By: Samsul Nizar
Professor and Head of STAIN Bengkalis
Monkeys are widely recognized and recognizable to the human population. Indeed, numerous scientists have chosen monkeys as the subject of their research. However, the majority of researchers undertake scientific investigations at the biological level. Indeed, upon examination, monkeys exhibit a link in terms of their behavioural traits. Monkeys have characteristics that can be described as self-centred, cruel, proud, conceited, and prone to experiencing strong feelings of jealousy. Despite possessing a formidable competitive nature, this entity demonstrates remarkable proficiency in concealing its presence, strategizing shrewd manoeuvres, and exhibiting avaricious tendencies. This characteristic is elucidated by Allah in His scripture, as He states: “Indeed, you have surely witnessed those among you who violated the sanctity of the Sabbath, upon whom We decreed, ‘Be you transformed into contemptible simians.'” The aforementioned verse from al-Baqarah serves as a cautionary message to both the contemporaries and future generations, imparting a valuable lesson to those who possess a sense of apprehension.
According to Ibn Kathir’s interpretation, the aforementioned verse might be understood as a form of wordplay, wherein the Jews are metaphorically compared to apes. According to the interpretation of Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him), it is believed that Allah, the Exalted, transformed certain individuals into the likeness of monkeys and pigs. According to certain beliefs, young individuals of the Jewish faith are metaphorically associated with monkeys, whilst older individuals are metaphorically associated with pigs. According to Tafsir Ibn Kathir (1/289), the lifespan of these organisms is limited to a mere three days, during which they neither consume food nor water nor engage in reproductive activities.
In contemporary society, the presence and existence of monkeys are frequently regarded as a distinctive phenomenon, particularly in tourist destinations. While the existence of some entities might occasionally lead to disturbances among those residing in residential areas. As of the present time, there exists a minimum of 264 documented species of primates belonging to the family Cercopithecidae, commonly referred to as monkeys. These primates exhibit genetic connections with humans in certain anatomical components, as well as occasionally sharing behaviours or characteristics.
The monkey has a notable degree of self-assurance. The individual’s demeanour appears to be courteous and submissive. This behaviour is conducted with the intention of eliciting empathetic responses from human observers. Hence, it is unsurprising that when individuals embark on a leisurely excursion accompanied by their families, the arrival of a large group of monkeys tends to capture the interest of tourists. Primates will descend from the arboreal habitat and approach individuals within close proximity. The animals anticipate the assistance of the visitors, who provide sustenance by offering them food. Individuals who desire to establish social connections should use caution in their approach. An aesthetically pleasing and distinctive spectacle for observers. Instances that perpetually yearn for immortality. The flashlight of the cellphone continued to shine in order to catch this intriguing moment. Nevertheless, within the realm of primate behaviour, there are valuable life lessons that may be gleaned from the actions displayed by monkeys, including but not limited to:
Firstly, the monkey is considered to be one of the animals characterized by a tendency towards avarice. When obtaining sustenance, it exhibits dominant behavior and displays reluctance to engage in sharing. The organism exhibits a desire to consume all available sustenance within its oral cavity. Despite having a full mouth, the entity in question exhibits a tendency to extend its hands and seize objects, causing food to inadvertently fall within its reach. When this primate is cohabitated within a spacious enclosure alongside diverse fauna, it consistently assumes the role of instigator, inciting disorder or tumultuous behavior.
As an inherently opportunistic creature, it exhibits a lack of moral restraint. While the occurrence of monkey swarms may pique the interest of tourists, humans often lack the opportunity to delve into the underlying causes of this phenomena due to time constraints. Indeed, the presence of the monkey horde within the context of “human civilization” might be characterized as rather uncomplicated. The primary reason for their hunger stems from the displacement of their “home” by human eviction. Human activities have led to the depletion of food resources and sources within forest ecosystems. Consequently, large groups of primates infiltrate human habitats with the intention of soliciting, and occasionally pilfering, the sustenance of the local populace. This occurrence has a profound impact on both the human population and mankind as a whole. When animals such as monkeys exhibit greed, it is evident that certain individuals within the human species display even greater levels of greed. If monkeys exhibit avaricious behavior by engaging in food thievery and begging due to insufficient food resources, it is intriguing to observe that a select few humans also engage in “begging” despite possessing abundant quantities of food. The concept of human nature, which perpetually seeks more despite the abundance of blessings, was underscored by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) when he stated, “If a person were to possess a valley brimming with gold, they would desire a second one.” If the second option is presented to him, he expresses a desire for the third option. The contents of one’s stomach can only be obstructed by the ground. According to a narration of Imam Bukhari, it is stated that Allah is willing to accept the repentance of any individual who sincerely desires to repent.
