Tuesday

Fish - Provision of Blessings

Allah, the Exalted, says:
“And He it is Who has subjected the sea (to you), that you eat thereof fresh tender meat (i.e. fish).” (Soorah An-Nahl, 16:14).
And the two seas (kinds of water) are not alike: this is palatable, sweet and pleasant to drink, and that is salt and bitter. And from them both you eat fresh tender meat (fish), and derive the ornaments that you wear.” (Soorah Fatir, 35:12).
 

“Lawful to you is (the pursuit of) water game and its use for food — for the benefit of yourselves and those who travel.” (Soorah Al-Ma’idah, 5:96).
 

It is narrated from Ibn ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, blessings and peace of Allah be upon him, said: “Two dead things and two types of blood have been made permissible for us: as for the two dead things, they are fish and locusts, and as for the two types of blood, they are liver and spleen.” (Saheeh, narrated by Ahmad and Ibn Majah)
 

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, blessings and peace of Allah be upon him, said, when he was asked about the sea: “Its water is a means of purification and its dead meat is permissible.” (Narrated by Al-Tirmidhi, who said it is a saheeh Hadith)
 

When answering questions from one of the Jewish rabbis, as was narrated by Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, the Prophet, blessings and peace of Allah be upon him, said: “The first food that will be eaten by the people of Paradise will be the caudate or extra lobe of fish liver.” (Narrated by Al-Bukhari)
 

In a report narrated by Muslim from Thawban it says that that the Jew asked the Prophet, blessings and peace of Allah be upon him, “What will be the first food offered to welcome you when you enter Paradise?” He said: “The caudate or extra lobe of fish liver.”
It is proved in a report narrated by Jabir, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah, blessings and peace of Allah be upon him, said, when a group of his Companions told him about their eating a big fish that had been thrown out by the sea, which is called a sperm whale: “It is provision which Allah brought forth for you. Do you have any of its flesh that you can give us to eat?” Jabir, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “So we sent some of it to the Messenger of Allah, blessings and peace of Allah be upon him, and he ate it.” (Agreed upon)
 

Ibn Al-Qayyim said, “There are many types of fish, and the best of it is that which has a good taste and a good smell, is medium-sized and has a thin skin, and the meat is not tough or dry, it lives in freshwater and feeds on plants, not dirt. The best place for it is in a river with good water. Sea fish is also good and fine; it nourishes the body, increases sperm count and is good for hot humors.”
Dawood Al-Antaki says, “The best fish is the white one with yellow spots, with green spots on its back. The best type of it is carp which is known as Al-Boori, then the brown one, then eel.”
Fish is beneficial in cases of hydrocephalus, tuberculosis, ulcers, kidney problems, pain in the back and all joints. It strengthens the libido. It is best to eat fish grilled with vinegar, garlic and mustard.
 

Fish is regarded as one of the foods which form the main diet for millions of people, such as the Japanese, the people of Indonesia and the Eskimos (Inuit), as it provides them with an excellent source of protein that is superior to meat. Fish protein has a high nutritional value, is easily digested and does not leave anything after it is absorbed except a little waste. Whitefish is more easily digested than meat; hence it is regarded as good food for sick people who have problems in their digestive system. It also contains all the main sulfur peptides.
 

The fat that is found in fish is distinguished by its being very rich in unsaturated fatty acids, which are beneficial and not harmful, and is distinguished by its ability to lower levels of fat in the blood, which makes it beneficial in protecting against atherosclerosis and especially against coronary heart disease. Fish oil is more easily digested than the fats found in meat. The level of iodine found in it makes it easier for pancreatic juices to play their role in digestion.
The amount of fat found in fish varies according to the type and the season. Whitefish such as cod contain only one percent of their weight in fat.
 

Oily fish such as salmon, trout, sardines and tuna contain between 5 and 25 percent of their weight in fat. As for canned fish, sardines and tuna are regarded as oily fish that are very nutritious, and they are much better than canned meats. It should be noted that the higher the level of fat in the fish the more beneficial the fish is for the body.
 

The flesh of oily fish is rich in fat-soluble vitamins, especially vitamin A and D. In whitefish, these vitamins are present in the oil of their livers and not in their flesh. The fact that fish is rich in vitamins makes it a good remedy for lack of energy in children, or they may be given fish oil. But fish is generally low in vitamin B.
 

Fish does not contain vitamin C at all. Fish eggs or caviar has a high nutritional value, but it is very expensive.
 

Fish is regarded as an excellent source of minerals, especially iodine, sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphate, chloride and sulphur, but it is low in iron.
With regard to calcium, most of it is found in the bones. The bones of cooked fish in cans provide a good source of calcium.
 

