Allah, the Almighty, said: (The parable of those who take protectors other than Allah is that of the spider, who builds (to itself) a house; but truly the flimsiest of houses is the spider's house;- if they but knew) (Surat Al-Ankabot: 41).
From these verses, the following universal signs can be detected:
(1)Confirmation of the fact that the spider's house is the flimsiest house, whether physically or spiritually. This has been proven by the late studies in zoology.
Following are some of the expositors' statements to explain the previous verses:
* In abbreviation, Ibn Kathir (May Allah bless his soul) mentioned: “This is an example given by Allah, the Almighty, of the idolaters who revere gods besides Allah. The idolaters hope that those gods will assist them, provide for them, and they turn to them in times of hardship. In this regard, they are like the spider’s house, in its weakness and frailty, because by clinging to these gods they are like a person who holds on to a spider's web and does not gain any benefit from that. Had they known this, they would not have taken protectors other than Allah. This is unlike the Muslim believer, whose heart is devoted to Allah and, in addition, does well in following Allah's decrees. The Muslim has grasped the most trustworthy handle, the one that never breaks because of its strength and stability…”
* In Tafsir Al-Jalalain “Al-Jalalain Interpretation” (may Allah bless their souls), which was investigated and commented on by Sheikh Mohamed Kan’an (May Allah bestow good on him), the following was stated: (The parable of those who take protectors other than Allah): idols which they hope will benefit them (is that of the spider, who builds (to itself) a house) in order to lodge in it. (The flimsiest) the weakest (of houses is the spider's house) that does not protect from heat nor cold. The same thing applies to idols which do no good to their worshippers. (If they but knew), they would not have worshipped those idols.
* In Safwat Al-Bayan Lem’any Al-Quran, the following was stated: (The parable of those who take protectors other than Allah…), meaning that the parable of those who worship idols and depend on them, as well as, hope for benefit and meditation of those idols, is that of the spider which builds itself a weak house by its spinning. This house does not protect the spider from the hot or cold weather, nor does it protect from the rain or in times of danger.
* The authors of Al-Montakhab fey Tafsir Al-Quran Al-Karim (may Allah bestow good on them) stated the following:
The talkers of vanities, who follow others than Allah, are similar, in their weakness, frailty, and dependence on others, to the spider which builds itself a house to protect itself. The spider’s house is the flimsiest of houses and farthest from being suitable for protection. If those talkers of vanities were people of knowledge and intelligence, they would not have done that.
The Spider from a Scientific Perspective
The spider is an animal of phylum Arthropoda, classified in Class Arachnida, which combines Order Araneida along with other orders including scorpions and mites.
The spider’s body is divided into a prosoma where the head is connected to the breast and an undivided opisthosoma which includes the abdomen. The prosoma carries four pairs of legs, two pairs of feelers, and two chelicerae which resemble a pair of pincers or claws that contain the poison glands. The prosoma is separated from the opisthosoma by a thin waist.
An anatomical photograph of silk-making glands
The spider has simple eyes whose number might be eight or less. It is a predator of insects and has a thick skin covered with hair which is shed around 7 to 8 times until it reaches maturity. Zoologists today know more than thirty thousand types of spiders which vary in sizes (from less than a millimeter to ninety millimeters), shapes and colors. Most spiders live in the wild, mostly alone except at times of mating and egg hatching. The spiders’ environment extends from sea level to heights of five thousand meters. The spider has three pairs of prominent moving protrusions in the lower abdomen. These protrusions have tiny holes from which the fluid used to make the threads for its house comes out; therefore, they are known as the spinners. This fluid which comes out from a number of special glands to outside the spider's body, through the rear spinners, dries as soon as it is subjected to air. When it dries, various threads are produced which differ in types, length, and strength according to the difference in the producing glands.
A photograph of the spider's threads being produced from the silk glands as if it were a thread factory
The spider might stay in its house, where it practices all life's activities, or it might have a nest or a hideout other than the house, which is connected to the house by a thread known as the trap thread. The spider escapes to this hideout at times of danger.
The Scientific Indications of the Holy Script
First: Referring to the spider in the singular form:
In Lissan Al-Arab, under the subject (ankab), it was mentioned that the (ankaboot “spider”) is an animal which weaves in the air, and on the mouth of the well, a flimsy thin web. It is a feminine word, and may have been mentioned in poetry. The spider’s house is called (al-akdaba). Al-Feraa said: the spider is feminine, and some Arabs may mention it. The plural form is (al-ankabotat), (al-anakeb), and (al-anakeeb). In Yemen’s language, it is (aknabaah), as well as, (ankbaa) and (ankabowah). Sibawayh mentioned (ankabaa) while giving evidence on the addition of ta'a in (ankaboot), so he does not know if it is singular or plural. Ibn Al-A'rabey said" (al-ankab) is for the masculine, and (al-ankaba) is for the feminine. It was said that (al-ankab) is the spider’s classification. Al-Ankaboot maybe masculine or feminine. Al-Moubarid said: al-ankaboot is feminine and can be used for the masculine.
Most likely, the term (al-ankaboot) is for the feminine singular, the plural of which is (al-anakeb).
Naming the noble surat with the singular form (Al-Ankaboot “The Spider") indicates the solitary life of this animal, except at times of mating and egg hatching. This can be compared to the two surats Al-Nahel (The Bees) and Al-Namel (The Ants), where the names are plural since these insects live in groups.
