November 2015: Page 1, 2, 3, 4

Muharram / Safar 1437

Volume 31 No 11

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Submitters Perspective

Monthly Bulletin of the International Community of Submitters Published by Masjid Tucson

There is More to Color than Meets the Eye

Our spirit draws us to light and colors. How often have we seen a toddler chasing a brilliant butterfly or picking a bright, colorful flower from the garden? I was that way. As a child, I spent many happy hours in our garden. One of my favorite flowers was portulaca with its vibrant blossoms of yellow, pink, red, and orange. They still bring back happy memories when I see them growing in a garden today. Like all the other blessings from God, color has been woven into the fabric of life on earth (16:13).

In nature, colors help to protect both animal and plant species. For example, the arctic hare has white fur, which helps it hide from predators in the snows of an arctic winter. Chameleons have the ability to change colors to match their surroundings so they can better hide from animals who think them a tasty treat. Some animals have the ability to mimic the colors of other species to protect themselves. Birds don’t like the taste of a Monarch butterfly, but find a Viceroy butterfly very yummy. Because of this, God has given the Viceroy butterfly a unique form of protection. Its wings mimic those of the Monarch causing birds to disdain them because they believe them to also be Monarchs. Other animals use color to warn off potential prey. Several species of poisonous frogs are brightly colored in blues and reds.

Predators have learned that lunching on these frogs leaves more than just a bitter taste in their mouths, so they allow these frogs to go on their way unmolested.

It is not just the prey species that have been given the gift of colors. Predators can use this as well to preserve their species. The arctic fox, like its favorite meal, the arctic hare, has white fur in the winter. This helps it better hide while stalking its prey. The tall grasses of Africa are tawny in color, so it is no coincidence that the lion who hunts there is also tawny in color. All the better to sneak up on its fast running prey.

God hasn’t just gifted the power of colors to faunae (animals). Florae (plants) also benefit. Some plants are pollinated by insects that fly during the day. They typically have brightly colored red and yellow flowers which are very attractive to insects, and, because they are in the longer range of color spectrum, can be seen from farther away. (That’s the same reason why we have red for stop and yellow for caution in traffic signals.) On the other hand, red and yellow are not very visible in the dark, so plants pollinated by night-flying creatures have white flowers whose color is more easily seen at night.

Because green is in the shorter range of the color spectrum, it is not as easily seen from a distance. That may be one reason why trees most typically have green leaves, and those leaves are most typically eaten by insects that live in or near them. They are not drawn by the color but choose to live in proximity to their meals.

Colors are not only used to protect predator and prey, they are also used to attract mates. In many species, especially birds, the male is far more brightly decorated than the female. Not only is this because the male will routinely draw prey away from his nesting mate, but it is also important in helping him find her in the first place. We have only to look at the brilliant peacock and the dowdy peahen to understand the reason behind these creations. Similarly, the attention of a lonely female fish is more easily caught by the scales of the flashy male than those of his duller counterpart.

Humans are not exempt from using color. While God hasn’t given men colorful feathers, He has given us the gift of colors that we have used for millennia to dye our clothes and put on our faces

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