The Prophet’s Medicine, A bee
By Femi Abbas
If any time can demand for a bail out from impossible ailment of man, it is now. There is no better time in human life to seek a permanent rescue from the tempest the twilight of this life. In getting such a rescue, recourse to the Prophet’s medicine is a sine qua non.
This is the time of mental, physical and psychological ailments that are tied to commerce. And, there must be a medicament for each. The most appropriate medicament for all diseases in human life is the one prescribed by Prophet Muhammad (SAW) about 1500 years ago which still remains potent and will keep remaining relevant for the rest period of human existence on earth. Please, read how it all began:
Adam, the primogenitor of mankind, was hardly one hour old when he started prescribing medicaments against ailments. He was commanded by Allah to teach the Angels, the names of all things which they (the Angels) had confessed not to know. By teaching the Angels, Adam could be said to have carried out the duty of a teacher which suggests that teaching was probably his first profession. But, those in the information sector could as well, argue that what Adam did was more of information dissemination than teaching.
Thus, for the purpose of academic exercise, a fierce debate might ensue between teachers and journalists, over what can be called the first profession of the first human being. But the truth is that both professionals (teacher and journalist) are right. By teaching, a teacher informs. And, by informing, a journalist teaches. Thus, the two professions are mutually complimentary.
Adam cures ailments
What Adam actually did by teaching the Angels was to cure the worst disease in them as well as in man. That disease is ignorance. Shortly before the creation of Adam, Allah informed the Angels that He was going to create a new living being and put him in charge of the garden to be called the earth. But, due to feigning knowledge, the Angels kicked against the plan and advised their Lord not to do it. Allah then told them in a tone of finality that “I know what you do not know”. (Q.2:31). It eventually took Adam, by Allah’s command, to heal those Angels of their disease (ignorance).
If Adam had not taught them the names of all things on earth, as revealed in the Qur’an, the Angels would have remained ignorant forever. And, Allah’s messages to mankind, as contained in the divinely Revealed Books, would not have come through them.
In an ordinary man’s view, medicine is the substance required to cure an ailment. Such substance may be natural or artificial. It may also be as crude as herbs or as sophisticated as surgery. However, it is generally believed that a person does not need medicine unless he is ill. That is why the Western conventional medicine is rather curative than preventive. Illness resides in the body just as ignorance makes the mind its abode. Today, in most cases, people neither go to the hospitals nor take medicine unless they are sick.
Though unlettered, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) had known this before he diagnosed two basic ailments and prescribed two fundamental medicines for them. The first of those ailments is ignorance. The second is poverty. And, poverty in this case is not lack of material wealth alone as many people erroneously believe. It is lack of many things including health and conscience. Thus, in Islam, ailment is basically of two types: ignorance and poverty. Many people are victims of one. Many more are victims of both.
A person is said to be poor-sighted when he cannot see well without artificial aid. He is deemed poor in memory when his remembering ability becomes weak. He is also pronounced poor in health when some of his organs malfunction or he lacks some active enzymes or minerals or vitamins. Thus, man may be poor, not in terms of money or material needs, but despite his possession of both.
The Prophet’s prescription
As an antidote for ignorance, the Prophet prescribed the Qur’an. And for body ailment, he prescribed honey. Qur’an is the encyclopeadia of life which personifies knowledge in all ramifications. There is nothing about knowledge, whether spiritual or mundane, in this world, or the hereafter, that is not contained in the Qur’an.
By recommending the Qur’an as medicine for ignorance, the Prophet simply provided cure for the ailment of the mind. And by prescribing honey for body ailments he simply encouraged prolongation of life expectancy through a boost to the immune system. It is not by accident that a whole chapter in the Qur’an (Chapter 16) is named after the insect that produces honey. Verse 68 of that chapter reads thus:
“And your Lord revealed to the bee (saying): Build your homes in the mountains, in the trees and in the hives which men shall make for you. Feed on every kind of fruit and follow the trodden path of your Lord’.
“From its belly comes forth a fluid of many hues as healing (drink) for mankind. Surely in this, there is a sign for those who can reason….” And, in the Bible, references are made to the use and efficacy of honey in more than 25 places.
Contrary to general belief, honey is not the only product of the bee. There are five others so far known to man. These are: propolis; pollen; royal jelly; bees wax; bee venom and bee bread. More can be discovered, as research continues in line with the Qur’anic challenge. Each of these products has specific functions in maintaining and immunizing he human hormone system.
To produce honey alone, the bees make contact with at least 250,000 plants picking branches and the flower nectars. It is possible for them to contact more plants depending on the richness of the vegetation in which they dwell. ( Nectar is the main raw material which the bees use to produce honey). Propolis, on the other hand, is produced by the bees from the resin of certain specific trees.
Through research, propolis has come to be known as the strongest anti-biotic ever discovered by man. This product is used not to protect the living alone but also to preserve the remains of the dead. At least it is on record that the famous historic Egyptian mammies were embalmed with propolis several millennia ago. This same propolis is the product used by the bees, themselves, to sterilise their bodies against bacteria and secure their hives against viruses brought into those hives by predators. Whenever the bees sting such predators to death, it is propolis they use to embalm them to prevent their decaying bodies from polluting the hive.
