The Benefits of Animals Mentioned in the Qur'an
In many verses, Allah stresses that animals are a great blessing and
recommends believers to benefit from them. One such verse reads:
Allah has made your houses places of rest for you, and
made houses for you out of cattle hides, which are light for you to carry
both when you are traveling and when you are staying in one place. And
from their wool and fur and hair you obtain clothing and carpets and household
utensils for a time. (Surat an-Nahl: 80)
Many other verses draw attention to the benefits of animals.
The majority of people benefit from animals without giving a thought
to the fact that these benefits come from Allah. They just consume them
as daily products. However, in return for His blessings, Allah wants people
to show gratitude and remember His blessings. In this chapter, we will
dwell upon the various benefits that Allah grants to humanity through
Have they not seen how We created for them, by Our own
handiwork, livestock that are under their control? We have tamed them
for humanity, and some they ride and some they eat. And they have other
uses for them, and milk to drink. So will they not be thankful? (Surah
Ya Sin: 71-73)
Allah creates humanity with many imperfections and weaknesses to test
people in this world. Being dependent upon nourishment to survive is,
in actuality, a weakness. However, most people do not consider this a
weakness and so simply accept it as an inherent natural need. But dependency
upon nourishment is a weakness and for a divine purpose. People should
try to grasp this divine purpose, for only then can they understand their
feebleness before their Creator's Might and the fact that they are in
need of every blessing granted by Him. Fasting also serves this purpose,
for even a short and temporary period of hunger or thirst reminds people
of their weakness and helps them understand their need for Allah. Engaging
in such activities enable them to appreciate the blessings given to them
and to ponder upon them sincerely.
Humanity needs Allah, and Allah, the Provider (Al-Razzaq), provides all
of His servants with everything that they need. One of these needs are
the food products obtained from animals, such as eggs, meat, poultry,
milk, honey, and so on. In this chapter, we will discuss some aspects
of the beneficial sources of nourishment mentioned in the Qur'an.
Meat and Personal Health
We will supply them with any kind of fruit and meat that
they desire. (Surat at-Tur: 22)
Meat, which is mentioned specifically, is an essential nutrient for the
Amino acids, the principal building blocks of proteins, are essential
for tissue growth and repair. Therefore, a sufficient amount of amino
acids (protein intake) is vital for such activities. Complete proteins,
those from meat, supply all essential amino acids in the correct dietary
amounts. Some forms of dietary protein, primarily those from plants, do
not contain adequate amounts of all essential amino acids. Vegetarians
who rely upon vegetables for protein can receive adequate amounts of all
essential amino acids only by complementing their diets with complete
proteins. A low-protein vegetarian diet, while high in carbohydrates,
prevents the sufficient intake of amino acids and eventually causes edema
(a swelling due to the excessive accumulation of fluid in tissues). This
is a serious malformation that can cause death. 4
Meat is not only a high-protein nutriment, but also is rich in such vital
minerals as iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and many other
vitamins (largely members of the vitamin B complex). Vegetables also contain
iron and zinc, but because people who follow a diet rich in vegetables
rely solely upon fiber-rich foods, their bodies cannot digest iron and
Saturated fats found in red meat prevent paralysis, especially in men.
5 Paralysis occurs as a result of a sudden pumping
of blood to brain cells, an action that kills many blood cells. However,
recent studies reveal that animal fats regulate the flow of blood to the
Contrary to the general assumption, meat-free diets are not low in cholesterol.
Given that foods other than meat are rich in hidden fats, vegetarians
have a relatively high intake of hidden fats. In order to maintain a good
nutritious diet, specialists recommend less than 300 mgs of cholesterol
intake daily. This is the exact amount of cholesterol received from meat.
Protein (meat) digestion is a relatively long process, but 95 percent
of the proteins and 96 percent of the fats it contains can be digested
easily. Fats enable the digestion of other nutrients as well. Meat, which
contains the appropriate amount of fats, remains in the stomach for a
prolonged time, delays hunger, and increases one's strength to resist
hunger. In addition, as its ingredients activate the salivary glands,
it whets one's appetite and facilitates digestion 6
Apart from these scientific facts, meat is very tasty.
