In The News



by HUMRA QURAISHI May 4 2024, 12:00 am Estimated Reading Time: 4 mins, 40 secs

The Prophet remarked that eating lentils fills the heart with sympathy, brings tears to the eyes, and eradicates pride, suggesting a profound impact on one's emotional and spiritual well-being, writes Humra  Quraishi

Several years ago, Dr. G. P. Sharma, based in New Delhi, shared a sentence that has since become ingrained in my consciousness: "You’re fortunate to be diabetic living in there are so many herbs, flowers, leaves which could be antidotes." Although many more sentences followed, all echoing the sentiment that thorough self-care, involving a daily regimen of diet and herbal remedies, was essential for managing diabetes in the long term.

Despite meeting Dr. Sharma years ago, his words have remained steadfast in my mind. To this day, I find myself consuming neem, amrood, and jamun leaves, as well as swallowing soaked methi seeds or incorporating ladyfinger pulp into my meals. As I continue to explore the vast world of herbs and the myriad benefits found in flowers and seeds, I am constantly amazed by the bounty that nature offers. This amazement leads me to question why we often overlook these wonders flourishing around us.

Do we truly consider what we're ingesting in our daily meals and its direct impact on our bodies? It seems not; we often overlook what's going into our systems. Have you ever questioned the cook or chef about the ingredients in a dish, or why certain combinations are used? Personally, I'm not much of a food enthusiast, but years ago, I was pleasantly surprised to learn from Senior Master Chef C.B. Sankaran at WelcomHotel Sheraton's Dakshin restaurant about the ingredients used in dishes like 'Tomato Pappu,' 'Alasande Kalu Saaru,' 'Kozhi Sukka Varuval,' or 'Veinchina Mamsam.' Chef Sankaran seemed to possess a comprehensive knowledge of culinary ingredients and was eager to enlighten us about what we were consuming, making us more aware of the spices, herbs, and their properties.

This same level of awareness should extend to medicines as well. Shouldn't we know what we're taking and why? While reading "Health Matters: Homoeopathy - An Introduction for Children" by New Delhi-based homeopath Dr. M. Qasim, I was struck by the emphasis on plants and homeopathy. Dr. Qasim focused on the health benefits of flowers, plants, and their leaves. Every time I ingest Calendula homeopathic drops, thoughts of those flowers linger in my mind. The connections between plants and human health are vast, and this awareness prompts me to consider the ingredients in everything I consume.

It's no surprise that the 'good citizens' of the past made a point to plant trees and herbs wherever they settled; they understood their immense significance and medicinal properties. Whenever Khushwant Singh and I strolled through Lodhi Gardens, he would inquire about the trees and plants we passed. Seeing my puzzled expression, he patiently educated me about their botanical names and more. His knowledge extended beyond mere identification; he knew the flowering patterns and properties of each species.

Another individual well-versed in this was Hakeem Abdul Hameed, founder of the Hamdard Group. Whenever I met him, I was astounded by his ability to effortlessly articulate the medical qualities of various herbs. He spoke passionately about herbal gardens and emphasized the importance of even the plants that sprout along waysides. Did you know that 'Pila Bansa' strengthens hair and prevents greying? Or that 'Kamila' can cure skin diseases, and the smoke of 'Datura' leaves is beneficial in treating asthma?

Dr. M I H Farooqi, a botanist-scientist based in Lucknow, authored two enlightening volumes: 'Plants of the Qur'an' and 'Medicinal Plants in the Tradition of Prophet Muhammad.' These works challenge the common perception that Muslims rely solely on non-vegetarian fare. As the former head of the Plant Chemistry division at the National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow, Farooqi delves deep into the subject, elucidating not only on olives, dates, and figs but also on the significance of everyday vegetables, herbs, and seeds. His writing is accessible, free from scientific jargon, allowing readers to grasp nature's bounty and its myriad cures and benefits.

In 'Plants of Quran,' Farooqi highlights the significance of the date-palm, which is mentioned numerous times in the Quran. Dates, known for their medicinal properties, are praised for their demulcent and emollient qualities, as well as their ability to stimulate the heart and improve memory. They are particularly effective in treating respiratory disorders like asthma and possess laxative, diuretic, and aphrodisiac properties. Farooqi's meticulous exploration of these plants not only enriches our understanding but also underscores the profound wisdom embedded in religious texts.

This botanist delved into the wisdom imparted by the Prophet regarding herbs, vegetables, and fruits. The Prophet reportedly said, "Black Cumin is a remedy for every disease except death," emphasizing its profound healing properties. He also recommended the use of olive oil, stating it is beneficial in seventy diseases, including leprosy. Additionally, the Prophet noted the digestive benefits of pomegranate and its rind, and praised henna leaves as the best dye. Watermelon, according to the Prophet, should be consumed before meals for its cleansing effect on the stomach. Regarding gourd, he remarked on its ability to stimulate the intellect and strengthen the heart. Brinjal, he said, is useful both as food and medicine for various purposes.

Moreover, the Prophet's insights on lentils shed light on their remarkable properties. He remarked that eating lentils fills the heart with sympathy, brings tears to the eyes, and eradicates pride, suggesting a profound impact on one's emotional and spiritual well-being. By understanding and appreciating these teachings, even the seemingly ordinary lentil can be recognized as extraordinary.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The writers are solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article.