Greed and shamelessness are considered to be afflictions of the human heart. The persistent desire for more acquisition, irrespective of whether the methods employed align with Sharia principles or contravene established legal frameworks. Furthermore, the question of whether one must compromise one’s own honor or that of others is inconsequential. All actions are undertaken with the intention of attaining the desired outcome. The status and intellectual designations have been eradicated, and what has been bestowed upon individuals is no longer present. Instead, there emerges a need for compassion and commendation. Upon receiving their desired object or outcome, individuals may exhibit behavior reminiscent of a monkey being provided with sustenance, whereby they ascend a lofty tree and engage in the act of protruding their tongues in a derisive manner towards the provider. The primate will descend to the terrestrial realm in order to solicit sustenance when its gastrointestinal system experiences audible contractions due to hunger. Various forms of behavior, such as a pleading facial expression, charming demeanor, and willingness to comply with instructions, among others. However, it can be argued that various strategies and tactics are employed in order to achieve desired outcomes.
Second, monkeys have a diminished sense of anxiety and appear to exist in the absence of societal structures due to the interplay between their insatiable hunger and avarice. In contrast to a select few individuals who exhibit a lack of apprehension towards the potential destruction of civilization, due to their astuteness in seeking solace in the concept of “power and accessories” of benevolence, which is theoretically unattainable (achieved). Hence, the adage “the thief cried thief” is expressed. The veracity of the aforementioned statement is readily evident and ever more challenging to conceal. Consequently, the loss of authority, trust, and self-esteem occurs. As a consequence of being preoccupied with seeing and evaluating the shame of others, individuals tend to overlook or neglect their own shame. Engrossed in attributing fault to external parties, one tends to overlook one’s own flaws and shortcomings. Indeed, all things shall come to pass in accordance with the divine assurance of Allah, the Most Infallible. The Prophet Muhammad admonished against the act of verbally insulting or demeaning Muslims, as evident in his statement: “Abstain from engaging in profanity towards individuals adhering to the Islamic faith, and refrain from causing them public humiliation.” According to a Hadith narrated by Tirmidzi, it is stated that if an individual exposes the disgrace of their brother, Allah would thereafter expose their own disgrace. Furthermore, if Allah chooses to reveal someone’s disgrace, it will be made apparent, even if it was first concealed inside the depths of a hidden place.
This statement highlights the explicit admonition from Allah as communicated through the Prophet. Nevertheless, individuals exhibit a tendency to reject and disregard the information they are cautioned about.
Third, monkeys have numerous similarities to humans in other ways. Indeed, these primates possess the capability to effectively capture attention and engage in seamless interactions. It is inherent in the principles of Darwinism to establish a connection between humans and their evolutionary origins. Nevertheless, in the absence of vigilance on the part of tourists, unattended goods may be swiftly seized and removed. Monkeys engage in some behaviours exclusively when humans are not vigilant. The occurrence of snatching, particularly in a violent manner, is virtually non-existent. The entity solely appropriates (acquires without consent) items commensurate with its capacity (such as sustenance, containers, or similar objects). Monkeys are unable to transport anything that exceeds their physical capabilities. This stands in opposition to the inherent characteristics of certain individuals. Occasionally, individuals assume the role of surveillance operatives, or even supervisors, and exceed their physical and mental capacities. In the event that a mountain is capable of being lifted, the individual in question will proceed to hoist that mountain, notwithstanding their inability to physically raise or transport it. The species exhibits a tendency to engage in “mocking” behaviour only while perched in arboreal habitats, however, displays a notably gentle and compassionate demeanour in close proximity to human beings.
