Fasting of Penguin
Lecturer of Entomology – Faculty of Agriculture – Al-Azhar University
Penguin is one of the sea birds that live in the cold regions. In fact, there are 17 species of these birds in the entire world. Only one of these species inhabits the North Pole territories while the remaining species are distributed widely in the Southern Hemisphere, extending along south Australia, Africa and America.
These species differ totally in their way of laying and hatching eggs. As for those living in the Southern Hemisphere, they spend the winter therein. With the coming of Spring, they return in group to their native land in the North Pole, covering (a distance of) hundreds of miles until they reach their destination and roper location for reproduction. Upon arriving there, they start immediately building their nests out of stone pieces. Following three weeks from their arrival, they will have completed building these nests and the process of procreation. In the usual course of things, the female lays two white eggs mixed with blue color. The male penguin undertakes the task of brooding eggs instead of the female penguin, which is engrossed in seeking food in the deep-water seas. On the other hand, the male penguin goes on in a state of fasting for two weeks until the chicks (the young penguins) develop. When this happens, the male penguin rushes at maximum speed into the sea to drink some of the seawater and to eat from Allah’s provisions. It eats this food in a state of merriment whereas the female penguin (the mother) comes back in order to feed the flourishing young penguins.
Unlike all species of penguins, there is another kind called “the Emperor” which does not build nests for the young. Actually, it spends winter in the North Frozen Zone wherein it lays its eggs; the mother lays the eggs, not on snow, but on its hind feet. Sometimes, the male penguin (the father) may relieve her and they remain in a state of fasting throughout the winter season.
With the advent of spring, the ice melts and the eggs are incubated reproducing those young penguins. The secret behind this strict kind of fasting is that the (penguin’s) eggs require this specific degree of coldness. Practically, when the young penguins grow up, they start observing fasting through abstaining from food until their down falls out and their bodies are covered with feathers. At this very moment, they rush into water declaring the end of this fasting through having food and drink.
As for the old penguins, they also observe fasting for another period that is sufficient to replace their old feathers with another which is more glowing and flourishing. They throw themselves into the sea merrily as if they imitate the human beings when they wear new clothes on the coming of the ?Eid that comes after fasting in Ramadan or as if the human beings imitate these wondrous creatures. More accurately, we can say, “It is a recurring Sunnah in Allah’s creation.”
Allah, Most High, says, […That is the decree of (Him), the Exalted in Might, the All-Knowing] (Yasin: 38).