Swindled Chapter 2 – The Buzzing of the Bees
‘And your Lord inspired the bee, “Take for yourself among the mountains, houses, and among the trees and [in] that which they construct. Then eat from all the fruits and follow the ways of your Lord laid down [for you].”
There emerges from their bellies a drink, varying in colours, in which there is healing for people. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who give thought.’ [An-Nahl 68 – 69]
Noah had left the town of Juhul way behind him as he finally lay down to rest upon a smooth boulder as a cool breeze caressed his sweaty skin. It was relaxing to at last find a good spot to rest after the non-stop walking. He gazed towards the river and at the mesmerising ripples flowing hypnotically downstream. The sound of rushing water slowly lullabied him into drowsiness. The Sun forming a comfortable blanket, his eyelids gradually became heavier. He noticed a lone flower attracting his attention with its bright petals and a bee rotating impatiently around it. Its yellow and black colourings were the last thing he saw as he finally fell into a deep slumber.
The bee buzzed furiously at the boy sleeping calmly by the stone. She turned her back to the flower she was moments before trying to harvest and faced back towards the hive. Only of course, after convincing herself that the fool of a boy wasn’t worth a stinging torment from her pincer.
She flew quickly, her rage clear by the vicious flapping of her wings. This had happened all too often, she thought. She would take this matter up directly to the highest authority she could. Her anger had preoccupied her slightly from where she was going and it was only on hearing the buzzing of the sisters, she realised she had reached the hive.
But her anger left her not in the mood for pleasantries nor conventions of politeness and good humour. She rushed past the other bees, bumping past them, ignoring the annoyed shouts and complaints it induced. The others rustled to get out of her way and stared at her incredulously as she flew past at dangerous pace, violating the sanctity of the hive, showing no respect for the young ones in their nests or the liquid gold stored by their bedsides.
But she continued unabated. Only the unloading of her grievances would soothe her, the sooner she could do that the better. As she rushed a corner, she glimpsed a sister telling others of a fruitful batch of flowers she found. A bee’s dance always captivated the others. Intrigued, she noticed the treasure wasn’t too far from here. A few spaces past the old, fallen tree stump she frequented. Not
too far from the river actually. The very same river where that rotten boy sleeps! She gained speed and flew even more furiously.
At last she had to slow down. For she had reached a sacred and sombre place. The bees were crowded densely around these parts and it was difficult and slow-moving to pass through. The rooms were darker here too and their walls thicker – almost as if to contain the singing and chanting of its inhabitants. The bee listened to their song as she rushed past, but to anyone else listening, they would have just heard the buzzing of the bees:
“May we be sacrificed for the One
Who blessed us with the colour of the Sun
And that with pride we come not audacious
Coated our brightness with a stripe of darkness
We Glorify the Praises of His Name
Who has spread to all corners our fame
And lifts us up with the wind
And the Law of Gravity, rescind
To The Shaper of Beauty, we advance
In the ways He taught us, by dance
By such, He grants us His Provision
And entertainment of our own volition
For The Glorious One, we gather
A fruitful drink from Flower
Armed only with a stinger, aching
And our incessant supplicating -”
Although the bee always loved to join in the praises of Allah, she was too frustrated today to take part. She left them behind her as she finally neared her destination. She slowed as she entered a place where the walls were bright gold and thicker. There were massive columns here, with strong guards looking on sternly and many loyal subjects crowding around. It had all the air of royalty.
The Bee entered a large doorway and stood in awe for a moment as she saw the Queen Bee resting after giving birth to many larvae throughout the day. She lay, massive and majestic, her kind eyes looking at the Bee with sincere concern and compassion. The Queen was the first to speak.
“What grieves you my child?”
The Bee looked downwards unwilling to meet the eyes of one the one who stood so majestically before her. She took a deep breath and released the troubles that had plagued her so terribly today.
“Dear Mother. Forgive me for rushing upon you so hastily. But I have deep troubles giving me much discomfort and have unsettled my mind.”
“Unburden yourself my daughter, Allah willing, you will find me of those giving sound advice.”
“The thing is Mother, you know very well Allah, Glorified and Exalted, has been very gracious to us. There is not a thing we enjoy, but as a blessing from The Most Bounteous. By Allah, we are amongst the most amazing of creatures! We fly in the winds with the thinnest of wings and the fattest of bodies. We journey to flowers and plants far and wide and we take from their otherwise, plain and ordinary petals a sweet fruitful drink the colour of gold but by Allah! More valuable than gold – because whereas gold is a brick which has no use, our honey sweetens bread and drink and heals the sickly with the permission of Allah.
We find the most fruitful flowers with Allah’s permission, and we return to our nests and give directions to them by way of dance. Our nests themselves are built so efficiently and perfectly where we have our quarters for storage and others to raise our young and others to house our Queens. We store honey in six-sided shapes giving us the most storage space and requiring the least building materials as taught to us by our Lord. So that Men too, can access it and enjoy its many benefits.
