Islamic Heritage of South Asia

The Parable of a Mosquito in Surah-al-Baqra

The Parable of a Mosquito

The Qur’an 2:26

Submitted by Dr. Abdullatif Alaljibury

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَسْتَحْيِي أَنْ يَضْرِبَ مَثَلاً مَا بَعُوضَةً فَمَا فَوْقَهَا فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فَيَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ مِنْ رَبِّهِمْ وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فَيَقُولُونَ مَاذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِهَذَا مَثَلاً يُضِلُّ بِهِ كَثِيرًا وَيَهْدِي بِهِ كَثِيرًا وَمَا يُضِلُّ بِهِ إِلاَّ الْفَاسِقِينَ- البقرة: 2:26)

“Behold, God does not disdain to propound a parable of a mosquito, and of what is above it, Now, as for those who have attained to faith, they know that it is the truth from their Sustainer – whereas those who are bent on denying the truth say, “What could God mean by this parable? In this way does He cause many a one to go astray, just as He guides many a one aright: but none does He cause thereby to go astray save the iniquitous.” Surah al Baqra, 2:26.

It was not until 1922 that a British entomologist discovered a flying biting midge that clung to the back of the mosquito. The discovery was further authenticated by Chinese scientists who caught a mosquito with a midge clinging tenaciously to its backside. Using an electron microscope, since the midge was so tiny that it could hardly be seen by the naked eye, the midge was filmed sucking blood from the mosquito and leaving its host after getting satisfied. The event was recorded on video. Some midges have been observed attached to the back of the mosquito for up to 56 hours.

Since the beginning of its revelation and until very recently, the significance of “a mosquito and what is above it’ has escaped many reputable commentators of the Qur’an. As a matter of fact, the disbelievers, as God has mentioned, would most certainly have gone astray and brushed off its significance by saying:” What could God mean by this parable?” The disbelievers were bent on ceasing an opportunity to what seemed to them a non- consequential similitude and continue to deny their bond with God, for which they are aptly branded as “iniquitous”. Only the people of faith, by holding on firmly to their contract with God, the All Knowing and dispenser of Grace, accept the truth whether it is apparent or not.

We witness and see every day and everywhere clear Signs from our Creator. The truth is manifested in the wonders of His Creation whether it be in the vast Cosmos or here on earth. It could even be on the tiniest of His Creation or a smaller creature which sits on top of a mosquito, as is mentioned in the verse referenced above.

God has many ways to guide us to see and uphold the truth and be conscious of His presence as we seek refuge in His Grace. He shows us the truth through His Signs that are everywhere we look. Indeed, there are instances when He makes us look deeper to witness the truth. He makes the venture doubly rewarding through sight and insight. That is the case in point with the parable of the mosquito, the Qur’an, Surah al Baqra, 2:26.