Issue 45 / January - March 2004
Listening to a Fly
"Surely, those whom you invoke, apart from God, will never create a fly even if they combine together for the purpose. If the fly takes something from them, they cannot rescue it from him."; (Qur'an 22:73)
Good day my dear friends! I know you are tired of me, I bother you so often, especially in hot weather; but would you mind listening to me a little? I don't understand why you are so proud! Did God create just you, and someone else created me? Some people do claim that I and all the other creatures evolved just by chance, in a process they call evolution, but I wouldn't pay attention to them if I were you. Our Lord, God, created you and me, and the whole universe. Then why do you see me as being so unimportant? Of course, my Lord made humans superior and gave them an honorable place in this world, but this is only for those humans who recognize God Almighty and who pray to Him. If someone does not recognize the Creator, then this person will fall lower than me; I know my Lord, and I do not change my behavior. I don't do anything but what He taught me. True, I am not tested as you all are, but I am happy with my lot. I carry out my duties obediently.
Although I do many useful things, most of you (except for the zoologists among you) aren't aware of what my uses are. Some people even say, "Why has this black bug been created? It is of no use."
If you just look at my wings, you can see that they are like a perfect work of art. Think about it, what would be more difficult, producing a large watch or a small and sophisticated one? Obviously producing a small watch is much more complicated. But one must remember that nothing is easy or difficult for God, He just says "Be" and He can create anything. By saying, "Be" He can create a microorganism or an elephant in an instant.
Just as you have organs that carry out the biological functions in your body that are necessary for your survival, I also have organs and systems in my body which carry out similar functions. The only difference between yours and mine is their structure and working principle. For instance, we both have hearts. Your heart pumps the blood to the body via the veins, and my heart pumps the blood to the spaces between my organs. You use your lungs for breathing while I have capillary tubes called trachea which transfer air directly to my tissues. The organs in my head are composed of many small particles. Each one of my eyes is created from hundreds of small hexagonal structures called ommatidia. Each has its own lens, a pigment cell that isolates it from the others, and a crystal cone. A special protein called chitin covers my body. Each one of my hairs acts as a special receiver, allowing me to detect all vibrations. Chitin is made up of a protein, which is durable and not permeable to water.
My mouth is shaped like a tube, while my tongue is like a sponge, helping me to taste my food. My feet, made up of chitin, are very thin and formed of many parts with a hook at the tip, making it easy for me to climb vertical surfaces.
There are hollow tubes in my wings, making them very light and strong. The hammer-like organs (halter organs) under my wings help me to balance while flying. There are some know-it-alls out there who claim that these organs were secondary wings that lost their function during evolution, but they seem to forget that there are many insects that have secondary wings. If this is so, why did I need to "lose" mine? It is hard to understand why these people do not try to understand reality. Actually, God created me with one pair of wings and two organs to help with balancing. These organs have nothing to do with mutations, adaptation, selection or evolution. Although my ancestors did mutate at times as all living things have done, we have never changed or evolved. Some of us are weak and some are strong; this is a rule of God. This rule is necessary for the ecological balance to be maintained. Some flies will be food for other living creatures, while some will survive to produce more flies. I have not heard of any other flies evolving into a new living creature.
I can fly better than you. You have imagination and knowledge, and you have the ability to improve yourselves, yet you still have not been able to invent a machine that can fly as well as I can. I can turn a somersault in a tight space. I can walk on the ceiling. I can sense the approach of your hand. I can take off so easily that I do not even need a "runway" like airplanes do before taking off. Airplanes can be used for destroying other things, but us flies help to build a better world. My Creator (God) has given me coordination in flight; I do not crash into other things and do not cause any damage while flying. The Qur'an (22:73) says: "Oh mankind! A parable is set forth, so listen to it: Surely, those whom you invoke, apart from God, will never create a fly even if they combine together for the purpose. If the fly takes something from them, they cannot rescue it from him."
The Qur'an is a miraculous book; yet, unfortunately some people do not understand this yet. Even if all human beings were to work together, they would not be able to build a small "fly". If I take something from you, you cannot get it back from me. For example, when I snatch a piece of your food, I simply pour digestive enzymes on it and it melts. These enzymes break the food into pieces and make them liquid. Then I am able to drink this liquid. Well now, it would be impossible for you to convert this food back to its original form. Let me show you my nutrition cycle on the right.
When someone mentions the words "flight and insect", it is most normal to think of only one insect, the common house fly, but there are in fact many species of flying insects: approximately 90,000. Since we have wings, we are all called "diptera". There are many of us on the earth; from this one can conclude that there will be useful as well as harmful insects among us. Some of our friends take pollen from flower to flower, making honey for you to eat. We eat a variety of foods; some eat meat, some eat vegetables, while others eat fruit.
My friends and I who belong to the Musca type are the most frequently encountered flies in your neighborhood. We, like the other species of flying insects, increase our reproduction rate with increases in temperature. We produce large numbers of eggs. The maggots that you see in rotten food are in fact my larvae. The female fly leaves her eggs on the food you leave out in the open. These eggs hatch in a few days, the time being longer or shorter depending on the temperature. The larvae have a great appetite for everything and they grow fast as they eat everything they encounter. Then they enter a dormant period and retreat into cocoons. After a short while, they come out with bodies that are totally different anatomically. If you were to tell this to someone without a great deal of know-ledge, they would never believe that these crawling larvae will turn into flying creatures one day. It is hard to predict or understand such a huge change. There lies a great wisdom in both our forms. For example, if we did not exist, only bacteria would be able to help decay the dead and this would take too long. But, thanks to my larvae and their presence everywhere in large numbers, this process is completed in a matter of few days. Due to their speedy consumption of decaying matter, maggots have been used often in medicine. They have been used to get rid of decaying tissue on the wounds that aren't healing, and in this way they speed up the healing process.
Now, I also want to remind you of an unfairness that you do to me and all other flies. As you know, our eggs develop and spread fast during the warm summer season; each of us can produce hundreds of eggs. We go all over the place to find food and sometimes we find it in your trash or in animal droppings. Those who see us in these places mistakenly accuse us of carrying and spreading disease. But the reverse is true; we consume the germs that spread quickly in hot weather. These germs grow on food all by themselves, we don't produce them. Germs are living creatures too, and they use their abilities bestowed on them by God to grow everywhere. All we do is clean the environment by eating them as we feed. We are able to digest germs thanks to the strong digestive enzymes that we carry. Despite what is believed, I am a clean animal. I clean myself all the time, using the digestive enzymes in my saliva. If it weren't for me, the germs would grow and spread faster.
I hope that from now on you won't try to shoo me away when you see me on your hand. Instead, I hope that you will watch how I move and observe me more closely; witness the fine art in me. When you think about me, consider what I have told you. Don't you think that you should change your opinion about me?