If such an essential nutrient was not that tasty, we would be forced to
eat it, regardless of its taste, in order to satisfy our need for it.
However, as a blessing from Allah, it is delicious. Meanwhile, Allah again
stresses its worth by mentioning it as one of the foods in Paradise. (Surat
Miraculous Animal Product: Milk
There is instruction for you in cattle. From the contents
of their bellies, between that which is to be eliminated (from the animal's
body) and (its) blood, We give you pure milk to drink, easy for drinkers
to swallow. (Surat an-Nahl: 66)
The formation of milk is a miracle. It is thought-provoking that a pure
and delicious drink is produced between an animal's blood and that which
is to be eliminated from its body.
With respect to its benefits for children's and adults' health, milk's
content is worth analyzing. Casein, a protein, gives milk its white color.
Observing a drop of milk under a microscope, one sees tiny fat particles
floating. Apart from casein and fats, milk consists of lactose (dissolved
milk sugar) and several vitamins essential for health and minerals (e.g.,
phosphorus and calcium). Calcium is an essential constituent of bones
and teeth 7
As the foregoing clarifies, milk is a very beneficial nourishment that
is rich in many essential nutrients. Allah creates milk for humanity as
a blessing so that people can ponder upon it and appreciate His Might.
It is also a blessing that will be, by Allah's Will, available in Paradise.
An image of the Garden promised to those who have fear
of Allah. In it there are rivers of water that will never spoil, rivers
of milk whose taste will never change, rivers of wine delightful to all
who drink it, and rivers of honey of undiluted purity. In it they will
have fruit of every kind and forgiveness from their Lord. Is that like
those who will be in the Fire timelessly, for ever, with boiling water
to drink, which lacerates their bowels? (Surah Muhammad: 15)
Your Lord revealed to the bees: "Build dwellings in the
mountains and the trees, and also in the structures which people erect.
Then eat from every kind of fruit and travel the paths of your Lord, which
have been made easy for you to follow." From inside them comes a drink
of varying colors, containing healing for humanity. There is certainly
a Sign in that for people who reflect. (Surat an-Nahl: 68-69)
Honey, along with its vitamins and minerals, is a great benefit for human
health. It consists of sugar (glucose and fructose), minerals (calcium,
potassium, magnesium, sodium chlorine, sulfur, iron and phosphorus), and
vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and C) 8
In addition, it contains small amounts of several kinds of hormones, copper,
iodine, and zinc - in other words, almost everything that the human body
The following information was released during the World Apiculture Conference
held in 1993:
During the conference, a special session was held on the treatments associated
with honey derivatives. American scientists stated that honey, royal jelly,
pollen and propolis (bee resin) cure many diseases. A doctor from Romania
said he tried honey on cataract patients, and 2002 out of his 2094 patients
had full (95%) recovery. Polish doctors also informed that honeybee resin
cure many diseases such as haemorrhoids, skin problems, gynaecological
diseases and several other disorders 9
Another feature of honey is that, compared with the same amount of sugar,
it contains 40% less calories. Thus although it is a great energy provider,
it does not add weight.
This low-calorie and tasty juice is easily digestable. Since honey's
fructose molecules can convert into glucose, honey, despite its high acid
content, is digested easily even by those suffering from stomach disorders.
Honey helps the kidneys and intestines to function better. Due to its
free sugar molecules, it has a similar effect upon the brain. Meanwhile,
it cleanses blood and the bloodstream and is instrumental in blood production.
With the vast amount of energy it releases, it has the capacity needed
to produce the energy that produces blood.
Honey protects the body against capillary problems and arteriosclerosis,
and also kills bacteria. When accompanied with mild water, it mixes into
the bloodstream within only 7 minutes, and thus is a good and fast curative
for the body. When diluted with water, it acquires an antiseptic quality.
Apart from this, honey contains such antibacterial chemicals as benzyl
alcohol and many others.
