Prophetic medicine’s strong stance on the infinite blessings of milkSep 23, 2022
Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas:
Then the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was brought milk, and he drank (it). The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) then said: When one of you eats food, he should say: O Allah, bless us in it, and give us food (or nourishment) better than it. When he is given milk to drink he should say: O Allah! bless us in it and give us more of it, for no food or drink satisfies like milk. Sunan Abi Dawud 3730
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "The best object of charity is a she-camel which has (newly) given birth and gives plenty of milk or a she-goat which gives plenty of milk, and is given to somebody to utilize its milk by milking one bowl in the morning and one in the evening." Sahih al-Bukhari 5608
Isn’t it incredible that with food the sunnah is to ask for better than it, and with milk, we are instructed to ask for more of it! It is known from authentic hadith that the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) was often gifted milk and even colostrum. Milk was used as a complete meal to feed anyone hungry. And the best form of charity was to give a she-camel or she-goat which has recently given birth and gives plenty of milk so that the person could utilize the milk in the morning and evening. (oh and the milk of the morning differs from the milk of the evening which promotes sleep but I’ll leave that for another blog insha’Allah.)
Milk is truly a superfood full of baraka (endless blessings). Think about it for a moment. Cows graze on pasture, and pasture consists of grass and weeds (like alfalfa, clover, dandelion, burdock, etc). The cattle eat, break down and digest the medicinal and nutritional properties of the pasture (something we cannot do ourselves) and convert it into a sweet, nourishing food full of microbial factors, enzymes, carbs, fats, proteins, and minerals. Cattle, like goats, sheep, and other ruminant animals, have a special 4-compartment stomach that actually ferments its food prior to digesting it. Just like bees feed upon all the plants to extract their medicinal properties and convert them into honey to make them a sweet, medicinal food for our nourishment, ruminant animals do the exact same thing.
“And verily! In 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” (Surah An-Nahl, 66)
Most people don’t know that milk actually comes from blood. The mammary glands are designed by Allah SWT to filter blood, concentrate the nutrients and remove excess iron, to create a nourishing, golden white milk that is full of antibodies, live microorganisms, carbs, fats, proteins, and enzymes.
The miraculous baraka (infinite blessings) of milk is that there are so many dairy products that come from it. Once you have milk, you can skim the cream (fat). You can make whip cream out of it, or you can turn the cream into butter and buttermilk. The butter can be turned into ghee. The milk can be turned into cheese, yogurt, kefir, and more. There are ways to drink it fresh and natural ways to preserve it. It is truly a superfood.
Milk has been vilified. I often hear Muslims say that cow’s milk is for a baby calf not for human consumption. I have also heard people say that after the age of 2 you begin to lose your ability to digest lactose, hence why everyone is lactose intolerant. I’ve heard people blame milk for causing leaky gut and GI inflammation.
But the trends and fads that demonized milk and replaced it with nut milk didn’t correlate with our divine and prophetic guidance.
How can something so honored by Allah SWT and so beloved to the Prophet Muhammad SAWS be so toxic for us?
Conventional milk is pasteurized, losing most of its digestive enzymes and microbial components. The cows that produced the milk were living in an unnatural environment, feeding on an unnatural diet of soybean solvent meals and corn silage. The cows were also pumped with hormones and antibiotics to increase milk production and reduce breast infection. How on earth was I or anyone else not supposed to get sick when everything about how milk was now produced was unrecognizable from the time of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ).
I discuss the history of milk and what they’ve done to it here.
Back to lactose intolerance: Lactase, the enzyme required to digest lactose, is conveniently packaged naturally in the milk. Lactase is annihilated in the sterilization process. Lactose intolerance, therefore, is a man-made “dis-ease” because we altered what Allah SWT created for us.
The ideology of pasteurization and the dangers of raw milk is so ingrained in the hearts and minds of people all over the world, that 3rd world countries who have direct access to fresh milk will boil it at home before drinking it because one small segment in history has changed their beliefs!
Having only lived in the West, I remember the first time I drank raw milk in my kitchen back in Canada. We had found a way to get our hands on some raw milk and I wanted to incorporate it into our diet but I had so much anxiety about making the switch. The belief that raw milk was harmful took months of healthy consumption for our entire family without one person ever getting sick from “dangerous raw milk”. I was expecting abdominal cramps, diarrhea, or bacterial infections from time to time. None of that ever happened.
Milk produced as “intended for pasteurization” and sourced from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) is generally unsanitary and unsafe to consume raw — so please don’t take raw conventional milk and drink it as it is. Such milk is being produced in conditions where the animal’s health is compromised, antibiotics are utilized, hormones are used to stimulate higher levels of milk production, there is an abundance of manure, and there is a correspondingly high rate of pathogens. This type of milk is also mixed with milk from multiple dairies, which increases the risk of pathogenic exposure.
So why how is conventional (CAFO) dairy farming any different from grass-fed dairy?
Conventional farming means that the animals need to be contained in a barn. Seeds need to be purchased to grow crops (hay). Pesticides to kill the weed. Investing money in machinery to harvest the crop and bring it indoors to the cattle. Then remove the manure from the barn and spread it across the fields. A labor-intensive process that spends more time on machinery with little interaction with the animals.
However, natural, grass-fed cattle are raised and nourished is completely different from modern, conventional cattle farms.
On the grass-fed farm, before the farmer can even have breakfast, he is out to feed the cattle. At first, I didn’t understand what it meant to feed the herd when they were already outside and grass-fed. Twice a day, natural farmers rotate the grazing field by moving fences. You can only maintain a limited number of cattle depending on your pasture size. It takes mathematical precision for farmers to rotate the feeding fields. Each field must be given 30 days to rest to allow fresh pasture to grow. That means the farmer needs to have enough land to ensure that there is always a 30-day rest period for each pasture before the cattle can graze on it again.
The grass-fed model is a very natural and simple process to adopt. You don’t need to rely on companies to provide seeds, pesticides, or machinery. The cows live in their fields. They eat the grass. They spread their own manure. Their manure contains the seeds needed to regrow the crop and the farmer spends his day moving fences to provide fresh feed. A lot more time is spent with the animals in this very self-sufficient process.
The farmer knows the grass and wild weeds that grow in his pasture. The weeds also help balance the cow’s diet, so he won’t give access to fresh grass until they’ve had their share of medicinal herbs.
And He created the cattle for you as a source of warmth, food, and ˹many other˺ benefits.They are also pleasing to you when you bring them home and when you take them out to graze. Surat An-Nahl, 5-6
There was no doubt in my mind. The only way to raise animals for harvesting our own nourishment (dairy and meat) is to ensure they live a natural, healthy life as Allah SWT has intended for them.
Natural farming costs more money because it requires more natural resources but the cheap alternative is at the expense of our health and the animals’ well-being.
How can we look at pasteurized, conventional store-bought dairy and honestly call this halal and tayyib (pure/good), when nothing of how this milk was produced was tayyib?
It’s time to revive the sunnah of natural farming, halal and tayyib, and grass-fed dairy.
© Nurasunna Rediscover Wellness Inc. Written by Aiman Attar
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