Barley – Arabic: “Sha’iir”
Ibn Qayyim says, “The Messenger of God, peace be upon him, used to eat bread with seasoning (idaam): sometimes he would season it with meat and would say: ‘This is the chief food of the people of this world and the next.’ This is related by Ibn Maaja and others. Sometimes he would eat it with watermelon, sometimes with dates. He put a date on a morsel of bread, saying, ‘This is the proper seasoning for that.’ This is an example that indicates the importance of balancing different types of food in order to obtain a proper diet. For barley bread is cold and dry, while dates are hot and moist. To season barley bread with dates is the best arrangement, especially for those accustomed to them, like the people of Madinah.”
Seasoning bread with, for example, vinegar which the Messenger of God, peace be upon him, did, is one method to preserve health.
The Prophet, peace be upon him, used the same word for seasoning meaning harmony and suitability as when recommending that a man when proposing should see his prospective bride.
Barley or Wheat?
Barley bread is cold and dry. Wheat bread is more nutritious.
Properties of Barley Bread
Barley bread is an astringent, is cooling and causes wind.
Barley mixed with honey is good for a fever.
Barley relieves thirst and sorrow.
The best barley is white.
Fresh Wheat Bread causes fatness very quickly
A meal of spinach and barley
Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, when recovering from an illness was advised by the Prophet, peace be upon him, to eat from a meal of spinach and barley that had been prepared for them.
A dish of barley and almonds – the food of tyrants
A’isha, may Allah be pleased with her, related: The Prophet, peace be upon him, was brought a dish of barley and almonds, but he refused it, saying, ‘This is the food of tyrants and of those who will come after me.’
This Journal entry is based entirely on the following sources:
Ibn Qayyim in "Medicine of the Prophet"
As-Suyuti in "Medicine of the Prophet"