Well, Well, Whale….

Orca_Orlando_Seaworld

So….I don’t know why, but the story of Tillikum has really caught my attention and intrigued me. I have a thing about sharks, that has affected some aspects of my life. Long story short, I have a powerful imagination that can border on ridiculous sometimes. My children sometimes use it against me. So, it’s really actually un-wise of me to dwell and follow the story of this orca for so long. It’s just not helping with my phobia. But I can’t resist. So….

Blackfish, recently aired, has really affected Seaworld’s reputation. That’s one. Before it came out though, I found out about it from this article. The tragic event drew me in. But what disturbs me most was the masturbation they do to the male orcas in order to force breed. It reminded me of this ayah in Surah Al Baqarah 2:205

2:205
Sahih International

And when he goes away, he strives throughout the land to cause corruption therein and destroy crops and animals. And Allah does not like corruption.

The word نَسلl is also used to mean lineage. It has the base meaning of flowing like in surah Yaseen 36:51
36:51
Sahih International

And the Horn will be blown; and at once from the graves to their Lord they will hasten.

Basically, what I understood from the ayah in Surah Al Baqarah when put in this context of Tillikum, “they’re messing up with even the reproductive system of the animals.”

That really disturbs me. Subhanallah. Masturbation done by a human is already disturbing. But to be done on an animal ? I can’t wrap my mind around it. I don’t think I even want to.
Yesterday, I read this article, and this part of it caught my undivided attention.
By taking kids to places like SeaWorld, we teach them that it’s OK to use animals for our entertainment– and to forcefully take them out of their wild environment, separate them from their families, imprison them in tiny unnatural enclosures and force them to do tricks for paying customers by depriving them of food. If we want to teach our kids how majestic and wonderful whales are, take them whale-watching.
I have to say I wholeheartedly agree. My parents had taken me to Seaworld back in te 80s and I loved it! I still remember the little plush dolphin my father got me. I have never thought about Seaworld this way before, so this is really eye-opening.
When we went to the west coast in April recently, I had set my mind on sighting whales along the coast. I had even researched it, and made note of the points on land that we could see the whales if we were lucky. I even came across some whale watching cruises (most of which are expensive). However, with our schedule, we weren’t able to sight any. I found some affordable whale watching cruise actually, but we didn’t have the slot in our schedule to do so.
What struck me was that at the time I was doing that research, and now thinking back about it, I realized that I never even thought about going to places like Seaworld. One main reason is hub’s frugal nature. He would never go for it. Disneyland, Disney World, Universal Studios, etc never even occurred to me as places to spend our vacation, for reasons most people may not agree with. So Seaworld is automatically then categorized into that type of vacation too by extension.
I also realized that through our visit to the west coast, and through trying to find frugal ways to have some kind of ‘vacation’ (we don’t go for vacations for the sake of going for vacation, but they always happen accidentally through hub’s conferences or our out of town classes), that I prefer being out in nature than going to commercial places like Seaworld. Now, zoos, we did go to.
When I was researching for places to go to in Oregon, I came across Sea Lion Caves in Florence, OR. It was too far for us to go to though at the time. I remember, while researching, at how fascinated I was (and still am) by the natural attractions along the west coast, and come to think of it, anywhere in the world that we are. I vividly remember being more excited by the prospect of visiting somewhere that is more of a Nature type of outing than to a city setting (though I loved Seattle). When I was asking the kids where they wanted to go, they also picked Nature over Man-Made. We were restricted by our schedule though. Ironically, we’re not really the camping type. Well, I’m not. Hubs is.
This train of thought, triggered by the excerpt of the article above, brings me to realizing that being a wholesome Muslim requires you not to only be compassionate to your fellow human, but also to the environment you live in. When I shared this with some friends over email, a dear friend shared an article with me: Prince Charles :- Islamic Way to Save the Environment.
I hate cigarette or tobacco smoke. I remember hating it vehemently especially whenever my father took us back to Indonesia for visits and we had to go on the public transportation. Almost everyone there smokes! And they smoke in your face too! At 17, I remember getting together with a friend with this ambitious idea of campaigning to stop pollution in Kuala Lumpur. Of course, it never really took off despite our visits to the libraries for research, because soon after, we were busy in college. I never really thought of myself as someone of an environmentalist type of person, but maybe I am, somewhat. I know I still don’t recycle all the time, and there are a lot of improvements I can do in terms of caring for the environment in my daily life, but I do realize that it is part of gratitude to Allah to really care about things around us.
Somehow, it doesn’t seem befitting that a Muslim would worship Allah devoutly, but be a spreader of Fasad (corruption) on this lovely earth which has been laid out by Allah lovingly as our temporary place of dwelling before we return to Him. This earth, has been created by Allah with a lot of organization and planning. The way it has been described in the Quran tells a lot about what Allah intended it to be for us, a cradle, a hospitable habitat and home, a source of nutrition, a source of comfort and ease and pleasure and means of seeking livelihood. Subhanallah….how are we then treating it and its occupants? How are we showing our gratitude to Allah?

2 thoughts on “Well, Well, Whale….

  1. What an interesting article. I always ignored the articles on Seaworld because I enjoyed it so much and I wanted to remain ignorant. But enough is enough. I went whale watching with my parents once and it is so enjoyable! I went to Seaworld as an adult, and I really felt so badly for the animals.

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