Islamic Dietary Laws
Benefits of Honey
Honey is abluent and an aperient. It contains detergent and tonic properties that cleanse the arteries and bowels of impurities. It opens obstructions of the liver, kidney and bladder. It is also a general preservative, and it helps to preserve the potency of salves among other natural medicinal remedies. Honey also helps to break up excess moisture in the bowels, such as in diarrhea. Honey is superior to sugar in many respects, and it is less sweet but stronger, and if taken excessively, it can be harmful to the bile, unless it is mixed with vinegar. Honey is good for the aged; it is a cough suppressant and is used in medicine to treat corrupted phlegm in the stomach and to soften the general constitution of the body. Honey is also a curative for a depraved appetite, and when taken as a drink mixed with hot water and a pomace made from sweet roses, it helps the treatment of rabies, and is considered a safeguard from further infections. Honey is also used as detoxicant for drug users, and as an antitoxin to treat accidental eating of poisonous plants of the nightshade family (Hyoscymus niger), or wild fungus, among others. When taken as a drink mixed with hot water only, it helps as a remedy for dog bites. As a preservative, honey can be used to preserve meat for up to three months, and is used in pickling cucumbers, squash, eggplant, and various kinds of fruits for up to six months. Known as "the trustworthy preservative", honey was also used as a principle ingredient in embalming the dead.
Spreading natural raw honey over one's hair as ointment will cure head lice and other parasites. It also can be used as hair softener, conditioner, and it promotes hair growth. Using it as an eye salve, honey brightens one's vision, while brushing one's teeth with honey whiten's them. And when used as mouthwash, it strengthens the gums and eliminates gum diseases. Honey's natural properties also make it an excellent replenisher and a solvent; it opens the pores of blood vessels and eases menstrual discharge, forces out phlegm, and opens obstruction of the liver, kidney and bladder. Honey indeed has great nutritional value and is the drink of drinks, a sweetener of sweeteners, an ointment of ointments, and there is no other food among what God Almighty has created for us that equals honey value, and nothing is close to its constitution.
People knew honey from ancient times and long before they began to process refined sugar. In fact, ancient physicians spoke extensively of honey, and sugar was never mentioned in their writings. As a high-metabolic food, potent and a stimulant, sugar is not fully soluble, and it produces an attenuated healing energy in the body that also subsides rapidly. Such rapidly mounting energy leaves the body with the hard work of eliminating the balance of insoluble molecules, and of rebuilding the interior walls of the arteries affected by the abrasion caused by the passage of such molecules in the blood stream. However, sugar is more relaxing for the stomach, and is less sweet than honey and less vehement.
Regulating Bowl Movement
It is narrated by Abi Sai'd AI-Khidri in the traditions that a man came to the Prophet (pbuh) and reported that his brother was complaining of irregular bowel movement. The Prophet (pbuh) advised:
"Make him drink honey." The man came back the next day and said: "I made him drink honey and it did not help! The Prophet (pbuh) gave the same advice for two or three times, and the man kept coming back with the same answer. After the third or fourth time, The Prophet (pbuh) then said: "God spoke the truth, and your brother's belly lies." The same tradition was reported in Sahih Muslim wherein the man said: "My brother's belly is squeamish." - Meaning that he is nauseous, feels queasy, and that his digestive system is upset.
(Reported in Sahih Bukhari)
(Reported in Sahih Bukhari)
The Prophet (pbuh) used to sometimes drink an infusion of water sweetened with honey on an empty stomach, and such a custom holds ample benefits and subtle secrets. Ibn Maja noted a prophetic saying narrated by Abu Huraira (R.A.), that the Prophet (pbuh) said:"Whosoever eats honey (at least) three times per month will meet with no great affliction."
In another tradition, the Prophet (pbuh) said: "Make use of the two remedies: Honey and the Qur'an."
In this saying, he (pbuh) linked human medicine and divine medicine; remedies for the body and those of the soul; the natural factor and the spiritual one; and, the earthly medicine and the heavenly one. Once this is understood, we go back to the case history we mentioned earlier, of the man who inquired about a cure for his brother's bowel problems, and the remedy prescribed by The Prophet (pbuh). In this particular case, the cause of the brother's constipation and suffering was due to excess food consumption and excess appetite that produced a dyspeptic condition or acute indigestion. The Prophet (pbuh) asked him to give his brother a drink of honey to loosen and aid the excretion of waste. As this constipation was caused by overeating for an extended period of time, his stomach lining was coated with a mucus or asebiferous substance that caused slackness of the stomach tissues and obstructed the secretion of nutrients, for the stomach has a velvet lining, with short dense, and upright hair, just like those of a towel. When such viscous substance clings to the lining, it obstructs the normal cycle of digestion and spoils the food. Thus, taking in a natural abulent and an aperient, such as honey, is the best of remedies, and particularly when mixed with warm water. The medicinal purpose behind repeating the treatment has an important therapeutic value, whereby the 'right medicine' must have the correct quantity and concentration to be effective. When the medicine falls short of satisfying such conditions, it will fail, and when it exceeds the required potency, it will weaken the coyd and cause the other harm. Hence, when the Prophet (PBUH) prescribed a second and then a third application of the treatment, he implies that the condition was acute and needed further treatment, and eventually the condition passed. When the Prophet (PBUH) said to the man: "God Spoke the truth, and your brother's belly lies", he reiterated his position that honey was the right medicine for his brother's condition, and that his 'stomach mind' kept on denying it until the medicine eventually took effect.
In fact, the medicine of the Prophet (PBUH) is most credible and candid, and it is based on the divine inspiration (wahi), the prophetic focus (Mishkatu - Nubuwwa), and a brilliant reasoning ('aql), while most doctors' diagnoses are based on intuition, conjecture, and experiment, and they cannot refute the proven effectiveness of the prophetic medicine. However, in general, one who accepts it, believes in its healing nature adheres to it with faith, and voluntarily and happily submits to its curing effects, will recover from his illness by God's leave. The same principle guides the believers when God Almighty says of the holy Qur'an:
"A cure for the diseases of the hearts." (Qur'an 10:57)
Thus, when its admonition is not received with that kind of faith, it will not cure such diseases. Rather, it will increase the profanity of the impious ones, broaden the hypocrisy of the ostentatious ones and compound their illnesses - even if they make use of the prescribed prophetic medicine, for unfailingly, the prophetic medicine will agree most with the obedient body of a true worshiper who is blessed with faith; and similarly, the medicine of the Holy Qur'an will cure the illness of blessed souls and living hearts. Hence, those who take exception to the prophetic medicine will not benefit from it, just as those who argue against the remedies of the holy Qur'an cannot benefit from them. This is no fault of the medicine, but rather their spiritless character, their defilement of the sacred abode of the heart, and contempt against God's Message.
God Almighty says in the Holy Qur'an:
"From its belly comes forth a drink of varying colors, wherein is a cure for people. Surely there is a sign for those who would give thought." (Qur'an 16:69)
Surely God is the guardian of success, and He is the All-Knowing Lord.