The Elephant’s Trunk

The Elephant’s Trunk

Shaykhul Islaam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah

Reference: Miftaah Daar As sa’aadah: 2/145.

Ponder over the elephant’s trunk and the incredible wisdom behind its creation, for indeed it takes the place of the hand as in regards to the handling of food and water and putting them in its mouth.If it wasn’t for its trunk, the elephant would not be able to handle anything that is on the ground, because it does not have a neck that it can stretch like the rest of the animals. So because of this it was given in its place a long trunk. And it [the elephant] was given the ability to extend, lift, twist and do what it pleases with it. And it was created as a dry container that is soft to the touch. So with it, it handles its needs, carries what it wants into its mouth, stores in it what it wants as well as give and take what it wants.So ask the Mu’atil [1]: Who is the one that has compensated and replaced for it [the elephant] a limb [trunk] in the place of what He didn’t give it [neck] that which takes its place and accomplishes all the actions of the neck except Al Ra’oof (The Most Kind) Ar Raheem (The Most Merciful) with His creation, Who takes care of their welfare and is Lateef (Most Subtle, Most Courteous) with them? And how could this come about if there was negligence? Or if His custodianship, Baraa’a (Invention) and creation without a prior example were absent from the world, La Ilha Ila Huwa Al ‘Azeez Al Hakeem. (There is no deity worthy of worship except Him the All Mighty, the All Wise).

And if you were to ask:

“Why didn’t He create for it a neck like the rest of the animals and what is the wisdom behind that?”

It has been said, and Allaah knows best of the wisdom behind His creation: That this is because the elephant’s head and ears are enormous as well as heavy. So if it had a neck like the rest of the animals it would collapse because of their weight, or be extremely weakened from carrying them. So He made its head stuck to its body in order that it does not feel fatigue from the weight and effort. And He created for it [elephant] in place of a neck, this long trunk that enables it to feed itself . When an animal has a long neck because of certain wisdom in that, its head is small when compared to the size of its body in order that its neck is not harmed or weakened by its weight.

So Subhaan Allaah (Glorified be Allaah) whose wisdom has far surpassed the accountability of those who try to count and the limit of those who try to limit it.

Translator: Nadir Ahmad, Abu Abdul-Waahid