Among all sources of meat, fish meat is arguably the most beneficial, bringing balanced nutrition with lean meat and healthy, unsaturated fats. With almost 35,000 identified species of fish and close to 100 being added every year, humanity continues to explore and find new species of fish annually. However, global warming, water pollution, and overfishing have become noticeable threats for fish, as it dwindles their population. Eating fish benefits the human body in numerous ways. This makes it an important addition to the diet.
In Islam, all fish are considered halal, though this may vary according to personal interpretations. Hazrat Abu Hurairah (RA) narrates that a person asked The Holy Prophet (SAW) “We are travelers on the sea, & we do not have a lot of water with us, can we do wazoo with seawater?” To this, The Holy Prophet (SAW) replied that seawater is pure (usable) & its products are also permissible (Reference An-Nasa’i: 332; Book no. 2).
In Ahadith and tibenabvi, it can be seen that The Holy Prophet (SAW) did not condone the consumption of dead fish as long as it was in edible condition. Hazrat Jabir (RA) narrates that a group of a Sahabah spoke with The Holy Prophet (SAW) regarding their experience in encountering a colossal dead fish that sustained them for 15 days (it is speculated by scholarly analysis that is was a sperm whale). The companions numbered in 300 and their food reserves had been depleted. They sighted a huge, dead fish on the banks which had been thrown out of the water body. The Sahabah feasted on it for 15 days. Regarding this matter, The Holy Prophet (SAW) said: “It was a provision, which Allah brought for you” (people) and asked if they had any meat which they could give for eating. Hazrat Jabir was happy to hear this and presented The Holy Prophet with some of the meat, which he consumed (Muslim: 1935; Book no. 34).
- Reference in Hadith: Samak (السمك).
- Reference in Quran: Samak (السمك).
- Arabic Name: Samak (السمك).
- Latin/Botanical Name: Piscis (fish have numerous varieties, each having unique scientific names).
- English Name: Fish.
- Urdu Name: Macchli (مچھلی).
Quranic References of Fish
Following are the Quranic references of fish:
- Surah Al-A’raaf, Chapter 7, Verse 163.
- Surah Al-Kahf, Chapter 18, Verse 61.
- Surah Al-Kahf, Chapter 18, Verse 63.
- Surah As-Saaffaat, Chapter 37, Verse 142.
- Surah As-Saaffaat, Chapter 37, Verse 144.
- Surah Al-Qalam, Chapter 68, Verse 48.
What are Fish?
Fish are aquatic and do not require direct gaseous exchange with lungs to get oxygen, as their gills filter oxygen from the surrounding water. Fish typically have an outer layer of scales that function as both physical protection and camouflage against predators and have fins and tail for swimming. Saltwater fish have larger bones, higher mineral content, are all cold water fishes and have a fuller flavor. Freshwater fish have more bones, lower mineral content, can be cold and tropical water and have a milder flavor in comparison. Following a completely different evolutionary chain compared to terrestrial organisms, fish have diversified into numerous different species that have their own unique traits, as well as taste.
Fish remains nutritious for lengthy periods and can be found dried, preserved in salt and canned in brine. Ahadith and tibenabvi clearly specify fish to be halal, even in dead form. Hazrat Abdullah Bin Umer (RA) narrates that The Holy Prophet (SAW) said: “Two dead things & two types of blood are allowed (to eat), the two dead things are fish & locusts, & two types of blood are liver & spleen” (Ibn Ma-jah: 3439; Book no. 29). This goes to show that fish benefits the body even if it is eaten when dead. However, care should be taken to consume fish that has not gone foul.
Fish are classified as living, sentient organisms, though their different evolutionary chain, natural environment, and habits are vastly differing from terrestrial organisms. Research has revealed that fish can associate sources of pain and will react accordingly upon seeing them. Research is also underway to understand their level of intelligence. Previous myths suggested that fish have a memory span of a few seconds, which has been debunked to prove they can remember up to a few months. Tibenabvi highlights that being gentle with all organisms, including fish will have them pray for the success of that person. Hazrat Abu Zar (RA) narrates “I heard The Holy Prophet (SAW) saying ‘Everyone in the universe, in the heavens and on earth, prays for forgiveness for the scholars, even the fish in the sea” (Ibn Ma-jah: 245; Book no. 1).
