For many days I was thinking to write something about the “dates” also known as “tamar or temer” in Arabic, “Khajoor” in Urdu and “Khurma” in Persian which are commonly associated as an emblem of Muslim culture , and are specifically associated with Ramadan.
Date and Palm dates have been mentioned several times in the Quran in Surah al-Baqarah verse 266, Surah Al-Anaam verse 99 and 141, Surah Ar-ra’d verse 4, Surah Nahl verse 11 and 67, Surah Al-Isra verse 91, Surah Kahf verse 32, Surah Maryam verse 23 and 25, Surah Mominoon verse 19, Surah Ash-Shuara verse 148, Surah Ya-seen verse 34 and 39, Surah Fussilat verse 47, Surah Ar-Rahman verse 11 and 68, Surah Abasa verse 29 and many other verses. Dates have also been honored in Qur’an as a blessing of Jannah.
The botanical name of dates is “Phoenix dactylifera L.” It’s a perennial plant & starts giving fruit within an average of 5 years.
Dates are also been mentioned frequently in the many Hadiths of Holy Prophet(peace be upon him)
‘A’isha reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: ‘A’isha a family which has no Dates (in their house) its members will be hungry; (or) ‘A’isha the family which has no Dates its members may behungry. He said this twice or thrice. (Sahih Muslim Book 023, Hadith 5079)
Narrated Salman ibn Amir: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: When one of you is fasting, he should break his fast with dates; but if he cannot get any, then (he should break his fast) with water, for water is purifying. (Abu Dawud Book 13, Hadith 2348)
Narrated Ibn ‘Umar: Allah’s Apostle said, “Amongst the trees, there is a tree, the leaves of which do not fall and is like a Muslim. Tell me the name of that tree.” Everybody started thinking about the trees of the desert areas. And I thought of the date-palm tree but felt shy to answer the others then asked, “What is that tree, O Allah’s Apostle ?” He replied, “It is the date-palm tree.” (Sahih Bukhari Book 3, Hadith 58)
Some Nutritional facts:
The flesh of date is low in fat and protein but very rich in sugars; particularly Glucose and the Fructose and has a high caloric value, easily digestible, and very important for brain. It contains, carbohydrate (total sugars, 44-88%), fat (0.2-0.5%), 15 salts and minerals, protein (2.3-5.6%), vitamins and a high percentage of dietary fibre (6.4-11.5%). The flesh of dates contains 0.2-0.5% oil, whereas the seed contains 7.7-9.7% oil. 100 g of flesh can provide an average of 314 kcal. Important minerals like boron, calcium, cobalt, copper, fluorine, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorous, sodium and zinc are present in various proportions. The consumption of 100 g of dates can provide over 15% of the recommended daily allowance from these minerals. They are high in dietary fiber (8.0 g/100 g), insoluble dietary fiber is the major fraction of dietary fiber in dates. Date seeds contain higher protein (5.1 g/100 g) and fat (9.0 g/100 g) as compared to the flesh. It’s also high in dietary fiber.
The protein in dates contains 23 types of amino acids, some of which are not present in the most popular fruits such as oranges, apples and bananas. Dates contain at least six vitamins including a small amount of vitamin C, and vitamins B(1) thiamine, B(2) riboflavin, nicotinic acid (niacin) and vitamin A. Dates are also rich in folic acid.
Dates are used as nutritious food as well as a medicine. Hazrat Maryam (A.S) was commanded to eat this fruit in Surah Maryam:
The pains of labour drove her to the trunk of a date-palm. She [Maryam] said, “Oh if only I had died before this time and was something discarded and forgotten!” A voice called out to her from under her, “Do not grieve! Your Lord has placed a small stream at your feet. Shake the trunk of the palm towards you and fresh, ripe dates will drop down onto you. Eat and drink and delight your eyes…” (Qur’an, 19:23-26)
Maryam(A.S) was inspired to understand this point, in order to make her own labour easier.