Despite the presence of negative features in monkeys, it is important to acknowledge that beneficial traits also exist. This phenomenon is observed in the Chinese zodiac. The monkey is characterized as a creature that possesses inherent cognitive abilities and the capacity for deceptive behaviour. An animal that is commonly employed as an emblem of innovation and creativity. This primate is widely regarded as highly innovative, adept at improvisation, and capable of captivating human attention. The cognitive capacity of its intellect to generate a multitude of innovative solutions, along with its unique and unparalleled appeal distinguishes it from other members of the animal kingdom. Monkeys are widely regarded as possessing the cognitive ability to efficiently handle complex issues and exhibit rapid learning capabilities. From a young age, individual has developed and honed their interpersonal communication abilities. It possesses the ability to establish harmonious relationships and use persuasive tactics to achieve desired outcomes. Due to this rationale, within the framework of the Chinese zodiac, the ingenuity exhibited by the monkey not only facilitates the acquisition of intellectual abilities and proficiency but also engenders a proclivity to manipulate the truth in order to exploit certain circumstances. The monkey serves as a catalyst for the blurring of boundaries between fantasy and reality, as well as the intermingling of factual and fictional elements, resulting in a coexistence of truth and falsehood. If the moral standards of the monkey are the cause of his troubles, his intelligence, agility, and cunning will facilitate his ability to manipulate the truth by generating justifications that serve his own self-interest.
The moral deficiency of monkeys is highlighted by Allah in His statement: “Say (Muhammad), Shall I inform you about a people who are even more deserving of punishment than the evildoers in the eyes of Allah?” These individuals, who have been condemned and incurred the wrath of Allah, include apes, swine, and those who engage in the worship of Thagut. According to the verse in al Ma’idah: 60, these locations are deemed to be more unfavourable and deviating from the righteous path.
The Quran also recounts the story of a scholar named Bal’am bin Baa’ura who abandoned his religious beliefs in favour of worldly gains. He is metaphorically described as a hound that protrudes its tongue, eagerly seeking sustenance. Allah’s admonition is conveyed in the following verse: “And had We willed, We could have elevated him through it, but he clings to the worldly life and follows his own desires. So his example is like that of a dog: if you chase it away, it pants with its tongue out, and if you leave it, it pants with its tongue out.” (Q.S al-A’raf: 176)
This phenomenon is inherent to the human condition. When power is acquired, accompanied by the inclination towards want, commendation proliferates despite the absence of lucidity in the object of praise. The tongue exhibits quick movements, gracefully performing a seductive melody of grandeur. The act of praising, sometimes likened to the humming sound, is perceived as insignificant and devoid of any inherent worth, resembling rusted scrap metal. Nevertheless, in situations where authority is lost or the fulfilment of selfish desires is unattainable, expressions of admiration swiftly transform into derogatory remarks and contempt. The pursuit or fabrication of disgrace and defects is observed, although the occasional circumstance where what is deemed contemptible may in fact possess exceptional value. This phenomenon is particularly evident in the context of the digital era. Indeed, any manifestation can be regarded as a mirror of an individual’s cognitive aptitude and personal disposition that is being projected or exhibited. According to the teachings of Allah, it is stated: “Inquire: Can individuals possessing knowledge be considered equivalent to those lacking knowledge?” According to the Quranic verse QS. az-Zumar: 9, it can be inferred that individuals who possess intelligence have the capability to acquire knowledge.
It has been observed that monkeys engage in begging behaviour due to their dire state of hunger, as they anticipate the provision of sustenance, given that their customary food sources have been deprived by human intervention. If persons exhibit a tendency to request assistance after they have reached a state of satiety and possess surplus resources, it might be inferred that they have made an erroneous choice in terms of their reliance. Indeed, a conscientious and competent servant will exclusively beseech Allah alone, imploring His pardon, affection, and satisfaction.
Wa Allahua’lam bi al-Shawwab.
Translated by Riska Saputra
Alumni STAIN Bengkalis