Olives


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم


يُنبِتُ لَكُم بِهِ الزَّرْعَ وَالزَّيْتُونَ وَالنَّخِيلَ وَالأَعْنَابَ وَمِن كُلِّ الثَّمَرَاتِ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لآيَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

“He causes to grow for you thereby the crops, olives, palm trees, grapevines, and from all the fruits. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who give thought.”
[Al-Qur’an – Surah An-Nahl (The Bee): 11]

Facts on Olives:

Green Olives and Black Olives Nutrition Facts

Nutrients (4 medium Olives) Green Olives Black Olives
Calories 60 25
Calories from fat 60 20
Sodium 460mg 230mg

Green and black olives are high in monounsaturated fat and Vitamin E. The combination of these healthboosting elements allows olives to:

  • Protect the heart against diseases. Antioxidants and the “good fat” eradicate the free radicals that are responsible for oxidizing cholesterol.
  • Protect cells from free radicals. Vitamin E, together with the monounsaturated fat, protects cells and fights off free radicals produced during cellular energy production.
  • Reduce inflammation due to arthritis. Both green and black olives contain polyphenols and flavonoids that have anti-inflammatory properties. These can help in lowering the inflammation caused by arthritis.
  • Prevent colon cancer. Again, the combination of monounsaturated fat and Vitamin E make it a great health benefit. High intake of these nutrients lowers the risk for colon cancer.
  • Help women through menopause. Olives can help reduce the intensity and frequency of hot flashes menopausal women experience.

  • The olive tree is an evergreen.
  • The olive tree was first cultivated in 6000 B.C.
  • Olive trees can live up to 600 years or more.
  • It takes five to eight years before an olive tree will bear its first fruit.
  • There are over 800 million olive trees now planted worldwide.
  • Olive trees are harvested for the first time after  fifteen years.
  • Of all the olive oil produced in the world, it is estimated that only 10%  is ‘extra virgin’. This is the best grade of olive oil available and is the healthiest olive oil you can eat.”
  • “Olive oil contains no cholesterol and is a good source of Vitamin E. It contains more monounsaturated fatty acids than any other fat or oil. Using olive oil in place of saturated fats as the main fat in your diet will reduce cholesterol levels.”
  • “Olive oil is the healthiest substitute for any fat or oil used in any recipe. Olive oil coats the food instead of being absorbed. It also contains anti-oxidants and can be reused many times more than other fats and oils before being discarded.
  • “A tablespoon of olive oil contains 120 calories, 14 grams of fat, and no cholesterol. 77 %  of the fat in olive oil is monounsaturated, and 9 % is polyunsaturated fat;14 % is vegetable-derived saturated fat. Virgin olive oils also contain the antioxidants beta-carotene and Vitamin E, as well as the phenolic compounds tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol. According to the Food and Drug Administration, consuming just two tablespoons of olive oil per day may reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Olive oil can keep even longer than any other oil, if stored in a cool, dark place.
  • Olive oil is the  second best-selling type of oil and the fastest-growing segment of fats and oils in the United States.
  • Olive oil is a natural juice which preserves the taste, aroma, vitamins and properties of the olive fruit.  It is the only vegetable oil that can be consumed as it is – freshly-pressed from the fruit.
  • Olive oil contains vitamins A, E, D & K and polyphenols which are anti-oxidents.
  • Olive oil reduces  LDL cholesterol (the bad one) and raises  HDL (the good cholesterol).
  • It is good for hair, nails and skin.
  • It can help heal abrasions.
  • Olive oil delays the onset and reduces the number of UV induced skin cancers.
  • Olive oil promotes the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones naturally and lowers the incidence of gallstones.
  • There are numerous varieties of olives, and olive oil is the only cooking- and salad oil that offers a variety of natural flavors – no two are alike.
  • Olive oil can keep for  two years or more if unopened and stored properly.
  • It takes  7 litres of olives to make 1 litre of olive oil.
  • People who live in the Mediterranean countries have some of the lowest mortality rates in the world from cardiovascular-related diseases. There are many researches showing positive links between Mediterranean diet and olive oil, which is their main source of fat; whereas the people living in Finland and the United States, who consume the highest amounts of saturated fat, have the highest mortality rate in the world.

Reflections

 Along with the aforementioned verse, Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) mentions olives in several other verses in the Qur’an:

وَهُوَ الَّذِي أَنشَأَ جَنَّاتٍ مَّعْرُوشَاتٍ وَغَيْرَ مَعْرُوشَاتٍ وَالنَّخْلَ وَالزَّرْعَ مُخْتَلِفًا أُكُلُهُ وَالزَّيْتُونَ وَالرُّمَّانَ مُتَشَابِهًا وَغَيْرَ مُتَشَابِهٍ كُلُواْ مِن ثَمَرِهِ إِذَا أَثْمَرَ وَآتُواْ حَقَّهُ يَوْمَ حَصَادِهِ وَلاَ تُسْرِفُواْ إِنَّهُ لاَ يُحِبُّ الْمُسْرِفِينَ

“And He it is who causes gardens to grow, [both] trellised and untrellised, and palm trees and crops of different [kinds of] food and olives and pomegranates, similar and dissimilar. Eat of [each of] its fruit when it yields and give its due [zakah] on the day of its harvest. And be not excessive. Indeed, He does not like those who commit excess.”
[Al-Qur’an – Surat Al-‘An`ām (The Cattle): 141]

وَشَجَرَةً تَخْرُجُ مِن طُورِ سَيْنَاء تَنبُتُ بِالدُّهْنِ وَصِبْغٍ لِّلْآكِلِينَ

“And [We brought forth] a tree (olive) issuing from Mount Sinai which produces oil and food for those who eat.”
[Al-Qur’an – Surat Al-Mu’minūn (The Believers): 20]

