Dimitrius & Sam Shamoun
Many have heard of Aesops fables, but not many have heard of Islams fables. Both the Quran and Muslim traditions narrate some of the most fantastic details, i.e. several youths and their dog sleeping for over three hundred years, Israelites being transformed into apes and swine, Solomon speaking to animals such as ants and hoopoes, the wind and jinn being under Solomons control etc.
Just to illustrate to the readers exactly what we mean here are two examples from the Quran:
Or hast thou not heard of the like of him who passed by a town which had fallen down upon its roofs and exclaimed, ‘When will ALLAH restore it to life after its destruction?’ Then ALLAH caused him to die for a hundred years, then HE raised him and said, ‘How long hast thou remained in this state?’ He answered, ‘I have remained a day or part of a day.’ ALLAH said, ‘It is so but thou hast also remained in this state for a hundred years. Now look at thy food and thy drink; they have not rotted And look at thy ass. And WE have done this that WE may make thee a Sign unto men. And look at the bones, how WE set them and then clothe them with flesh.’ And when this became clear to him, he said, ‘I know that ALLAH has the power to do all that HE wills.’ S. 2:259 Sher Ali
Allah preserves a man, his food and his donkey for one hundred years.
And when the word is fulfilled concerning them, We shall bring forth a beast of the earth to speak unto them because mankind had not faith in Our revelations. S. 27:82 Pickthall
Allah will raise a talking beast due to mankinds unbelief.
The Islamic traditions are also full of stories regarding animals and trees speaking to Muhammad, and trees moving from their places and returning, with many of these objects converting to Islam. In this paper, we produce several such stories.
From the book "The Beginning and the End" written by Ibn Kathir, Chapter Six, Entry title: "The Conversation of the Donkey" (online source).
More than one of the reciters have denied this hadith, however it was narrated by Abu Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Ibn Hamid, narrated by Abu Al-Hussian Ahmad Ibn Hadan Al-Sijsi, narrated by Umar Ibn Muhammad Ibn Bajir, narrated by Abu Jafaar Muhammad Ibn Mazid, narrated by Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Akba Ibn Abu Al-Sahba, narrated by Abu Huthaifa, narrated by Abdullah Ibn Habib Al-Hathli, narrated by Abu Abd Al-Rahman Al-Silmy, narrated by Abu Manthur who said,
"When Allah opened Khaybar to his prophet Muhammad may Allahs prayers and peace be upon him he (Muhammad) received as his share of the spoils four sheep, four goats, ten pots of gold and silver and a black, haggard donkey.
The prophet may Allahs prayers and peace be upon him ADDRESSED the donkey asking, What is your name? THE DONKEY ANSWERED, Yazid Ibn Shihab. Allah had brought forth from my ancestry 60 donkeys, none of whom were ridden on except by prophets. None of the descendants of my grandfather remain but me, and none of the prophets remain but you and I expected you to ride me. Before you, I belonged to a Jewish man, whom I caused to stumble and fall frequently so he used to kick my stomach and beat my back.
The prophet may Allahs prayers and peace be upon him said to him, I will call you Yafoor, Oh Yafoor. Then Yafoor REPLIED, I obey. The prophet then asked, Do you desire females? The donkey replied, NO!
So the prophet used to ride the donkey to complete his business and if the prophet dismounted from him he would send the donkey to the house of the person he wanted to visit and Yafoor would knock at the door with his head. When the owner of the house would answer the door, the donkey would signal to that person to go see the prophet.
When the prophet died, the donkey went to a well belonging to Abu Al-Haytham Ibn Al-Tahyan and threw himself in the well out of sadness for the prophets death, making it his grave."