The contribution of honeybees to human health is not limited to honey,
for they also produce another product: royal jelly. Royal jelly, a strong-smelling
substance secreted by worker bees to feed the queen bee, is another blessing
for people, for it includes such minerals as phosphorus, calcium, iron,
sodium, potassium and magnesium, vitamins B2, B3, and B6, as well as proteins
Royal jelly is used to treat disorders caused by tissue deficiency, arteriosclerosis,
or bodily frailty 10
Do you not see that Allah has subjected to you everything
in the heavens and earth, and has showered His blessings upon you, both
outwardly and inwardly?
(Surah Luqman: 20)
Other Benefits of Animals
And also animals for riding and hauling, and animals
for slaughtering and for wool
(Surat al-An'am: 142)
This verse reveals other benefits that animals provide to humanity: wool,
hair, and leather. These are truly the raw materials of many things that
we use in our everyday life.
A sweater, blanket, carpet, fabric of cloths, upholstery, and many other
goods are produced from animal products. Moreover, skins obtained from
sheep, cattle, snakes, crocodiles, and other animals are commonly used
for clothing, upholstery, and ornaments.
Another benefit is silk, an elastic and fibrous substance secreted by
silkworms. The fabric made from this fiber is a gift of Allah to humanity,
and He gives us the good news that it is also a blessing that believers
will enjoy in Paradise:
And will reward them for their
steadfastness with a Garden and with silk. (Surat al-Insan : 12)
They will have Gardens of Eden with rivers flowing under
them. They will be adorned in them with bracelets made of gold and wear
green garments made of the finest silk and rich brocade, reclining there
upon couches under canopies. What an excellent reward! What a wonderful
repose! (Surat al-Kahf: 31)
No doubt, the silk that believers will wear in Paradise will be incomparably
superior to the silk of this world. However, the silk that we have in
this world is still a very precious fabric. Its value can be appreciated
fully once the laborious phrases needed for its production are examined.
We need to remember that the producer of this high-quality fabric is
neither a person of intelligence nor a well-designed machine, but rather
an insect that is 5 to 10 cm in length. Most of this fabric is woven from
the silk fibers obtained from cocoons spun by silkworms.
At the end of the larval stage, a mature larva attaches itself to a twig
and begins to spin its cocoon. Fibroin, a moist substance, is secreted
by a pair of silk glands and emitted from an orifice on the larva's lower
lip. This sticky substance dries quickly in the air, eventually hardening
into a cocoon. Then, the silkworm's labor is prepared for the silk production
The thread produced by silkworms has many usages, ranging from textiles
to medicine. Surgeon's silk thread is used in surgical suturing, a vital
contribution to a person's continued well-being.
It is awesome that such a tiny insect can secrete a substance with a
formula that has been hidden in its body and then offer it to humanity.
Surely, Allah is responsible for the entire process.
The benefits humanity obtains through animals cannot be limited to a
few items. Given the thousands of existing animal species, many pages
would be required to mention all of the areas in which animals contribute
to human life. This is also related in the Qur'an:
If you tried to number Allah's blessings, you could
never count them
(Surat An-Nahl: 18)
That Allah equips animals with so many beneficial qualities manifests
His Love for and protection of His servants. However, we need to remember
that anyone who forgets that these are blessings from Allah will be held
accountable on the Day of Judgment. Given this, one should think deeply,
as Allah calls upon all people to do, in order to grasp the hidden meanings
underlying them and to thank Him for all of these blessings.
Signs of Benefits Derived From the Seas
We also must mention the benefits derived from the seas as among Allah's
gifts to us. The Qur'an mentions some of them:
He made the sea subservient to you so that you can eat
fresh meat from it and bring out from it ornaments to wear. And you see
the ships cleaving through it so that you can seek His bounty, and so
that hopefully you will show thanks. (Surat an-Nahl: 14)
We come across countless blessings when we examine the benefits humanity
gets from the seas. Every sea is the natural habitat of different animal
and plant species, depending upon its respective natural conditions. The
Qur'an relates some of them:
The two seas are not the same. One is sweet, refreshing,
and delicious to drink; the other is salty, bitter to the taste. Yet from
both of them you eat fresh meat and extract ornaments for yourselves to
wear; and you see ships on them, cleaving through the waves so that you
can seek His bounty, and so that hopefully you will be thankful. (Surah
Though humanity is not involved in it, the underwater world has a perfect
order that offers many blessings. This all becomes possible thanks to
Allah's perfect creation. In return for all of these, people only need
to feel grateful to Allah.
