بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله وعلى آله وصحبه
Protected Yunus عليه السلام and Loved by the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم
يَقۡطِينٍ۬ (yaqteen) is a pumpkin gourd; and in Arabic it implies a ‘tree-like’ growth that does not have stem, similar to watermelon and cucumber plants. Its significance becomes clear when Allaah سبحانه و تعالى Said in the Qur’an about Yunus عليه السلام (after he was cast out of the belly of the whale and onto the shore):
وَأَنۢبَتۡنَا عَلَيۡهِ شَجَرَةً۬ مِّن يَقۡطِينٍ۬
“And We caused a plant of yaqteen to grow over him.” [As-Saafaat, 146]
There is agreement among the muffasiroon that ‘yaqteen’ mentioned in the Qur’an is pumpkin, which is also called ‘dubba’ in the language of the Arabs. They also provide a number of reasons as to why the pumpkin plant in particular was mentioned in the Qur’an. Imam Baghawi brings a statement of Muqatil bin Hayyan in his Tafseer, where he said:
فكان يونس يستظل بالشجرة ، وكانت وعلة تختلف إليه فيشرب من لبنها بكرة وعشية حتى اشتد لحمه ونبت شعره وقوي ، فنام نومة فاستيقظ
“Yunus was protected by the shade (growth) of the plant and was given its milk to drink in the morning and evening, in order to heal his flesh and grow and strengthen his hair. He slept and awoke (under its shade)…”
Ibn Katheer said that: “Some describe the benefits of the pumpkin, such as: it grows quickly, it provides shade, it has large, smooth leaves, it keeps flies away and its fruit provides good nourishment: it can be eaten raw or cooked, and its skin may be eaten too.” Therefore from the purpose of this plant (in relation to Yunus) was to:
1) Provide cover and warmth.
2) Drink from its milk to quench thirst.
3) Eat from its flesh to stem hunger.
4) Nourish his overall physical well-being.
5) It was from the Graces of his Rabb that reached him (see Surat al-Qalam, 49)
There are other medical benefits of pumpkin that have come to light, including in helping to reduce swellings, cooling down fever, helping with digestion, eliminating bile etc. Its seeds also contain essential fatty acids that help maintain healthy blood vessels, nerves and tissue. It also include anti-diabetic, antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties.
It is understood from the books of tafseer that when Yunus عليه السلام was cast onto the naked shore, he was in a very desperate and distressful condition, which arose from the physical injuries he suffered in the acidic belly of the whale, including loss of hair, peeled skin and bleached hands and face etc. Yet the only plant that Allaah provided for his recovery was pumpkin. The Divine Wisdom behind this can never be fully comprehended. Far Above is He سبحانه و تعالى from what they associate with Him!
Pumpkin was also from the favourite foods of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and there are numerous ahadeeth showing his fondness for them. There is well-known narration of Anas bin Malik رضي الله عنه that:
إن خياطا دعا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لطعام صنعه ، قال أنس : فذهبت مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إلى ذلك الطعام ، فقرب إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم خبزا من شعير ، ومرقا فيه دباء وقديد ، قال أنس : فرأيت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يتتبع الدباء من حول الصحفة ، فلم أزل أحب الدباء من يومئذ . وقال ثمامة ، عن أنس : فجعلت أجمع الدباء بين يديه
“A tailor once invited the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم to eat from some food that he prepared. I (Anas) accompanied him صلى الله عليه وسلم to dine. The tailor brought forth some bread made from barely and some soup that had pumpkin, and dried meat. I saw the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم follow the traces of pumpkin around the edge of the pot, which made me love pumpkin ever since that day.” [Saheeh al-Bukhari, 5439; Saheeh Muslim, 5068 – see also Ibn Muflih, ‘Adaab al-Shar’iyah’ 3/39]
Abu Talut رضي الله عنه also narrated:
دخلت على أنس بن مالك وهو يأكل القرع وهو يقول يا لك شجرة ما أحبك إلي لحب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إياك
“I entered upon Anas bin Malik رضي الله عنه while he was eating pumpkin, he said (referring to the yaqteen) ‘you are a plant that I love because the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم used to like eating you.'” [Tirmidhi, 1849]
Once the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم entered his house and asked A’ishah رضّى الله عنها if they had any pumpkin, and he said about it:
هذا القرع هو الدباء نكثر به طعامنا
“This dubba’ increases our food.” * [Ibn Majah, 2689; Al-Busayri in his ‘Ithaaf’, 4/310, who graded it as saheeh – see also Siyar al-Alaam an-Nabula’, 8/211 (al-Albani graded as saheeh in ‘Silsilat as-Saheehah’, 2400]
* Either something we put in our food in order to increase its amount, or to enhance its taste.
Imam Ibn Qayyim wrote extensively on the benefits of pumpkin, which can be found in his ‘Tibb an-Nabawi’ here:
And Allaah alone is the source of all goodness.