لما فتح الله على نبيه صلى الله عليه وسلم خيبر أصابه من سهمه أربعة أزواج نعال وأربعة أزواج خفاف وعشر أواق ذهب وفضة وحمار أسود، ومكتل قال: فكلم النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم الحمار، فكلمه الحمار، فقال له: "ما اسمك؟" قال: يزيد بن شهاب، أخرج الله من نسل جدي ستين حمارا، كلهم لم يركبهم إلا نبي لم يبق من نسل جدي غيري ولا من الأنبياء غيرك، وقد كنت أتوقعك أن تركبني قد كنت قبلك لرجل يهودي، وكنت أعثر به عمدا وكان يجيع بطني ويضرب ظهري، فقال له النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: "قد سميتك يعفورا، يا يعفور" قال: لبيك. قال "أتشتهي الإناث؟" قال: لا فكان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يركبه لحاجته فإذا نزل عنه بعث به إلى باب الرجل، فيأتي الباب فيقرعه برأسه، فإذا خرج إليه صاحب الدار أومأ إليه أن أجب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، فلما قبض النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم جاء إلى بئر كان لأبي الهيثم بن التيهان فتردى فيها فصارت قبره، جزعا منه على رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم
راجع البداية و النهاية لإبن كثير .. باب حديث الحمار
Muhammad converses with a donkey who is a believer in Muhammad's prophethood and uses him as one of his means of transportation. The donkey, which Muhammad named Yafoor, comes from a line of donkeys many of which were ridden by prophets only. Muhammad asking the donkey his name and the donkey identifying himself as Yazid Ibn Shihab assumes that animals communicate and even name their offspring much like humans. What is amazing is that they even identify themselves as the son of their fathers much like the Arabs of Muhammads time did! This perhaps explains the following Quranic verse:
There is not an animal that crawls in the earth, nor a bird that flies on its two wings, but they are communities like you. WE have left out nothing in the Book. Then to their Lord shall they all be gathered together. S. 6:38 Sher Ali
Furthermore, the donkeys response to Muhammads question whether he preferred females implies that Yafoor was either celibate or had homosexual inclinations.
The sad thing about all this is that Yafoor went to hell for committing suicide. It seems that the donkey wasnt told that committing suicide is a sin that leads to the fire:
Narrated Thabit bin Ad-Dahhak:
The Prophet (p.b.u.h) said, "Whoever intentionally swears falsely by a religion other than Islam, then he is what he has said, (e.g. if he says, ‘If such thing is not true then I am a Jew,’ he is really a Jew). And whoever commits suicide with piece of iron will be punished with the same piece of iron in the Hell Fire." Narrated Jundab the Prophet said, "A man was inflicted with wounds and he committed suicide, and so Allah said: My slave has caused death on himself hurriedly, so I forbid Paradise for him." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 23, Number 445)
Hence, the donkey believed in vain since, by committing suicide, he was forbidden Paradise. In light of all these fantastic details, it is little wonder that some reciters had difficulties with this fable.
Now a person may say that the Holy Bible also speaks of a talking ass. Yet the biblical account greatly differs with this Islamic story since the Holy Bible clearly shows that the donkey only spoke as a result of a miracle:
"Then THE LORD OPENED THE DONKEYS MOUTH, and she said to Balaam, What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?" Numbers 22:28
"Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, but was rebuked for his own transgression; A SPEECHLESS DONKEY spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet's madness." 2 Peter 2:15-16
The Islamic tradition, on other hand, presumes that donkeys do actually communicate with each other in the same way humans do and that, much like humans, they even name their offspring and keep track of their ancestors for many generations! The miracle in the account is not that Allah caused an animal to speak, but that Muhammad was allegedly given the ability to understand the language of the animals. This is confirmed in the next set of traditions.
Amazingly, one Sunni Muslim, Shibli Zaman, pokes fun at Shias for including a donkey as a narrator:
No shia`a on this planet will dispute the veracity of al Kulayni and his work. Usool al Kaafi is the primary source of narrations for their distorted sunnah. This is the same Usool al Kaafi which quotes the donkey of the Prophet (s) as a narrator in a chain of transmission (isnaad) which al Kulayni declared authentic. It literally says "`an Himaar ar rasooli-Llah" meaning "On the authority of the donkey of the Prophet (s)"! (Source)
We wonder what this same Muslim will say about Muhammad conversing with a donkey who claims to be from a line of donkeys, many of whom were only ridden by prophets.
From the book "The Beginning and the End" written by Ibn Kathir, Chapter Six, Entry title: "The Conversation of the Deer" (online source).