People, who are not entirely knowledgeable about the nutrients that they
need to maintain their health through good nutrition, are offered many
nutrients in their best states and ready for use. Seafood is quite rich
in nutrients, for it was created to meet the human body's mineral and
vitamin needs. Allah draws our attention to the benefits of such food:
Anything you catch in the sea is lawful for you, and
all food from it, for your enjoyment and that of travelers... (Surat al-Ma'ida:
Seafood products are relatively high in such minerals as chromium, cobalt,
phosphorus, copper, iodine, fluorine, and sodium. As a result, they promote
growth and development, balance blood pressure, and prevent diabetes.
Cobalt prevents anemia, while copper and iodine accelerate the absorption
of iron so that people can feel energetic. Seafood also facilitates mental
processes and fosters the healthy development of skin, teeth, hair, and
nails. Zinc, which is plenteous in such food, is an essential element
that fosters bodily growth and development, protects the senses of taste
and smell, is instrumental in healing wounds, and regulates the amount
of vitamin A in the bloodstream. Furthermore, it is part of insulin, which
controls one's metabolic energy requirements 12
Fluorine strengthens bones and helps the muscles and
nervous system to function in an orderly manner 13
The Qur'an mentions another very important feature of such nutrients
in Surat an-Nahl 14: "
you can eat fresh meat from
it..." It is striking that Allah draws attention to "fresh meat"
in this verse, for, as we know, seafood must be consumed while it is still
fresh. Otherwise, such meat will harm the body. The fact that only seafood
products are so described in the Qur'an may indicate this fact.
While the Qur'an speaks of seafood in general, it specifically draws
our attention to fish, as in its account of the Prophet Musa (as) and
his young servant, both of whom ate fish while traveling:
When they had gone a distance further on, he said to
his servant: "Bring us our morning meal. Truly this journey of ours has
made us tired." He said: "Do you see what has happened? When we went to
find shelter at the rock, I forgot the fish
" (Surat al-Kahf: 62-63)
It should be noted that, for such a long journey, the Prophet Musa (as)
and his young servant chose to take fish with them as food. Narrating
this story to believers Allah draws our attention to the nutrient value
Examining the nutrient value of fish reveals several striking facts:
Fish is rich in minerals (e.g., phosphorus, sulfide, and vanadium) that
promote growth and tissue repair, relieves joint pains, facilitates healthy
gum and teeth, enhances the skin's beauty and color, helps to keep one's
hair healthy, and fights bacterial infection. In addition, it plays a
role in preventing heart attacks by regulating the bloodstream's cholesterol
level. By facilitating starch and fat metabolism, it enables the body
to be more energetic and stronger, and also enables the mental processes
to function in a more orderly manner.
A lack of vitamin D and other minerals found in fish may result in such
vitamin deficiency diseases as rickets, gum diseases, goiters, hyperthyroidism,
and so on 14
Ornaments Obtained from the Sea
Pearls are one of the exquisite ornaments obtained from the sea. Their
formation is quite interesting: Such mollusks as oysters, mussels, and
snails line the inner surface of their shells with a whitish, lustrous
substance called the mother-of-pearl. They use the same method on an invading
particle (e.g., a grain of sand) to prevent any possible harm, and secrete
mother-of-pearl in layers around it, thereby forming a pearl. As well
as pearls, gems found in the sea are also used for decorative purposes.
The pearl's amazing formation clearly manifests Allah's superior artistry.
The Qur'an draws our attention to the fact that these beauties are created
particularly for believers as blessings:
He has let loose the two seas, converging together, with
a barrier between them. They do not break through. So which of your Lord's
blessings do you both then deny? From out of them come glistening pearls
and coral. (Surat ar-Rahman: 19-22)