Author: Faheema Mahomed Ali
Date: 18 October 2022
nd, verily, Yunus was one of the Messengers, when he ran to the laden ship. He drew lots and was among the losers. Then a (big) fish swallowed him and he had done an act worthy of blame. Had he not been of those who glorify Allah, he would have indeed remained inside its belly until the Day of Resurrection. But We cast him forth on the naked shore while he was sick, and We caused a plant of Yaqtin (gourd) to grow over him.” (Al Qur’an 37: 139-146).
It is accepted amongst the mufassirun that “Yaqtin” refers to the cucurbitaceae family that include a variety of squashes, pumpkin, butternut and zucchini. “Duba” is another Arabic term that has been used in Ahadith to refer to squashes. Squashes is a food that was much loved by the Messenger of Allah ﷺ.
Squashes and gourds are highly nutritious. Its leaves are large and provided shade and protection for the Prophet Yunusعليه السلام. Its flesh is said to having cooling properties which were essential to the healing of Prophet Yunusعليه السلامwho was exposed to harsh conditions in the belly of the fish.
The orange squashes and gourds, like pumpkin and butternut, are high in β- carotene. β-carotene is a precursor to vitamin A. Vitamin A and other contents found in pumpkin, like lutein and zeaxanthin, are essential for eye health. Scientific studies have shown that higher intakes of β-carotene by eating pumpkin, lowers the risk of developing cataract issues later in life.
Vitamin A together with other vitamins like vitamin C, iron and selenium that is found in pumpkin, is ideal in maintaining a strong immune system. β- carotene is also a powerful antioxidant that can reduce the risk of developing certain cancers. It also protects the skin against sun damage and has the ability to prevent the development of chronic diseases.
Squashes and gourds have a very high water content. It is also high in fiber and easily digestible. Its high water and fiber content increases satiety and could aid in weight loss.
Squashes and gourds have a high potassium content. This helps regulate blood pressure and protect against cardiovascular diseases.
Pumpkin seeds are also highly beneficial. They contain unsaturated fatty acids and phytoestrogens. This is beneficial in protecting the brain and nervous system and promoting hormonal balance.