what they are up to.

There are a couple of kinds which are like bumble bees in that they don’t seem to have a colony. They tromp around by themselves, with massive jaws and a bite can draw blood. One has a plain black bottom the other has a slightly red striped bottom.

On a family outing to the desert my sons and I came across a line of ants, we followed them and a line became two lines, and then three, then maybe 100’s of little ant sized roads converged in a huge colony in the desert. They were collecting seeds from the shrubs near their nest, and their routes had actually left little pathways in the sand of the desert.

In the Quran Surah 27 is named An-Namil (the Ants). Ants are a marvelous sign to people as a reminder that we are created, and in what they can achieve in their smallness.

Ants prevail anywhere in the world and it is fascinating to see them in action. Next time you reach for the ant poison – first take a minute to watch the humble ant and see what they are up to. Better than netflixs in my view.

Subhana Allah (glory to God) the world is a wonderful, fantastical place.

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