The Prophet and the Ant

The prophet was lost in meditation

in the Hira cave as was his wont.

An orphaned ant that had climbed up

Jabal al Nour, the mountain of light, waited

for the Prophet to take note of him.


The Prophet ended his meditation,

opened his eyes brimming with mercy

and asked the ant: ‘Are you a messenger

of good news or bad?’


The ant said, ‘I am just a messenger,

like all created beings. I too

am an orphan, like you. I roamed around

and finally managed to climb up.’


‘I felt as much when you came alone,

and not in a colony as you usually do’,

the Prophet said and offered his tiny guest

some crystals of rock from the mountain.

They had turned into sugar.

‘It tastes sweet,’ the ant

was surprised.


‘Whatever is given with compassion

tastes sweet. I learnt this from

my foster -parents much before

Jibreel’, said the Prophet.


The angel, so far listening

to this exchange unseen

now intervened with a smile:

‘It is life that gives the best of examples;

Only, men do not listen.

That is why God has to send Prophets

to earth, to remind them.’


‘Even an ant has things to teach men:

unity, industry, humility.

It bites men only when scared.

Dear Muhammad, you will have to

flee Mecca for Medina. Even then

this faithful ant will accompany you.’


The Prophet and the ant began to meditate

and saw the same light fall on them.

‘The sun of Arabia’, said the ant.

‘The sun of the Earth’, the Prophet

offered a correction.

‘The sun of the living and the non-living’,

the mountain responded

through its mouth, the cave.

(Translated from Malayalam by the poet)


K. Satchidanandan


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