And your Lord inspired to the bee "Take for yourselves among the mountains, houses and among the trees and in that which thet may construct. Then eat from all the fruits and follow the ways of your Lord laid down for you"
"From their bellies comes a drink of varying colours, containing healing for mankind. There is certainly a sign in that for people who reflect."
To appreciate this highly revered honey, one has to understand the story behind its tree.
The Sidr tree, (also known as Lote tree, Christ's Thorn, Jujube or Nabkh tree. Botanical name: Ziziphus spina-christi) is an ancient tree. The Jujube fruit was the first thing Prophet Adam (pbuh) ate when he was made to descend to earth. The tree was used during the time of King Suleiman (pbuh) and the Pharaohs to build palaces and temples.
This highly resilient tree is also sacred as it is mentioned four times in the Qur'an. In Sura Saba, it is mentioned as an earth tree while in other Suras, it is mentioned as a paradise tree (Sidrat al-Muntaha). Allah has mentioned this tree to emphasize its beauty, strength and grandeur (Saba 15,16; Waqia 27-33; Najm 7-18).
It is a sturdy and deep-rooted tree which has withstood the devastating floods of Eram at Ma'arib with two other trees: the Tamarisk and the Mustard Tree. (Saba 15,16).
All of its parts have medicinal values. Its leaves are used as a herbal shampoo, to treat dandruff, head lice, swollen eyes, abscesses, furuncles and counter obesity. Mixed with warm water the leaves are used to clean the body since they are a disinfectant and the oil from the resin is deodorant. Its wood ash is used for the treatment of snakebites. Its fruits are found to have a very high energy value. Its seeds are rich in protein; its leaves rich in calcium, iron and magnesium. The root, stem bark are also used in various medicinal preparations. Other known medicinal uses include as a stomachic, an appetizer, an astringent and also as a cough medicine.
Not many are aware that different honeys differ. They differ in their composition, they differ in their nutritional values and they differ in their therapeutic properties.
Research done on different honeys confirmed that floral source, climate when the honey is being harvested and soil composition are all key factors in determining not only its flavor, colour or aroma but also its quality and effectiveness for medicinal or health-promoting purposes.
Another important factor affecting a honey's curative qualities is purity. Only crude, unprocessed honey has shown to be effective. (For more information about how honeys differ, go to Honey Research)
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Yemeni's Sidr honey is a hundred times more expensive than the other kinds of honey on the global market because of differences in their medicinal and nutritive benefits.
Some of the extraordinary qualities of the Sidr Honey
HIGHLY POTENT - Yemeni's beekeepers who are strict in ensuring the honeys purity and potency will allow their bees to die rather than feed the bees with sugary syrup. Typically, bees of a certain hive make 37,000 trips just to make half a kilo of honey but bees fed solely on the nectar of the Sidr flower die after making about 3 trips! The weaker bees cannot withstand the potency of the nectar of this remarkable tree.
ORGANIC - the Sidr trees are grown wild and uncultivated in the desert areas of Yemen.
RAW & PURE - in Yemen, the method of beekeeping has always been a traditional one. No chemicals or drugs allowed (in modern agriculture, chemicals and antibiotics are widely used to control mites and other bee diseases in the hives). No machinery used. All are done using their hands, a little smoke (from dried camel skins) and knives. The honey is then poured, unheated and raw, into containers, thus preserving its vital live enzymatic constituents.
NATURAL APHRODISIAC - mixed with carrot seeds, it becomes an aphrodisiac. A blend of the honey with certain combination of nuts, ginseng and herbs are claimed to be better than Viagra, with no side effects.
MEDICINAL - every drop of honey holds the spark of life. Our forefathers had understood honey's remarkable healing gift and had used it successfully in curing most diseases. Sidr honey has been reported to be good for liver problems, stomach ulcers, respiratory infections, diseases resulting from malnutrition, digestive problems, constipation, eye diseases, infected wounds and burns, surgical wounds (incl. caesarian), promote speedy recovery after childbirth, facilitates menstruation, (with various plants) it can be used against epilepsy, strengthened the immune systems, to promote general health and vitality.
ANTIOXIDANT - Some honeys are found to have as much as 75-150 mg ascorbic acid per 100g while others, less than 5mg per 100mg. Antioxidants are important in counteracting the damage caused to the body by free radicals which play a role in the aging process and in triggering diseases such as arterial disease and cancer. Research has found that darker honeys have higher antioxidant properties.
