Thursday, February 4, 2010
Camels: A Gift From Allah
"Why do they not reflect on the camels and how they are created ?" (Al-Ghaasyiyah, 88:17)
Camels creation is its own miracle. The camel is not always seen as a beautiful animal. But it is absolutely perfect for what it needs to do and where it needs to survive. This is a gift from God. Without camels, no one could travel in the deserts, so huge sections of the world would be not just difficult to live on, but completely unhabitable.
All of the camel is practical for his survival and for his service to man. A camel's feet, although hoofed, have large pads that spread out in the soft sand to keep the animal from sinking in. His face is designed as protection from sun and sand. The thick eyebrows, heavy eyelids and thick lashes all keep out sand, and there's even a third eyelid that can close in heavy storms. The still nostrils have special muscles which the camel can close against blowing sand. The ears have thick hair inside the ear, as well as outside to prevent dirt and sand from getting down inside the ear, and possibly causing infection.
A camel's hump is a lump of fat. This is used as a source of energy when food is scarce. The hump may actually shrink when no food is available, but the camel can live off it for many days. And it will reform perfectly when food is again available. Because food is so scarce in the desert, the camel must be able to eat anything (even the tents). The lining of the mouth is very tough so that the camel can bite and chew thorny cactus plants without harm to the mouth.
Most incredible is how the camel deals with heat and lack of water. First of all, camels have a low metabolic rate, so energy is used slowly. The body temperature has a wide range of normal. It may start the day at 94 and hit 105 in the heat of the afternoon (Human's normal temperature is 98 and at 101, we are sick). The camel is one of few animals that can sweat. The coarse body hair, which acts as a protection against the direct sun, also allows the camel this ability to sweat. Sweating is a more efficient cooling system than panting (as in dogs) as less precious fluid is lost. Additionally, in its incredibly efficient way, the camel does not sweat until its body temperature is near the top of its range.
No other creature can process water in the same way. It does not lose water from blood, only from the tissue. Thus the blood stays properly thin enough to circulate and remove body heat. The camel will only drink when needed and only replace what's lost. If he lost 5 gallons over the last two days, he will drink 5 gallons and walk away. He may not drink at all in winter.
And the camel can quickly replace all water lost - 25 gallons in a very short time. Other animals drinking too fast can die from water intoxication. So camels are truly remarkable animals. When we reflect on their creation, as God instructs us to do, we cannot help but marvel at the ways God made them fit perfectly into their niche.
May God help each of us to fit our own niche as well.