The Significance of Milk—Choose What is Natural
Cleopatra is said to have bathed in it, many children drink it more often than they do water and it is the main ingredient in many a dessert. Yes, we are talking about milk! Science has proven it and the Holy Quran mentions it. Milk holds significant value as it provides the human body with considerable nutritional value. The Quran states: “And verily, in the cattle, there is a lesson for you. We give you to drink of that which is in their bellies, from between excretions and blood, pure milk; palatable to the drinkers.” (16:66) As narrated in hadith (saying of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him), according to Hazrat Ibn Abbas, Prophet Mohammed said, “When one of you eats food he should say, ‘O Allah, bless us in it and give us good nourishment from it,’ and when he is given a drink of milk he should say, ‘O Allah, bless us in it and prosper us from it, for no food or drink satisfies like milk.” (According to Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud)
Supplication or dua after drinking milk:
Godumma barik lana fihi wa zidna minhu
O God bless us in it and increase it for us.
The importance of milk is so great that it will be one of the pleasures for the rightly guided in their afterlife. The sacred text describes heaven as containing milk: “In it are rivers of water the taste and smell of which are not changed, rivers of milk of which the taste never changes.” (47:15)
Most of us are aware that three servings of dairy provide the body with vital nutrients such as calcium and vitamin. What is not as commonly known is that while calcium helps build strong bones, vitamin D is what provides key routes for the absorption of calcium. Even less known is that dairy also provides other essential nutrients such as magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and K. Studies have shown that diets that are well-balanced in dairy can help decrease blood pressure, reduce osteoporosis, and help us maintain a healthy weight. Dairy products and milk in particular may also have the ability to increase satiety or fullness resulting in lesser overall calorie consumption, potentially leading to successful weight control according to the National Dairy Council.
Another little known fact is that whole milk can curb the winter blues. The body creates vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Where winter days are shorter with little natural light, absorption of sunlight is decreased, often resulting in Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Syndrome. Those affected feel depressed and tired. One of the possible ways to counter some of its affects is to increase consumption of dairy, thereby normalizing vitamin D levels.
Milk is a proven shield against osteoporosis, reduces the likelihood of kidney stones, and decreases digestive irregularity. Studies have shown that regular calcium and vitamin D intake through dairy resulted in women having greater bone density mass and less bone loss due to osteoporosis. The National Dairy Council reports that a greater consumption of calcium rich foods such as dairy, results in fewer incidences of kidney stones in women. It is hypothesized that the excretion of oxalate is inhibited by the calcium, therefore reducing calcium oxalate stones, the most frequent type of kidney stones. Probiotics, commonly found in fermented dairy products such as yogurt and cheese, have significant digestive advantages. Enzyme cultures used for fermentation help the body naturally regulate bowel movements reducing bloating and irregularity.
For infants, mother’s milk provides the baby with natural immunity. The initial colostrums found in first batch of milk provides a strong inner lining in the infants stomach for future immunity. Compared to formula milk, human milk is almost opposite in composition. Human milk is composed of 60% whey and 40% casein. The greater whey to casein ratio allows for the milk to be easily digested in the baby’s stomach. Mother’s milk also contains critical fats such as DHA and other long chain fatty acids which ensure retina, brain, and nervous system development.
In Islam, mothers are allowed to nurse a child up to two years of age. “The Mothers shall give suck to their off-spring for two whole years…” (2:233). Coincidently, the United States Department of Agriculture and The American Academy of Pediatrics both recommend mother’s milk for infants up to the age of two.
Islamic history is peppered with sayings extolling the virtues of milk. The sixth century great Syrian Scholar, Imam Ibn Qayyim Al-Jauziyah author of Healing with the Medicine of the Prophet(s) noted that milk helps to treat depression, obsession and black bile ailments. When combined with honey, milk cleanses the body of septic materials. He also mentioned its favorability for the chest and lungs and recommended it for those suffering from tuberculosis. Imam Al-Jauziyah noted that goat milk works to cure canker sores and nosebleeds.
Prophet Muhammad, it is said, never refused an offering of milk. Abdullah bin Mas’ud narrates that the Prophet once said, “Drink cow milk because it grazes on all types of trees.” Cow’s milk also works as a mild laxative. As mentioned so eloquently in the hadith below:
“The night of the Isra al Miraj (Prophet Muhammad’s journey from Makkah to Jerusalem and then to heaven), the Messenger of God was given two cups, one containing milk and the other wine. The Prophet looked at them and then took the cup of milk. The Archangel Gabriel said, ‘You have accepted what is natural, (i.e. Islam) and if you had taken the wine, your followers would have gone astray.’”