Talbeenah is mentioned in a number of saheeh ahaadeeth, such as the following:
It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah, the wife of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), that if a member of her family died, the women would gather together, then they would depart, except her own relatives and close friends. She would order that a pot of talbeenah be cooked, then some thareed would be made and the talbeenah would be poured over it. Then she would say: Eat some of it, for I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “Talbeenah soothes the heart of the sick person, and it takes away some of the grief.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5101; Muslim, 2216.
It was narrated from her (may Allaah be pleased with her) that she would order that talbeenah be made for the sick and the one who was mourning a death, and she used to say: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “Talbeenah soothes the heart of the sick and takes away some of the grief.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5365; Muslim, 2216
It is clear from these two hadeeths that talbeenah is used to treat the sick and to reduce the grief of one who is grieving, soothing his heart and giving him energy.
Talbeenah is a broth that is made from two spoonfuls of barley flour with bran, then a cup of water is added to that and it is cooked over a low fire for five minutes.
Some people add a spoonful of honey to it.
It is called talbeenah because it is like milk (laban) in its whiteness and consistency.
Ibn al-Qayyim said:
If you want to know the virtue of talbeenah, then think of the virtue of barley water, for it is barley water for them. It is a soup that is made from barley flour with bran. The difference between it and barley water is that the latter is made from whole grains, whereas talbeenah is made from flour, which is more beneficial as the properties of the barley are released through grinding. We have mentioned above that habits have an effect on whether medicines and foods are of benefit. It was the habit of the people to drink barley water made from flour rather than whole grains, which is more nourishing and effective… end quote.
Zaad al-Ma’aad, 4/120
Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, describing talbeenah:
It is a kind of food that is made from flour or bran, to which honey may be added. It is so called because it resembles milk in its whiteness and consistency. Its benefit is that it is soft and well-cooked, not hard and raw. End quote.
Fath al-Baari, 9/550
There is no doubt that barley has many benefits, some of which have been discovered in modern studies, such as: lowering cholesterol, treating the heart, treating depression, treating high blood sugar and high blood pressure, softening the stools and soothing the colon. Studies have also demonstrated the importance of barley in reducing the incidence of colon cancer.
Dr. Sahba’ Bunduq said – after noting the benefits mentioned above and discussing them in detail:
In this sense, talbeenah is a protection against diseases of the heart and circulatory system, as it protects the arteries from arteriosclerosis – especially the major arteries of the heart. It also protects against angina, reduction of blood supply and cardiac infarction.
As for those who have actually been affected by these vascular and cardiac problems, talbeenah, with its health benefits, can play an important role in preventing their symptoms from getting worse. This shows the miraculous nature of the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “Talbeenah soothes the heart of the sick.” End quote.
And Allaah knows best.