Research suggests that women who consumed date fruit prior to delivery had significantly higher mean cervical dilatation, and a significantly higher proportion of intact membranes. Spontaneous labour occurred in 96% of those who consumed dates. Use of prostin/oxytocin was significantly lower and the mean latent phase of the first stage of labour was also bserved to be shorter in women who consumed date fruit.
Oxytocin induce contractions in the uterine muscles. Dates can ease the stages of labour.
- In addition to this, dates contain Iron an intergral part of the Hemoglobin molecule and prevents anemia. Also folic acid which helps in the maturation of Red blood cells and prevents a birth defect called “Spina Bifida” if administered prior to conception. The Iron and folic acid requirements increases significantly during pregnancy.
- Calcium and phospates are needed for the effective mineralization of bones and teeth. Calcium is important for the blood coagulation.
- Zinc plays its role in preventing atherosclerosis (reduction of artery lumen due to fats deposition), helps in wound healing.
- Potassium is good for hypertensive (high blood pressure) patients.
- Flourine being good for teeth.
- Magnesium and copper are important for the nervous system integrity.
- Vitamin A is good for the eyes and skin.
- Niacin prevents Pallagra (characterized by 3Ds; dermatitis, dementia, Diaorrhea)
- Vitamin B1 is important in protein metabolism
- Dates are a good source of antioxidants, mainly carotenoids and phenolics.
Thanks to “dates” for being a good reservoir of vitamins & minerals.
It’s a long established custom among Muslims parents to put a piece of well chewed date (or other available sweet fruit) in the mouth of the newborn baby.
Abu Musa reported: A child was born in my house and I brought him to Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upod him) and he gave him the name of ibrahim and he rubbed his palate with Dates. (Sahih Muslim Book 025, Hadith 5343)
The researches indicate that doing so decreases the pain in neonates, in an interesting scientific medical study, published in the British Medical Journal (No. 6993, 10 June 1995), according to which sugar seems to reduce crying and the autonomic effects of a painful procedure in healthy normal babies and may be a useful and safe analgesic for minor procedures in neonates like circumcision etc.
The Messenger (Sallallaahu Álayhi wa aalehe Wasallam) said, “Ajwa dates are from paradise.” [Tirmidhee (2068)]
- Ajwa dates are specifically beneficial in heart diseases as narrated in the hadith of Sunan Abu dawud
Narrated Sa’d: I suffered from an illness. The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) came to pay a visit to me. He put his hands between my nipples and I felt its coolness at my heart. He said: You are a man suffering from heart sickness. Go to al-Harith ibn Kaladah, brother of Thaqif. He is a man who gives medical treatment. He should take seven ajwah dates of Medina and grind them with their kernels, and then put them into your mouth. (Abu Dawud Book 28, Hadith 3866)
- In another Narration of Bukhari,
Narrated Saud: I heard Allah’s Apostle saying, “If Somebody takes seven ‘ajwa dates in the morning, neither magic nor poison will hurt him that day.” (Sahih Bukhari Book 71, Hadith 664)
- Dates Increases the Immune Function
- Reduces the Risk of Colon Cancer due to high fiber content
- Dates have been found beneficial in patients of allergic rhinitis and common cold.
- Date Fruit extract is a neuroprotective agent.
- Dates are beneficial in gastric ulcers
- Alleviation of Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
- Prevention of Alopecia (Spot Baldness)
- Stroke Prevention
- Antioxidant Protection
- Prevention of Epileptic Seizures
In a nut shell, dates are the marvellous gift from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for us that can be used as both medicine and food.
Ibn Qayyim in his Tibb al-Nabawi writes: Dates are a type of fruit that is also used for its nutritional and medicinal value, being favorable for most bodies and for their role in strengthening the natural heat. Moreover, dates do not produce harmful wastes or excrement like other types of food and fruits. Rather, dates preserve the body wastes from being spoiled and from rotting, especially for those who are used to eating dried dates.”(Healing with the Medicine of the Prophet, Translated by Abd el-Qader bin Abd el-Azeez, Dar al-Ghadd al-Gadeed, al-Mansoura (Egypt), 2003 p.121)
P.S; Ramadan Mubarak