It was narrated by Al-Hafith Abu Naim Al-Asbahani, may Allah rest his sole, in his book "The proofs of Prophethood" that it was narrated by Sulaiman Ibn Ahmad, narrated by Muhammad Ibn Uthman Ibn Abu Shabiba, narrated by Ibrahim Ibn Muhammad Ibn Maimun, narrated by Abd Al-Karim Ibn Hilal Al-Jafy, narrated by Salih Al-Murri, narrated by Thabit Al-Banani, narrated by Ans Ibn Malik who said,
"The prophet peace be upon him passed by a tribe who had captured a deer and tied it to a granite column. THE DEER SAID, O prophet! I have been captured and I have a young buck. Allow me to go feed it and I shall return. So the prophet said, To whom does this deer belong? The tribe replied, To us, O prophet.
The prophet responded, Released her so that she may go feed her young buck and she will return to you. The tribesmen asked, And who will guarantee us this? The prophet replied, I will. So they released the deer, which went and fed its buck and then returned and was tied again.
The prophet (later) passed by again and saw the deer and asked, To whom does this deer belong? The tribesmen said, To us, O prophet. The prophet then said, Sell her to me. But they replied, She is yours (for free), so the prophet said to them, Then release her. Thus they released her and she left them."
Abu Naim also related that it was narrated by Ahmad Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Al-Ghatrifi, narrated by Ahmad Ibn Musa Ibn Ans Ibn Nasr Ibn Ubaid Allah Ibn Muhammad Ibn Sireen who is from Al-Basra, narrated by Zakariah Ibn Yahya Ibn Khalad, narrated by Haban Ibn Aghlab Ibn Tamim, narrated by Hisham Ibn Hasan, narrated from Al-Hasan, narrated from Daba Ibn Muhsin, narrated by Um Salamah the wife of the prophet who said,
"When the prophet peace be upon him was once in the desert he heard a caller saying, O prophet of Allah! O prophet of Allah! The prophet said he looked around but could not see anyone so he walked a little further. He again heard a caller saying, O prophet of Allah! O prophet of Allah! He looked around but again could not find anyone. The caller cried again so the prophet followed the voice until he came to a deer that was tied with a rope.
The prophet saw a Bedouin lying down next to it, sleeping in the sun. THE DEER SAID, O prophet of Allah! This Bedouin hunted me down but I have a young buck in this mountain. If you see it fit to release me that I may go and feed it, I promise that I shall return again. The prophet asked, And you shall return? THE DEER ANSWERED, May I be tortured with the torment of a sinner if I do not do so. So the prophet released her and she went and fed her buck and returned.
While the prophet was tying her up again, the Bedouin woke up and said to the prophet, By my father and mother, O prophet I captured this deer a short while ago, but do you have need for her? The prophet replied, Yes, so the Bedouin said to him, Then she is yours. The prophet released her and she pranced joyfully into the desert, kicking with her hind legs and saying, I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that you are the prophet of Allah.
قال الحافظ أبو نعيم الأصبهاني رحمه الله في كتابه "دلائل النبوة" حدثنا سليمان بن أحمد إملاء، ثنا محمد بن عثمان بن أبي شيبة، ثنا إبراهيم بن محمد بن ميمون، ثنا عبد الكريم بن هلال الجعفي عن صالح المري عن ثابت البناني عن أنس بن مالك قال: مر رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم على قوم قد اصطادوا ظبية فشدوها على عمود فسطاط فقالت: يا رسول الله، إني أخذت ولي خشفان فاستأذن لي أرضعهما وأعود إليهم. فقال: "أين صاحب هذه؟" فقال القوم: نحن يا رسول الله. فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم "خلوا عنها حتى تأتي خشفيها ترضعهما وترجع إليكم" فقالوا من لنا بذلك؟ قال: "أنا" فأطلقوها فذهبت فأرضعت، ثم رجعت إليهم فأوثقوها فمر بهم رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال: "أين أصحاب هذه؟" فقالوا: هو ذا نحن يا رسول الله. فقال: "تبيعونيها؟" فقالوا هي لك يا رسول الله فقال: "خلوا عنها" فأطلقوها فذهبت.
