The Lion and the Lamb

Category: Featured, Nature & Science Views: 19037

Philosophers and sages of the past have often stated the bitter realities of life in parables and fables, to help the common man understand and reconcile with the facts of life. But it would be wrong to accept them holding good forever and universally applicable, because the realities change with time and circumstances.

Take for example the story of the lion, who was drinking water from a stream. Seeing a lamb having a drink nearby whetted his appetite. "Why are you making the water dirty?" he roared.

"But I am down stream while you are drinking water upstream" said the lamb meekly.

"Maybe so, but you called me names last summer when I came this way" said the lion visible annoyed.

"It could not be me, because I was only born in spring this year" said the lamb somewhat relieved.

"If it was not you, it must be your mother" roared the lion again before making a short meal of the lamb. 

Things have changed since the story was told about a thousand years ago.

Progress has helped the power to grow into the status of super-power, with the freedom to do whatever that suits it. Using the idiom of modern power-play the lion would have neither the patience nor the time to waste on the weakling. The king of the jungle would have cut the conversation short in the first instance saying " That is enough. I know that you intend to call me bad names now" before eating up his prey in his pre-emptive wisdom.

But new knowledge has also provided counter point to every point made by the history. The cliches of the past like the lion being the "king of the jungle", the world being run according to the "law of jungle", and "might is right" are thus open to question. 

One can see how the arrogance of the mightiest powers has brought them to their own destruction. The law of jungle is not unilateral but based on balance that helps to sustain it self. The ferocious king of jungle was dethroned the day he was seen running for his life, chased by an angry herd of grass eating buffaloes. Power does not lie in the weapons of tooth and claw but in unity and resolve of the deprived ---- a lesson that the powerful must not forget and the weak must remember.

The author is an independent commentator based in Karachi, Pakistan

  Category: Featured, Nature & Science
Views: 19037
The opinions expressed herein, through this post or comments, contain positions and viewpoints that are not necessarily those of IslamiCity. These are offered as a means for IslamiCity to stimulate dialogue and discussion in our continuing mission of being an educational organization. The IslamiCity site may occasionally contain copyrighted material the use of which may not always have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. IslamiCity is making such material available in its effort to advance understanding of humanitarian, education, democracy, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, and such (and all) material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Older Comments:
Interesting take on the current situation.

Excellent. I myself thought about it, and noticing the actions of the modern times, so called mighty nations, their destruction doesn't seem to be far away. They can fool some people, but they can't fool the God, the Exalted. They're under His watch, and the leeway is for an appointed time.

I am impressed by the writer's optimism of the possibility (indeed probability) of the unity of the weak and the oppressed to counter the tyranny and arrogance of the powerful oppressor. I also look forward to the day when the lamb will realize the weakness of his situation without being blinded by an assumed identity of birth. i wonder if the lamb and his fellow weak brethren will be endowed enough to realize that unity is strength. The statement of Allahu (SWT) that the lion (or is it the wolf?)will continue to woo smaller animals into assuming that once they identify with him, think, act and behave like him, they will be safe from his tyranny is as fresh as it was revealed today. Until the small (but powerful animals) realize that the only identity (and source of strength)they have is Islam, which itself is a product of knowledge, and behave accordingly, the lion will arrogantly continue to pick us up, one by one, and revel in the delicious meal. may Allah give us the strenth and will to follow His cause and resist evil, wherever it appears, including in ourselves, amin.

there are hidden meanings which we must think hard and deeply. unity of the muslim nations is what we lack most.

i am so think you

How about a version where the lion tells the lamb, "According to the highest law of the lions, I can have all that is yours because you worship an idol."

Somewhat perplexed, the lamb replies, "I only worship a single, unseen, eternal and all-powerful creator of everything. Just as the lions claim to do."

Greatly annoyed by the lamb's testimony, the lion retorts, "But YOUR single, unseen, eternal and all-powerful creator of everything is an idol!"

I would agree with the article wholeheartedly since it is true that power does lie in one's unity. As it is said that unity is stregth and to sustain that unity, it needs a true and right path. I believe that Islam is the only true and right path from the Almighty Allah for guidance.
For sheep and lion story, these are just roles, and roles or characters can change by the will of Allah at any time because lions and sheeps are in the category of mortality.

This article while a good analogy to arrogant super powers and their political stance is too childish to be considered for reality. Todays politics and life is not as simple as described in this article by a simple relationship between a lamb and lion.

Reading this article is "hard work", but seems good and I can see the "soul" of this article by looking at the letters.... (but w/o reading)...

