Recall the story of Abraham and him asking Allah, how do you make the dead alive? And Allah told him to slaughter 4 birds and put them on the mountains. And then, Allah brought them alive…
Many of us have heard this story. I offer a different take on this story, which by no means is the tafsir (exegesis) but a more metaphorical analysis.
When Abraham asked that question, “how do you make the dead alive?” , it may be looked as: how does Allah turn the dead hearts of ours that have become rusted by the mundane world and forgotten Him alive? How does the All Living make our dead hearts alive again? According to the story, the method was to kill four particular birds: a duck, a peacock, a crow and a rooster. Once you slaughter these four birds that exist in you, you can make yourself alive.
The Symbolism of the Birds
Duck: represents the eagerness and the urge to run towards the world and it’s desirable aspects. A characteristic that some people keep until they die. And as much as you try to run after it, you’ll never have it.
Peacock: do you see how beautiful that bird is? How it is so proud of itself? Well, this is the pride and haughtiness humans have inside, the feeling that I am a somebody and not realizing that you are truly insignificant. That all you have is from Allah and nothing is from yourself.
Crow: this represents what is called omniyat, meaning the dreams and fantasizes humans weave which they know will never happen. The Prophet (peace be upon him) mentions this as one of the things he fears for his ummah (community).
Rooster: this bird represent any type of desires.
These four birds are in all of us. If you are able to kill all four inside you and let your intellect rule over, then you will see how Allah will wake you up and make you alive. Then you will be truly living the true life, insha’Allah (God-willing).