The Main Differences Between Fish Meat and Other Meats
Following are the main differences between fish meat and other sources of meat:
- Fish have Fewer Fats: Beef, veal, game, poultry and other sources of meat have significantly fewer amounts of polyunsaturated fats, which are healthy for the human body. Excessive saturated fats contribute to the clogging of arteries with plaque and higher cholesterol, which causes health deterioration and higher chances of heart attacks. While a 3 oz. serving of salmon fish averages under 1 gram of saturated fat, the same serving of raw beef sirloin steak will contain 3 grams of saturated fat.
- Fish have Healthy Fats: Fishes are loaded with healthy fats such as omega-3 and omega-6, termed as unsaturated fats. They are easily digested, vital for metabolic processes and the growth and repair of biological cells. Salmon meat is comprised of 80 percent unsaturated fats, whereas a raw beef sirloin steak will have about 50 percent saturated fats in it. Fish oil uses include improving hair quality, treating skin conditions, fighting dandruff and improving eyesight.
- Fish Improves Cardiovascular Health: Omega 3 fish oil benefits include lowering concentrations of triglycerides in the body. This, in turn, improves cardiovascular health for reducing the chances of contracting heart-related complications, protects the joints against arthritis and prevents brain-related disorders. Since the human body does not synthesize them, their consumption is imperative for providing the body with a steady supply of essential fatty acids. Fish benefits can be added to daily life by adding a few hundred grams in a routine diet.
- Fish Contains Selenium: Fish contains selenium, which is used by the body to synthesize antioxidant enzymes, which reduces aging and prevents cancer. Moreover, fish contains a more varied quantity of minerals.
Following is the nutritional information of Bluefin raw tuna, 100 grams according to nutritiondata:
|No.||Nutrients||Unit||Value per 100 g|
|27||Total Omega-3 fatty acids||mg||1298|
|28||Total Omega-6 fatty acids||mg||53.0|
Fish Benefits According to TibeNabvi and Modern Science
There are numerous fish benefits provided through its meat, as listed below:
1. Glowing, Healthy Skin
The combination of polyunsaturated fats, lean protein, vitamins, and minerals makes fish an essential addition to the diet for any skincare regime. The omega-3 fatty acids are important constituents of the cellular membrane and the proteins are digested into simple amino acids, which are the building blocks for muscle in the human body. This keeps the skin glowing with good elasticity, accelerates healing and prevents premature aging. Omega 3 fish oil benefits the ski significantly with its healthy fats. Fish benefits the skin greatly, hence it is a part of any diet that focuses on improving skin health. Omega 3 fatty acids benefits are immense, including lowering cholesterol.
2. Keeps Hair Strong and Scalp Dandruff-Free
An unhealthy diet lacking in nutrition results in hair loss as the sensitive follicles do not receive proper nutrients for growth and maintenance. The cells begin to die quickly, which are shed on the scalp and become dandruff. Fish contains selenium, copper, zinc, and vitamins such as vitamins A and D which are required for healthy hair and scalp. The lean protein with varying amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids provides hair and scalp cells rich nutrition for maintaining a healthy scalp with strong, lustrous hair.
3. Keeps Bodily Fluids in Check
Fish is a natural source of vitamins and minerals which are essential for maintaining normal osmoregulation in the human body. For example, potassium is vital for preserving normal fluid levels, firing and receiving nerve signals and muscle control. Sodium is also essential for keeping fluids in check. Omega 3 fish oil benefits the osmosis ratio in the body, which in turn ensures good health.