وقال أبو نعيم: حدثنا أبو أحمد محمد بن أحمد الغطريفي من أصله، ثنا أحمد بن موسى بن أنس بن نصر بن عبيد الله بن محمد بن سيرين بالبصرة، ثنا زكريا بن يحيى بن خلاد ثنا حبان بن أغلب بن تميم ثنا أبي، عن هشام بن حسان عن الحسن عن ضبة بن محصن، عن أم سلمة زوج النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قالت: بينما رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في صحراء من الأرض إذا هاتف يهتف: يا رسول الله، يا رسول الله. قال: "فالتفت فلم أر أحدا" قال: "فمشيت غير بعيد فإذا الهاتف: يا رسول الله، يا رسول الله قال. التفت فلم أر أحدا وإذا الهاتف يهتف بي فاتبعت الصوت وهجمت على ظبية مشدودة في وثاق وإذا أعرابي منجدل في شملة، نائم في الشمس، فقالت الظبية: يا رسول الله إن هذا الأعرابي صادني قبيل ولي خشفان في هذا الجبل فإن رأيت أن تطلقني حتى أرضعهما ثم أعود إلى وثاقي؟" قال: "وتفعلين؟ قالت: عذبني الله عذاب العشار إن لم أفعل" فأطلقها رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فمضت فأرضعت الخشفين وجاءت قال: فبينما رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يوثقها إذ انتبه الأعرابي فقال بأبي أنت وأمي يا رسول الله، إني أصبتها قبيلا، فلك فيها من حاجة؟ قال: قلت: نعم قال هي لك. فأطلقها فخرجت تعدو في الصحراء فرحا وهي تضرب برجليها في الأرض وتقول: أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وأنك رسول الله.
راجع البداية و النهاية لإبن كثير .. باب حديث الغزالة
From the book "The Beginning and the End" written by Ibn Kathir, Chapter Six, Entry title: "Hadith of the Tree." (online source).
It was narrated by Al-Bayhaqi, narrated by Hamad Ibn Salma, narrated by Ali Ibn Zayd, narrated by Abi Rafi, narrated by Umar Ibn Khatab who stated that the prophet may Allahs prayer and peace be upon him - was once depressed because of what the non-believers had done to him, so he said, "Oh Allah! Show me a sign today that I may disregard whoever disbelieves me."
So the prophet commanded a tree that belonged to the people of the city of Madina to come to him and it came crawling on the ground until it reached him. The prophet then commanded it to return and it returned to where it was. The prophet then said, "I no longer care who disbelieves me after this."
روى البيهقي من حديث حماد بن سلمة، ع ن علي بن زيد، عن أبي رافع، عن عمر بن الخطاب، أ ن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم كان على الحجون كئيبا لما أذاه المشركون، فقال: اللهم أرني اليوم آية لا أبالي من كذبني بعدها". قال فأمر فنادى شجرة من قبل عقبة أهل المدينة فأقبلت تخد الأرض حتى انتهت إليه. قال: ثم أمرها فرجعت إلى موضعها، قال: فقال: "ما أبالي من كذبني بعدها من
From the book "Sunan Al-Darimi" written by Ibn Kathir, Hadith number 16, Section One: The Introduction, Entry title: "What Allah has graced His prophet with that which causes trees, animals and Jinn to believe in him." (online source).
It was narrated by Muhammad Ibn Tarif, narrated by Muhammad Ibn Fadil, narrated by Abu Hayan, narrated by Atta, narrated by Ibn Umar who said, "We were with the prophet may Allahs prayer and peace be upon him on a journey when we were approached by a Bedouin.
When the prophet saw him he said to him, To where are you heading? The Bedouin said, To my family. The prophet asked, Do you wish to have a good thing? The Bedouin asked, What would that be? The prophet replied, To bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone, who has no partners and that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.
The Bedouin asked, And who will testify to what you say? The prophet answered, This tree will. So the prophet called to the tree that was in a valley by the seashore and it came to him, crawling on the ground until it stood up right between his hands. So the prophet made the tree say the Shahada three times and then it returned to where it was planted before.
The Bedouin then returned to his people and said, If they follow me I will bring them (to Muhammad) otherwise I will return to him myself."
