Dates are a popular food item, not just in the Middle East but all over the world. They have amazing nutritional properties and just a few dates can keep you energised for hours; one of the many reasons people buy them. Their popularity reaches its peak in Ramadan where Muslims worldwide buy kilos worth of dates for their homes. It is the preferred food item of choice to break your fast. There are different types of dates and their benefits range from amazing taste to health improving qualities.
The date was one of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) favourite and most desired food items.
As such, many Muslims today consume dates not just during Ramadan but throughout the year, regarding the fruit as part of the blessed prophetic diet.
It is customary in many countries for Muslims to break their fast at the time of Iftar by consuming dates. It must be made clear, however, that opening fast with dates is not mandatory, but is something that is preferred. Detailed accounts of the Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) life indicate that he preferred breaking his fast with dates. Adopting the habits and practices, or Sunnah, of the last prophet (pbuh) is regarded as something praiseworthy and blessed. This is why Muslims consume dates during Ramadan and throughout the year.
There are many different types of dates available but some are more prominent than others and stand out from the rest due to their amazing qualities. One of the most noteworthy dates to mention here is the Ajwa date. In fact, you can’t talk about dates and not talk about Ajwa.
Ajwa is a delicate and soft dry date fruit with a fine texture. It is cultivated in abundance in the Middle East, primarily in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Madinah al Munawwarah, the city of the Prophet (pbuh), hosts some of the lushest date trees in the world. Ajwa is mentioned in the Hadith, making it one of the foods recommended in the Sunnah. The following is a Hadith related in Bukhari’s collection:
“Whoever has seven Ajwa dates every morning, he will not be harmed on that day by poison or magic.” [Bukhari]
According to another Hadith, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) once said this to Ayesha (ra), his beloved wife:
“O Aisha! A house with no dates in it, their family is hungry”
Ramadan and dates have a special connection and with Ramadan here, be sure to stock your fridge with plenty of Ajwa dates for the family. Let’s all make an effort to fast this month and to open our fasts with dates, according to the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Also, don’t forget to pay your Zakat this year and donate generously for a good cause. As you perform your fasts and stand in prayer, remember the entire Muslim Ummah, as well as your friends, loved ones and family.