Fasting of Plover
Lecturer of Entomology – Faculty of Agriculture – Al-Azhar University
Plover is one of wading and migrating birds. Canada is its homeland and it usually emigrates from Canada to America doing a long and arduous journey. Actually, flocks of plover cover this journey incessantly; the thing which makes this journey of more than 3000 miles more difficult, in addition to passing through the Pacific Ocean; this makes the journey more arduous. Naturally, men or animals, when travelling long distances, are obliged to take a rest and get their breath back. Moreover, they can have some food and drink or light meals fitting to such circumstances. In contrast to that, we find these birds enter some kind of obligatory and incessant fasting by Day and Night, for they have no way but continuing the journey incessantly along with fasting. This reminds us of the saying of a Muslim leader to his soldiers when they got in confrontation with the enemy: “The enemy is before you and the sea is behind you (meaning that they have no way but to confront the enemy seriously until they achieve victory; otherwise they will be defeated or drowned in the sea to the last man).”
Likewise, these birds have no way but to gird their loins for continuing the journey because if they intend to take rest they will inevitably perish in the Ocean’s water. So, we see these birds beseeching Allah’s help to grant them success to continue the journey as if they look at their images on the surface of water from the horizon thinking that they are birds overtaken by drowning. Accordingly, they think that their case is better off and are motivated by this scene to fly higher than the surface of water. Actually, they continue fasting and flying for thirteen days which means that they observe non-stop fasting, the thing that’s prohibited for Muslims, save the Prophet, blessings and peace of Allah be upon him, who said in this regard, “… As for me, I sleep in the presence of my Lord enjoying food and drink by a butler.” Thus, although Allah, Most High, has predestined this arduous journey on these birds, He provides them with the necessary energy that will enable them to carry out this hard mission.
No doubt, these birds’ form of fasting gives us great indications on the Omnipotence of Allah, Exalted and Glorified be He. It, moreover, adds another dimension of the forms of asting adopted by people and living species. We have previously mentioned that eels observe fasting for two or three years whether it be the first fasting which is the fasting of the young or the latter fasting which is the fasting of the old. Likewise, plover observes fasting but while flying in the sky. The moment it reaches its resting location, it reposes for some time and then proceeds to have food delightfully in larger amounts than its needs to save some food in the form of fatty substances, taking into consideration the returning journey in the same road.