Dust those cobwebs (DW#407)

In Sura Ankabut, Allah swt likens the security systems of human beings to the frailty of a spider’s web: The parable of those who take guardians besides Allah is as the parable of the spider that makes for itself a house; and most surely the frailest of the houses is the spider’s house did they but know. [Quran, 29:41]

When we reflect on the spider’s web, we realize that it has several rather interesting features:

It provides no protection: Although the construction of the web is a remarkable feat of architecture, and it can look beautiful, it does not fulfil a basic need of a house which is shelter and protection. The spider’s web doesn’t protect the spider from the elements at all. Wind, fire, water all penetrate through it. The mere brush from a broom or a hand can destroy it. How frail is this house!

It is spun from within: Whist other animals use materials from nature to construct their houses, the spider spins the web from a substance within itself.

It is a trap: Although the web provides no protection to the spider, it serves as a trap for other insects. Despite its frailty, flies and other insects are caught in the web. Its main function is to provide for the animal its biological continuance by capturing other insects for food.

It provides no security for family: Some of the female species of spiders actually eat the male once they have mated. In other words, the web provides no security for family attachments.

The spider keeps spinning: When the web gets destroyed, as it easily and frequently does, the spider leaves the torn web behind and spins another one with little trouble.

What lessons can we learn from the spider’s web?

What are some trappings of security or apparent strength that we depend on?

  1. Is it money or bank balances that appear to provide financial security?
  2. Is it our relationships – people that we depend upon?
  3. Or degrees and education? Do we believe that they will give us credibility and security?
  4. For some of us it is health and bodily strength. Maybe we depend on how we look to get us through life?
  5. Something else? What is your personal security system?
This verse is reminding us that all of these worldly security systems can fail us. They are all, in fact, as temporal and fragile as the ‘bayt ul ankabut’ – the house of the spider. Despite looking pretty and complicated, and sturdy, they do not actually provide us with any security at all.

The attachments of human beings, our security systems, our habits, the spinnings of our mental processes, are all as fragile as the house of the spider.

When the rain comes, or the wind blows, or the going gets tough, the webs that we have built, become heavy, break apart or are swept away. Sometimes, we are jolted to this Reality after our webs have already been broken, when what we consider to be secure turns out not to be so. When we realise that what we have been leaning on is shaky at best.

And when these security systems fail us, we recognize that the ultimate refuge, in fact the only refuge, is with Allah.

Join our blog!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.