ANTIBACTERIAL - medical science is rediscovering the effectiveness of honey in the use of alternative therapies in areas where the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (the "superbugs") spreads. Honeys may differ in the potency of its antibacterial activity thus affecting its healing abilities. Some honeys are no more antibacterial than sugar, while others can be diluted more than 100-fold and still halt the growth of bacteria.
The honey that is harvested during winter is best, followed by spring, autumn then summer.
The Sidr honey of Yemen tastes delicious, different from those of other regions because the soil of Yemen is richer and this influences the flavor.
The Prophet and Gabriel travelled once more until they reached the absolute limit of the created intellect, named sidrat al-muntaha: "The Lote-Tree of the Furthest Boundary." There they saw nothing which the tongue could describe. The effect of the sight they beheld on the Prophet is a secret which took place in his heart. A sound came to them from above which dissipated some of the Prophet's astonishment. At that time he saw a large tree which does not resemble any of the trees of Paradise, a tree without description, covering all the Paradises, heavens, and universes. The trunk of the Tree was a huge angel named Samrafil. The Prophet could see nothing else besides it. It grew from an infinite, unimaginable, indescribable ocean of musk. The tree had an infinite number of branches, created from a heavenly element that has no name in a created language. The distance between one branch and another was five hundred thousand light-years. On every branch there was an infinite number of leaves. If all the created universes were placed on a single one of these leaves they would disappear, like an atom disappears inside an ocean of water. On every leaf sat a huge angel in a multi-colored light. On his head was a crown of light and in his hand a staff of light. Written on their forehead was the inscription: "We are the inhabitants of the Lote-Tree." Their praise was: "Praise be to God Who has no end." Their names are the sarufiyyun or Seraphim, "The Secret Ones," because they are created from the absolute secret of their Lord.
From the trunk of the tree four absolute springs issued. The first was a pure, transparent, crystal water; the second was a river of white milk; the third was a river of pleasurable, untarnished wine that elevates without abasing; the fourth was a river of pure honey mixed with gold. Inside the trunk was the prayer-niche of Gabriel, and his constant words of praise are:
Allahu Akbar: God is Great!
to which the reply always comes from above:
That Lote-Tree carries the knowledge of all of God's creation from the beginning of its sequence in time. Whatever is created is part of it and contained in it. It was called the tree "of the furthermost boundary" because everything ends in it and after it begins a new life. God decorated it with the light of His own essence. It has three characteristics: a continuous shade of light extending over every creation, a continuous pleasure reaching everyone from the fruit of its branches, and a continuous fragrance from its flowers scenting with beauty the life of creation.
Then the Prophet and Gabriel moved forward. A stern and severe angel appeared and covered the horizon before them. Gabriel said: "O Prophet! this is the angel of death Azra'il." The angel of death said: "Welcome, O Muhammad! you who bear goodness, and welcome to all the Prophets and their nations. This is the place from which I gaze at the destinies of every person and seize the spirits of those whom I am commanded to bring to eternal life."
The Prophet asked: "Tell me how you take the souls of the dying." The angel of death revealed to the Prophet: "When God orders me to take the spirit of a human being at the last hour of his life and the first hour of his afterlife, I send to him my deputies who carry with them the smell of Paradise and a branch from the tree of paradise which they put between his eyes. When that sweet smell reaches him and he catches a glimpse of that heavenly branch, his spirit is attracted and his soul begins to ascend to paradise, until it reaches his throat. At that time, I descend from my place and I take his spirit with the greatest care, because God wants this moment to be easy on His servant. I then carry his soul to Paradise. On the way, whenever I pass by angels, then angels will greet this soul and salute it until it reaches the presence of its Lord. God the Exalted says to that soul at that time: "Welcome to the good spirit which I created and placed in a good body! O my angels! write the upper layer of Paradise as a reward for that person." Then angels take him up to Paradise, where he will see what God has prepared for him and he will be happy to stay there. However, God orders the spirit to go back to his body on earth, where he can see the people washing him, crying for him, and all those who love him standing around him until they take the body to the grave. There the soil says to him: "Welcome, O my beloved one! I was always yearning for you when you were above me. Now you are in me and I will show you what I am going to give you." Immediately, his grave will be enlarged beyond sight, until the two angels of the grave come and ask him about his Lord and about his belief. He will give them the correct answers by God's permission. At that time they will open for him a door leading to Paradise and his spirit will go back upward to the same place where God first called him to His presence."
