Dates are associated with fasting & the month of Ramadan. The nutritious fruits are not only the start of iftar meals but also a part of many desserts prepared during the holy month.
But why are dates such an indispensable part of Ramadan food?
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Dates are the fruit of the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) tree, which is most widely cultivated in the Middle East, North Africa, Central Africa, Southern Asia, and Southeast Asia.
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Historians believe that dates are one of the ancient fruits and their cultivation traces back to around 8,000 years ago. There are more than 200 varieties of dates with different shapes and flavors, however, all of them are rich in nutrition.
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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.
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The popularity of dates 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 the fast. There are different types of dates & their benefits range from amazing taste to improving health.
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Dates or the date-palm are mentioned in the Qur’an 22 times, which is more than any other fruit tree, so we know their significance is rooted deep in Islam. Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) knew of their benefits & greatly enjoyed eating them & encouraged those around him to do the same.
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The date was one of Prophet Muhammad’s (ﷺ) favourite and most desired food items. For this reason, many Muslims today consume dates not just during Ramadan but throughout the year, regarding the fruit as part of the blessed prophetic diet.
For Muslims, adopting the habits and practices, or Sunnah, of the Prophet Muhammed (ﷺ) is regarded as something praiseworthy and blessed. This is why Muslims consume dates during Ramadan and throughout the year.
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Ramadan is a very popular time to eat dates because the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “When one of you breaks his fast, let him break it with dates for they are blessed. If they are not found, let him break it with water for it is pure.” [Tirmidhī]
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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.
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Dates are also particularly beneficial during Ramadan because they are high in sugar and vitamins such as potassium and magnesium as well as an excellent source of fiber and carbohydrates.
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Dates are also known to help with digestion & can prevent an upset stomach when eating large amounts of food after a long period without eating. When not fasting, consumption of dates before a meal will satisfy the sensation of hunger, which in turn helps to avoid overeating.
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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.
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Also known as the ‘Holy Dates’ they hold a great importance in Islamic tradition. This delicious date comes in dark brown to almost a black colour texture. Ajwa Dates have a sweet-fruity flavour & are also very well known to boost your immunity.
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They are larger in size and with a very small seed. These soft dates have a rich, almost caramel-like taste and chewy texture. One is enough to fill you up &provide you with tons of vitamins. Sweet & delicious, they help to make your immune system strong.
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A sweet delight to your tastebuds. They are sweetest of all the dates and have a sticky feel to them. Mabroom dates are packed with zinc and magnesium. This treat has a mild toffee-like flavor.
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Black Omani Dates
These dates work as a natural sweetener & are a great replacement for artificial sweeteners. Also known for improving blood quality & hemoglobin. Include Omani dates with your breakfast and notice the improvement in your strength.
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Dark coloured dates they are a nutritious and sweet delight to eat. They are high in potassium & known to help in improving bone health.
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According to Hadith, Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said “Whoever has seven Ajwa dates every morning, he will not be harmed on that day by poison or magic.” [Bukhari]
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Stuffed Dates are a popular Ramadan treat made with dates that you cut open and stuff with various fillings.
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During Ramadan dates are topped and garnished with chocolate, coconut, crushed nuts or chopped up dried fruits and given as gifts.
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Which is your favourite date?
We wish you lots of blessings and peace for your Ramadan preparations...
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