The fact that fish is rich in iodine is of great importance, as iodine plays a part in the function of the thyroid gland, as it is involved in the making of the hormone thyroxin.
In regions that are far from the sea, where the diet of the inhabitants is low in iodine, they are affected by enlargement of the thyroid (goitre), but iodine resolves this issue completely. Because the flesh of fish contains phosphates and basic fatty acids, eating it is very essential for the growth and nourishment of the brain. It is also good for those who have poor memories.
Fish oil is obtained by pressing fish livers which contain this oil. It is higher in vitamin A and D than regular fish oil. But it is lower in basic fatty acids. The name “pure fish oil” is given to the oil that is not subjected to chemical and other processes. This is what distinguishes it from manufactured fish oil. Even today, we are advised only to use fish oil or cod liver oil that contains the healing factors that are lost in manufacturing.
Fish as a Remedy
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Dr. Saynor and his colleagues (R. Saynor, F. Ryan, The Eskimo Diet, London, 1990) studied 153 patients who had high levels of cholesterol and, in some cases, heart trouble. After treatment with fish oil lasting for two months, the levels of triglycerides fell to their normal levels and remained low as long as the patient continued to take it.
 

Modern studies also indicate that taking fish oil or eating meals of fatty fish leads to a reduction in clotting in the veins of the body, because that leads to reduced viscosity in the blood.
The rarity of problems in blood vessels of the heart and brain in the inhabitants of a Japanese village who rely mainly on fish as their basic diet has been proved earlier. (Kromhont, Journal of Medical Engineering, 1985, 312) Its inhabitants rely mainly on fish as their staple diet. The study by Kromhont (1985) showed that rates of death due to coronary artery disease were very low in those who were used to eating fish in comparison to those who did not eat it. It became clear to them that eating 1 to 2 meals of fish a week plays an important role in protecting against myocardial infarction. Eating fish by those who are affected by myocardial infarction led to a reduction in death rates in the years following a heart attack.
 

Studies show low rates of atherosclerosis in Eskimos (Inuit), as they eat fish much more than others do. Rates of myocardial infarction among them and among the Japanese are also much lower than in Western societies. It has been proved that eating 30g of fish a week leads to protection against coronary artery disease, but it is essential to avoid fried or salted fish. (Leaf, Weber, New England Journal of Medicine, 1988, 318)
 

Leaf and Weber also compared the effect of aspirin and fish oil, and it became clear that aspirin has only one effect in protecting against myocardial infarction, which is its effect on the platelets in the blood. As for fish oil, it plays a role in protecting against stroke on a number of levels and using various mechanisms, which shows that it has benefits which surpass those of aspirin. (The Lancet, London, May 1988) Kremer also confirmed the benefits of fish oil in reducing joint pains and the number of joints that are causing pain and stiffness of joints in patients affected by arthritis. That is due to its effect on the prostaglandins which are responsible for pain and inflammation. It also helps to increase the patient’s energy and ability to move.
 

Researchers also found an improvement in symptoms of psoriasis in a number of patients within two months of starting to take 10 capsules of fish oil daily, or the equivalent of eating a meal of oily fish. (British Journal of Dermatology, 1982) Researchers in Norway confirmed the benefit of fish oil in treating atopic dermatitis, as a clear improvement was seen in symptoms after taking it for a period of 2 to 3 months. (British Journal of Dermatology, 1982, 117)
It is also an effective remedy for treating patients with migraines. For that purpose 2-4 capsules per day for a period of six weeks is sufficient. (Paediatric Journal, 1986)
 

In the October issue of the American Chest magazine, the recommendations of the scientific conference for researchers in cardiovascular disease were published, which included the following,
• The researchers recommended consuming 30 to 40 g of fish daily, or consuming two fish meals a week at least, to protect against myocardial infarction.
• Fish oil lowers the level of triglycerides in the blood.
• High or moderate doses of fish oil lead to a lowering of blood pressure in those who have high blood pressure. As for the mechanism involved, that is still unknown.
 

Dr. Goodright (Chest Journal, 1992) confirms that consuming a moderate amount of oily fish in two meals a week leads to a lowering in the death rate among those who suffer from myocardial infarction. Finally, recent research indicates that fish oil may reduce the incidence of pre-eclampsia. 

(British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 1990, 97)
(Hassan Shamsi Pasha, Al-Asrar Al-Tibbiyah Al-Hadithah Fil-Samak Wal-Hoot; Sabri Al-Qabbani, Al-Ghidha’ la Ad-Dawa’; Dr. Al-Sayyid Al-‘Ajeeli, Al-‘Ijaz Al-Tibbi Fil-Qur’an; Dr. A. Tull, Food and Nutrition)