Then Gabriel moved forward another five hundred thousand light-years, mounted on the Buraq, until they reached a place where Gabriel began to slow down. The Prophet said: "O Gabriel! why are you slowing down? Are you leaving me?" Gabriel replied: "I cannot go further." The Prophet said:
The Prophet moved, and moved, and moved. He saw Michael standing ahead of him, afraid and trembling. The light of his face was changing quickly from one color to another. The Prophet asked: "Michael, is this your station?" "Yes," Michael answered, "and if I were to trespass it I would be annihilated. But you go on and don't stop." The Prophet moved, and moved, and moved. Then he found Israfil with his four huge wings, one of which covered his face to veil him from the light which came from the horizon of everything. The Prophet asked him: "Is this your station, Israfil?" Israfil said, "Yes. If I trespassed it that light would burn me. But you move on and do not fear." And the Prophet moved, and moved, and moved. He saw the Spirit to whom God gave the power of earth and the heavens. From the top of his head to the bottom of his feet and from every cell of his there were faces with traits of subtle light, the number of which no-one knows but God, and from the each of which God creates an angel-spirit which looks like the Spirit, whom He then takes to himself as the spirit-angels of the Divine Presence.
Every day the Spirit looks into hell three times, and because of the cool light of his angelic gaze the fire of hell melts until it becomes as a rainbow. The Spirit also looks into Paradise three times every day and extends to it the divine light which God gives him. If God gathered the tears of the eyes of the Spirit it would flood all the created universes and make Noah's flood seem like the drop gathered by an needle dipped into the ocean. This is the Spirit whom God mentioned in the Koran:
"The day when the Spirit and the angels rise, no-one shall speak except with permission from His Lord."
The Prophet said: "O Spirit! is this your station?" The spirit replied: "Yes, and if I trespass it I will be annihilated by the light which I am receiving. O Muhammad! move forward and do not be afraid. You are invited and you have permission." The Prophet moved forward. God inspired his heart with the following discourse: "I the Lord, have veiled myself from the inhabitants of Paradise, as I have veiled myself from the inhabitants of the earth. As I veiled Myself from their minds, I veiled myself from their vision. I am never in anything, and I am never away from anything."
The Prophet then moved through one veil after another until he passed through one thousand veils. Finally he opened the Veil of Oneness. He found himself like a lamp suspended in the middle of a divine air. He saw a magnificent, great and unutterable matter. He asked his Lord to give him firmness and strength. He felt that a drop of that presence was put on his tongue and he found it cooler than ice and sweeter than honey. Nothing on earth and the seven paradises tasted like it. With this drop, God put into the Prophet's heart the knowledge of the First and the Last, the heavenly and the earthly. All this was revealed to him in one instant shorter than the fastest second. He was ordered to move forward. As he moved he found himself elevated on a throne that can never be described, now or later. Three additional drops were given to him: one on his shoulder consisting in majesty, one in his heart consisting in mercy, and an additional one on his tongue which consisted in eloquence. Then a voice came from that presence, which no created being had heard before: "O Muhammad! I have made you the intercessor for everyone." At that moment the Prophet felt his mind enraptured and taken away to be replaced with an astonishing secret. He was placed in the Fields of God's Eternity and Endlessness. In the first he found no beginning and in the second he found no end. Then God revealed to Him: "My end is in My beginning and My beginning is in My end." Then the Prophet knew that all doors were absolutely closed except those that led to God, that God cannot be described within the confine of a place in speech, and that God encompasses the everywhere of all places. This is a secret that no tongue can be stirred to express, no door opened to reveal, and no answer can define. He is the Guide to Himself and the Lord of His own description. He is the Beauty of all beauty and the speech by which to describe Himself belongs to Him alone.
O God My Creator, in Your infinity do I stand amazed.
The Prophet then looked on his right and saw nothing except His Lord, then on his left and saw nothing except his Lord, then to the front, to the back, and above him, and he saw nothing except his Lord. He hated to leave that honored and blessed place. But God said: "O Muhammad, you are a messenger to My servants as all messengers, if you stay here you would never be able to communicate My Message. Therefore descend back to earth, and communicate My message to My servants. Whenever you want to be in the same state as you are now, make your prayers, and I shall open this state for you." This is why the Prophet stated: "Prayer is the apple of my eyes," and he called it also: "Our rest."