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Pure Food: Milk and Honey

milk and honey

small bismillah

سوره النحل القران
وَإِنَّ لَكُمۡ فِي ٱلۡأَنۡعَٰمِ لَعِبۡرَةٗۖ نُّسۡقِيكُم مِّمَّا فِي بُطُونِهِۦ مِنۢ بَيۡنِ فَرۡثٖ وَدَمٖ لَّبَنًا خَالِصٗا سَآئِغٗا لِّلشَّٰرِبِينَ. ٦٦. .وَمِن ثَمَرَٰتِ ٱلنَّخِيلِ وَٱلۡأَعۡنَٰبِ تَتَّخِذُونَ مِنۡهُ سَكَرٗا وَرِزۡقًا حَسَنًاۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَأٓيَةٗ لِّقَوۡمٖ يَعۡقِلُونَ. ٦٧..وَأَوۡحَىٰ رَبُّكَ إِلَى ٱلنَّحۡلِ أَنِ ٱتَّخِذِي مِنَ ٱلۡجِبَالِ بُيُوتٗا وَمِنَ ٱلشَّجَرِ وَمِمَّا يَعۡرِشُونَ. ٦٨..ثُمَّ كُلِي مِن كُلِّ ٱلثَّمَرَٰتِ فَٱسۡلُكِي سُبُلَ رَبِّكِ ذُلُلٗاۚ يَخۡرُجُ مِنۢ بُطُونِهَا شَرَابٞ مُّخۡتَلِفٌ أَلۡوَٰنُهُۥ فِيهِ شِفَآءٞ لِّلنَّاسِۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَأٓيَةٗ لِّقَوۡمٖ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ.٦٩.
Translation. Surely there is a lesson for you in the cattle: We provide you to drink out of that which is in their bellies between the faeces and the blood – pure milk – which is a palatable drink for those who take it. 66. And out of the fruits of date-palms and grapes you derive intoxicants as well as wholesome sustenance. Surely there is a sign for those who use reason. 67. Your Lord inspired the bee, saying: “Set up hives in the mountains and in the trees and in the trellises that people put up. 68. then suck the juice of every kind of fruit and keep treading the ways of your Lord which have been made easy.” There comes forth from their bellies a drink varied in colours, wherein there is healing for men. Verily there is a sign in this for those who reflect. 69. Surah Al-Nahl. The Bee.
Commentary
These verses provide three beautiful comparisons in the context of food and drink which Allah has provided abundantly to his servants on earth. In verses 66 and 67 which predate the verse concerning prohibition of drink خمر او سكر in the Holy Quran in another Surah, the purity of milk is contrasted with the impurity of blood and waste of the cattle. This comparison advances to the next level in verse 67 where pure food is contrasted with intoxicants made from the juice of dates and grapes, which Allah allows when fresh but forbids when fermented and made into drink سكر. The contrast is further advanced in verses 68 & 69. Here unlike the belly of the cattle which produces both milk and faeces, the belly of the bee produces honey in different colours which is pure and natural and is a cure for many human ailments.
These verses carry two fundamental lessons. When man produces food, it can be good food such as fresh juice from fruits, or food which is not good or is imperfect such as intoxicating drink from fermented dates and grapes. The forbidden foods are similar to blood and faeces which are mentioned in the preceding verse. But when Allah provides food it is pure and clean such as milk or honey. The second lesson is that Allah alone has the power to produce fruits in a variety of species, colours, tastes and qualities from trees irrigated with the same water. He alone provides the best food from the bellies of his creations that eat, digest and excrete to survive and multiply. Despite man’s ability to copy God, he cannot even fathom Allah’s creativity and mastery over His creation.
و ما علينا الا البلاغ المبين