Surah 16 verse 66 says

"Surely there is a lesson for you in the cattle: We provide you to drink out of that which is in their bellies between the faeces and the blood - pure milk - which is a palatable drink for those who take it."

Does this mean the raw milk from cows (not pasteurized) is safe to be consumed by humans? Unless I'm wrong, people have been known to get sick from drink raw milk.

So my question is, what exactly is the Quran saying here? I know the Quran first came down in Arabic, but I don't speak arabic so I wouldn't know the original verse or choice of words used in surah 16 versee 66 in arabic.

May Allah forgive me for any mistakes.

  • 2
    Do you mean that prior to Louis Pasteur, people didn't drink milk?
    – III-AK-III
    Aug 8, 2018 at 22:38
  • Well I see what you're trying to say, but it doesn't answer my question. Just because people still drank it, doesn't mean it was still safe. fda.gov/food/resourcesforyou/consumers/ucm079516.htm
    – Damion
    Aug 9, 2018 at 1:03
  • Are you mixing between palatable and potable?
    – UmH
    Aug 9, 2018 at 10:01
  • 2
    Note that humans have consumed milk for over ten millennia and thrived. Though in ancient times, apart from other factors, milk was consumed fresh out of the udder and not transported or stored. Nowadays even if the raw milk that comes out of a cow is safe, it likely won't remain safe by the time it reaches you.
    – UmH
    Aug 9, 2018 at 10:36

1 Answer 1


The Qur'an uses the word "سائغا" which means palatable in the meaning of being easy to drink or to swallow and delicious. Imam al-Qurtobi -in his tafsir- when discussing the meaning pointed at the counter example in the Qur'an, where the verb was negated which is in surat Ibrahim:

He will gulp it but will hardly [be able to] swallow it. And death will come to him from everywhere, but he is not to die. And before him is a massive punishment. (14:17)

As @Uma pointed out in the comments the pasteurization was made to keep the milk safe for a longer while as usual. Nobody got hurt or ill by drinking fresh milk except one has a milk sugar (also known as lactose) intolerance or some other kind of specific illnesses or allergies.
In early days people used to drink the raw milk directly after milking the animal (be it a cow, goat etc.) as many ahadith show.

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