After the conquest of Egypt, Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) appointed Hadhrat Amr Ibnul Aa’s (radhiyallahu anhu) as the governor. He was informed that the River Nile had dried up. On making enquiries, he learnt that the drying up of the River Nile was an annual event. The people would sacrifice a beautiful young woman to propitiate the river. It was their belief that the resumption of the river’s flow was the effect of the sacrifice. Hadhrat Amr prohibited this evil and cruel practice, and he sent a report to Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) on this issue. Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) wrote two letters: one for Hadhrat Amr (radhiyallahu anhu), and one for the River Nile. Addressing the River, he commanded it to resume its flow in the Name of Allah Ta’ala. In the second letter, he instructed Hadhrat Amr (radhiyallahu anhu) to deposit the Nile’s letter in the middle of the dry river-bed.
When the letters reached him, Hadhrat Amr (radhiyallahu anhu) executed the order. Within a few hours the flow of the water resumed, and the level of the water was never before seen to be so high as it was on this occasion. From that day to the present, the Nile never dried up again, and for all time the evil and brutal practice of the murder-ritual of sacrificing a young woman was eradicated.
While this episode is wonderful to minds grounded in materialism, it is perfectly normal and logical in terms of Islamic Belief and reality. How could it be logical and intelligent to address the river which is an inanimate, unintelligent object? Our concepts of Animation and Intelligence are defective. While we restrict animation and intelligence to the animal kingdom, the Qur’aan and Ahaadith confirm these attributes for every aspect and atom of Allah’s creation. There is not a speck in creation, irrespective of its classification, whether it is the plant kingdom or the stone kingdom, which is lacking in animation and intelligence. While the animation, and intelligence of Insaan, Malaaikah and Jinn are of superior kinds relative to these attributes of the lower forms of creation, it is folly and false to deny animation and intelligence to the plant and stone kingdoms.
In fact, the animation, if not the intelligence, of the plant kingdom is perceptible to man. We observe with our naked eyes the growth and the withering – the birth and death – of plants. The imperceptibility to the human mind and eye of these attributes in the stone kingdom – rocks, stones, sand, etc. – by the senses of the human being – is not grounds for denying the existence of animation and intelligence in the stone kingdom.
There is copious evidence in the Qur’aan and Hadith declaring and confirming the existence of animation and intelligence in all aspects of Allah’s creation. The Qur’aan Majeed states: “The seven heavens, the earth and whatever is therein recite the tasbeeh (glorification) of Allah. And, there is not a thing (in Allah’s creation) which does not recite the Hamd (Praise) of Allah. But, you (O man!) do not understand their tasbeeh.”
Denying reality, especially transcendental and celestial realities on the basis of ignorance, is stupendous ignorance which is the product of intellectual and spiritual derangement. This derangement in Islamic terminology is known as kufr, and the subscriber to the doctrine of kufr is called kaafir (plural kuffaar). There are many similar verses in the Qur’aan Majeed, and innumerable Hadith narrations which inform of the existence of animation and intelligence in objects which are known to man as inanimate. The crying and speaking of stones, pillars, etc., and the speech of wild beasts (speaking in human language), such as the Hud Hud and Ants mentioned in the Qur’aan and Hadith, confirm this reality. Since such events appear to man as being beyond the parameters of ‘natural’ laws as they understand nature, these supernatural occurrences are termed Mu’jizaat and Karaamaat (Miracles of the Ambiya and Auliya respectively).
But, everything in Allah’s creation is perfectly normal functioning harmoniously in accordance with a grandiose system with fixed laws, all operating with the Command and Direct Intervention of Allah Azza Wa Jal. Not an atom moves and not a leaf on a tree changes
direction in the breeze without the Command and Direct Intervention of Allah, The All-Powerful, All-Wise Sovereign of Creation, Whose creation consists of billions, trillions and inconceivable trillions of universes which in turn are infinitesimal specks and dots relative to His creative power. Thus, Hadhrat Umar’s command to the River Nile was addressed to an animate and intelligent object. “And Allah has power over all things”
These realities are de-mystified and unravelled to the mind of Insaan proportionate to the degree of his Ma’rifat of Allah Azza Wa Jal. As for the those who are trapped in the bowels and dregs of materialism and kufr due to the corrosion and fossilization of their spiritual hearts, they have developed spiritual in-animation and ignorance as opposed to intelligence, hence these celestial and transcendental truths are beyond their intellectual grasp and physical senses. In the words of the Qur’aan Majeed:
“Verily, they are like (the lowly) animals or even worse.”