…and He is the Best of those who give sustenance. (23:72)
You provide limitlessly for whoever You will. (3:27)
Remember the bounties of your Lord, so that you may be successful. (7:69)
And so it was that our sustenance from the sea was delivered to us in the form of some cute baby CEPHALOPODS!!!! Aka octopuses, or some say octopi…..whatever the name they are slimy creatures and loads of fun to prepare as I discovered for the first time in dealing with them!
I kept staring at them….and they kept staring at me….those huge bulbous eyes…what DO I DO???
Google comes to the rescue in all situations….so I had to turn the head inside out, gouge out those bulbous eyes, the brain and the three hearts!!! along with the “beak” and the weird bit at the top and what I guess is the gut at the other end….leaving the eight legs spiraling out like a dancer performing under water synchronized swimming as they are washed and washed and washed. All the while being squirted with their dense black ink…how amazing is Allah Ta’ala’s creation, SubhanAllah! And these represent only one of the thousands of species inhabiting the oceans, with this rizq originating from the Red Sea, only a few hours to the west of Madinah.
The main fish market here is a fascinating place….small individual “shops” of about ten square meters line a central walkway, all competing for customers with their catch of the day fresh from Yanbu, the major fishing hub, creatively arranged on benches at the front. The smaller fish are in bundles with a natural string of cane weaving through the mouth then tied into a handle. Some of the larger fish, sometimes more than two meters long are truly incredible…the vibrant colours and patterns seem to have a direct impact on one’s Iman! SubhanAllah….such is the artistic magnificence of our Rabb Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala! The traders vie for custom enticing one with all sorts of offers while the bargaining adds to the general fish market symphony, enhanced by the aroma!
Saudis, like most Arabs, love their seafood, and more especially on Friday after Juma’ah. Numerous outlets around the city specialize in frying fish which have been rubbed with various spices, predominantly cumin, making a thick tasty coating. These are then displayed ready for one to choose exactly which fish is wanted, and then they are fried in a huge vat. How they recognize who belongs to what fish must be a secret of the trade! These are then carried home in an open box lined with paper….
The crowds around these places has become a real traffic hazard, with several police in attendance trying to maintain some sort of order and preventing the locals from triple parking while they race in for their Juma’ah lunch! The frying fish smell fills the air for miles, and cats congregate from miles away!
Anyway, back to the amazing octopus …apparently it is not a good housekeeper as it throws all the discarded shells from its banquets of crustaceans just outside its lair. If it octopus damages one of its vital arms, it can grow a new one. Also they are capable of learning. In an experiment, octopi were trained to distinguish between shapes and also to recognize objects by touch, and to undo the lids of jars that contained their favourite food. And the first writing ink was made from the pigment found in the octopus’s sac. And that weird little beak, the only hard feature it has…sort of like a small piece of plastic, is used to locate hiding places, and then grab onto a hard surface with this tiny beak, with the rest of the body being able to slither through….experiments have shown that a huge octopus can fit through such tiny gaps. In their natural habitat they can swiftly escape any predators by first squirting them with ink and then slinking into a tiny crevice! Extraordinarily clever! SubhanAllah!
For those with children, or those who are involved in educating our dear young ones, this link provides some excellent lesson plans.
“All praise is for Allah Who has made me eat this food and has provided it for me without any effort and labour on my part”, is one of the Du’a our Beloved Prophet SallAllahu alaihi wasallam, according to Tirmithi, would recite after meals, and it is said that all past sins are forgiven if this is recited. Some Ulema have explained the two separate issues inherent in this Du’a…..one is the blessing of being provided the food….and the second is the blessing of actually being able to eat it. Many people due to various conditions of illness may be provided with certain foods, but are unable to actually eat thereof.
…and He is the Best of those who give sustenance.
All good is from Allah Ta’ala whereas mistakes are from this humble speck. May Allah Ta’ala Bless all readers, bringing you all closer to Him and His Rasul SallAllahu alaihi wasallam. May He accept our humble efforts and grant us the capacity to be good and do good. Ameen.