أخبرنا محمد بن طريف حدثنا محمد بن فضيل حدثنا أبو حيان عن عطاء عن ابن عمر قال كنا مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في سفر فأقبل أعرابي فلما دنا منه قال له رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أين تريد قال إلى أهلي قال هل لك في خير قال وما هو قال تشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأن محمدا عبده ورسوله قال ومن يشهد على ما تقول قال هذه السلمة فدعاها رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وهي بشاطئ الوادي فأقبلت تخد الأرض خدا حتى قامت بين يديه فاستشهدها ثلاثا فشهدت ثلاثا أنه كما قال ثم رجعت إلى منبتها ورجع الأعرابي إلى قومه وقال إن اتبعوني أتيتك بهم وإلا رجعت فكنت معك
سنن الدارمي .. المقدمة .. باب ما أكرم الله به نبيه من إيمان الشجر به والبهائم والجن
It shouldnt surprise the readers that trees can speak as humans do, since the Quran says something similar:
And We made Solomon to understand (the case); and unto each of them We gave judgment and knowledge. And we subdued the hills and the birds TO HYMN (His) PRAISE along with David. We were the doers (thereof). S. 21:79 Pickthall
Seest thou not that to God bow down in worship all things that are in the heavens and on earth, - the sun, the moon, the stars; the hills, the trees, the animals; and a great number among mankind? But a great number are (also) such as are fit for Punishment: and such as God shall disgrace, - None can raise to honour: for God carries out all that He wills. S. 22:18 Y. Ali
And assuredly We gave David grace from Us, (saying): O ye hills and birds, echo his psalms of praise! And We made the iron supple unto him, S. 34:10 Pickthall
And the herbs and the trees do adore (Him). S. 55:6 Y. Ali
The preceding hadith shows that these Quranic passages arent simply metaphorical in nature. As a further indication that these statements are intended to be taken literally, note what the following hadiths say about the prostration and speech of the sun, trees etc.:
Narrated Abu Dharr:
The Prophet asked me at sunset, "Do you know where the sun goes (at the time of sunset)?" I replied, "Allah and His Apostle know better." He said, "It goes (i.e. travels) till it prostrates Itself underneath the Throne and takes the permission to rise again, and it is permitted and then (a time will come when) it will be about to prostrate itself but its prostration will not be accepted, and it will ask permission to go on its course but it will not be permitted, but it will be ordered to return whence it has come and so it will rise in the west. And that is the interpretation of the Statement of Allah: And the sun Runs its fixed course for a term (decreed). That is The Decree of (Allah) The Exalted in Might, The All-Knowing." (36.38) (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 421)
The translator, Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, has an interesting footnote here:
The procedure of the sun mentioned in this Hadith and similar other things mentioned in the Quran like the prostration of the trees, herbs and stars (V. 55:6) are beyond our limited knowledge of this universe. It is interpreted that these are mentioned so because of the limited understanding of the people at that time about matters of the universe.
Narrated Abdullah ibn Mas'ud
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: On the night of my Ascent (Mi'raj) I met Abraham and he said to me: Muhammad, convey my salam to your people and tell them that Paradise is a vast plain of pure soil and sweet water and that its TREES CRY: Holy is Allah, all praise is due to Allah, there is none worthy of worship save Allah, and Allah is Great. Transmitted by Tirmidhi. (Hadith of al-Tirmidhi, Number 439 ALIM CD-ROM Version)
Once when Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) was with a number of the Emigrants and Helpers a camel came and prostrated itself before him. Thereupon his companions said, "Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) beasts and TREES prostrate themselves before you, but we have the greatest right to do so." He replied, "Worship your Lord and honour your brother. If I were to order anyone to prostrate himself before another, I should order a woman to prostrate herself before her husband. If he were to order her to convey stones from a yellow mountain to a black one, or from a black mountain to a white one, it would be incumbent on her to do so." Ahmad transmitted it. (Hadith of al-Tirmidhi, Number 963 ALIM CD-ROM Version)
Thus, according to the authoritative Muslims sources, it is quite evident that the author of the Quran and Muhammad believed these things literally.
