15 April 2012

The Pigeon and the Bee

This weekend I was one participant among many at a community-based (i.e., non-academic and not sponsored by a denomination) interfaith event.  During the course of my presentation I had occasion to use Shibayama's story about the pigeon who tries to douse a conflagration in a forest by flying to a lake, gathering a few drops of water in its wings, then flying back and dropping them on the fire below.  The bird dies of exhaustion without the blaze being diminished in the least.

At the end of the day's proceedings, a Muslim participant who serves as president of an Islamic Center in the area offered that an ah-ha moment for him at the event was the pigeon story.  Turns out that there is a similar story in Islam.  Seems that when some polytheists were attempting to kill Ibrahim for his monotheism by burning him at the stake, a bee, seeing this, flew back and forth between the fire and some water in an attempt to douse the flames, likewise to no avail (though the prophet was spared in the end all the same).  Detractors of the bee and his "stupidity" were chastised with the reminder, "He gave all he could."

My Muslim friend and I hope to get together for coffee sometime soon.  Funny, the things that bring us together.

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