Honey—the dietary supplement

…much quoted Quranic health advisory
Representational Image
Representational ImageScott Bauer, USDA ARS/US Agriculture department/Wikimedia Commons

Honey as a dietary supplement is a much quoted health advisory. Al-Nahl [the Bee] chapter 16th of Al-Quran states in its Verse 68:

‘’ And thy Lord taught Bee to build its cells in hills, on trees, and in (men’s) habitations’’

Abdullah Yousuf Ali, in his famous commentary on Quran characterizes honeycomb with its hexagonal cells, geometrically perfect, a wonderful structure and is well called buyut (homes, the pleural of ‘bayt’ home in Arabic) and the way the bee finds out inaccessible places, in the hills, in the trees, and even among the habitations of men is one of the marvels of nature i.e. of Allah’s working in His creation. Working to what end in case of Bee is elucidated in the Verse: 69 of the same chapter:

‘’Then to eat of all the produce (of the earth) and find with skill the spacious path of its Lord; there issues from within their bodies a drink of varying colours, wherein is healing for men, verily in this is a sign for those who give thought’’

Commenting on this verse, Yousuf Ali says “The bee assimilates the juice of various kinds of flowers and fruits, and forms within its body the honey which it stores in its cells of wax. The different kinds of food from which it makes its honey give different colours to honey. It is dark brown; light brown, yellow, white and so on. The taste and flavor also varies, as in the case of heather honey, the honey from scented flowers and so on. As food, it is sweet and wholesome, and it is used in medicine.”

The health tips thus provided, with Quranic advisories on health were put into practice by Muslims all over the world with religious fervor. It provided the healing touch and comforted the soul. The medicine in Islam thus acquired a rich flavour, with observance of health and hygiene becoming a routine norm.

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