Jabir reported: We set out on an expedition along with Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) until we got down at a spacious valley and Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) went to relieve himself. I followed him with a bucket full of water and Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) looked about and he found no privacy but two trees at the end of the valley and Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) went to one of them and took hold of one of its twigs and said: Be thou under my control by the permission of Allah, and so it came under his control like the camel who has its nose string in the hand of its rider, and then he came to the second tree and took hold of a twig and said: Be thou under my control with the permission of Allah, and it came under his control, and when he came in the middle of the two trees he joined together the two twigs and said: join with the permission of Allah. Jabir said: I was afraid lest Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) should be aware of my nearness and go still farther. And Muhammad b. Abbad has used the word" faitab'd" and I began to talk to myself. And as I saw, I suddenly found Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) before me and the two trees were separated and each one of them was standing at its place. I saw Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) standing for a short time, nodding his head towards right and left. Isma'il pointed towards the right and left with the help of his head (in order to demonstrate how the Holy Prophet had pointed). Then he (the Holy Prophet) came to me and said: Jabir did you see my place where I was standing? I said: Allah's Messenger, yes. He then said: Then you should go to those two trees and cut a twig from each of them and go to that place with them where I was standing and stand there where I was standing and place a twig on the right and a twig on the left. Jabir said: I set out and took hold of a stone and broke it and sharpened it and then I came to those trees and cut a twig from each one of them. (Sahih Muslim, Book 042, Number 7149)
From the book "Sunan Al-Darimi" written by Ibn Kathir Hadith number 17, Section One: the Introduction, Entry title: "What Allah has graced His prophet with that which causes trees, animals and Jinn to believe in him." (online source).
It was narrated by Ubaid Allah Ibn Musa, narrated by Ismail Ibn Abd Al-Malik, narrated by Abi Al-Zubair, narrated by Jabir who said, "I went with the prophet on a journey but he would not urinate unless he was far away and unseen. We camped in an area of land that had no trees or shrubs so the prophet said to me, O Jabir! Place in your container some water and proceed with our caravan. We moved until I saw him standing between two trees that were four cubits apart.
The prophet then said to me, O Jabir! Go tell that tree that the prophet asks of you to go join your friend, the other tree, that I may sit behind you." So I did as he said and the prophet sat behind them (to urinate) and then the trees returned to their original place.
أخبرنا عبيد الله بن موسى عن إسمعيل بن عبد الملك عن أبي الزبير عن جابر قال خرجت مع النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم في سفر وكان لا يأتي البراز حتى يتغيب فلا يرى فنزلنا بفلاة من الأرض ليس فيها شجر ولا علم فقال يا جابر اجعل في إداوتك ماء ثم انطلق بنا قال فانطلقنا حتى لا نرى فإذا هو بشجرتين بينهما أربع أذرع فقال يا جابر انطلق إلى هذه الشجرة فقل يقل لك الحقي بصاحبتك حتى أجلس خلفكما فرجعت إليها فجلس رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم خلفهما ثم رجعتا إلى مكانهما
سنن الدارمي .. المقدمة .. باب ما أكرم الله به نبيه من إيمان الشجر به والبهائم والجن
We conclude with a narration from Sahih al-Bukhari which, although not about animals or trees, is nonetheless fascinating:
Narrated by Uthman Ibn Abu Shaybah, narrated by Jarir, narrated by Mansour, narrated by Abu Wail, narrated by Abdullah may Allah be pleased with him - who said, "The prophet may Allahs prayers and peace be upon him had a man sleep in his house. When the man woke up the next morning, the prophet said, The devil has urinated in this mans ears." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Arabic edition, Hadith number 3030, Chapter titled "The beginning of creation", Entry title: "The description of Satan and his soldiers", online source; cf. a Muslim English paraphrase of this story in Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 492)
Interpreting the Quran in light of the above hadiths, one can safely conclude that the author of the Quran truly believed that animals, trees etc. could talk in the same way that humans do. The author clearly believed that animals formed communities much like humans, in that they too name their offspring and preserve their ancestral line of descent.
For more on the fabulous stories of the Quran and hadiths we recommend the following articles:
Qur'an & Science
Contradictions in the Qur'an
Articles by Sam Shamoun
Answering Islam Home Page