4 Nutritious and Loaded with Good Calories
Fish is loaded with protein and is and does not contain carbohydrates, which makes it a quick and clean source of biological energy for the body. Owing to its zero carbohydrate content, it is an integral part of keto diets, which consist of healthy fats and proteins minus carbs. It provides the body with different categories of proteins, which fulfills the metabolic requirements for maintaining creating new cells, repairing them and contributing towards a healthy body.
Tibenabvi highlights the nutritious value of fish meat, as it will be the first food for the people of Jannat. Hazrat Anas (RA) narrates a Jew asked The Holy Prophet that what will be the first meal taken by the people of Paradise? To this, The Holy Prophet (SAW) replied: “The first food that will be eaten by people of Jannah will be Caudate or extra lobe of the fish liver” (the Hadith is presented in condensed form, Bukhari: 3329; Book no. 60). Omega 3 fatty acids benefits the overall caloric count, as the calories from this fat source are actually good ones.
5. Low in Calories, High in Protein
Caloric management of diet can become troublesome, especially with the array of tasty yet nutrition-deficient processed and fast food available in the market. There are also different types of calories you consume, such as those coming from fats and those from proteins. Fish is rich in proteins and low in calories and saturated fats, making it an excellent addition to any type of diet. It can be sautéed, grilled, broiled and lightly fried in olive oil for providing the body a healthy dose of proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Protein is actively required by the body and not stored as fat in a healthy, active person, which fulfills the dietary requirements and does not increase body fat. Fish benefits the entire body by providing it the nutrients necessary for normal metabolic activities.
6. Promotes Muscular Strength
Without saying, the protein in fish gives the body amino acids for building strong muscles. The vitamins and minerals facilitate the absorption of protein into the body and metabolic processes for dense, strong muscles. As a source of lean protein with unsaturated fats which are easily converted into energy, fish is highly recommended for athletes and bodybuilders. Omega 3 fatty acids benefits are well-known by professional MMA fighters as well. They incorporate fish oil uses in daily life to ensure reaping maximum Omega 3 fish oil benefits.
7. Strengthens and Promotes Skeletal Growth
The benefits of eating fish include a stronger skeletal structure. Fish is rich in minerals such as calcium and iron as well as vitamins that contribute toward healthy, strong bones. Fish significantly reduces the risks of contracting osteoporosis and other diseases that weaken bones. Fish oil uses include capsulated form, which makes it all the easier to benefit from it.
8. Essential for Good Cardiovascular Health
Fish contain healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for cellular development and good cardiovascular health. These polyunsaturated fats are digested slowly by the body and actually decrease bad LDL cholesterol. Owing to their slow digestive nature and being used as energy in active people rather than being stored as body fat, they are also a good source of energy. Studies have confirmed that patients suffering from cardiovascular complications benefit from adding fish in their diet, which adds elasticity to constricted and harden arteries, facilitating blood flow through them. Fish benefits the heart greatly. Nutritionists highly recommend it for patients suffering from cardiovascular problems.
9. For Body as Well as Mind
Fish also improves psychological health, as the fatty acids are essential for cellular production. Diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are caused by the degeneration of the brain and neural tissue. When supplied with the correct nutrition and vital amino acids, the cells resist aging and the onset of such chronic diseases. Medical studies have found that fish benefits the grey brain matter, which houses the neural cell bodies. The benefits of eating fish include better motor function, improved reaction time and heightened brain activity.
10. Improves Respiratory Health
Fish benefits include providing the body with ample, diverse amounts of vitamins and minerals that keep the respiratory system in good health. The benefits of eating fish such as tuna and salmon include curing of asthma and is often prescribed by doctors. It relieves inflammation of internal airways, constricted esophagus, shortness of breath and restricted alveolar expansion.
11. Normalizes Sleep Cycles
Insomnia can be caused by numerous factors, ranging from bad habits and psychological stress to poor diet and hereditary issues. It adversely affects a patient’s mental health, which can lead to secondary medical complications. Consuming fish gives the body vitamins, proteins, manganese and other vitamins and minerals which normalize the internal biological clock and cellular activities. This promotes the body to revert to normal sleep routines, which treats insomnia. Fish benefits are essential for the human body.