Blessed Olive Tree
By: Dr. / Zaghloul El-Naggar
`Umar ibn al-Khattab (A.S.) narrated that Allah's Messenger (PBUH) said:
“Eat olive oil and apply it (as lotion) for it comes from a blessed tree”.
Moreover, the olive tree and its oil are mentioned in the Glorious Qur'an seven times. Allah, the Almighty swears by the figs and the olives,
"By the fig, and the olive"
(Surat At-Tin (The Fig): 1).
Allah, Glorified be He also referred to the olive tree in surat Al-Mu'minun (the Believers):
﴾ And a tree (olive) that springs forth from Mount Sinai, that grows(produces) oil , and (it is a) relish for the eaters. ﴿
(Surat Al-Mu'minun (The Believers): 20)
The oil mentioned in the verse is olive oil. This same tree is praised by Allah in a third verse:
﴾ … lit from a blessed tree , an olive , neither of the east (i.e. neither gets sun-rays only in the morning) nor of the west (i.e. nor it gets sun-rays only in the afternoon, but it is exposed to the sun all day long), whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself), though no fire touched it. ﴿
(Surat An-Nur (The Light): 35)
Explanation of the Hadith
The Olive Tree is an evergreen tree, which has a high tolerance of dryness. It is a perennial plant that might live even for more than 1000 years. The cultivated olive (Olea europaea) is grown throughout the eastern Mediterranean region and in other parts of the world that have Mediterranean-type climates especially in Asia and Africa. The olive tree has been known since the times of the most ancient civilizations as one of the most important oil producing plants.
It has been proven lately that the amount of fatty acids in olive oil is very low and that it only contains unsaturated fats. That is why it is considered very healthy, as it is free of the substances that lead to arteriosclerosis and even to the occlusion of the arteries. Through an accurate survey it has been found that eating olive oil regularly helps protect the body from many diseases including the occlusion of the coronary arteries, the increase in the ratio of harmful fats in the blood, the increase in blood pressure, diabetes, some carcinogenic diseases (e.g. cancer of the stomach, the colon, the breast, the uterus and the skin), in addition to protection from ulcers of the digestive system.
One of the main body fats is "Cholesterol", a white crystalline fat which is present in high amounts in the brain, the spinal cord and the liver. It is normally synthesized in the liver, the intestine and the skin, and is important as a mediator in many vital processes. The most important one of these processes is the synthesis of vitamin E and many other hormones. Nevertheless, eating excessive amounts of fatty animal meat, may lead to increasing the level of cholesterol in the body. Part of this cholesterol will pass to the blood forming a fat globule that may lead to the obstruction or occlusion of the blood vessels, and may consequently lead to arteriosclerosis.
It is well known that the oxidation of cholesterol is one of the factors that help accelerate the hardening of the arteries and their consequent narrowing. It has lately been discovered that olive oil plays an important role in preventing this oxidation process from occurring, as it contains vitamin E and other Polyphenolic Compounds, which inhibit the auto-oxidation of the oil. It also prohibits the oxidation of harmful cholesterol known as LDL (Low-density lipoprotein), and purifies the body from the dangers of the Lipid Peroxides as well as the dangers of other harmful substances.
Therefore, eating olive oil regularly helps lower the total ration of cholesterol in the blood generally, and reduces the ratio of the harmful types of cholesterol in particular. The low cancer rate, which is detected in the Mediterranean region, is attributed to the fact that the inhabitants of this region regularly have large amounts of olives and olive oil (especially the raw one produced from the first squeezing process and free from any chemical treatment).
Olive oil is a yellow liquid, rich in Oleic Acids, used in cooking and as a salad dressing. It is also used in producing many medicines, medical ointments, hair oils and soaps. Moreover, because of its ability, it produces a clear flame when ignited. Olive oil was used in lighting lamps, especially in large mosques such as Aqsa Mosque, we pray Allah, the Almighty, to help us set it free from the debauchery of the Jews.
In addition to the above-mentioned healthy advantages of the olive tree and its oil, olives constitute a relish for eaters, a nourishing food, and an appetizer, and they could be stored through preservation in salt, which increases their economic value.
Glorified be He , Who praised olives and their oil in His Perfect Book , swore by it , and inspired the seal of His Prophets to speak about this scientific fact , the real aspects of which has only been known since the eighties of the last 20th century . Being inspired about the advantages of olives and their oil he said (PBUH): “Eat olive oil and apply it (as lotion) for it is blessed (or comes from a blessed tree)”.