Pollen is the secret of longevity. It heals almost all the old age diseases like prostate, arthritis, pneumonia and bronchitis. It rejuvenates the nerves and reinvigorates the hormonal glands especially in the aged people.
Royal jelly on the other hand does not only solve the problem of infertility in men and women. It also rejuvenates its consumers agewise and in physical look. Besides, Royal Jelly acts as the exclusive food of the queen bee which enables her to lay an average of 2000 eggs every day. And bee venom is a natural vaccine which strengthens human immunity against all diseases. It works like magic in the human system especially when applied through the natural acupunctural points in the body.
Bees wax, as distinct from other products, is used to produce non-chemical cosmetics and to coat pharmaceutical tablets and capsules while bee bread is used to prevent or heal children’s diseases.
The use of each of these products to heal human ailments depends on the extent of knowledge of apitherapy possessed by the user. (Apitherapy is the use of bee products to prevent or heal human or animal ailments). A specialist in this field is called apitherapist.
The uniqueness of using these products for healing or prevention of diseases is in the fact that they do not entail any negative side effect. And that is a major sharp difference between them and the synthetic drugs manufactured chemically by the conventional pharmacists.
Honey is the only known product in the world that serves as both food and medicine. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, once reportedly told his patients while prescribing honey for them thus: “let your food be your medicine and your medicine your food”. There is no known nutritional value in terms of vitamins, minerals and enzymes that is not proportionally present in honey.
Raw honey, for instance, contains about 80 different substances that are most important for human nutrition. Besides glucose and fructose, honey contains all of the B-complex minerals like vitamins A, C, D, E and K as well as trace elements such as magnesium, sulphur, phosphorus, iron, calcium, chlorine, potassium, iodine, sodium, copper and manganese. The live enzyme content of honey is one of the highest of all existing foods. Honey also contains hormones and antimicrobial and antibacterial factors.
The composition and nutritional value of honey differ in relation to the floral sources honeybees have visited. For example, recent research supports the claim that dark coloured honeys have larger amounts of antioxidants. The inorganic contents of honey, minerals and other trace elements, play a significant role in human metabolism and nutrition. Owing to its chlorine content, honey is appreciated as an excellent tonic and helps people to overcome suffering from constipation and other enteric problems.
(38.2% fructose, 31.0% glucose,17.1% water, 7.2% maltose, 4.2% tri-saccharine & other carbohydrates, 1.5% sucrose, 0.5% minerals, vitamins, enzymes).
Whereas no synthetic medicine can and should be taken by any ill person without doctor’s prescription, honey requires no such prescription for anybody who is not allergic to it. Honey is a multipurpose food and medicine. It can be taken along with other foods or alone.
And, as an antiviral and antibiotic substance, honey is the best medicine for the eye and the ear diseases, tooth ache, insomnia, staphylococcus, constipation and whitlow as well as for burns and wounds.
Components of Honey
After many centuries of disputing these facts ignorantly, conventional doctors have finally come to realise that no medicine is as effective in sealing up surgical wounds and healing sores as honey. Today, honey is used for these purposes in most public hospitals in various parts of the world, including Nigeria.
Besides the above medicaments, the bees also assist mankind in producing foods by pollinating their crops. At least, these wonderful insects are responsible for pollinating about 80 per cent of the crops anywhere in the world. It is, therefore, an understatement to say that without the bees, humanity would starve to death. Bees are a vital part of our environment. Killing them is like killing oneself.
If most people were knowledgeable about the efficacy of the bee products in preventing and healing diseases, hospitals would have been less congested and substantial percentage of their incomes would have been saved to enhance the quality of their lives. The world of bees is a wonderful world. It takes only those who know it to appreciate it and benefit from its healing miracle.
Through divine instinct, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) had known this almost one and a half millennia ago and he had recommended it to humanity accordingly. The fact that honey is still a subject of scientific research today is a further confirmation that the unlettered Prophet from Arabia was a divine genius.
The case of bee and honey is like that of hen and egg. No one can tell which first came into existence. Without bee there can be no honey. And without honey, the bees cannot exist since honey is the food upon which they depend for survival.
But, how can one recognise genuine honey in this era of rampant adulteration? That is one of many questions to be answered in this column in the future God willing.
The story of the insect called bee is inexhaustible despite centuries of research on it. It is therefore impossible to tell it all in a one page column of this type. Much, more will be said on this subject subsequently if only to assist Nigerians in safeguarding their health matters thereby enhancing the quality of their lives.
That Prophet Muhammad (SAW) knew this much even as an unlettered person at a time when the world was assailed by blatant ignorance and primitivism is a further confirmation of Michael Hart’s classification of him as the greatest human being that ever lived on earth. But then, what makes the difference between the bees and other insects? What type of life do the bees live vis a vis other insects? What is the relationship between the bees, the plants and human beings? How do the bees conduct their communal life and how do they make honey? Besides honey, how do they produce other substances useful for human health? These and other relevant questions about the insect called BEE will be answered in this column in sha’Allah.