As you read this article, reflect on how Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) has created the birds and how their aerodynamic is a miracle of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى).
أَلَمْ يَرَوْاْ إِلَى الطَّيْرِ مُسَخَّرَاتٍ فِي جَوِّ السَّمَاء مَا يُمْسِكُهُنَّ إِلاَّ اللّهُ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ – 16:79
“Do they not see the birds suspended in mid-air up in the sky? Nothing holds them there except Allah. There are certainly signs in that for people who believe.”
[Al-Qur’an: Surat An-Nahl (The Bee) – 16:79]
Due to the force of gravity, all bodies in air will eventually fall to earth, either quickly or slowly. Everything, living or otherwise, is subject to gravity. But as a miracle of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), birds are able to resist this force and fly upward and downward in the air. They manoeuvre themselves in the air, and sometimes even fold their wings and glide through the sky without even the flapping of their wings!
All details in birds, from their feathers to their lungs, from the arrangement of their feathers to the shape of their wings, are equipped with a special feature and order intended to enable them to fly. A chick totally unaware of the act of flight and the laws of aerodynamics is born with the ability to fly. The chick launches itself downwards and begins to fly, just as if it knew its body was created for flight. This is not just information that is taught subsequently or what a bird learns by trial and error. The way a bird knows it has the body structure needed to fly, finds the courage to launch itself into the air and then flies without hitting the ground, all happens through Allah (سبحانه و تعالى)’s inspiration.
The Arabic word يُمْسِكُهُنَّ “yumsikuhunna” translated as “holds” in verse 79 of Surat An-Nahl means “not letting them go, taking them, catching them, or holding them.” The word is the present tense of the verse “amsaka,” meaning “to catch with the hand, hold and pull back.” With this word, our Almighty Lord reveals that He holds the bird in the air and that it flies by His command. Bird flight is still the subject of wide-ranging research by scientists. Having observed the perfection in bird flight, scientists use the avian body and avian flight as direct models in producing such vehicle as air-planes and jets.
Verse 79 of Surat An-Nahl may in one way be indicating the way that birds comply with the aerodynamic laws created by Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) as they fly. (Allah knows the truth.) The science of aerodynamics studies the behaviour of solid bodies in a fluid environment such as air. For example, as a plane moves through the air, various forces emerge that affect that movement. In order for the plane to move as planned and not to run into any unexpected forces or resistance, the plane is tested beforehand against the resistance exhibited by the air. Its movement is planned as a result of lengthy calculations, measurements and experiments.
The way that birds comply with the principles of aerodynamics continues to astonish scientists. Using no form of trial and error, they cope with the laws of aerodynamics in the most perfect manner. The use of the word مُسَخَّرَاتٍ ” musakhkharatin” (suspended) in the verse to describe bird flight is exceedingly wise. Because it suggests that they have been “encouraged to a specific end, have had to do something, have submitted or bowed their heads, have bound themselves to Allah or have submitted to His laws”. In that way, the verse may be indicating the way that aerodynamic laws have a determining influence on bird flight. (Allah سبحانه و تعالى knows the truth.)
At first sight there would appear to be nothing to make it difficult for birds to fly. But according to aerodynamics, any object flying in the air is subject to various different forces. The best-known of these are gravity, propulsion, drag and lift. In order for meaningful flight to take place, these forces have to be balanced. For example, if gravity is stronger than the other forces, the bird will fall to earth. That is why the word in the verse is the best possible expression of birds’ condition as they are subjected to these forces. The presence in the Qur’an of expressions containing such information at a time when no science of aerodynamics or mechanics existed, once again reveals that the Qur’an is a divine text.
The illustration shows the main forces acting on a bird during flight.
The tops of birds’ wings are curved, the bottoms flat. This shape produces lower pressure on the top compared to the bottom. This difference in air pressure produces a lift force that enables the bird to rise in the air by beating its wings upward. (right)
(1) The air moving rapidly around the bird’s wings produces the lift force. (2) The bird bends its wings in order to obtain greater lift force. The air flowing over the wings is thus accelerated. (3) If it inclines its wings upward at a very steep angle, air cannot easily flow to the upper parts of the wings and the bird loses speed and stalls. Through Allah (سبحانه و تعالى)’s inspiration, birds make use of the principles of aerodynamics as they fly.