Second: In His saying: (Builds to itself a house):
In this noble quranic verse, there is a clear indication that the female spider is the one mainly undertaking the building of the house. Consequently, building the spider's house is a mission shouldered by the female spiders. It is the female which has in its body the glands for secretion of the silk material from which the spider’s house is woven. Sometimes, the male spider might take part in helping with the building, repairing or expanding. However, the process of building is mainly feminine. It is here where we find the scientific miracle in Allah's (the Almighty) saying: builds to itself a house.
Third: In the Almighty's saying: (the flimsiest of houses is the spider's house…)
This miraculous quranic script indicates a number of important facts, some of which are:
(1) Physical weakness:The spider’s house, from the physical point of view, is the weakest house of all, because it is made out of a number of very delicate silk threads. These threads are interwoven, leaving large separating spaces at most times. Therefore, they do not protect from the heat of the sun, or the extreme cold. These threads do not form adequate shade, nor protect from the rain, storming winds, or the dangers of attackers. This is despite the miraculous building of this house.
(2) The weakness is in the spider’s house and not the threads;for the Almighty says (the flimsiest of houses). This is a clear indication that the weakness and frailty are within the spider's house and not the spider's threads. This is a very precise indication. The threads of the spider's house are made of very delicate silk. The thickness of one thread is usually one million of the squared inch, or one part of four thousand parts of the thickness of the ordinary human hair. Despite its delicacy, it is the strongest biological substance known to mankind so far. The silk threads which make up the spider’s web are considered stronger than steel, and their strength is surpassed only by the melted quartz. The thin thread stretches to five times its length before it is cut. Therefore, the scientists call it “biological steel”or “bio-steel”. It is twenty times stronger than the ordinary metal steel. Its tolerance measures 300,000 pound for the square inch. Hypothetically speaking, should there be a thick rope of the spider’s threads, in the size of the thumb, it can easily carry a "jumbo" jet.
(3) Spiritual weakness:The spider’s house, spiritually speaking, is the flimsiest of all houses, because it is deprived of all love and kindness, which are the pillars of any happy home. The female, in some types of spiders, kills the male as soon as the fertilization takes place. Being larger in size and more violent, the female kills the male and eats its body. In some cases, the female eats its youngsters mercilessly. In some types, the female dies after fertilizing its eggs, which are usually fostered in a silk bag. When the eggs hatch, spiderlings come out to find themselves in a very crowded place inside the eggs bag. The siblings then start to fight for food, space or both. The brother kills its brother and sister, and the sister kills its sister and brother, until the fight ends with a few spiderlings remaining. These spiderlings shed their skin and tear the eggs bag to come out one after the other with unhappy memories. They all then spread in the surrounding environment. Each female starts to build its house. On the road to achieve this goal, some of the spiderlings die, whereas those who survive repeat the same tragedy. This makes the spider’s house the most violent and ruthless house, lacking all forms of kinship. Hence, Allah the Almighty sets it as a parable in its weakness and frailty because it lacks the simplest form of kindness between the husband and wife, the mother and her children, the brother and his siblings, and the sister and her siblings.
Fourth: In His saying: (If they but knew):
These facts were unknown to any human at the time of revelation, and for long centuries thereafter. They have been discovered after extensive studies of the behavior of the spider by hundreds of scientists, for tens of years, until they were realized in the last decades of the twentieth century. That is why our God (Exalted be He) ended the noble verse with His saying (if they but knew).
Consequently, the quranic description of the spider’s house as being the flimsiest of all houses; this description which was revealed to an illiterate prophet (PBUH) in a nation with a majority of illiterates, fourteen hundred years ago, is considered a scientific achievement which no sensible person would imagine a source for other than Allah the Creator. Allah is the one who revealed the noble quran with His knowledge to the final Prophet and Messenger. It is Allah who protected the quran in the same language in which it was revealed (the Arabic language) for fourteen or more centuries. Allah will continue to protect the quran until He inherits earth and those who live on it. The quran will remain as evidence on all people till the Day of Judgment. The truth within quran will stand witness to the holy quran being the words of Allah, the Creator. It will also stand witness to the prophet hood and message bestowed on the Final Prophet and Messenger to whom the quran was revealed (PBUH). The Prophet has delivered the message, fulfilled the trust, advised the nation, and struggled in the cause of Allah until his final days. We ask you Allah, the Almighty, to reward him, our Prophet, with the best of the rewards given to a prophet for his works with his ummah, and the best of rewards given to a messenger for the fine fulfillment of his mission. We pray to Allah to bestow on our prophet the right of intercession and superiority and send him (on the Day of Judgment) to the highest standing (in Paradise) which He promised him, for Allah does not break His promises. We end our supplication by praising Allah, and praying to Him to bestow peace and blessing on our Prophet Mohamed, his family, companions and whoever follows his way till the Day of Judgment.
Some Hidden Quranic Signs:
A- The house of the spideris not merely its dwelling place. Being the sticky net it is, it constitutes a trap for flying insects such as flies and others. These insects are a prey on which the spider feeds. Similarly, those idolaters who revere gods besides Allah, and call people to those revered gods, are in fact calling them to an artful trap which leads them to their death and destruction in this life and the afterlife. Allah, the Almighty, said: (Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin Most heinous indeed.) (Surat Al- Nesaa: 48)
B- Warning against those withcorrupt invocations who revere others besides Allah, whether money or whim. This warning is issued through indicating their hidden strings with which they hunt their victims. These strings can be money, sex, power, or any other hidden string which destroys the victim once it is trapped.
Source: Research paper by Dr. Zaghloul Al-Naggar, published in Al-Ahram newspaper, issue number (42749). Modified and added to by Feras Nour Al-Hak.