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The dinosaur
... and the molla

May 3, 2001
The Iranian

Last week it was reported in the news that American and Chinese paleontologists had discovered a 130-million-year-old fossil of a feather-covered dinosaur. Though this was not a pterodactyl giant flying reptile of the Jurassic period , it nevertheless reminded me of my darling molla and his winged elephant.

But let me first clarify one point : I have been often accused of disliking mollas, which is not true. As a student of Non-A (Non- Aristotelian Logic), I reject generalizations.

Indeed I like and respect many mollas who pursue their spiritual calling and try to help their fellow citizens in their dealings with God and the world . Actually one of the greatest world philosophers was a molla. And to boot , an Iranian one: Molla Sadra Shirazi!

The particular molla whose name hopped into my mind while reading the news about the feathered dinosaur was obviously that of the unique and un-imitable Nasreddin .

According to the annals of ancient times, his fellow mollas once invited him to a theological gathering. The question at hand that day concerned the reason why humans should be eternally grateful to The Creator.

Each participant spoke at length and developed metaphysical arguments. Nasreddin remained silent and when his colleagues pressed him to give his opinion , he said : "We must thank God for not having given wings to elephants."

The serious turbaned crowd scolded him and accused him of irreverence.

Nasreddin retorted, "Just try to imagine flying elephants! If they came to rest on the top of our houses like birds, the roofs would collapse! God is great. In his infinite wisdom he did not grant wings to these giant animals!"

If alive today, Molla Nasreddin would certainly disagree with Darwin and evolutionists. He definitely was a creationist. And if invited to another theological discussion, he would have cited as a reason to thank God, the absence of "Greens" in the Jurassic period.

Indeed, if environmentalists existed back then, molla would argue, they would have fought for the conservation of all species, including dinosaurs and flying giant reptiles!

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