A type known as ‘Bird of Paradise’
These are the world’s most dramatic and attractive birds rarely spotted by people. There are about 42-44 species of the birds of Paradise which are found only in New Guinea and north eastern Australia. Most are distinguished by striking colors and bright plumage of yellow, blue, scarlet, and green. These colors distinguish them as some of the world’s most dramatic and attractive birds. Males often sport vibrant feathered ruffs or amazingly elongated feathers, which are known as wires or streamers. Some species have enormous head plumes or other distinctive ornaments, such as breast shields or head fans.
Males put their bright colors and unusual ornaments to good use when they display for females. Their elaborate dances, poses, and other rituals accentuate their appearance and put on a phenomenal show for both female birds and any humans lucky enough to be in the vicinity. Such displays can last for hours, and in many species they consume a significant part of the male’s time.
Most female birds of paradise make a cup or dome-shaped nest and lay 1-2 eggs. Fruit and insects are the main foods of the birds of paradise. Some also eat leaves and buds.
Blue Bird of Paradise:-
Blue birds of paradise are one of the most beautiful of the bird of paradise species. Their bright blue feathers are a welcome addition to the green foliage of the tropical forests of Papua New Guinea. The males are adorned with two long and delicate streaming tail feathers. To impress the females, they show off by hanging upside down from a branch and fanning out their wings – it is a spectacular display.
The Paradise Rifle-bird is a medium-sized, long-billed rifle-bird without plumes. The adult male is velvety black with a metallic oil-green sheen to crown, nape and upper breast shield. The tail is very short with iridescent (shining) blue-green central tail feathers. The remainder of under parts are velvety black with the tips of feathers an iridescent dark green. The bill long and curves strongly downwards. The female and immature have greyish-brown upper parts, rufous on the wings, a whitish eyebrow and throat. The under parts are buff with black ‘horseshoe’ markings. The magnificent rifle-bird gets its name from its loud whistling call, which sounds like a passing bullet.
هُوَ اللَّهُ الْخَالِقُ الْبَارِئُ الْمُصَوِّرُ لَهُ الْأَسْمَاء الْحُسْنَى يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ – 59:24
“He is Allah, the Creator, the Inventor, the Fashioner; to Him Belong the best names. Whatever is in the Heavens and on earth is exalting Him. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise one.”
[Al-Qur’an: Surat Al-Ĥashr (The Exile) – 59:24]
“Do you not see that Allah is exalted by whomever is within the heavens and the earth and [by] the birds with wings spread [in flight]? Each [of them] has known his [means of] prayer and exalting [Him], and Allah is Knowing of what they do.” (An-Nur (The Light):41)
This is our Lord, Allah (سبحانه و تعالى). The Best of Creators, if we come to think of the Majesty of our Lord, mere words just seem to be too little to express His Greatness, His Power, His Mercy; how Beautiful will be the One who created such a beautiful world yet we fail to take lesson from His signs!
“And how many a sign within the heavens and earth do they pass over while they, therefrom are turning away.” (Surah Yusuf:105)
Everything in the Heavens and the earth praise Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) fulfilling the purpose of their creation it is only the foolish man which refuses to recognize its purpose and submit to the All Powerful, the All Mighty one.
With the advancement of science we are discovering the amazing functioning and purpose of creatures which we thought of as insignificant; and also discovering creatures which no one would have thought could exist; one of them being the birds of paradise! All of these discoveries only help us in exploring How Great our Master is; How Vast His Control and Mercy is.
“Has the time not come for those who have believed that their hearts should become humbly submissive at the remembrance of Allah and what has come down of the truth? And let them not be like those who were given the Scripture before, and a long period passed over them, so their hearts hardened; and many of them are defiantly disobedient.” (Surah Al-Hadid (The Iron):16)