I have to say that this article is asssociating the quality of being a "Super Power" with being an opportunistic lion. I have to say that this is untrue. Super Powers differ just like the various influential people in this world. The culture, perhaps is what makes a Super Power an "opportunistic lion" such as the parable in which the author describes. The culture of the regime is what makes the political structure of ones country.

I resent the inital statement made by the author when he states that "Philosophers have used parables to help the common man understand life." This is also not factual. Many Philosophers such as Aristotle were skilled mathmeticians who used math to not only understand the physical sciences of this world but also the Metaphysical.

Again I doubt this article makes any relevance to political power.

A.R FROM U.K said:
Those who come with the negative points of views about the article!
Ever heard in the bulk of Chrischiandum, if someone slap on your right cheek provide him your left cheek to slap on. Dose it work even in born again Chrishians?
Ever heard the copycat Chrischians saying,
God is Gracious.Which Christian bible is that?
Keep working on that. Playing with animals is not the job of your kind.

now i get it. when the powerful man wants to "eat" the weak man, he make up stories about the weak man wanting to hurt him, thus making it justified to kill the weak man. even if the accusation is completely untrue. might is right. correct?

but i think, even if it's unfair, the lamb can't change the lion. the lion is a carnivor, the lamb is his food. but the lamb can change himself. so the weak man (lamb) must arm himself with intelligence (or other alternatives) to defend himself cunningly. as physically he's weaker, he must find other alternatives to best overcome his predator.


Who will bell the cat? The sooner you bell the cat, the better is for the peace of the universe. The unity can cage the loin as the buffaloes did.

In my opinion this article is pointless for either a modern time audience or Muslims. First of all this is a fable. Who gives example from fables nowadays in North America if ever? All what fables do is transfer humann character and behaviour to animals. This is wrong, nay, slander, since animals would never behahave as base as humans. A lion doesn't need to justify killing the lamb more than the humans would be required. In Taurat(Tora) God tells Musa(Moses),pbuh, "Whoever kills an animal and did not ask forgiveness from Me, should be charged with murder." If lions or any animal group would do to the members of the same group what we humans do to one another, then yes, I would approve. Since no being or life form on the planet is doing to its own species what humans do, comparing animals to humans is wrong. All animals are Muslim by giving up their free choice. Humans did not give up on their free choice. In the Quran is written, " Indeed we have created mankind in the best of molds, then we lowered him to be the lowest of the low; except those that have faith and do the righteous things...". Therefore, one doesn't need to look to animals for illustrating the abominations of men! There isn't a mass murderer among animals. Animals did not wage world wars that jeoperdized the existence of the very life itself on this planet(the danger is still very real that humans would one crazy day wipe out life as we know it on earth, while we don't have that threat from the poor innocent animals). Show me a Hitler varience in the animal kingdom. Show me occupation and enslavement of some animals by others. So please, do not mar and taint that which Allah/God created to be innocent and follow a nature bestowed on them by the Creator Himself. You want to say that USA was like the lion and the Third world like the lamb? Please, guys, never. From a lion one can expect mercy, mercy killing, for feeding purposes; US soldiers sex-toy you first, humiliate you, and then they kill you.

Seemingly the parable applies to anyone who modifies arguments made for slaughtering the meek.

Why are we comparing ourselves to the little, innocent lamb.

We are paying for the sins we committed, the liberties we have taken with what was covenented to us, the millions and billions of transgressions, together, all over the world, we everyday shamelessly tread upon. The present state of affairs was promised.

Reaslise this fast, very fast, get up you snoring sloths for you have everything to lose including your iman.

No recriminations will help, no past glory will help, no justifications will help.

I was reading a Hadith to day in the Morning which reads 'naem al jiahd al-hajj', the English meaning of which is 'what a wonderful Jihad is the Hajj'. Like a pilgrim, let us wear clean, simple robes, clean and pure thoughts and strive to please the Allah to gain his acceptance of our efforts. Let our efforts be not for ourselves, to gain power and pelf, the pleasures of this world. Let us efforts be to carry out His Orders and Commands. He has enjoined upon us to lead others virtually in every field. Where and when do we lead? There are so many problems different communities in all parts of the world suffer from, includding the so called advanced communities. Do the USA have defences against the Tarnadoes, the Cyclones to which its people are subjected quite frequently and they run and run. Let us find a solution for the Tarnodoes. The light is with us. Let us lead the American, European, the Japanese, the Chinese and the Indian Scientific, Technology communities in neutralising the Tarnodoes, the Cyclones, the flood and drought situations, the pollution and energy behemouths, and the diseases, the cancer,the HIV etc.,