اللَّهُ نُورُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ مَثَلُ نُورِهِ كَمِشْكَاةٍ فِيهَا مِصْبَاحٌ الْمِصْبَاحُ فِي زُجَاجَةٍ الزُّجَاجَةُ كَأَنَّهَا كَوْكَبٌ دُرِّيٌّ يُوقَدُ مِن شَجَرَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ زَيْتُونِةٍ لَّا شَرْقِيَّةٍ وَلَا غَرْبِيَّةٍ يَكَادُ زَيْتُهَا يُضِيءُ وَلَوْ لَمْ تَمْسَسْهُ نَارٌ نُّورٌ عَلَى نُورٍ يَهْدِي اللَّهُ لِنُورِهِ مَن يَشَاء وَيَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الْأَمْثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ وَاللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

“Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire. Light upon light. Allah guides to His light whom He wills. And Allah presents examples for the people, and Allah is Knowing of all things.”
[Al-Qur’an – Surat An-Nūr (The Light): 35]

The fact that olives  have been mentioned in the Quran so many times proves that it is an important blessing from Allah (سبحانه و تعالى).

We also learn from the following hadith the importance of olives:

Rasul Allah ( صلى اللهُ عليهِ وسلم)  said, “Eat olive oil and anoint yourselves with it, for it comes from a blessed tree.”

[Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah]

Saied al-Ansari narrates that Rasul Allah ( صلى اللهُ عليهِ وسلم)  said, “Eat the olive oil and massage it over your bodies, since it is from a blessed tree.”
[Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah]

Interesting fact

All parts of the olive tree are used: its bark, its leaves, its fruit, and its oil.

Medical uses

Ibn Qayyim said that olive is hot and wet in the first degree and that the quality of its oil depends on the tree that it is produced from, such that oil from unripe olives are cold and dry, while black olives produce hot and wet oil.

He mentioned that olive oil is useful against poisons, loosens the bowel, ejects worms and strengthens the gums.

From amongst the other benefits of this blessed tree he mentioned was that olive oil mixed with salty water is useful against blisters resulting from a fire burn; and the olive leaves are useful against erysipelas (skin disease characterized by infection of the skin and underlying tissue), eczema, sores and urticaria (hives – elevated patches and severe itching caused by allergic reaction).  Also, all the types of olive oil soften the skin and slow down the aging process.

Applications

The olive plant can be used in more ways than one: its oil should be used liberally in cooking, and as an ointment for the skin. Some other ways to use it are as follows:

1.         For build-up of wax in the ear, place 3-4 drops in the ear morning and evening for a few days until the wax softens and can be removed easily.

2.         For type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure, boil about  twenty dried leaves in 300ml of water, boil for  thirty seconds and infuse for ten minutes. Drink three cups a day during meals.

3.         To prevent gallstones, take 50ml of olive oil between meals.

4.         To reduce the pain of already-existing gallstones, take 50-150ml of olive oil.

* The olive has no known side effects.

Benefits for Coronary and Arterial Health

Most of the fatty acids in olives and olive oil are mono-unsaturated. Mono-unsaturated fatty acids do not contain cholesterol. Therefore, olive oil does not raise cholesterol levels but instead keeps them under control.

Cancer Prevention

One study, published by The Archives of Internal Medicine, showed that women who consume high levels of mono-unsaturated fat have a lower risk of developing breast cancer.

A recent study by doctors at the University of Oxford has shown that olive oil has a protective effect against intestinal cancer.

Prevention of Aging

Since the vitamins contained in olive oil have a cell renewing effect, they are also employed in the treatment of the elderly, as well as nourishing and protecting the skin.

Olive oil is also rich in vitamin E, which suppresses the free radicals that destroy the cells in our bodies and cause aging.

Contribution to Child Development

Since it contributes to the natural development of the baby’s brain and nervous system before and after birth, olive oil is the only oil recommended for mothers by experts. As well as containing similar levels of linoleic acid to those of mother’s milk, when olive oil is added to fatless cow’s milk, it becomes as natural a food source as mother’s milk itself.

Benefits for the Internal Organs

Whether consumed hot or cold, olive oil protects the stomach against diseases such as gastritis and ulcers by reducing gastric acid levels.136 In addition to this, by activating the bile, it makes it perfect. It regulates the discharge of the gall bladder and reduces the risk of bile stone formation.137 Moreover, thanks to the chloride it contains, it also assists the functioning of the liver and thus helps the body eliminate waste products. In addition, it also has a beneficial effect on the brain arteries.138

Olive Oil Assists Bone Development

The vitamins E, A, D and K contained in olive oil are particularly important from the point of view of assisting bone development in adults and children, and in strengthening the bones by fixing calcium.

Prevention of Arthritis

According to researchers’ reports, people who consume large quantities of olive oil and cooked vegetables can have a reduced risk of rheumatic arthritis, a chronic inflammatory disease of the joints.

Olives are thus a blessing which Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) has granted us and which we should make use of by adding it to our daily diet.

References:

Foods Mentioned in the Qur’an  – The Olive: A Health-Giving Plant

Some Interesting Things About Olives.

Prophetic Medicine – Olives

Olive Facts – Australian Olive Oil

Green and Black Olives Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Fun Facts About Olive Oil

What is “Extra Virgin” Olive Oil?

Ibn al-Qayyim: The Benefits of Olive Oil

About Quran Reflections

Al-Huda's branch at Khayaban-e-Sehar is one of the few Quran courses being regularly conducted in Karachi, Pakistan, where the mode of instruction and examination is English. The students and teachers have decided to upload their reflections on the Quran and class notes on this blog, in order to be available to a global audience for the latter's benefit and inspiration.
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