Understanding The Prophet's Life
From Issue: 999 [Read full issue]
The Messenger (peace be upon him) ended his daily fast with dates and water followed by talbina which is a soup made from bran flour, sweetened with honey. Ayisha, the wife of the Messenger, recorded that she heard him say, "Talbina enlivens the innermost heart of the sick and lessens sorrow." [Bukhari]
Imam Bukhari explained that talbina is a light broth that resembles milk. Such basic, easily digestible, nutritional and sometimes meatless soup is filling and gives relief from stress and sorrow. The benefits of talbina come from the broth of barley flour which is cooked with its bran. The basic difference between this soup and that of the common barley broth is that in the latter, the barley is cooked whole and in talbina the barley is made farinaceous and this brings out is rich nutrients. In essence, when barley is cooked whole, its nutrients pass by the system and confer little of its benefits.
As for God's Messenger saying, "It enlivens the innermost heart," it denotes here the cardia of the stomach and it means that it comforts the body and softens the stomach. As for lessening the patient's sorrow, God knows best—for sorrow and grief cool the humors and weaken body defenses because one's spirit is leaning then towards the heart which is its natural abode. Drinking such broth warms up one's stomach, reanimates the body's defenses, and hence lessens the trauma brought about by one's sufferings. Others may say that the broth will lessen one's sufferings because it lifts the patient's spirits and because of refreshing substances some foods contain. It is also said that sorrow dries up one's body and particularly his stomach. Of course, lack of food has much to contribute to that. However, such hot broth will moisten the stomach, strengthen and nourish it and subsequently, the effects reach the heart. On the other hand, often, when under stress, the patient's stomach produces a higher level of gastric juices and accumulates phlegm and purulence; hence, taking the barley broth helps flush away such unnecessary accumulations as well as soothe the body, come to its defense, break the tension, balance the humors, raise the spirit, and help one to regain his poise.
Ramadan: Motivating Believers To Action, "Prescribed Fasting and the Medicine of the Prophet" - Muhammad al-Akili