Solutions for all these problems are readily available in the Book that was given to us, which we will be able to unravel only if we pursue it. For sometime, let us together fie upon all other interests and work on this and lead others. That would be the solution for the present desolation. Rise, people,

very well said. Impacts on anyone who has an ounce of decency and humanity in their hearts.What goes around comes around. The megalomaniacs in the west killed millions of their own people in the two world wars last century. Like the lion in the above fable the super power is only super if it is supported and sustained by dummy regimes in the developing country. These dummies go along with the bullying by the super power because the status quo helps to maintain the corrupt regime in power under the protection of the super power. But the Muslim puppets will have their day of accountability when they appear before their Lord.The best "gift" for all of us is the access to the internet which guarantees freedom of information . We can rest assured that we can dispose of "sanitised" news and garbage fed by the superpowers. And we need to encourage the people who are the subject of these puppets that we around the world empathise with them and support any legitimate move to oust these puppets. M.Khan

i try to understand it, but i don't get it.. the lion ate the lamb, isn't it sad for the innocent lamb? & how come the lamb's mom called him names, aren't lambs afraid of lions? why did she call him names in the first place? i might sound stupid, but i hope i can get it.. thanks.

Gods heaven is infinite to accomodate innocent martyred lambs but as long as we remain sheep, we will be lambs to the slaughter. Don't expect the story to change if we don't change. Lets stop being sheep!

The rest of the story relates like this....'Seeing the lion's power and his ability to bully and terrorise other animals the pigs, snakes and cockroaches decided to align with and ingratiate themselves to the lion. Hence not only were they allowed to have their share of food and water but also plunder the resources of other animals. Soon the pigs began expanding their territories too and before long they laid claim to vast swathes of hunting land. The regions the pigs could not control, they would leave to their trusted snakes and cockroaches to govern. The final straw came when the lion/pig coalition demanded compensation for the air other animals would breathe. That day the most humble of all creatures the ants, urged all animals who were previously either sleeping or too busy fighting each other, to join hands to form a single fighting force. The tigers and cheetah's who were usually playing both sides of the fence, at first were not impressed and decided to remain non-aligned. However on seeing entire colonies of ants join the rebellion as well as the elephants, decided that if they were to survive they had better make their position known. The lion/pig coalition never knew what hit them; one day the forest woke up to find ants nibbling away at the skeletons of what were once lions and pigs. The snakes and cockroaches that remained, fearing total annihilation abandoned their lion friends and ran far away to other forests, where they to this day spread corruption and filth. It has been heard that the cockroaches and snakes, though very few in number, have become very powerful through the control of essential resources and have caused even the lions there to grovel at their feet. The denizens of those regions chocking under this oppression are now looking at the example of rebellion led by ants to shake off their misery- leaving the pigs and snakes very worried indeed.

History repeats itself but the ill affects of historic tragedies may be minimized if we learn lesson from our past. The arrogant, stubborn and unjust nations disappeared from the face of earth even though they were very powerful. The present supper powers must learn to behave as just nations and honest brokers to avoid self-destruction otherwise deprived and oppressed nations will be forced to make collective efforts against them to achieve justice.

This story come up since I was young but I you try to tell about this story now, I feel you try to going back in the old days. Now, we have to open our heart and used our brain, how to survive in modern world. If we are not happy with super power its dosen't mean we cannot stay with them, we must develop our strength in economies and development quitely, if we suffer for the time being its dosen't mean we are suffering forever. Don't create hatered among us until we have to implant something in our body for kamikaze, that is useless. Please going back to the year, where our Prophet begin to teach Islam, how suffering our Prophet in that time, now is our time to refer again how our Prophet begin in Islam and how our Prophet survive the Islam until now, for me Islam must be united with one vision to develop an economy and develop our heart to help the poor Islam, do not point your finger to non Islam for suffering you getting now because one finger for them three finger for you.

this is food for thought, i would like to read more of the same issue,it causes a lot of concern and has be further looked into as it is real and affects us all in the third world.

law of jungle, we should remember this frase for as long as we live in a human-made jungle.

I think it should be the Hyena and the Rat... That is a far more accurate depiction

A great "Food for Thought". Well written. Thanks, and may the Almighty God relive all the Lambs and the Lions of today ... Ameen

concise and thought-provoking.