I visited the Al Ain zoo after perhaps more than 10 years. I was in the mood for ice-skating, but Jeewan and his kids wanted to visit the zoo this past weekend when they came over to Al Ain.
The zoo has changed a lot, a lot of the fences have been replaced by glass. There's been extensive landscaping, and a bird sanctuary has been added. However, most of the zoo was under construction, which was sad. I didn't see any elephants, or rhinos, or fish. We did see snakes, alligators, African and Desert exhibits, and penguins.
I realised I had forgotten everything I knew about animals. I didn't remember the last time I even saw most of them.
When the apes talk to each other, they sounded like horns. The monkeys were the noisiest.
I observed the apes for quite some time, as Jeewan and Muad clicked away on their cameras.
I saw one of the gorillas sitting on a pedestal...and thought to myself, it's sitting just like the way humans sit- leaning their backs, with one leg stretched out, one knee bent up and an arm on it, and arm on the side to support your weight. But if you compare the creation with humans, no human would want to be turned into a monkey as any punishment.
And then I reflected on the ayah:
وَلَقَدْ عَلِمْتُمُ الَّذِينَ اعْتَدَواْ مِنكُمْ فِي السَّبْتِ فَقُلْنَا لَهُمْ كُونُواْ قِرَدَةً خَاسِئِينَ
I saw eagles and vultures, quietly staring out @ us.
And I couldn't stop thinking about the nile crocodile. The last time I was around crocodiles was when I went to Thailand in 1999. Crocodiles dont move a lot. They come from a very ancient lineage, since the times of dinosaurs, if they ever existed. They're very still in water, and most of the times their eyes are closed. Just when you're about to think its dead, or sleeping, it blinks. They look very sinister and evil. There's no good in them. You dont want to be around them. Why would even want crocodile leather? What good it is to kill an evil creature and then eat its meat as a "delicacy"? A crocodile's bite strength is upto 3,000 pounds per square inch!
I left the zoo thinking, why would Allah, of all reptiles, create crocodiles?
As you can tell, I'm not an animal person.