And we have two types of honey. The normal type we feed on ourselves and then the Royal Type which we feed our Mothers so they may grow strong and powerful and reproduce more offspring for the hive.
And we have stingers too, through which we protect ourselves and our nests and smite those that would harm our children and our stored up treasures – even if it means our own destruction. Not only are we resourceful creatures but courageous too!
And then with all these wonders, Mother, and many more, when I was buzzing in front of a young man as he lay by a tree, so that he may ponder the Greatness of Allah and the amazing miracles of His Creation, the boy fell asleep! As if I was nothing more than a mundane portrait by some deceiving painter!
Allah has sent us as messengers, urging the people to think and ponder at His Creation, and today I was treated like a speck of dust! Lullabying young boys to sleep! What dishonour! By Allah, who has been insulted more than I today? To be reduced from the honour of a Messenger of Allah to something not worth any attention?
Mother! Why don’t the people heed our advices and the Signs of Allah so apparent on our skins and in our bellies? Why do they deviate such? What miraculous powers of creation do they possess that renders Allah’s creation insignificant and worthless and not worth even a moment of thought?”
The Queen Bee chuckled for a moment before replying,
“Ahh, the fire of youth! So headstrong and so much energy! But tell me child, hasn’t Allah created this World, to place some Men in Paradise and others in the Fire of Hell?”
“Yes, of course.”
“And hasn’t Allah, Glorified and Exalted He is, dazzled this World with infinite adornments and distractions to distract people from His Remembrance?”
“Yes of course. “ The Bee paused for a moment here, before asking, “But why would He do that? Doesn’t he want Men to enter His Paradise?”
“When our Lord created Hellfire, He, Glorified and Exalted He is, decreed it for a portion of Mankind. It is His Will, which He performs as He wills. And he doesn’t fear retribution or accusation from anybody. And so He has decorated the Earth, so those in whose hearts are evil, would be inclined to it, and then forget Allah, and forget His Commands and in so doing earn a residence in the most evil of places. The one who trades Paradise for this worldly life has certainly been swindled!
But those in whose hearts is goodness, nothing from the glitz and glamour of this World distracts them from Allah. Rather in everything they see the Signs of Allah, everything is just another loyal subject that points to its Master, the Most Articulate and Creative One, Allah, Most Supreme and Irresistible.
This is their test, young one. Whether they choose this lowly life or the life of the Hereafter with Allah, The True King. And most of them, walk on Earth’s lowly paths heedless of this fact. Some of them choose only this Dunya and neglect the Hereafter entirely. Others mix between the two. Others take only what is necessary from this Dunya and their focus is solely the Hereafter. These are the best of Men. Their reward is entirely with their Lord.
My daughter! Don’t you see our hive here running in perfect order when there are hundreds if not thousands of us, each hastening to complete their tasks?”
“By Allah, if Man would just live by the commandments of Allah, they would find the same happiness and efficiency in their lives as we do. It is only our obedience of His Commands that make our ventures so profitable and efficient.
But Man, my child, is deceived easily by the World around us. They see nothing but short pleasures in this life in which they indulge and only brings them trouble and trial in this World and the World to come.
And then when they are offered guidance and mercy from the Most Merciful One above, they reject it because it impedes their enjoyment of these worldly pleasures and games. And they do such, when Our Lord is one terrible in punishment, severe in retribution and One who is to be feared and held in awe at all times.
My child, don’t let their arrogance worry you too much. Just convey your message to the best of your ability. Allah will judge between them.
Allah! See you not how He holds the sky and stops it from falling on our heads?
Or how He makes our bodies work with no effort of our own?
Or how He makes a lively body into a useless lump of flesh by way of death?
Or how He brings night as a cover over the day?
Or how He decorated the heavens with stars?
Or how He filled the Earth with water?
Or how He creates children for us from our own wombs?
Or how He brings water from the sky?
Or how He thunders the Heavens, who praise Him such?
Or How He created and measured Time?
Or How He created and measured Space?
Or How He designed and decorated the Earth with infinite flowers?
Or How He rose to heights, lofty mountains?
Or How He rooted in the Earth, heavy trees?
And fashioned them with light leaves?
By Allah, my child! He! Yes He will certainly avenge us for the injustice of Man against us and all of creation! But leave them in their stupor just a while longer. The Day is certainly coming. You know most certainly well of which Day I speak!
He will toss them in flames to boil their skins, to smite their faces and cook their insides. No one could wish that punishment on another. No creation, bound together in mercy by the bond of sharing One Creator, could possibly wish it on another creation. Only Our Lord could punish like that without feeling any remorse or pity. So feel not angry at the arrogant, but feel pity for them and help them wherever possible for they are the most unfortunate and poverty-stricken ones.”
“Buzz buzz,” said the Bee. Well that’s not what she really said. But if you had heard her, that’s all it would have sounded like.